Dobšinská Ice Cave

Eastern Slovakia

More than 110,000 cubic metres of ice are packed into the gleaming walls of this Unesco-listed ice cave, near the southern edge of Slovenský Raj National Park. The atmosphere is otherworldly: icy stalagmites, resembling polished marble, bulge from the ground and chambers sparkle with dangling tendrils of frost. In places, the cave ice is 25m thick. The departure point is a half-hour walk from the car park, so arrive in good time ahead of guided tours (on the hour).

Ice caves are usually found at high altitudes whereas Dobšinská is remarkable for its relatively low elevation (around 950m). Cold air sinks through the cave mouth, concealed beneath Duča hill, keeping temperatures low (a minimum -3.8°C).

Tours plying a 515m-long pathway are in Slovak only, unless there’s a critical mass of Anglophones and plenty of advance warning.