List of show caves in Germany

The list of show caves in Germany contains all 51 show caves in Germany which are hosted by the German Speleological Federation. (German: Verband der Deutschen Höhlen- and Karstforscher)

Background

As of 2008, there have been 51 show caves in Germany, which are hosted by the German Speleological Federation (German: Verband der Deutschen Höhlen- and Karstforscher).[1] A show cave is defined as any cave equipped for tourists, by having walkways or steps, fitted with lighting, or supplying gear, as examples. Show caves have regular opening times, usually with regular guided tours of about 30 to 45 minutes duration and are almost all electrically lighted. Only the Easter Cave and the Schellenberg Ice Cave still use carbide lamps. In 1884 the Olga Cave was the first German show cave to be equipped with electrical lighting and the second in the world to be thus fitted. Only the Kraus Cave in the Styria in Austria was equipped earlier, in 1883.

Not included on this list are the artificially created caverns Schlossberg Caves and Saalfeld Fee Grottos, although these are listed with the German Speleological Federation, as their operators are paying members.

Also not in the main list is Balve Cave, because it has no regular guided tours or visits. Included is the Dienstedt Karst Cave, which is not part of the German Speleological Federation, but fulfils all the conditions of a show cave.

The cave which had the first guided tours was Baumann's Cave in the Rübeland; Tours of this cave were organised as early as 1646 and it was visited by Goethe. The latest to be opened as a show cave was the Autumn Labyrinth in 2009.

More than half the show caves are dripstone caves. The Wimsen Cave is the only show cave in Germany accessible by boat, for a distance of 70 metres. The Goetz Cave is the only fissure cave in the list and the largest publicly accessible cave in Europe. The Laichingen Vertical Cave is the only shaft cave that can be viewed in Germany, having a depth of 55 metres below the entrance and reaches the greatest depth of any German show cave. The Schellenberg Ice Cave is the only ice cave in Germany that can be visited. In the Barbarossa Cave, which is formed of anhydrite stone, loose layers of plaster hang like wallpaper from the ceilings and walls.

Legend

  • Name of the show cave : states the name of the show cave.
  • Location: gives the location of the show cave.
  • State: gives the state in which the show cave is found.

BR
BE
BW
BY
HE

Brandenburg
Berlin
Baden-Württemberg
Bayern
Hesse

MV
NI
NW
RP
SH

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia
Rhineland-Palatinate
Schleswig-Holstein

SL
SN
ST
TH

Saarland
Saxony
Saxony-Anhalt
Thuringia

  • Location: gives the coordinates of the show caves.
  • Geological classification: states the geological type of cave. It may be a limestone cave, rock cave, karst cave or other type.
  • Length (m): gives the total length of the show cave in metres including all branches.
  • GR (m): gives the total length of the guided route in metres, ignoring any doubling of walkways. It does include any artificial access walkways that are not part of the total length of the cave. So the guided route may be longer than the total length of the cave.
  • Height: gives the height of the entrance above sea level.
  • Discovery: is the date of discovery of the show cave. Most show caves were known by the local population much earlier, because they sometimes had a natural entrance accessible on foot. In these cases the year the cave is first mentioned in the records is shown in brackets.
  • Show caves : gives the start of its operation as a show cave. Subsequent problems with safety, the impact of war, financial issues or changes of owner may have led to long interruptions in its use as a show cave.
  • Electr. Light: states the year when electrical lighting was first installed.
  • Visitors (annual): gives the latest (2004 to 2008) average, annual visitor numbers. If the number is in brackets it indicates the recent, average number of visitors, over a different, unspecified period.

Table

Name of
show cave
Location State
Location
Geological classification Len-
gth
(m)
GR
(m)
Height
Dis-
cov-
ery
Show
Cave
Electr.
Light
Visi-
tors
(/yr)
Agger Valley CaveEngelskirchenNW50°59′37.21″N 7°26′59.29″ERock cave1,071270200177319301930(5,000)
Altenstein CaveSchweinaTH50°49′43″N 10°20′47″ERock and active stream cave1960280360179918021905(6,000)
Atta CaveAttendornNW51.12895°N 7.92348°E / 51.12895; 7.92348 (Atta Cave)Limestone cave6,670560190719071907(350.000)
Autumn LabyrinthBreitscheidHE50°41′16″N 8°12′21″EKarst cave5,800120417199320092009
Barbarossa CaveRottlebenTH51°22′54″N 11°02′13″EKarst cave im anhydrite stone1,100600154186518661895(70.000)
Bear's CaveSonnenbühlBW48°22′15″N 9°12′55″ELimestone cave29227180018341834193498,500
Baumann's CaveRübelandSA51°45′18″N 10°50′36″ELimestone cave1,98060037815361646189289,000
Bilstein CaveWarsteinNW51°25′34″N 8°19′24″ELimestone cave1,700450350188718881925(40.000)
Bing CaveStreitbergBY49°48′44″N 11°13′01″ELimestone cave30030037519051906190835,800
Charlotte's CaveHürbenBW48°35′14″N 10°12′22″ELimestone cave58753248818931893189341,900
Dechen CaveIserlohnNW51°21′56″N 7°38′41″ELimestone cave870360250186818681926(60.000)
Devil's CavePottensteinBY49°45′17″N 11°25′12″ELimestone cave1,500800400192219231923161,500
Devil's CaveSteinauHE50°20′17.23″N 09°27′17.96″ELimestone cave137174310158419271927(16,000)
Dienstedt Karst CaveDienstedtTH50°48′50″N 11°10′28″EKarst cave350155340195319941994(1,200)
Easter CaveTrondorfBY49°31′08″N 11°39′50″ELimestone cave185130(1630)1905not yet(5,000)
Eberstadt Stalactite CaveEberstadtBW49°28′57″N 09°20′52″ELimestone cave61658834119711973197362,700
Erdmann's CaveHaselBW47.64916°N 7.89592°E / 47.64916; 7.89592 (Erdmanns Cave)Limestone cave2,146356(1271)1773189931,100
Goetz CaveMeiningenTH50°33′54.75″N 10°24′27.37″EFissure cave242485328191519341934(15,000)
Gußmann's CaveGutenbergBW48°32′33.72″N 09°31′11.64″ELimestone cave91556801890189119224,400
Gutenberg CaveGutenbergBW48°32′25.44″N 09°31′13.8″ELimestone cave1801106901889189019674,400
HeimkehleUftrungenSA51°29′50.78″N 10°57′17.86″ELarge gypsum karst cave2,000750200(1357)19201920(20.000)
Heinrich's CaveHemerNW51°22′46″N 7°46′26″ELimestone cave2,984300250(1771)19051905(15,000)
Hermann's CaveRübelandSA51°45′17″N 10°50′50″ELimestone cave2,73380037818661890189089,000
Hohler FelsSchelklingenBW48°22′45.3″N 09°45′19.9″ELarge rock dome12068534(1830)19071955(4,000)
Iberg Dripstone CaveBad GrundNI51°49′03″N 10°15′10″ELimestone cave35122043417231874191260.500
Kittelsthal Dripstone CaveKittelsthalTH50°55′26″N 10°23′31″ELimestone cave726158348188818961918(6,000)
Klutert CaveEnnepetalNW51°17′57″N 7°21′17″ERock cave5,4971,080193(1586)1884195144,500
Kolbing CaveKolbingenBW48°2′25″N 8°55′5″ELimestone cave33088790(1879)19131950(7,500)
König-Otto Dripstone CaveVelburgBY49°15′17″N 11°41′24″ELimestone cave45027059018951896195420.700
Kubacher Kristall CaveKubachHE50°28′16″N 08°17′45″ECrystal filled crevice cave200350231197419811981(40.000)
Laichingen Vertical CaveLaichingenBW48°28′43″N 09°41′31″EShaft (vertical cave)1,253320780189219201936(35,000)
Marienglas Cave [note 1]FriedrichrodaTH50°51′48.51″N 10°32′32.14″ELarge gypsum crystal geode300122450178419031929(75,000)
Maximilian's GrottoKrottenseeBY49.6285°N 11.5884°E / 49.6285; 11.5884 (Maximiliansgrotte)Limestone cave1,200400500(1596)18781994(20.000)
Nebel CaveSonnenbühlBW48°25′1″N 9°13′15″ELimestone cave813450808(1486)1803192249,900
Niedaltdorf Dripstone CaveNiedaltdorfSL49°20′22.4″N 6°35′42.5″EPrimary cave in tufa20080188019331933
Olga CaveHonauBW48°24′36″N 9°15′35″EPrimary cave in tufa [note 2]17090557187418841884
Recken CaveBalveNW51°22′13″N 7°51′49″ELimestone cave450300220188818901890(15,000)
Schellenberg Ice CaveMarktschellenbergBY47°42′48″N 13°00′16″EIce cave3,6215001,570(1826)1925not yet(9,000)
Schertel's CaveWesterheimBW48°32′05″N 09°35′18″ELimestone cave212160775(1470)19021953(15,000)
Schillat CaveOldendorfNI52°12′17″N 9°17′17″ELimestone cave340305199220042004(32,000)
SchulerlochEssingBY48°55′40″N 11°49′01″ELimestone cave420180390(1782)18281953(50.000)
Segeberg Kalkberg CaveBad SegebergSH53°56′7.75″N 10°19′3.8″EGypsum karst cave2,260400191319191919(35,000)
Sontheim CaveSontheimBW48.43506°N 09.684101°E / 48.43506; 09.684101 (Sontheim Cave)Limestone cave530192720(1488)15161957(4,000)
Sophie's CaveAhorntalBY49°49′36.9″N 11°22′33.0″ELimestone cave900220405183318341971(30.000)
Sturmann's CaveObermaiselsteinBY47°26′12″N 10°14′8″EActive stream cave460287978(1815)19051905(30.000)
Dragon's CaveSyrauSN50°32′34.71″N 12°04′56.09″ELimestone cave550350460192819281928(45,000)
Tschamber CaveKarsauBW47°35′18″N 07°49′07.5″EActive stream cave1,550600189018901966
Unicorn CaveScharzfeldNI51°38′06.05″N 10°24′14.59″ELarge rock cave610270370(1541)18951928(15,000)
Wendelstein CaveBrannenburgBY47°42′12″N 12°0′47″EAlpine rock cave5231701,711186419211962(30.000)
Wiehle Dripstone CaveWiehlNRW50°56′18″N 07°32′53″ELimestone cave868400260186019271927(26,000)
Wimsener HöhleHayingenBW48°15′23.4″N 09°26′53.52″EWater cave72370557(1447)18031927(35,000)

Disputed caves

Several caves are sometimes described in the literature as show caves, although they do not meet the criteria. These include the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes and Schlossberg Caves which are not natural caverns, but mines, and the Zwiefaltendorf Limestone Cave and the Balve Cave, which have no regular guided tours.

Name of
show cave
Location State
Geological classification Len-
gth
(m)
GR
(m)
Dis-
cov-
ery
Show-
Cave
Electr.
Light
Visi-
tors
(/yr)
Balve CaveBalveNRWLarge rock cave138138(1690)  
MorassinaSchmiedefeldTHDripstone filled show mine2000tbd.168319931993tbd.
Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes [note 3]SaaleTHDripstone filled show mine1100600191319141914175,000
Schlossberg Caves [note 4]HomburgSLMine in Bunter sandstone5000800(1708)1930193533,500
Zwiefaltendorf Limestone Cave [note 5]ZwiefaltendorfBWPrimary cave in tufa272718921892 

See also

References

  1. "Schauhöhlen". Verband der Germann Höhlen- and Karstforscher e.V. Retrieved 12 August 2008.

Notes

  1. Marienglas Cave – a former mine with a natural cavern, the so-called Gipskristalldruse or Crystal Grotto (Kristallgrotte). This crystal grotto is the main attraction of the mine, which is why it is viewed more as a show cave. – Although the literature overwhelmingly sees it as a show cave, it calls itself a show mine.
  2. Tufa caves (tuff caves) are a special type of cave. Tufa forms wherever springs rise to the surface with calcium in the water. In the deposited limestone, overhangs and half-caves can occur, until further tufa deposits lead to entirely enclosed caverns.
  3. Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes – A former mine, in the shafts of which wonderfully colourful dripstone has formed. – Sometimes described in the literature as show caves and sometimes as a show mine and is a paying member of the German Speleological Federation. Refers to itself as a show mine.
  4. Schlossberg Caves – Galleries cut through Bunter sandstone by human effort, so that it is more like a mine. – Mainly described in the literature as show caves and a member of the German Speleological Federation. Refers to itself as a mine shaft.
  5. The cave may only be visited in combination with a visit to the restaurant. It is shown in the literature occasionally as a show cave, but is not listed by the German Speleological Federation.

Bibliography

  • Ernst Waldemar Bauer: Wunderwelt der Höhlen. Hrsg. v. Bechtle Verlag, Esslingen 2001 ISBN 3-7628-0565-2
  • Stephan Kempe, Wilfried Rosendahl: Höhlen – Verborgene Welten. Primus Verlag, Stuttgart 2008 ISBN 978-3-89678-611-1
  • Hans Binder, Anke Lutz, Hans Martin Lutz: Schauhöhlen in Deutschland. Hrsg. v. Aegis Verlag, Ulm 1993 ISBN 3-87005-040-3
  • Stephan Kempe Welt voller Geheimnisse – Höhlen. Reihe: HB Bildatlas Sonderausgabe. Hrsg. v. HB Verlags- and Vertriebs-Gesellschaft, 1997 ISBN 3-616-06739-1
  • Hans Binder: Herbert Jantschke: Höhlenführer Schwäbische Alb. Hrsg. v. DRW-Verlag, Leinefelden-Echterdingen 2003 ISBN 3-87181-485-7
  • Hans Binder: Höhlen der Schwäbischen Alb. Hrsg. v. DRW-Verlag, Leinefelden-Echterdingen 1995 ISBN 3-87181-366-4
  • Friedrich Herrmann: Höhlen der Fränkischen and Hersbrucker Schweiz. Hrsg. v. Verlag Hans Carl, Nürnberg 1991 ISBN 3-418-00356-7
  • Friedhart Knolle, Wilhelm Marbach: Bergwerke & Höhlen im Harz. Hrsg. v. Studio Volker Schadach, Goslar 1998 ISBN 3-928728-24-5
  • Stephan Lang: Höhlen in Franken. Wanderführer in die Unterwelt der Fränkischen Schweiz mit neuen Touren. Hrsg. v. Fachverlag Hans Carl, Nürnberg 2006 ISBN 978-3-418-00385-6
  • Stephan Lang: Höhlen in Franken. Ein Wanderführer in die Unterwelt der Hersbrucker Schweiz und des Oberpfälzer Jura. Hrsg. v. Verlag Hans Carl, Nürnberg 2002 ISBN 3-418-00390-7
  • Hardy Schabdach: Unterirdische Welten, Höhlen der Fränkischen- und Hersbrucker Schweiz. Hrsg. v. Verlag Reinhold Lippert, Ebermannstadt 2000 ISBN 3-930125-05-6
  • Helmut Seitz: Schaubergwerke, Höhlen und Kavernen in Bayern. Hrsg. Rosenheimer Verlagshaus, Rosenheim 1993 ISBN 3-475-52750-2
  • Volker Sklenar, K. R. Hoffmann, I. Pustal, G. Kuhn, M. Meissner, A. Nestler, R. Cebulla, R. Fohlert, J. Bodenstein, G. Holzhey: Thuringia Untertage. Hrsg. v. Thüringer Landesanstalt für Umwelt und Geologie, Jena 2006 ISBN 3-9806811-4-9
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