Everyone flocks to Hallstatt as a day trip from Salzburg, but few visit the other UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s close by: Dachstein Krippenstein! Packed with history, natural wonders, and spectacular views, it is the perfect destination in the Austrian Alps.
About Dachstein Krippenstein in Salzkammergut
Salzkammergut is a region of mountains and lakes in Upper Austria, characterized by the fairytale-like towns of Hallstatt and Salzburg, alpine landscapes, and underground salt mines. Salt, or ‘white gold’ in that era, was THE trade item for the Habsburg Monarchy. The name Salzkammergut translates to “Estate of the Salt Chamber”, signifying its status within the kingdom.
Krippenstein is a limestone mountain in the Dachstein Mountain range. Because of its high altitude, Dachstein Krippenstein offers a vast variety of activities depending on the season. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a nature lover, family, or outdoor enthusiast.
Getting to Dachstein Krippenstein from Salzburg
From Salzburg Hbf (main railway/bus terminal), take Bus 150 to Bad Ischl; journey time is around 2 hours. The earliest bus departs at around 6am. Make sure you check the bus schedule ahead of time!
Note: One-way bus fare is €10.55 per person (price in 2017). Pay the driver when you get on the bus.
From Bad Ischl, take the train to Obertraun Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof. This scenic train ride takes around 30 minutes.
Tip: You can buy tickets online in advance for €5.30 per person. If you’re returning from Hallstatt, make sure you buy your return ticket at Bad Ischl because there is only ONE machine at the Hallstatt train station.
Pro-Tip: Just get the OBB app if you have data on your phone! This allows flexibility in your itinerary; you can buy tickets as you go without having to worry about missing trains/buses or lining up for machines and ticketing counters.
Once at Obertraun Dachsteinhöhlen Bahnhof, take Postbus-line #542 to “cable cars, ice caves, 5fingers, etc”. One-way bus fare to Dachstein from Obertraun is €2.10 per person (price in 2017).
Things to do at Dachstein Krippenstein
Important Note: The first cable car takes you up to Schönbergalm Nature Park. You must register for the cave tours at the counter! You’ll be given a number and start time for your tour of the Ice Cave and Mammut Cave.
Caves: Ice Cave, Mammut Cave, Koppenbrüller Cave
You can explore not one, not two… but THREE caves! Koppenbrüller Cave is the youngest and most family-friendly of the three. It’s especially dramatic during snowmelt and heavy rainfalls.
With almost 70km of the underground labyrinth explored, Dachstein’s Mammut Cave is the 30th longest and 31st deepest cave in the world. Throw on some overalls, head torch, and a helmet for an adventure through humongous cave passages and rock cathedrals.
The most popular Ice Cave offers spectacular ice sculptures, light effects, and art installations. Musical Ice Concerts feature international musicians in the cave every August. Visitors have the opportunity to experience crystal-clear sounds in a unique concert hall!
Tip: It’s cold in the caves so dress warmly!
Tip: Get the “Audioguide App Hearonymus” on your phone since it can be hard to hear your guide in the caves; it’s available 7 languages.
Recreational Sports: Hiking, Paragliding, Freeride Snowboarding/Skiing
The family-friendly Heilbronner Circular Trail takes 3 hours to complete, due to its gentle incline. It offers incredible views of the Hallstatter Glacier, with plenty of information boards, fossils, and the Dachstein Shark along the way.
Geology lovers will enjoy the Nature Trail, a themed walk where you’ll discover rocks, plants and animals of the region. The altitude difference varies between 140-330m depending on which route you take. Up for an adrenaline rush? Challenge the new via ferrata, available in varying levels of difficulty from novice to pro.
Tip: Weather changes quickly in the alps. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, make sure your phone is fully charged, and bring protective gear against the sun, rain, and cold, snacks, and lots of liquids!
Wanna take panoramas to new heights? Try tandem paragliding! With an altitude of more than 1,500m from the takeoff and landing sites, Dachstein Krippenstein is among the most impressive flying areas in the Alps. It is also home to the world-famous safety training centre for paraglider pilots.
In the winter, Dachstein Krippenstein transforms into a hot spot for powdery freeride and off piste. Make sure you go with a guide unless you know the routes like the back of your hand!
Viewpoints: 5fingers, WeltNATURerbeblick, Dachstein Shark
Imagine the views 2000m up in the Austrian Alps! WeltNATURerbeblick is wheelchair accessible, giving everybody a chance to enjoy Dachstein’s magnificent views.
Millions of years ago, the Dachstein massif was engulfed by the ocean. The Dachstein Shark pays homage to the pre-historic shark that once lived here. You’ll find this attraction 30 minutes into the Heilbronner Circular Trail.
The most thrilling 5fingers offers a sweeping panoramic view of Salzkammergut and Lake Hallstatt. Lean over one of five platforms that jets out to test your fear of heights. We even saw some dudes rappelling down the mountain from the platform!
What about food?
There are two restaurants on the mountain: Restaurant Schonbergalm after the first cable ride up, and Mountain Restaurant at the summit.
We’re always skeptical about restaurants up in the mountains (*cough ski resorts in BC*) because the food is meh and overpriced. That is not the case here, though! Taste and prices are on par with what you’d find in Salzburg. And oh, the ribs are fingerlickin’ good!
How much are tickets to Dachstein Krippenstein?
Prices vary from €30 – €44.40, depending on the ticket combination. The Panorama ticket (€30) gives you access only to the viewpoints, whereas the All-Inclusive ticket (€44.40) allows you to explore ALL the attractions. All tickets include the cable car ascent and descent.
Note: Check this page for current tickets and prices.
Disclaimer: Many thanks to Dachstein Krippenstein for hosting our visit. As always, our opinions are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!