Fairytale Grotto Line – Graz, Austria - Atlas Obscura

Fairytale Grotto Line

Fantastic stories on a miniature railroad. 


In Graz, Austria, 6.3 kilometers of tunnel run through the “Schlossberg”, a hill in the middle of the city. The tunnels were built during World War I to serve as an air raid shelter accommodating up to 40,000 people. The tunnels now serve a number of other purposes including an underground rock and roll concert hall. But the tunnel also contains something much more whimsical: a miniature railroad line known as the Märchengrottenbahn, or “Fairytale Grotto Line.”

A tour conductor on the train tells about Graz’s and Austria’s incredible legends and stories. One such legend is about the “Schlossberg” itself, which according to legend was created when the devil was flying overhead with a huge rock from Africa, saw an Easter procession below, and threw the stone down on them in anger, thereby creating the hill.

Know Before You Go

The tour is in German, but even for non-Germans, there is a lot to look at and many details to explore – and the tour guide always has his own Austrian “charm."

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July 3, 2009

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