St. Beatus Dragon Caves

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
Skill: easy
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
More info: www.beatushoehlen.swiss

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.

Getting There

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.

Details

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.


You can’t miss the cave entrance; it’s well marked with signs. But it comes up pretty quick around a curve, so keep an eye out.


the waterfalls outside the cave might be more impressive than the cave itself


lots of dwarf-themed stuff along the path, including wood sculptures like these


Here’s the complex at the cave entrance. Buy your ticket here. There’s a kiosk, cafe and sit-down restaurant here. There’s also a museum, but we didn’t visit it.


At the time, no pics were allowed inside the caves, thus the bad pic taken on the sly without a flash. But now they allow photos without a flash.


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.

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