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The Ice Holes of Eppan

The Ice Holes of Eppan: a refreshing change

The Ice Holes of Eppan
The Ice Holes at Eppan show that swimming is not the only way of escaping the heat of South Tyrol and of shivering with cold.
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.
 
The Ice Holes of Eppan: 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 know 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.
 
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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Farms in the surrounding area

Weingut Oberpreyhof
Fam. Seppi
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,7 km
Position on map
Gästehaus Weinberg
Fam. Andergassen
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2 km
Position on map
Gartenheim
Fam. Sinn
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 275 m
Position on map
Burgunderhof
Fam. Morandell Romen
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,5 km
Position on map
Rebhof
Fam. Sinn
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 751 m
Position on map
Kesslhof
Fam. Bernard
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,9 km
Position on map
Langlohof
Fam. Harb
Eppan a. d. Weinstraße / St. Michael
Distance 2,6 km
Position on map
Weidlhof
Fam. Wolkan
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 583 m
Position on map
Haus Luggin
Fam. Luggin
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 1,9 km
Position on map
Heideggerhof
Fam. Heidegger
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 256 m
Position on map
Biobetrieb Christinhof
Fam. Dichristin
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,1 km
Position on map
Bioweinhof Tröpfltal
Fam. Dichristin
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2 km
Position on map
Villa Pernstich
Fam. Pernstich
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,3 km
Position on map
Perglhof
Fam. Frei
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 1,8 km
Position on map
Lärchenhof
Fam. Larcher
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,5 km
Position on map
Gleifhof
Fam. Trettl
Eppan a. d. Weinstraße / St. Michael
Distance 2,1 km
Position on map
Weingut Niklaserhof
Fam. Sölva
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,7 km
Position on map
Premstalerhof
Fam. Sinn
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 744 m
Position on map
Haus Greif
Fam. Greif
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,9 km
Position on map
Penegalhof
Fam. Gschnell
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,5 km
Position on map
Pfeiferhof
Fam. Florian
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,9 km
Position on map
Biobauernhof St. Quirinus
Fam. Sinn
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 724 m
Position on map
Saltnerhof
Fam. Vorhauser
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,4 km
Position on map
Wolfganghof
Fam. Meraner
Eppan a. d. Weinstraße / St. Michael
Distance 2,8 km
Position on map
Prälatenhof
Fam. Rohregger
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 1,5 km
Position on map
Haus Fedrigotti
Fam. Fedrigotti
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,7 km
Position on map
Preyegghof
Fam. Schullian
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,5 km
Position on map
Gutshof Sinn
Fam. Sinn
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 584 m
Position on map
Wiesmüllerhof
Fam. Florian
Kaltern a. d. Weinstraße
Distance 2,1 km
Position on map
Other farms nearby

More information

Favourite Ice caves ef492a7d77a010f2398426dae8af514e
Caldaro/Kaltern
Viewpoints
Open
Free entrance
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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.

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.

Tourist Information Centre
Market Square 8
39052 Caldaro/Kaltern (Italy)
Tel.: +39 0471 963169
E-Mail: info@kaltern.com
Homepage: http://www.kaltern.com
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  Roter Hahn homepage Ice caves (ef492a7d77a010f2398426dae8af514e)
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