With its impressive fortification and spectacular ice caves, WERFEN, 40km south of Salzburg, offers a great day of sightseeing, but arrive early to comfortably see both. The moody castle Festung Hohenwerfen (April Tues–Sun 9.30am–4pm; May–Sept daily 9am–5pm; mid-July to mid-Aug daily 9am–6pm; Oct daily 9.30am–4pm; €12, €15.50 with lift), on an outcrop above town, lies a thirty-minute signed walk from Werfen’s train station. Though much modified over the years, it has eleventh-century origins, with all the usual components – ornate chapel and torture chamber included – neatly gathered around a courtyard.
There are daily falconry displays (April to mid-July & mid-Aug to Oct 11.15am & 3.15pm, mid-July to mid-Aug 11.15am, 2.15pm & 4.30pm) too.
Up the road from Werfen’s castle, you can explore the first kilometre of a 40km underground network at the Eisriesenwelt ice caves. The caves are more than two hours’ walk from the entrance building, so most visitors take a cable car. Tours run every 30min (daily: May–June, Sept & Oct 8am–3.45pm; July & Aug 8am–4.45pm; ticket office closes 45min before last tour; €12, €24 with cable car) and last around 75 minutes. It’s cold, so take a jumper.
Trains from Salzburg frequently arrive at Werfen’s station, from where buses
(€7 return) to the caves depart daily at 8.18am, 10.18am, 12.18pm & 2.18pm; more buses leave (around every 20min) from the official Gries car park departure point across the river – it’s signposted from the station and not far.