Inside the northern part of the Dachstein limestone massif are three show caves, the Mammoth Cave, the Giant Ice Cave and the Koppenbrüller Cave. They can be reached from Obertraun, a town situated on Lake Hallstatt.
For a long time, many mystery tales and blood-curdling stories prevented people from entering and exploring the caves. It is possible that in the Stone Age courageous men have entered the caves to hunt bears. Modern research started only until 80 years ago, but soon parts of the caves were opened to the public. Since then, they have attracted millions of people from all over the world.
Koppenbrüller Cave, a river cave, can be reached by car, it is located in the valley. The other two caves are up the Dachstein massive, near the first station of the Dachstein Cable Car, called Schönberg Alp (1418 m asl). A short walk will lead you to each of the caves. The building of the former Schönberg Alp were renovated several years ago and now house a cave museum. It has an exhibition of cave bear bones, which were found in the caves. The museum also informs about the discovery and exploration of each cave. The caves were first visited by stone age man, later by poachers and herdsmen. There is also a section on the life of the famous science fiction and science author Herbert W. Franke. He was part of the cave explorations at the Dachstein during the 1950s, and wrote a quite popular book about the time.