The St. Beatus Caves is a wonderful day trip if you happen to be staying in the canton of Bern. Located on a hillside by Lake Thun not far from the lovely town of Interlaken, they are not only in a stunning location but are incredibly interesting to see.
This natural wonder has winding tunnels, stunning rock formations, underground lakes, and a lot more. But the St. Beatus Caves are not just a geological marvel; they’re also steeped in myths and legends that add to the mystery of your visit.
Interested in visiting the St. Beatus Caves now? I run through everything you need to know about exploring this extensive cave system.
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Myths & Legends About St. Beatus Caves
There are quite a few myths and legends about St. Beatus Caves and knowing all about them can only add to your visit.
The most common legend is that an Irish monk, Saint Beatus lived in the caves in the 6th century and according to legend, fought off a fire-breathing dragon that terrorized the area and turned the lake into a giant cauldron.
The myth goes that the dragon was actually the devil himself and that Saint Beatus saved the people from his evil grasp.
The other myth associated with the caves is that they are home to gnomes and hidden treasure in the form of gnomes.
These tiny beings are said to live deep within the St Beatus cave system and come out at night to play tricks on unsuspecting visitors so keep an eye out while you explore the cave system.
How to Get to St Beatus Caves
Getting to the St Beatus Caves is very easy. You will find them just outside the town of Beatenberg on the shores of Lake Thun.
Your first step is to take the train to Interlaken and from there, it is just a 20-minute bus ride that takes you to the path that leads to the cave entrance.
Parking is also available at the caves so you can drive there very easily if you have your own car.
The ticket prices for the St. Beatus Caves vary depending on the time of year and whether you’re an adult or a child.
Adult tickets cost CHF 18.50 during the high season (May to October) and CHF 14.50 during the low season (November to April).
Children’s tickets cost CHF 9.50 during the high season and CHF 7.50 during the low season. There are also discounts available for seniors, groups, and families.
The St Beatus Caves are open from March to November and keep the same opening hours throughout the year.
From Sunday to Thursday the St Beatus Caves’ normal opening hours are from 9 am to 6 pm with the last admission at 5:15 pm as the tours take 45 minutes.
On Friday & Saturday, the caves stay open late until 9 pm with the last admission at 8.15 pm. This is in line with the onsite restaurant Stein Sein which serves up regional and culinary delicacies.
What to Expect When Visiting St Beatus Caves
When you arrive at the St. Beatus Caves, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Thun.
The entrance to the cave system is located at the top of a hill, so be prepared for a bit of a hike. Once inside the caves, you’ll be led through a series of winding tunnels, each one more beautiful than the last.
The cave tour can be a guided tour if you would like it to be that takes you one kilometer into the 14 km cave system. You will discover stalactites and stalagmites that are millions of years old as well as beautiful rock formations too.
The underground lake and rivers are also a highlight of the tour especially as they are lit up with colorful lights that reflect off the water.
It is quite a magical tour just be aware that it is a bit dark and damp. One could feel claustrophobic if one suffers from that.
St. Beatus Caves Museum
After exploring the caves, take some time to visit the St. Beatus Caves Museum, located at the entrance to the caves in a lovely house in the forest.
The cave museum offers a wealth of information about the history and geology of the caves, as well as artifacts and exhibits that shed light on the local culture and traditions. You’ll also find a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs at the cave museum.
The museum also offers audio guides to accompany your tour around the museum just be sure to book in advance.
St. Beatus Caves Restaurant
A lovely thing to do with the whole family after seeing the St Beatus caves is to have lunch or dinner at the Restaurant Stein Sein.
Restaurant Stein Sein has a beautiful view overlooking Lake Thun and offers some delicious regional and culinary delicacies on its menu.
You can choose to sit inside or outside depending on the weather, but it is wise to book in advance as it can get rather busy.
Tips When Visiting St. Beatus Caves
- Wear comfortable shoes – The cave system is full of uneven and slippery terrain, so it’s important to wear shoes that will provide you with good grip and support.
- Bring a jacket – Even on hot summer days, the temperature inside the caves can be quite cool, so it’s a good idea to bring a jacket or sweater so you stay warm.
- Don’t touch the formations – The cave formations are delicate and easily damaged, so it’s important to follow the rules and avoid touching them.
- Bring a camera – The St. Beatus Caves are a photographer’s dream, so be sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery.
- Take a look at the St Beatus waterfall after you have finished your day of exploring the caves.
- If traveling with kids be sure they have a ride on the dragon slide and enjoy the playground.
- The tour involves walking for over 1km, so be sure you are up for the walk before you head in.
Places to Stay Near St. Beatus Caves
If you’re planning on spending more than a day at the St. Beatus Caves, there are several accommodation options nearby. You can stay right next to the caves overlooking Lake Thun at the Agis BnB.
The town of Beatenberg down the road also has several hotels and bed and breakfasts, as well as vacation rentals and campsites. The Alphotel-Eiger is a lovely BnB with great views
Interlaken is not far away and also has a wide range of accommodation options to choose from.
Is St. Beatus Caves Worth Visiting?
Absolutely, the St Beatus Caves are certainly worth visiting as they are one of the best Swiss caves.
The stunning underground scenery, combined with the rich history and mythology of the area, makes for a truly unforgettable experience.
The beauty of the internal structures has to be seen to be believed and how often does one get to see an underground lake or river? It really is quite something.
When you add in the views of Lake Thun, the museum, the restaurant, and the fun kid’s playground it really is an awesome day out for the whole family.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique adventure, the St. Beatus Caves are definitely worth a visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is St Beatus cave?
The St Beatus cave system is around 14 kilometers long but not all of it is open to the public. You will only see about 1 kilometer of the system on the tour.
Are St. Beatus Caves open in winter?
Yes, the St Beatus caves are open in winter but only on weekends.
Are dogs allowed in St. Beatus Caves?
Yes, dogs are allowed in St. Beatus Caves but they are also charged. It costs CHF 10 for your furry friend to join you in the cave system.
Courtesy of Wikimedia for the image header.