8 Best Swiss Caves To Visit (Subterranean Wonders)

best swiss caves

Got an interest in caves and want to visit a few while you’re in Switzerland? Then you’ve come to the right place because this detailed guide will tell you everything about the best Swiss caves.

I’ve included the most famous caves, the largest cave systems, and those that are near other tourist attractions, so you can explore quite a bit of the country during your trip. Whether you want to visit a fabulous Ice Cave, see the largest and deepest cave in Switzerland, or you’re considering renting a cave for a private event, you’ll find a suitable option in this guide to the best Swiss caves!

St. Beatus Caves

St. Beatus Caves
St. Beatus Caves

St. Beatus Caves are situated on the northern shore of Lake Thun and they’re a short hike from Interlaken. It’s also possible to reach the caves on a bus from the Swiss city, and it would only take you 15 minutes, making this a perfect destination for a fan day trip from Interlaken.

This is an extensive cave system of some 14 kilometers, so it will take a while to explore it entirely. It’s possible to visit the St. Beatus Caves year-round, but it’s open daily only in the summer season (April-October). In the winter the caves are open only on Saturday and Sunday, so plan your visit accordingly.

You can tour the caves without a guide if you want, but it’s better to sign up for a proper guided tour if you want to learn more about the history and the various legends about the caves. Ticket prices are 19 CHF for adults, 11 CHF for kids, and 10 CHF for dogs, plus it’s worth noting that various discounts are available for groups and those in possession of certain visitor cards.

There’s also a museum on site, which offers information on caving and the history of this cave system. Entrance to the museum is 6 CHF, and tickets must be purchased separately from those for the St. Beatus Caves.

Hölloch Cave

Hölloch Cave
Hölloch Cave – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Hölloch Cave is the largest and deepest cave in Switzerland, and as such it attracts a wide variety of people who are genuinely into cave exploration. This cave system is more than 200 kilometers long and almost 940 meters deep, and only a small section of it is open for regular cave visits.

The vast majority of this cave system is reserved for experienced cavers, and the good news is that you can sign up for a guided tour with them. A variety of tours are available for the Hölloch Cave, ranging from short tours to multi-day cave expeditions.

The three-and-a-half-hour tour is one of the most popular options, as it allows you to explore a good chunk of the cave system and learn quite a bit about it. The shortest tour is some two hours, and it allows you to follow an illuminated path to explore the first 700 meters or so of the massive cave.

The cave is in Muotathal, which is accessible by bus line 501 which runs from Arth to Muotathal. It’s approximately a 45-minute ride, to a small town on the southern shore of Lake Zug that you can easily reach by train from Zurich and Lucerne.

Höllgrotten Caves

Höllgrotten Cave
Höllgrotten Cave

The Höllgrotten Caves are situated near Baar and they’re possibly the most fascinating caves in Switzerland. The system of stalactite caves is more than 6,000 years old, featuring small lakes and even tree roots. The caves are open from April to October and the entrance fee for adults is 12 CHF.

Elaborate tours are in place for all visitors to the Höllgrotten caves. The audio guide offers plenty of information on the history of the caves, and the story is told by Tüüfeli, a cave spirit. There are also LED lights throughout the entire cave system, which shine in bright colors and various shapes. Overall, this is one of the best caves in Switzerland for families, thanks to the kid-friendly take on tours.

The easiest way of reaching the Höllgrotten caves is to take the train from Lucerne or Zurich (approximately half an hour) to Baar, and then use one of the bus lines in the town to get as close to the caves as possible. It’s worth noting that you’ll have to walk from the bus stop to the caves for at least 20 minutes, regardless of which bus line you opt for.

Wildkirchli Caves

Aescher Guesthouse
Aescher Guesthouse

The Wildkirchli Caves are situated in Aescher, close to one of Switzerland’s most famous tourist attractions, the Aescher Guesthouse. While the cabin built into the mountainside remains the main reason why so many people visit the area, the cave system is an inevitable destination for anyone visiting the place.

The system includes three caves that are best known for evidence of prehistoric settlements. Traces of habitation dating back to the Old Stone Age were found in the area and it’s absolutely fascinating to witness such rich history firsthand. There’s a museum in the caves where you can see the skeleton of the cave bear that was found on the site. At one point in time, the cave was inhabited by hermits, and there was a recreation of the hermit’s house in the museum.

A big reason why this cave system gets so many visitors is the ease of access. Take the S23 commuter train to Wasserauen (two hours from Zurich and an hour from St. Gallen, with a train change) and then ride the Ebenalp gondola to the top station. The bottom station of the gondola is right next to the Wasserauen train station, and it’s just a 10-minute walk to the caves from the top station.

Gruebisbalm Cave

Gruebisbalm Cave
Gruebisbalm Cave – © RIGI BAHNEN AG

Gruebisbalm Cave is one of Switzerland’s most special grottos and the only one you might not be able to visit as a tourist. The cave is situated in the Lake Lucerne region, close to Vitznau and Weggis, which you can reach from Lucerne city by train and boat.

To reach the cave, you must ride on a train on the oldest cog railway in Europe from Vitznau to Gruebisbalm. Then it’s a 10-minute walk to the cave, but if you just show up on a random day you will likely find the entrance closed.

That’s because the Gruebisbalm cave is only open on request. It’s been turned into an event venue, and it’s possible to rent it for dinners, parties, and all sorts of other events. Although the cave is not open for public tours, if you’re dying to peek inside, you can try to be sneaky and ask for a tour because you’re considering it for a private event.

The Fairy’s Cave (Grotte aux Fées)

Grotte aux Fées
Grotte aux Fées – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Grotte aux Fées is a cave close to the town of Saint-Maurice south of Lake Geneva. The town is serviced by 9 different train lines, so you can easily travel to it from most places in southern and western Switzerland.

The show cave is located on the cliffs above the town and it’s special for housing a waterfall of 77 meters. It’s considered to be the highest waterfall inside any show cave in the world. A show cave is a cave that’s been made accessible to the public, and it’s worth noting that this was the first show cave to be opened in Switzerland.

The Fairy’s Cave was first explored in 1831 when some 600 meters of the cave system were mapped. It’s been a tourist attraction since the mid-19th century but it’s worth noting that several expeditions were carried out since the first mapping of the cave. The was most recently explored in 2010 when it was linked to Grotte de Saint-Martin.

Kesslerloch

Kesslerloch
Kesslerloch – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

The Kesslerloch Cave is considered to be one of Europe’s most important historical sites with a connection to the Ice Age. Evidence of settlements that date back to the Upper Palaeolithic Age was recovered on the cave site, which makes it a popular destination for historians and archaeologists traveling in Switzerland.

This cave is located in Thayngen, a town on the northeastern border of Switzerland and Germany. It’s easily accessible by trains from Zurich, although it’s worth noting that you will need to change trains in Schaffhausen.

It is presumed that the cave site used to be the place where various hunting groups would meet during the hunting season (summer). This cave features only a single chamber and it’s quite small, so it won’t take you a long time to explore it. However, if you want to see the various objects that were uncovered at this site as well as learn more about its rich history and archeological significance, you should definitely visit the Allerheiligen Museum in Schaffhausen.

Rhone Glacier Ice Cave

Rhone Glacier Ice Cave
Rhone Glacier Ice Cave

The Rhone Glacier is one of the most popular natural landmarks in Switzerland and the ice cave is only one of the reasons why you should visit the area. The glacier feeds the Rhone River, plus it’s surrounded by mountains so there’s a plethora of scenic hiking trails to explore here.

The cave is just some three kilometers below the iconic Furka Pass, and you can easily visit the area if you have access to a car in Switzerland. It’s also possible to visit the ice cave if you travel by train, but it won’t be quite as convenient. The entrance to the Ice Cave at Rhone Glacier is situated some 180 meters from the Hotel Belvedere.

This iconic cave is carved into the Rhone glacier, and it’s approximately 100 meters long. The cave is carved out anew every year, and it’s possible to visit it only from June to October. The entrance fee for the ice grotto is just some 9 CHF for adults, and it’s absolutely worth it if you want to witness an impressive and unique attraction in Switzerland. It only takes some 30 minutes to explore the cave, but you can easily spend an entire day exploring the area of the fascinating glacier.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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