Austria Hiking Nature & Wildlife

Dachstein Sky Walk & Ice Palace

Dachstein SkyWalk
Written by Kirstie Pelling

The Dachstein Sky Walk to Nothingness..

We first saw a picture in the newspaper; the Dachstein Glacier Stairway to Nothingness. It was almost on our route through Europe, on our way to the start of our Balkans adventure. A high mountain. A glacier. A suspension bridge. And a series of 14 steps, leading into the void. Steps that apparently required nerves of steel. The gauntlet was laid…..   

First the Panoramic Cable Car

We simply had to do it. So we made the detour, got the tickets, went up in the impressive new panoramic glass gondola cable car to the Austria’s Dachstein top station at 2,700 metres.

Dachstein Panoramic Cable Car

The Dachstein Panoramic Cable Car whisks you up to 2700m

Up to chilled air and sheer rock

As the cable car reached the summit, we could almost touch the grey and pink rock, and then stepped out into the cool summit air. And barely able to contain the excitement that a walk into nothingness inevitably brings, headed straight for the new Dachstein Suspension Bridge.

Dachstein SkyWalk

The Dachstein Suspension Bridge hangs off the side of the mountain

Onto the suspension bridge

We could hardly wait to walk out over 400 metres of sheer rock that forms the Austria Massif into nothing at all. On the suspension bridge, the views were outstanding and the feeling heady. But where was the stairway to nowhere?

Dachstein SkyWalk Bridge

There were lots of walkers on the Dachstein Suspension Bridge but where was the stairway to nothing?

Nowhere to be seen

It was nowhere! But it came (or rather didn’t come) with a lesson. Don’t believe what you read in the Daily Mail. The Mail’s story of how the bridge was installed and what it is like to walk on even came with pictures showing the staircase with its 14 steps. But could we find it? No!

Dachstein Suspension Bridge

Walkers return from where the Dachstein Skywalk will be. From the end of July.

Where’s the skywalk?

It wasn’t total fabrication; the steps are on their way, but not due to be installed until 29th July. Never mind, the bridge was worth a walk. And half way along was the entrance to a quirky ice palace.

Where's the sky walk? Dachstein

Where is the sky walk? Apparently we were 2 weeks too early.

Ice art in an Ice Palace

In a dark cavern, dug out of the glacier, in an Ice Palace, the work of five Chinese ice sculptors is on display. Some, like the speed skater, you might expect to find in an ice cave carved into a ski resort.

Dachstein Ice Palace Sculpture

Ski racer inside the Dachstein Ice Palace

Ice cool Simpsons

Others, like the wonders of Egypt, and Homer Simpson, you might not. Illuminated by fibre lighting, the ice palace is as interactive as you want it to be, as well as cool and atmospheric. We slip into a sarcophagus. We crouch like a skater. We try to turn the pages of an icy book. And pose with the Simpsons

Dachstein Ice Palace Sculpture Simpsons

The Simpsons look extra cool inside the Dachstein Ice Palace

The end of the day on the mountain

When we emerge into daylight, the skiers and snowboarders are making their way down. The lifts are shut and the day is beginning to fade on Dachstein.

Walking on Dachstein Glacier

A walk on Dachstein Glacier

The snow plough sweeps the mountain. We head off for a walk away from the bridge, away from the stairway to nothingness that is nowhere to be found. Into the silent snow.

Luckily you can’t miss a glacier. Although with climatic changes perhaps we cannot be so sure of even that for long.

Snowmobile on Dachstein Glacier

Snowmobile… now that would be fun. At least while there is still snow.

Practical details

The attractions on Austria’s Dachstein Glacier, the most easterly of the Alps, are open till 5.30 every day in summer. You can buy a ticket for each of the individual attractions if you don’t want to do them all.

If you go after 1pm tickets are cheaper. We suggest going early or late in the day as queues  for the panoramic gondola are huge once the skiers start to head back down.

The new Stairway to Nothingness will be open from 29th July. At the moment you can still have a thrill  from the glass Skywalk attraction that looks down over 250 metres of sheer drop but I think the Stairway will be more of a thrill. Just make sure it’s really there before you make the journey!

King of the Ice Caves

The King of the Ice Caves in the Throne Room

Disclosure Note: Thanks to the Dachstein Glacier for providing entry to enable us to visit the Ice Palace and Suspension Bridge to bring you this story. The experience, views and opinions expressed are, as ever, entirely our own.

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


  • Hello:

    Wow! That is pretty awesome! Now I want to go. Have you been on the cable car that crosses from France to Italy over the glacier near Chamonix and Mont Blanc? That is another wild ride. Thanks!

  • Stunning place! We visited the Stairway to Nothingness in October last year – the views are spectacular 🙂 Not sure if you agree but this is once of the most scenic places in Austria (OK, I would add Schafberg mountain as well)

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