High on a mountaintop yet far underground lies an frosty, wintry, rub-your-eyes-with-childlike-wonder honest to god real life ice palace. The entrance lies only metres from the top of a ski lift but the short journey is steep, the footholds treacherous. Some kind philanthropic souls (I think they’re scientists) have threaded ropes and metal studs along the inside on the ice. And to be fair, if you were wearing hiking boots rather than ski boots, it would probably be more of a walk in the park.
But it isn’t a walk in the park, it’s a journey underground, past hidden giants that scare the children and ladders into underground lakes where fearless (and, presumably, hot-blooded) scientists dive without maps to try to discover just where the water ends.
Handprints are just visible in the contours of the ice.
Beauty is visible everywhere.
Info: find the ice palace yourself by heading to the Gletscherbus 3 lifts and walking in a purposeful direction. I’d recommend visiting on a separate trip to your ski session. It takes a few hours to see it properly and your knees won’t thank you for walking in ski boots for that long.
Disclosure: I travelled to Tirol as a guest of the Tirol and Tux tourist boards. All love of ice palaces are my own.
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com