Dobšinská L'adová Jaskyna

Dobsina Ice Cave - Dobschauer Eishöhle

Useful Information

Plate III Vizesés – The Waterfall. From The Valley of Stracena and the Dobschau Ice-Cavern (Hungary) by Dr. Johann E. Pelech.
Location: Slovak Paradise National Park, National Nature Reserve Stratena.
Spissko-gemersky kras, Slovensky raj, cadastral area Dobsina, district Roznava, Kosicky region. On the northern lope of the Duca mountain.
(48.868090, 20.304264)
Open: 15-MAY to MAY Tue-Sun 9:30, 11, 12:30, 14.
JUN to AUG Tue-Sun 9-16, hourly on the full hour.
SEP to 15-NOV Tue-Sun 9:30, 11, 12:30, 14.
Fee: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-15) EUR 4.50, Students EUR 8, Disabled EUR 4.50, Seniors (60+) EUR 8.
Foto Permit EUR 10.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyice cave, Middle Triassic limestones.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=1,483 m, VR=110 m, A=840 m asl, T=0 °C.
Guided tours: L=515 m, VR=48 m, D=40 min. V=75,000/a [2000]
Photography: allowed with permit and without tripod
Accessibility: no
Address: Dobšinska l'adová jaskyna, 049 71 Dobsinska Ladova Jaskyna, Tel: +421-942-7881470.
Správa slovenských jaskýň, Hodžova 11, 031 01 Liptovský Mikuláš, Tel: +421-44-553-61-01, Tel: +421-44-553-64-11. E-mail: contact.
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.


15-JUL-1870 discoverd by the mining engineer Eugen Ruffiny.
1871 opened to the public.
1872 visited by Prince August von Sachsen Gotha and his wife.
1882 cave lighted by Bunsen burners.
1884 visited by the constructor of the Suez Channel Ferdinand de Lesseps.
1887 electric light installed.
1890 visited by the Bulgarian czar Ferdinand I.
1900 visited by the polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen.
29-NOV-2000 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Plate IV: Részlet a Nagy Teremböl – Portion of the Great Saloon. From The Valley of Stracena and the Dobschau Ice-Cavern (Hungary) by Dr. Johann E. Pelech.

The Dobšinská L'adová Jaskyna (Dobsina Ice Cave) is said to be the more impressive of the two ice caves in Slovakia. Sometimes cave descriptions tell, Dobsina was the first European cave with electric light, but this is definitely not true. The first cave with electric light in Europe and in the world was ShowcaveSloupsko-Šošùvské Jeskyně which was electrified in 1881 with electric arc lamps. Dobsina Ice Cave was the first show cave in Hungary (now Slovakia) to be illuminated using electric light in 1887.

Plate V: Folvosó – The Corridor. From The Valley of Stracena and the Dobschau Ice-Cavern (Hungary) by Dr. Johann E. Pelech.

Originally there was a cleft in the limestone which was filled with ice and called Eisloch. It was known to the locals for a very long time. The cave behind the ice filled entrance was discovered on 15-JUL-1870 by the mining engineer Eugen Ruffiny and his two friends, Gustav Lang, lieutenant in the Royal Landwehr, and Andrew Mega, a clerk in the office of Dr. Ferdinand Feher. The day before Ruffiny fired a gun in front of the cave and heard a continuous but muffled rolling echo. He interpreted this as the prospect of a huge cavern and retured the next day with the necessary equipment, like ropes, ladders and other material. Their equipment was actually rather professional, for the time, as he was a mining engineer. Ruffiny entered the cave with a rope fastened around his body, which was attached to a windlass. In his hand he held a strong cord connected with a bell for communication, and he had a miner's lamp. When he reached the bottom of the steep entrance pit he entered the huge ice cavern.

Many famous people have visited this cave including Prinz von Sachsen Gotha, Vicomte Ferdinand-Marie de Lesseps, who built the Suez Canal and Friedrich Nansen the great polar explorer.

The cave was formed inside Middle Triassic limestones by the Hnilec river. It has three levels. The entrance is on the northern slope of the Duca mountain (1141.7 m asl), 90 m above the bottom of the valley.

Dobsina Cave is an Speleologyice cave, which means it is a karst cave with ice content in some parts of the cave. The largest layer of ice in the Big Hall is 26.5 m thick. There is ice in the form of ground ice, ice waterfalls, ice stalagmites and columns. The total volume of ice is about 110,000 m³. New wooden paths and steps have to be built at progressively higher levels because of the rising ice levels. The cave contains very old ice, and as the ice is built of many thin layers, it allows the reconstruction of the climate of former times, by analyzing the contents of the ice layers.

The cave is the most important hibernation place for Myotis mystacinus and Myotis brandti bats in Slovakia.

The Dobsina Ice Cave is not far from the mining town of Dobsina. From the car park at the side of the main Poprad-Roznava road there is a 15 minute hike up through the woods to the cave entrance which will warm up even the fittest visitor. The cave is of course freezing, so take some extra warm clothes.

The cave is known for a very long time and was described by numerous authors since the 19th century. As those descriptions are now out of copyright we are able to make them available in full length. See our Online Literature section.

Text by Jochen Duckeck in cooperation with Tony Oldham.