Rettenwand-Tropfsteinhöhle - Rettenwandcave

Useful Information

Location: Kapfenberg, Steiermark.
S6, exit Kapfenberg, B20 4 km towards Mariazell. 20 min. walk from the parking lot at the road Kapfenberg-Aflenz.
Open: MAY to SEP Sun, Hol 9-16. [2006]
Fee: Adults EUR 4. [2006]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave fissure cave, Triassic limestone.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=665 m, VR=26 m (-22/+4), A=641 m asl, T=8 °C.
Guided tours: L=250 m VR=9 m (-7/+2), ST=yes, D=45 min.
Bibliography: Heinrich Kusch, Ingrid Kusch (1998): Höhlen der Steiermark, Steir. Verlagsges., Graz, ISBN 3-85489-007-9
Address: Schutzverein Rettenwandhöhle, Erika Hegewald, Johann-Josef-Fux-Str. 45, A-8605 Kapfenberg, Tel: +43-3862-28350.
Magister Michael Riedl, A.-Stifter-Straße 10, 8605 Kapfenberg, Tel: +43-676-7717766
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1918 first mentioned.
1923 first exploration of the cave.
1926 opened to the public.


The Rettenwandhöhle lies at the foot of a steep limestone cliff called the Rettenwand, hence the name. Starting point is a parking lot on the outskirts of the small town Hansenhütte on the left, when coming from Kapfenberg. The trail to the cave is signposted and leads along the right side of the valley downstream for 200 m, then it climbs some 100 m in serpentines through dense forest, at the foot of a steep limestone cliff. The cave entrance is a portal at the foot of the cliff, some two meters wide and high. The ascent and the narrow walking trail makes the access to the cave a little challenging. However, it is a good filter as people who have problems with the trail will also have problems with the cave visit. There is a flag post at the cave entrance which was used to signal when the cave is open. The cave guide used to raise the flag when he arrived so it could be seen in the vallley below. Unfortunately the forest grew and the high trees now make the flag invisble from below. The cave is maintained by a small local caving club with some 20 members.

The cave is rather small, a narrow cleft, often 10 or 15 meters high but only one metre wide. The entrance area is wider and used for a small cave museum. Visitors are equipped with helmets, which is absolutely necessary as many parts of the main passage have a low ceiling. Often the trail is excavated, where the passage was filled with clay. Sometimes the path goes under a false floor of sinter which covered a former filling. Numerous times the path goes up and down, although the guided part of the cave is overall almost horizontal. The floor is well developed in the entrance area, but becomes a little rough now and then. Eventually the trail leads down uneven and slippery steps or across flowstone formations. Sturdy boots and old clothes are advisable.

In the entrance area of Rettenwandhöhle bones, pottery and bronce needles from about 2600 BP were found. The oldest finds were from the late Stone Age. They can be visited in the Spezialstudiensammlung des Schutzvereins Rettenwandhöhle in the Kulturzentrum, Museum der Stadt Kapfenberg. Some items, including a copy of the spectacular Bronze Age axe, which was discovered by a member of the caving club outside the cave, are on display in the small cave museum.

The cave shows several nice speleothems, cave corals in multiple shapes. The number of cave corals is overwhelming, but often they are a little secluded and a torch is necessary to discover them. Even a few helictites may be seen.