&noscript=1 /> Ice Holes of Eppan - South Tyrol Ice Holes of Eppan - South Tyrol
Ice Holes of Eppan: a refreshing change
Ice Holes of Eppan: a refreshing change

Day trip destination

Ice Holes of Eppan

Ice Holes of Eppan: a refreshing change

The Ice Holes of Eppan show that swimming is not the only way of escaping the heat in South Tyrol.

Besides the rich flora and fauna of  'Frühlingstal' valley, Montiggl lakes and the lake at Kaltern, there is another wonder of nature in the Überetsch area. Ice-cold air flows out of the Ice Holes at Eppan in the district of Oberplanitzing in Kaltern near the village of St. Michael in Eppan. Legend has it that there was once a town there whose inhabitants were very proud and cruel. As a punishment, God buried the town beneath the huge rocks that now make up the surrounding landscape. However, geologists do not accept this story of doom as an explanation, but see it as a rare natural phenomenon.

High mountain climate in the valley

The icy cold is caused by masses of porphyry debris that was deposited across the whole of the slope of the Gandberg mountain, and a physical process known as 'windpiping'. In summer, warm air flows through cracks from above into the lower part of the debris slope, is cooled and escapes further down as cold air. As the cold air flowing out of the openings is heavier than the warm air lying above it, it cannot rise, and collects, in the case of the Eppan Ice Holes, in a 200-metre-long, 50-metre-wide and 5-metre-high hollow. The cool microclimate has far-reaching consequences: even in high summer, snow fields and icicles may be found here and there, and, although it is at just 500 metres above sea level, plants that are usually only found in the high mountains may thrive here. The Alpine rose is just one of many examples. The vegetation is also topsy-turvy. Cold-resistant plants grow in the deeper parts of the hollow, while heat-loving plants may be found at the upper edges. This gives rise to an amazing variety of plants: nearly 600 plant species have made it their habitat.

Ice Holes of Eppan: a refreshing change

Escape from the heat

The Eppan Ice Holes may be reached from a variety of approaches and hiking guides have an equally-varied number of tips for walkers. An easy walk that is suitable for families with children starts at the centre of St. Michael Eppan. If arriving by car, there are plenty of parking spaces in front of the ice rink. The walk then leads past Eppan middle school and heads south between the houses. After a quarter of an hour, you turn right onto a woodland path and follow this for around 40 minutes, until you reach a forest crossroads. Here, you'll find a sign pointing to the Ice Holes, which are just 5 minutes away.
A trip to the Ice Holes is at its most rewarding in summer, when the difference between the hot and cold air may easily be felt.


Two birds with one stone

Eppan as a holiday or hiking destination also has the advantage of nature and culture not being in opposition, but forming a whole. Anyone choosing to visit the Ice Holes will pass a few sights on the way. Gleifkirche church and Schloss Moos-Schulthaus castle are particularly close. The church, built in 1716, affords wonderful views across Eppan and the surrounding area, while there is a museum on medieval life housed in Schloss Moos-Schulthaus castle.

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Gartenheim flower flower flower
Fam. Sinn  | Kaltern an der Weinstraße  (Bolzano and environs)
Fruit growing, Wine growing
Farm's own products: fruit juice, wine
Farm offers: Experience everyday life on the farm, Farm tour, Farm tour and produce tasting ...
Distance 0,6 km
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Holiday flat from 100€ a night
Gutshof Sinn flower flower flower flower flower
Fam. Sinn  | Kaltern an der Weinstraße  (Bolzano and environs)
Farm with organic farming, Fruit growing, Wine growing
Product corner: eggs, fruit jams, cordial ...
Farm offers: Farm tour, Wine tour, Farm tour and wine tasting
Distance 1,0 km
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Holiday flat from 110€ a night
St. Quirinus flower flower flower flower flower
Fam. Sinn  | Kaltern an der Weinstraße  (Bolzano and environs)
Farm with organic farming, Livestock, Fruit growing, Wine growing
Farm shop: eggs, fruit jams, fruit juice ...
Farm offers: Experience everyday life on the farm, Orchard and vineyard tours, Cellar tour with wine tasting ...
Distance 1,0 km
Position on Map
(46 Review)
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Holiday flat from 120€ a night
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Ice Holes

Further Information

Tourist Information Centre
Market Square 8
39052 Caldaro/Kaltern
Operation Schedules
General description

The unusual phenomenon of the ice caves between the two villages of Kaltern (Oberplanitzing/Pianizza di Sopra) and Eppan/Appiano can be explained with a simple physical principle: air streams down through cracks in the porphyry stone, creating a system of windpipes that becomes cooler as it descends. This heavier, cold air mass collects in a 5 meter high pool in the depression. This climate is ideal for plants that would normally thrive in higher alpine regions. We do recommend to make this excursion during warm summer months.

description to arrive at destination

By car: coming from south (Auer-Ora/Tramin-Termeno/Lake Kaltern), keep on driving on the wine road, pass by the village of Kaltern and continue on towards Unterplanitzing/Pianizza di Sotto. Turn left and continue towards Oberplanitzing/Pianizza di Sopra. Parking possibilities at the elementary school of Oberplanitzing/Pianizza di Sopra. A few meters further, at the right curve, you will notice the path to the ice caves. Coming from north (Bolzano/Appiano), take the wine road towards  Kaltern. At the Maxi Mode shopping centre, turn right direction Obere Gand/Ganda di Sopra/Passo Mendola. Afterwards continue on towards Pianizza di Sopra.

By bus: regular bus connections from Kaltern to Oberplanitzing/Pianizza di Sopra and Appiano via Citybus. At the following link you will find infos and current timetables.