Dachstein ice cave and 5 fingers – What and Where?
5 fingers is a viewing platform on Mount Krippenstein, Austria. It is considered to be the most spectacular viewing platform in the Alps. The name 5 fingers? Because of its hand-like shape.
Dachstein ice cave, as the name suggests, is a cave with giant ice formations.
Dachstein ice cave and 5 fingers are located in the Dachstein mountain (Hoher Dachstein) part of the Northern Alps, in the Salzkammergut lake district of Upper Austria.
Buses as well as trains connect Salzburg to Obetraun/Hallstatt. The journey will take approximately 3hrs. However, the easiest way to reach here is by car.
We took bus #150 from Salzburg to Bad Ischl, approximately 90 minutes journey. From Bad Ischl we boarded bus #543 from slot C. Bus numbers 542/543 go towards Hallstatt/Dachstein/Obertraun. There’s also a train from Bad Ischl to Hallstatt/Obertraun. If arriving by train, you need to take the ferry to Hallstatt/Obertraun.
We stayed in the small village of Obertraun. From Obertraun, you can take a shuttle to Dachstein for 2 Euros; just a 10 minutes ride. You can also stay in Hallstatt, which is a mere 20 minutes trip from Dachstein.
Both Obertraun and Hallstatt are small villages on the banks of the Hallstätter See (lake).
To see and experience
- Village of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Read all about Hallstatt here.
- Dachstein ice cave
- Mammut cave/ Mammoth cave – Of the 60 kms passageways of this cave, you can see only 1 km by taking a guided tour
- Koppenbrüller cave – a water-bearing cave located in the valley
- 5 fingers – a viewing platformAll caves and cable cars operate during summer months only, roughly from May to end of October.
Click here to check the opening times.
We visited in the first week of October 2015.
Touring Dachstein ice cave and 5 fingers
We did a guided tour of Dachstein ice cave (the only way to see it) and hiked to the 5 fingers lookout point. And of course, explored the fabled village Hallstatt.
From Dachstein bus-stop we purchased a combination ticket for ice cave plus 5 fingers and boarded the cable car. A short hike from the cable car station leads to the cave entrance. Cave tour lasts an hour, and it’s not as jaw-dropping as I thought it would be, but it’s not disappointing either.
After a quick stop at the small museum where we saw an ice-age cave bear skeleton, followed by a delicious breakfast of soup and bread at the cafe, we again boarded the cable car to section 2—summit of Krippenstein. Ascending above the valley floor, the view only got better and extensive.
A trail leads from the cable car station to the 5 fingers viewing platform.
It was a clear day with beautiful blue sky and excellent visibility. We were surrounded by magnificent, breathtaking views of Dachstein mountain range, Hallstatt glacier (Hallstätter gletscher), Gosau glacier, Hallstatt lake and surrounding villages. It was truly breathtaking!
Finally, the mountain baby that I am, I was overjoyed to be in the solitude of nature.
Camera lens could capture only a small dimension of what we saw, that’s why we went crazy with panos. 🙂
Have you visited any caves? Where?
Other cave visits – Belum caves in south India. These caves are in the state of Andhra Pradesh and is an easy day-trip from the cities of Bangalore/Hyderabad.