The Rejuvenating Tamina Gorge in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

Located in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, Tamina Gorge (Taminaschlucht in German) is a scenic gorge that is popular due to its healing properties. Tamina Gorge was created by the power of the Tamina River. The narrow rock crevice is around 750 meters long and 70 meters deep. The entrance to Tamina Gorge is just a few meters from Altes Bad Pfäfers.

Image of Tamina Gorge by TouringSwitzerland.com

This gorge with warm waters is a popular spot for those staying in or visiting Bad Ragaz. Easily accessible on foot or by Postbus, Tamina Gorge is a fascinating place.

Tamina Gorge in Bad Ragaz

Bad Ragaz has a centuries-old spa history. Known worldwide for its 36.5° C thermal waters, Bad Ragaz is a spa resort with a big draw.

The water comes out of a spring 20 meters to the right of the Tamina River, with a constant temperature of 36.5° C.   It is also mild and bacteria-free.

Image of the Tamina River by TouringSwitzerland.com

Pipes then bring thermal waters from the Tamina River to Bad Ragaz.  The first warm water was transported by wooden pipes back to Bad Ragaz in 1840. As such, Bad Ragaz as we know it today wouldn’t exist without the thermal springs.


History of Tamina Spring and Pfäfers Baths

Image of the Old Pfäfers Bath by TouringSwitzerland.com

Tamina Spring was discovered in 1240 by two hunters. After their discovery, the monks from Pfäfers Abbey nearby recognized its healing properties. Since then, many people have come here for the healing powers of Tamina spring water.  

Its first guests were lowered down Tamina Gorge on ropes. Sick people would bathe in rock caverns. During this time, getting to the gorge wasn’t easy. In fact, it was very dangerous.

Due to the popularity of bathing, wooden bath houses were built in 1350 just across the thundering Tamina River. In the 16th century, Swiss doctor and alchemist Paracelsus popularized the baths. Pfäfers Spring was considered the queen of all holy springs back in the 17th century.

What makes thermal water so hot? No one knows for sure. However, there’s a theory that the water from Glarus (around Tödi) or Sardona goes underground to stay warm and comes up via the rocky crevices or fissures after 10.5 years. The water temperature always stays the same. It’s bacteria-free and neutral.


Visiting Tamina Gorge

You can enter Tamina Gorge after scanning your ticket. The gate is a narrow turnstile, so big strollers won’t fit. It’s got handrails throughout the path to keep you safe.

In Tamina Gorge, you can see how powerful the water is. At the very end, there is the spring itself. Up to 5,000 to 8,000 liters of water per minute or 7 to 10 million liters a day come out of the thermal springs. It is a fascinating phenomenon.

As you enter Tamina Gorge, you’ll see the Tamina River flowing, and the walls of the gorge rise vertically to your left. Here it looks like a deep, jagged cleft in the rocks, so narrow it seems you can barely squeeze through from a short distance. In the middle of Tamina Gorge, rocky walls tower a hundred meters above you, and there’s a river below your feet.

To reach the spring-fed water grotto, you need to walk through a 450-meter tunnel. It’s called Saint Barbara Tunnel and was built in 1987. You’ll be led into a thermal spring cave by blue lights. The springs repeatedly gush from the rock, throughout the day and night with a temperature of 36.5 °C, oozing out 8,000 liters of water every minute. 

There is also a small thermal water faucet with 36.5 degrees water. Outside, you’ll find some samples of the pipes they used to get thermal water to Bad Ragaz from Tamina Spring.


Altes Bad Pfäfers

Image of Altes Bad Pfäfers by TouringSwitzerland.com

Altes Bad Pfäfers is Switzerland’s oldest baroque bath house. The Old Pfäfers Baths were renovated and restored between 1983 and 1995. Nowadays, it is a museum, a guest house, and a place for cultural events. There are 3 museums there: the bath museum, the monastery museum, and the Paracelsus memorial. You can wander around the whole building.

The museum is open from the end of April until mid-October every day.


How to Get to Tamina Gorge

Image of the road to Tamina Gorge by TouringSwitzerland.com
By BusAltes Bad Pfäfers (Bus 453)
By Horse-Drawn CarriageRössliposcht Bad Ragaz, Bahnhof until Altes Bad Pfäfers
AddressTaminatal, 7317 Valens

Through a street from Bad Ragaz to Altes Bad Pfäfers, you can get to Tamina Gorge. Since Tamina Gorge isn’t accessible by car or bike, you can either walk or take the Postbus called Schluchtenbus going to Altes Bad Pfäfers (Bus 453).

The fastest way to get to the gorge is by the Postbus that runs from Bad Ragaz station up the narrow, twisting roads following the Tamina River.

The nicest way to get to the gorge (in my opinion) is by hiking. You’ll find the trail runs along an asphalt road. It is not a busy road; the bus only passes by once per hour.  

A horse-drawn carriage (Rössliposcht) is also available from the train station of Bad Ragaz for CHF 330 to CHF 500. 

I suggest you take a shuttle up Tamina Gorge, then hike the trail that follows the river back to Bad Ragaz. Hiking back takes about 60 to 80 minutes, and it’s mostly downhill.

When you get inside the Altes Bad Pfäfers building, you have to look for the ticket machine. As soon as you’ve paid and gotten your ticket, you can walk to the end of the hall and exit to the right. 


Practical Tips for Visiting Tamina Gorge

Image of Tamina Gorge by TouringSwitzerland.com

Here are some things to remember when you want to visit or are in Tamina Gorge:

  • Cars and bicycles are not allowed on the road to Tamina Gorge. You can only go by Postbus or on foot.
  • The shuttle bus fee can be paid in cash or with the TWINT app. It is not included in the GA Travelcard. We had to pay CHF 11 per adult.
  • Check the bus departure times. The bus departs typically only once per hour.
  • April to October is the ideal season to visit Tamina Gorge.
  • Two to four hours are enough to visit this place.
  • It is ideal for children of age above 6. Families, couples, individuals, and groups can visit it.
  • Strollers will not fit the turnstile gate leading to Tamina Gorge.
  • Use appropriate shoes. It might be wet or slippery.
  • There is a kiosk with seating outside and a cafe inside where you can buy food.
  • You can also rent the restaurant for company and family events, weddings, and birthdays.

Final Thoughts: Tamina Gorge

Visiting Tamina Gorge and the springs is worth it if you are in Bad Ragaz. There is also a gorgeous light show here every evening from June to October. If you’re at the gorge during that time, check this out. And if you like history, you don’t want to miss the convent and bath museum. 

You can enjoy Tamina’s thermal waters at Tamina Therme or at the Grand Resort of Bad Ragaz, which has direct access to the springs. At the spring-fed thermal baths, you can soak and glimpse the mountains. 

Resource

  • Die Entdeckung des Thermalwassers. Von der Taminschlucht ins Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. Grand Resort Bad Ragaz.

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