Legend has it that St. Beatus, the first apostle to Switzerland, fought a dragon in the caves above the Thunersee. The whole area has embraced the dragon theme: with Niederhorn and its dragon slide, the St. Beatus adventure trail, and the St. Beatus caves where the dragon may still live.
St. Beatus-Höhlen is not just the caves, but a whole complex. From the parking lot, you’ll follow a steep paved trail up to cave entrance, passing roaring waterfalls, strange carved wooden sculptures, a big playground and picnic area. We went on a rainy day, thinking that caves were a good rainy day option (inside!) but it would have been nice to enjoy the outside bits as well. So a sunny day wouldn’t be wasted on this one. I wouldn’t recommend driving all the way out there just for the caves. But if you’re in the area, it’s a fun activity. You might want to combine this with hiking at Niederhorn.
|Location:||Bernese Oberland Switzerland|
|Address:||Seestrasse, 3800 Beatenberg
GPS: 46°41’01.1″N 7°46’53.1″E
|Car:||~1hr40 from Zurich|
|Train:||~2hr10 from Zurich|
|Trail:||about 1 km each way in cave, about 1.5 hour|
|Condition:||slippery narrow path inside caves, no strollers|
|Open:||mid March to mid November, 9:45 to 17:00|
|Prices:||Adult CHF 18, Child CHF 10, Family Pass CHF 49.
discount with Berner-Oberland Visitor Card
|Services:||restaurant, picnic area, playground|
At the top, you buy your ticket for the cave entrance. Guided tours leave every 30 minutes, but you can also visit without a guide, which is new in 2015. While you wait for you appointed time, you can browse the gift shops and get a snack. The caves themselves are interesting, especially the super fast river rushing down the middle. It’s a bit scary for little kids as it’s quite dark and occasionally they turn out the lights and there’s a life-size dragon inside that my kids hated.
I’m going to apologize right now for not paying better attention to the stroller friendliness of this activity (I carried my 2yr old on my back). I’m pretty sure you can make it to the cave entrance without any stairs (there are stairs, but I think there are alternative paths for accessibility). If I’m wrong, please leave a comment so I can correct this. I’m pretty sure the cave itself has lots of stairs so not suitable for a stroller. The tour goes about 1km into the cave, so your little ones will have do some walking if you’re not carrying them. It’s not that bad, but just know what you are getting into.
By car: Drive to Drive to and past Interlaken on A8 and take the Weissenaustrasse exit, following this road around the lake until you reach the cave parking.
By transit: Take a bus to Beatushöhlen.
Follow the paved trail into the park. You don’t have to pay an entrance fee to the park. You pay for entrance to the caves and the guided tour. Tickets for that are available at the top.
There’s a big playground and picnic area a short walk down from the entrance. Our kids didn’t want to go down this dragon slide in the rain, but we hassled them until them did. Of course, the wet slide was way too fast and they shot off into the gravel and got all scraped up. Good times. In the other pic, you can see the map of the park leading up to the caves.
Like I said above, the cave were fine. But I was a little underwhelmed after seeing the Postojna Caves in Slovenia. Seriously, those caves are amazing, you should go! I’ll post on that later.