A cave’s geological formations have always fascinated humans. Caves draw lots of interest due to the interesting rock formations hanging from the ceilings (stalactites) and the mounds of deposits that rise from the floor (stalagmites). You can check all of these out at St. Beatus Caves in Beatenberg, Switzerland, near Interlaken.
As you travel up to a kilometer deep inside the cave, you will see interesting rock formations and deposits formed over a long period of time. You’ll be led into this deep cave via rails and stairs.
Read on to learn more about St. Beatus Caves in Beatenberg, Switzerland.
Overview: St. Beatus Caves
Despite the mountains and waterfalls around Interlaken, there are not many caves to explore here. St. Beatus Caves in Interlaken are without a doubt one of the most popular attractions around Interlaken region.
St. Beatus Caves in Beatenberg also offers a gorgeous view of Lake Thun, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes.
Located in the Niederhorn mountain massif, St. Beatus Caves offer an amazing inside experience. Inside, you will see stunning and unique limestone formations. Visitors can also explore the many underground passages and chambers, each with its own unique beauty. In 2019, St. Beatus Cave introduced brand-new lighting. It’s a well-lit, 1-kilometer path where you can see water in different forms.
Outside, you can find several pretty waterfalls, perfectly cascading down steep rocks. It’s a good place to unwind and enjoy the outdoors, with flowers, plants, a lake, and mountains all around.
The History Behind St. Beatus Caves
Legend has it that Saint Beatus fought a fire-breathing dragon in this cave. Then, he built his Holy Cross inside and took refuge there.
Leaving dragons aside, Saint Beatus was an Irish monk and hermit who lived in the 9th century. He was an evangelist who lived in present-day Aarau and tried to convert locals to Christianity. He is also known as the Apostle of Switzerland, Beatus of Beatenberg, or Beatus of Thun.
The Augustinian monastery Saint Beatus founded became a museum at the same spot. Beatenberg is a tribute to him and his legacy in the region.
Our Experience: Visiting St. Beatus Caves
Impressions Upon Arrival
The first thing we noticed about St. Beatus Caves was how hard it was to find parking. After going to two other places earlier in the day, we ended up coming here about mid-afternoon. I guess we expected most people to have left by now, but it took a few minutes to find an empty lot.
We parked the car and got our jackets, then we went up to the caves. Getting there was uphill, but at least it wasn’t bad. We were there in the afternoon, so the line to get inside the cave wasn’t too long. And we got inside pretty quickly.
Inside the St. Beatus Caves
For a fee, tourists can go exploring the lit cave. The caves are very old; they go back thousands of years. And even though the cave is big, only one kilometer of it can be accessed by stairs and paths. You can go by yourself as we did. Or you can go with a tour guide.
I loved seeing the stalactites and stalagmites and think it was well worth the price.
The cave has the same entrance and exit. You can follow the path all the way deep inside the cave. You won’t get lost here, just follow the path. This isn’t a one-way tour like others. Get deeper and deeper into the cave, then come out the way you came.
It’s all well-maintained, from the path to the stairs to the railings. The stairs have barriers so you can go up and down. We didn’t find the stairs to be slippery or dangerous. Walking inside the cave isn’t tough, but going up and down might be hard for those with mobility problems.
You can explore stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave. The mirror pools inside are also neat. There are also cool stone formations, descriptions, and photo opportunities.
Outside the St. Beatus Caves
St. Beatus Caves are just as beautiful from the outside as they are on the inside; you don’t have to go in. There are waterfalls, bridges, flowers, trees, and a gorgeous view of Lake Thun and the surrounding Alps. I always say that if you’re going to watch any waterfall in Switzerland, come right after it’s rained so you can see more water.
There’s a restaurant and a museum right next to the cave. Despite being small, the museum has lots of information about the caves. This museum will also cover how caves are surveyed, karstology, flora, and fauna. The on-site restaurant is also open whenever the caves are open. Built into the walls of a former monastery, the Panorama Restaurant serves hot and cold meals.
There are gorgeous hiking paths outside St. Beatus Caves so it’s easy to just walk around it. Also, there’s a dragon-themed play area outside the cave if kids are interested.
How to Get to St. Beatus Caves
St. Beatus Caves are accessible by car, bus, or ferry. Near the caves are two parking lots.
|St. Beatus Cave Parking
– Parking Chrutbach
– Parking Seestrasse
Listed below are the estimated travel times by car to St. Beatus Caves from the following locations:
- Interlaken – 10 minutes
- Spiez – 22 minutes
- Thun – 23 minutes
- Lauterbrunnen – 24 minutes
- Meiringen – 37 minutes
- Bern – 48 minutes
Practical Tips for St. Beatus Caves
St. Beatus Caves are open from mid-March until the third week of October from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The museum is open from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Entrance to the museum is included in the price of the Caves.
The following seven tips will help you get the most out of your first trip to the St. Beatus Caves:
- Wear comfortable shoes since you will be walking up and down. Parking your car and hiking up to the caves can easily take 20 to 30 minutes.
- Bring a light jacket for inside the cave, even in summer! There’s an average temperature of 8-10 degrees Celsius in the cave.
- Check if you can get a guest card from Interlaken. You might be able to get a 10 to 20% discount for the caves.
- Come by public transportation if you can. It might be possible to book your cave entrance ticket along with your train or boat ticket. Check www.bls.ch or www.sbb.ch for combination deals.
- If you must come by car, remember that parking can be hard to come by, especially during the peak summer season. Either come early or come with patience.
- Opt for a child carrier instead of a children’s stroller. The place is not suitable for children’s strollers and wheelchairs.
- Feel free to take lots of photos. It is allowed.
Final Thoughts: Visiting St. Beatus Caves
While most caves that I have visited, including those in Réclère and Grotta Gigante in Italy, require you to descend to the ground repeatedly and then ascend again, St. Beatus Caves are unique in that they are located inside a massif Niederhorn mountain. In addition, there are wonderful views of the lake and a pretty waterfall when you go out.
There is nothing more fascinating than the geological features of caves like this one, and they are also safe to explore. Touring the St. Beatus Caves is a must-do for those seeking a unique and awe-inspiring experience. Those who are in the region around Interlaken should definitely add this cave to their itinerary. I promise you won’t regret it.
Related Posts: Interlaken
- Top 12 Stunning Places Near Interlaken
- How Do I Get From Interlaken to St. Beatus Caves?
- Zurich to Interlaken Train: All You Need To Know
- Interlaken: 8 Reasons Why You Should Visit
- 8 Best Things to Do in Lake Thun, Switzerland
- Mountains Close to Interlaken Worth Visiting
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.