10 Best Caves in Germany to Visit

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German Caves

Did you know Germany has over 51 show caves for you to explore? Show caves are determined as any cavity under the earth’s surface that is equipped with lights and can be walked through, and Germany boasts some of the most beautiful show caves in the world.

That’s not just one man’s opinion, either. In the Guinness Book of World Records, the most colorful show cave in the world award goes to the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes (Feengrotten in German). The fairy grottoes were originally mines and at one time coined the name Jeremias Luck.

Dark Cave in Germany

German people have been visiting show caves on guided tours since 1646 when Baumann’s Cave officially started offering guided tours. Even Goethe was known to have visited Baumann’s Cave.

More than half of Germany’s show caves are dripstone and ice caves—a style of cave formation where large stalactites formed from rainwater hang from the ceiling.

Germany also boasts Europe’s only fissure cave open to the public. This rare type of cave was discovered when a factory owner was trying to develop his land and stumbled across this rare piece of earth. He fell in love with the cave but died two years after starting the development.

His widow took over and finished the project. She was removing over 7,000 square meters of debris and rubble in the process. Named after its founder, Rheinhold Goetz, Goetz Cave is now one of Germany’s most impressive show caves.

Best Caves in Germany to Visit

Saalfeld Fairy Grottos, Feengrotten

Saalfeld Fairy Grotto is a cave with an area of ​​2,5 hectares in Saalfeld, Germany. It is located at the cape where the river Saale forms a loop and is not far from the spring of Zwickauer Mulde. The cave was discovered in 1851 by a hunter looking for a lost dog, and cavers explored it beginning in 1852. It was opened to the public in 1863.

The Feengrotten is a show cave with electric light and a guided tour. The cave takes about 45 minutes to explore. The Feengrotten is one of the most-visited show caves in Germany with about 200,000 visitors per year.

The cave has many formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstones, and draperies. The Fairy Grotto is one of the most-visited parts of the cave and it is decorated with draperies, flowstone formations, large stalactites, and columns.

You can take different tours of the Feengrotten in Saalfeld anytime you find yourself in Thuringia looking for an exciting underground adventure. You could even have your wedding at the most beautiful caverns in the world if you book in advance.

See Related: Places to Visit in Germany

Bear Cave

Bear Cave

Bear Cave is a show cave located in the town of Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany. The cave is only accessible with guided tours, which are offered in German. As part of the Bear Cave, there are two different parts of this show cave to explore, the Upper Bear Cave and Lower Bear Cave.

The Bear Cave was used to protect the inhabitants and has a constant temperature, regardless of the temperature inside. It was later used as a gravesite and remained an abandoned dump and mass grave before becoming a show cave.

To get to the Bear Cave, you must take a bus from Berchtesgaden to the village of Hintersee. From there, you must take a short walk to the cave entrance.

Baumann’s Cave

Baumann's Cave

It is a Swabian Jura cave about 2 kilometers south of Irslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It’s a show cave with electric lights and a guided tour. The tour takes about 1 hour. The cave has many formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstones, and draperies.

The cave was discovered in 1892 by Heinrich Baumann, and he explored it with friends. It was opened to the public in 1907. The cave is named after Heinrich Baumann.

Goetz Cave

Goetz Cave

It is a cave with an area of ​​1,000 square meters in the borough of Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia, Germany. It was discovered in 1926 by Heinrich Goetz and his son Werner Goetz. The cave is a show cave with electric light and a guided tour. The tour takes about 30 minutes.

The cave has many formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstones, and draperies. The cave was opened to the public in 1930 and is named after Heinrich Goetz and Werner Goetz.

Women Cave

Women Cave

Check out the Women’s Cave if you enjoy a good boat ride. It’s Germany’s only cave accessible only by boat. For less than 3 euros, a small boat built for ten will carry passengers into the cave and back out again.

The cave is ​​165,000 square meters in the Thuringian Forest, Germany. It was discovered in 1922 by a 26-year-old worker who saw an unusual object at his workplace. He returned to work after work and found a cave behind it.

He called his friend Theodor Drosihn who explored it with friends. The cave is a show cave with electric light and a guided tour. The tour took about 1 hour and was opened to the public in 1924.

See Related: Things to Do in Dortmund, Germany

Schellenberg Ice Cave

The Schellenberg Ice Cave is located in Marktschellenburg of the Berchtesgaden Alps, near the Austrian border of southern Germany, and is Germany’s only ice cave. It takes several hours of hiking to reach the cave, which is only one of two show caves in Germany not to be electrically lit.

Instead, the cave is lit by carbide lamps carried by you, the visitors. Tours are about 500 meters of walking distance, and temperatures stay within a few degrees above or below freezing inside.

It’s a cavern with a surface of 1000 square meters in Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia, Germany, and it’s known as the “Kingdom Under the Ground.” It is a cave with electric lighting that lasts about 30 minutes to visit.

Oswald Cave

Oswald Cave
Image by Bobjgalindo used under 4.0 International

The Oswald Cave is a karst cave system in the Hunsrück mountains of Germany. It is the largest cave system in the Rhineland-Palatinate and one of the largest in Germany. The cave was first explored in 1875 by Eduard Oswald.

The cave’s main entrance is a sinkhole near the village of Berghausen. The cave has a total length of about 15 kilometers, of which about 9 kilometers are accessible to tourists. The cave has many interesting formations, including stalagmites, stalactites, columns, curtains, and rimstone pools.

Devil’s Cave

The largest stalactite cave in Germany is located near Bayreuth. You’ll see a variety of enormous and little walls homes over 1,700 meters in length.

The Teufelshöhle is approximately 3,500 meters long. Hans Brand geologists and mine engineers discovered the cave in 1922. Long ago, it was said there were devil holes at the entrance; this is how it got its name. This is one of the best ways to explore nature and hike in Bavaria.

Barbarossa Cave

The Barbarossa Cave (German: Barbarossahöhle) is a show cave in Saalfeld. It was discovered in 1863 by two foresters who were hunting for rabbits, and they found the cave after a dog chased a rabbit into it.

The Barbarossa Cave is one of Germany’s largest caves, with 25,000 square meters to explore in Thuringia’s East German state. Another interesting fact about the Barbarossa Cave is its link with the Legend. According to the legend, Frederick Barbarossa slept in his underground palace until Germany was unified.

His beard grew around a round table. To date, his beard has grown around the table twice, and when it has grown around the table three times, the end of the world will begin, or Barbarossa will come out of his underground palace and rule again. According to legend, until then, there will be no other good rulers.

It includes several lakes, caves, and large caverns for visitors. Gypsum forms on the anhydrite because of moisture in the air and eventually breaks away, leaving large pieces of gypsum hanging from the ceiling. Truly a sight to see.

The cave is divided into four sections: 1) The entrance hall, 2) Barbarossa Hall, 3) Emperor Frederick Barbarossa Cave, and 4) The Saale Grotto.

The Barbarossa Cave is one of the most-visited show caves in Germany with about 500,000 tourists per year. The cave is decorated with many formations, including stalactite, stalagmite, columns, flowstones, and draperies from the ice age.

  • The Emperor Frederick Barbarossa Cave is the most-visited part of the cave.
  • The Saale Grotto is the second most-visited part of the cave.
  • The entrance hall is the third most-visited part of the cave.
  • The Barbarossa Hall is the least-visited part of the cave.

It is named after Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, who went on a crusade to Jerusalem in 1189 – 1190, and his nickname was Barbarossa.

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Atta Cave

Atta Cave

The Atta Cave is a limestone cave located in Attendorn in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, which is known to host a significant amount of tourists annually during public holidays. This beautiful place is filled with cave formations and beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

The highlight of this cave is the Big Hall which is an incredible 45 meters high and 100 meters wide. This room was used for concerts as the acoustics are amazing! It is said to be the queen of all caves and covers an area of 6 km between Dortmund and Cologne. Tours are available daily to explore this dazzling labyrinth.

Riesenberg Cave

The cave has a total length of ​​2,000 square meters. It is located in Saalhausen in the Thuringian Forest. The cave was discovered by chance when a local farmer’s dog fell into it in 1872. Carl Lehndorff and his son Wilhelm explored it.

The cave is a show cave with electric light and a guided tour. The tour takes about 1 hour. The cave has many formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstones, and draperies. The cave was opened to the public in 1880. It is named after Carl Lehndorff.

Lichtenstein Cave

Lichtenstein Cave

The cave has a total length of ​​2,600 square meters and it is located in the borough of Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia. It was discovered in 1875 by Eduard Lichtenstein.

The cave is a show cave with electric light and a guided tour. The tour takes about 1 hour. The cave has many formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstones, and draperies. The cave was opened to the public in 1881. The cave is named after Eduard Lichtenstein.

See Related: Things to Know When Visiting Germany

Elisabeth Cave

The cave has an area of ​​3,000 square meters in the municipality of Bad Tabarz in the Thuringian Forest, Germany. It was discovered in 1878 by local people. The cave is a show cave with electric light and a guided tour. The tour takes about 40 minutes and is accessible via hiking trails.

The cave has beautiful formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, columns, flowstones, and draperies. The most-visited part of the cave is the Rose Chapel (Rosenkapelle) which was opened to the public in 1879. It is named after Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Bavaria.

If you love outdoor attractions, then these Germany caves are worth a visit. You can gain ideas and knowledge about its history and do outdoor photography. Indeed the country of Germany has a lot of show caves for tourists to explore.

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FAQ

What is a show cave in Germany?

A show cave is a cave that has been turned into a tourist attraction.

What are stalagmites?

They are artificial rock formations that rise from the floor of limestone caves due to dripping water.

How many caves are in Germany?

Germany has 51 show caves hosted by the German Speleological Federation (Deutsch: Deutsche Höhlen- und Karstforscher). Show caves provide tourists with paved walkways/steps, lighting, or other amenities.

Does Germany have any caves?

Yes, there are a number of caves in Germany. There are many complex show cave sites throughout Germany that are often open to the general public.

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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