We took a short 45-minute drive south of Stuttgart recently to visit a cave in the Swabian Alb. This Swabian Alb, or Swabian Alp, is at the foothill of the Alps.
Although in this area we’ll discuss today, there aren’t any large Alpine mountains around.
We went to the Bad Urach waterfall the other weekend and since then I’ve been researching other areas in the area.
There are a few caves in the same region. These are the Nebenhöhle, the Barenhöhle, and the Falkensteiner cave.
The Falksteiner has over 4 km of cave corridors but access is limited to experienced cavers. The other two are close to each other and are illuminated caves with guided tours.
We decided to explore the Barenhöhle, but it’s a fairly short tour, so you can combine other things in the area.
If you want to get photos, please note you’ll have to bump up your ISO quite a bit. Tripods are also not allowed inside, but photos are okay.
Information about the Barenhöhle
The cave’s full name is the Charles and Bears Cave (Die Karls und Bärenhöhle) but the names refer to two different areas within the cave.
The cave was discovered in 1834 by Karl-Wilhelm Fauth and inside he found many human and animal bones, jewelry that dated back thousands of years, and stalactites and stalagmites. Unfortunately most of this was stolen shortly after people found out about it.
The cave is closed from November to March because bats hibernate here in the winter and they’re endangered species.
There are guided tours daily. The cave is actually fairly short. We ended up leaving the guide and going a bit ahead because it was all in German. They did, however, have a handout in English which was helpful. I think we were through it in 15 minutes.
They kept a skeleton of a bear that is on display toward the end of the tour.
Things to do in the Swabian Alb
As you leave the cave, you’ll see Traumland Park. This little theme park is a kid’s dream. It’s not big, but there is plenty to keep your little ones busy.
There are rides, a fairy forest, a climbing area, a trampoline area, and many statues and scenes of different fairy tales. Be sure to book tickets online ahead of time if you plan to go (note it’s open seasonally from April to October).
You can also visit the other cave in the area, Nebelhöhle. It has many similarities to Barenhöhle but it also worth a visit.
Bad Urach Waterfall
This is one of my favorite nature day trips from Stuttgart. It’s also in the region and a nice little hike. You can even walk on the waterfall area to cool off on a hot day.
Here’s a link with all the information needed to plan your trip.