Towers, grottos and palaces, just like a faraway land in a fairytale. Yet we are not in the East, but in Schwarzsee in the Fribourg Pre-Alps. This walk will transport both young and old to another world.
The path that leads to the ice palaces starts on a gentle slope alongside the warm Sense, which flows into the
Schwarzsee to the north. The lapping of the river suddenly stops. The perfect prelude to what awaits winter ramblers at the end of this simple walk. Once there, you will scarcely believe your eyes: pure works of art appear, one after the other, in an area approximately 250 metres long and 50 metres wide. Dinosaurs, penguins, palm trees, fairytale characters and a pirate ship, some measuring up to 15 metres high and all made of ice!
The artist Karl Neuhaus created this fantastic, ephemeral world for the first time in the 1980s. For over 30 years, the “Tinguely of Ice” built grottos, igloos and ice palaces in the Schwarzsee valley every year. As soon as the thermometer dropped below zero, he would spray his wooden and scrap-metal structures with water and wait for nature to do its work. After the 2016/17 winter season, this seasoned cobbler decided, at the age of 80, that it was time to slow down. The ice palaces are now built by a team of three people, managed by Schwarzsee Tourismus.
The ice worlds are an unforgettable experience for young and old alike, and a major attraction on the trail starting in Gypsera, which is signposted when there is enough snow. This fantastic world is mystical even in the middle of the day, but truly magical at night, when everything is lit up with coloured lights.
Ascents: 30 m
Descents: 100 m