When we started walking down the narrow corridor at the entrance of the Nature Ice Palace, I was not expecting to discover wonderland underneath the Hintertux Glacier, the mountain resort at the end of the Zillertal in Tirol (Austria)
Ice rooms, crystal chambers, stalactites, ice crystals and a glacial lake, the further we went along the walkway and up and down ladders, the greater was the awe.
I was awe-strucked. Never would I have figured to see so much beauty beneath the Hintertux Glacier
Who could have pictured such an amazing scenery could exist at 25 meters beneath a glacial crevasse? The game of white, yellow, pink, green and blue lights made the natural ice sculptures and the caves all the most spectacular and breathtaking.
It was like adventuring in wonderland, through a magic landscape I thought existed only in dreams and fairy tales.
No matter how cold (or hot) it is outside. The temperature inside Nature’s Ice Palace is constantly at 0°C-2°C
When we arrived at the top station of the Gletscherbus 3 cable car at 3,250 meters (10,662 ft), the weather was all but welcoming. Cloudy, windy and with a temperature of -25°C (-13°F), I wondered if I would survive the visit of the Nature’s Ice Palace. Inside the cave, however, it was much warmer and the guide explained that throughout the year the internal temperature is constant, between 0°C and -2°C (32°F-28°F).
Ice crystals, stalactites, crystal caves… It was like discovering wonderland
The truth is that no-one should feel discouraged, no matter the weather, as the wonderland beneath the Hintertux Glacier is an unforgettable experience, a view of a magic world that words can hardly describe.
My only piece of advice is, if you’re spending a few days in the Zillertal, to visit the Nature Ice Palace from the second day onwards, since the high altitude might be problematic in some cases, and a little acclimatization can only render the view of the ice caves all the most enjoyable.
After the visit, and with the stunning images of the ice sculptures still in my mind, I tried to imagine the sense of marvel felt by the ski guide Roman Erler when in 2007, by mere chance, he discovered the crevasse and the ice masterpieces created by nature that had been hidden for centuries. And I thought at the amazing work that has been done to make the Natural Ice Palace ready to be visited and admired.
The Nature Ice Palace at the Hintertux Glacier is open all year round and can be visited daily, without advanced notice
– Regular tour (45 minutes) daily at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Admission: adults € 8,00 and children € 4,00 (Minimum age: 8 years).
– Grande tour (70 minutes) following the regular tour (except for at 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.) Admission adults € 16,00 and children € 8,00.
– Good walking boots and a jacket are recommended.
Note: Warm thanks – despite the polar temperature 🙂 – to the Tirol and Tux-Zillertal Tourism Boards for the invitation to discover wonderland at the Nature Ice Palace, as well as enjoying some great skiing. My opinions, as you can easily figure, were only driven by the generous amount of alcohol I had to drink to overcome the cold!