An Ice Cave and the OLDEST Salt Mine, in Obertraun, Austria

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount Krippenstein

We booked a private driver from goEUgo ( called Mr. Lau who was super friendly and knowledgeable and punctual.  In our itinerary, we went to three places in one day! – an ice cave called Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, the oldest salt mine in the world called Salzwelten Hallstatt, and a small beautiful town called Hallstatt right around the corner.  For this blog post, I’ll be posting photos basically from the first two activities.

We went to Obertraun, nearby Hallstatt, a village and also a popular holiday destination for people to engage in activities such as skiing, mountain biking, snowboarding, swimming, and kayaking.

Obertraun, AustriaOn the way there

Obertraun, Austria

Obertraun, Austria

Obertraun, Austria


Dachstein Krippenstein (website) and Dachstein Giant Ice Cave (website)

Dachstein Krippenstein is a mountain located in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, near the town of Hallstatt. It is renowned for its stunning alpine landscapes and offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.  The mountain is popular among hikers and nature enthusiasts, with a variety of hiking trails that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.  Additionally, the mountain is a favorite spot for winter sports enthusiasts, offering skiing, snowboarding, and freeriding opportunities in the colder months. Whether you’re seeking adventure, natural beauty, or simply a peaceful escape in the mountains, Dachstein Krippenstein has something to offer for everyone.

We got to this alpine area first by riding a cable car.

Obertraun, Austria

Obertraun, AustriaPretty much the only shop that sells clothings.  Once you take the cable car up, there is no clothing shop, so if you feel you’re lacking clothes, this is the place to stock up, right at the entrance.

Obertraun, AustriaOnce you got up from the cable car, you have to walk about a 15-20 minute walk to get up there.  If you are with a senior, I suggest that they bring a walking stick as well.  It’s not a rough walk for most people, but it does have some slopes.

Obertraun, Austria

Obertraun, Austria

Obertraun, Austria

Obertraun, AustriaSo foggy can’t see what the map is indicating

Obertraun, AustriaSome of the activities you can do.  We didn’t have enough time for 5fingers that day, since it’s another cable car up and you have to walk another 30 minutes to get there.  We only had time for the World Heritage Spiral.

Obertraun, Austria

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, AustriaDachstein Krippenstein is also famous for its famed Dachstein Ice Cave, a natural wonder of ice formations inside the mountain that captivates visitors with its beauty.   We made it to the entrance of Dachstein Giant Ice Cave still with 5 minutes left!

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, Austria

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, AustriaI was going to upload more photos, but then I decided I didn’t want to spoil too much.

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, AustriaYes there are some stairs as well, so be sure to prepare for that.  Some of the floor might also be wet as well, in case you might want to wear some hiking boots or anti-slipping shoes.

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, AustriaWhile it does get as cold as -2 °C, I actually didn’t think it was that bad at all.  And this is me wearing a t-shirt, a long sleeve sweater, a furry jacket, a beanie, one jeans, and boots.  Like it was cold, but not freezing.

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, Austria

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, Austria

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount KrippensteinAfter we came out of the ice cave, we can finally start to see a little bit of the lake

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount Krippenstein

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount KrippensteinYou thought the ice cave was over for Dachstein Krippenstein?  Not so fast!  We took a second cable car to get to the top, and the view at the top was mesmerizing.

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount KrippensteinLooking back at the cable car station

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount KrippensteinWe were in a rush because we still had to go to the Salt Mines, and wanted to eat lunch as well, so we were there only for a good 15-20 mins.  This is even when we left at 8am this morning and arrived at Dachstein Krippenstein at before 10am.

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount Krippenstein

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount Krippenstein

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount Krippenstein

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount Krippenstein

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount KrippensteinVolia!  And you can kind of see Hallstatt from here.

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount Krippenstein

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount KrippensteinThis is the World Heritage Spiral. It was about a 10 min walk from the cable car station, but that was all the time we had.  It’ll take another 20 min walk from here to the 5fingers spot.

Dachstein Krippenstein / Mount KrippensteinAbsolutely beautiful

Salzwelten Hallstatt – Oldest Salt Mine in the Worldddd (website)

After absorbing the magnificent views from the top of Dachstein Krippenstein, we rushed back down to the car because we really didn’t want to miss out on the salt mines, and we thought that it would close at 3pm.  Luckily it was only a 10 min drive, and when we got there, the lady at the counter told us that the last entry was like at 4:30pm, so OK, we had an hour and more to grab lunch as well.  We went to this burger place next door called Burgerman and chowed some some decent burger.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineSalzwelten Hallstatt

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineThe cable car to go up wasn’t as steep and long as Dachstein Krippenstein

BurgermanThere were a few seats at the back

BurgermanThe burgers were just okay, nothing special

BurgermanFries were pretty good though, yum!

Lake Hallstatt

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineSalzwelten Hallstatt is one of the oldest salt mines in the world, located in the picturesque town of Hallstatt in Austria. It is a significant historical and cultural site that offers visitors a unique insight into the region’s rich salt mining heritage.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineLooking back and you can capture amazing photo shoots

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt Mine

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineYou can clearly see Hallstatt from here

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineThe house you enter for the salt mine.  Along the way there are also some scenic spots as well, but nothing of importance.  This is the only one that matters.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineBecause they are afraid you might get your clothes dirty, they let you wear these overalls on top of your clothes.  To be honest, there weren’t that many spots that you could get really dirty.  But it did make the experience feel more involved and it did make us feel more like a worker in the salt mine, which really elevated the experience.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineOne of the equipment gear that they use to crush the rocks from the caves to retrieve the salt.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineSome old photos of people who came here to dig salt.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineLeft tour guide was very funny and experienced, the right tour guide was actually his first time taking his tour!  Both were great.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineWe walked and looked like prisoners

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineSurprise!  We got to ride on these wooden slides down the mines, just like what workers really did before.  Don’t worry, it’s not that fast nor dangerous, just loads of fun.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt Mine

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineSalt used to be as valuable as gold before, centuries ago, because salt was needed to preserve food.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineDid I mention that this was the oldest salt mine in the world, where it has been active since at least 5000 B.C.?  Through the Bronze age, Greeks, Romans, Middle Ages, and till today. Hallstatt, along with other salt mines, helped to make the Dachstein-Hallstattersee region of Austria extremely wealthy.  It also explains how Salzburg got its name I think, because it’s related to salt.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineThis video showed us how salt was created in this cave through millions and millions of years of oceans eroding rocks, evaporating the water and leaving the salt, and slowly chipping away bits and pieces of the rocks to form this cave, which essentially was just one big rock of itself.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineSalt comes in different colors too.  The white bits are the purest versions, and the copper reddish bits are also salt but have a bit of metal taste to them.

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, Austria

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineApparently water with lots of salt in it can create these beautiful reflections even when the water is very shallow.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt Mine

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineThey’ve dug out clothing that was used by miners from thousands of years ago.

Salzwelten Hallstatt - Oldest Salt MineAnd the funnest part of the cave, riding this train to get back to the entrance!  Not that slow so be careful!

Both the Dachstein Krippenstein and the Salzwelten Hallstatt are worthy places to go, but do note that both will require lots of time, especially for Dachstein Krippenstein.  The salt mine tour itself takes about an hour and a half, and this doesn’t include taking the cable car there and walking there as well.  And mind you, all the photo taking that you will do there as well.

So try to get to Dachstein Krippenstein by 9am so that should give you enough time to go to 5fingers as well.

This was one of our favorite stops of our entire trip so if you do go to Austria, be sure to come here!  Read about Hallstatt is Where the Swans Say Hello for where this beautiful town we went afterwards.

Update: Nov. 10, 2023.  A photo was in the wrong section.

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