Grottenbahn – Linz, Austria - Atlas Obscura

Advertised as a nostalgic ride for grown-up Austrians, the Linz Grottobahn is a surreal 104-year-old Disney-esque ride through the world of European fairy tales.

Built in 1906, the little Grottobahn or “cave train” takes you on a trip through Mount Storm into a world of dwarves, dragons, and - in the words of one visitor - “Christmassy-sounding music sung by spookily voiced children.” The train goes around the circuit three times, first showing off one set of tableaux such as “gnomes and dwarves fishing, getting into scrapes with giant insects, larking about, and generally acting like you’d expect monstrous-looking garden gnomes to behave.” On the second trip around, visitors are offered other set-ups, including some delightfully tatty - and quite possibly century-old - taxidermy.

Finally, on the third trip, colorful lights are turned on, and at the end of the ride the Dragon, which serves as the head of the train, snorts steam. Downstairs, below the train ride, is a miniature version of Linz circa 1900, as well as a number of fairy-tale dioramas, including Sleeping Beauty in a coffin surrounded by the seven dwarfs and a rather creepy diorama of Hansel and Gretel outside a burning gingerbread house.

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