Caves in the Harz Mountains – underground natural phenomena
Underground, in its caves, the Harz hides a wondrous world. Some of these cavities are accessible for visitors, especially the dripstone caves are exciting destinations for holidays with children. For stalagmites, stalactites and other sinters have grown into mystical entities and not only stimulate the child’s imagination. Bone finds give rise to speculation about the cave bear and other possible cave dwellers. Even a underground natural stage invites you deep in the mountain to cave theatre and concerts. The most famous Harz caves are the Baumannshöhle and the Hermannshöhle in Rübeland and the Iberger Tropfsteinhöhle in Bad Grund. All caves are easily accessible from the resorts Wernigerode, Schierke and Braunlage.
Caves in the Harz Mountains – dripstone caves and a blue lake
For centuries the Rübeländer cave world has attracted visitors. Meanwhile the Baumannshöhle and Hermannshöhle belong to the main attractions in the Harz. The tour through the Rübeländer stalactite caves is only possible as part of a guided tour. Depending on the rush, the guided tours take place every 30 minutes. Non-slip shoes and warm clothing are recommended, because the temperature in the caves is constantly 8 – 9 °Celsius with high humidity.
Baumannshöhle with the natural stage in the Goethesaal
With the Baumannshöhle the Harz presents the perhaps oldest show cave in Germany. Already in 1649 the authorities of a Rübeländer family allowed official guided tours through the corridors and into the abysses of the “Bumannsholl”. Because vandals and stalactite robbers threatened the natural wonder, a duke of Braunschweig placed the stalactite cave under special protection in 1688.
Goethe said he “broke through” the cave. Visitors today have it easier, walk upright through the corridors and overcome height differences over about 300 steps. They also pass by the skeleton of a cave bear, which scientists assemble from numerous bone finds. These cavities bear promising, poetic names such as Turtle Canyon, Leuterschlucht, hanging mountains and palm grotto. The largest cavity is the Goethesaal with the artificially created Wolfgangsee. It is regarded as the only underground natural stage in Germany and forms the backdrop for cultural events.
Hermannshöhle with Olmensee and crystal chamber
The Bode created the Hermannshöhle, the path warden Wilhelm Angerstein discovered the entrance of the river cave in 1866. Its chief inspector reported of “pure white, still untouched stalactites in excellent beauty”. The stalactite cave was named after the Secret Chamber Councillor Hermann Grotian, who was committed to its scientific research. The fascinating cave world has been open to the public since 1890. The approx. 800-metre-long guided tour follows the course of the former cave river through the crystal chamber. In this treasure chamber countless calcite crystals sparkle behind a protective stainless steel net in the LED light. As the only German cave the Hermannshöhle is inhabited by Grottenolmen. Originally the light-shy, rare olmes Istria originate, today they live in the artificial Olmensee. Unfortunately photography is forbidden in the Baumannshöhle and in the Hermannshöhle. You will receive a souvenir photo with your loved ones on site against payment.
Iberg stalactite cave – Iberger Tropfsteinhöhle
The Iberg stalactite cave is part of the Iberg cave world. It is an exotic place in the Harz mountains, because the Iberg was once a coral reef in the South Seas. The limestone of the reef contains petrified sea creatures. Sinter cascades, stalactites and mighty ground dripstones with different colours form a mysterious underworld. The tour goes up to 85 meters deep underground. On the way visitors can see the dwarf king Hübich, the baking oven of the dwarves, a petrified waterfall and the organ pipes. The above-ground Museum der Höhlenerlebniswelt is dedicated to the Bronze Age family clan whose skeletons were found in the Lichtenstein Cave.
Our recommendation: From our point of view the Iberg stalactite cave (Iberger Tropfsteinhöhle) is the most beautiful of the three caves and offers the best offer for small and large cave explorers.