The Spannagel cave, which is the highest located show cave of Europe, is located in area of the Hintertux Glacier.
In the rear Tuxertal valley, a side valley of the Zillertal valley, there is the 10 km long Spannagel cave, which is considered the highest located show cave of Europe. In order to reach this natural phenomenon, you take the funicular from Hintertux and afterwards the Glacier Bus 2 (cable car) to the Tuxer Fernhaus mountain hut (2,660 m asl). In a 10-minutes’ walk you reach the Spannagelhaus mountain hut (2,531 m asl) in the heart of the Zillertal Alps. In this mountain hut you are equipped for the descent into the cave. This is also where you get access to the Spannagel cave.
The cave was detected in 1919 by Alois Hotter, the former landlord of the Spannagelhaus mountain hut. The natural phenomenon was named after Dr. Rudolf Spannagel, the president of the Austrian tourist club from 1902-1904. Since 1964 the cave system has been under monumental protection, and since 1994 the cave has been opened for the public. The Spannagel cave is covered by the thick ice layer of the Hintertux Glacier and is located in a marble layer (crystalline lime), which is a geologic peculiarity of the Alps. This marble layer replaces the prehistoric primary rocks and stretches from the locality of Hintertux to the Spannagelhaus mountain hut.
Both guided tours (about 1 hour) as well as cave trekking (about 3 hours) with certified cave guides are available. In the latter you experience the parts of the cave that normally are only accessed by speleologists. Amazing! The cave, which also boasts a cave museum, is open the whole year round.
Where: in the Tuxertal valley, Hintertux Glacier
Starting point: Zillertaler Gletscherbahn funicular
Peculiarities: the largest natural cave of Tyrol, the largest rock cave of the Central Alps and the highest located show cave of Europe