About St. Beatus Caves
Few geographical structures in the world feel so otherworldly like St. Beatus and a visit to the Caves will surely leave even the most well-travelled tourists spellbound. Stretching over 14 kilometres underground, the comfortably accessible Caves are well-lit and safe for individuals and families to explore for hours.
The guided tours will take you through stalactite and stalagmite formations, underground waterfalls and gorges, and peculiar contours and patterns sculpted in limestone over millions of years. It’s a breathtaking work of art perfected by nature, preserved in its flawless form.
St. Beatus isn’t just for families or couples. This is an ideal destination for those interested in preservation, ecology and sustainable tourism that doesn’t negatively impact the environment. Over the years, thousands of students from schools and educational institutions in and around the area have visited the Caves to gain a deeper understanding of natural history and profound respect for the environment.
How to Reach St. Beatus Caves
Switzerland has an excellent system of public transport that makes it easy to get to most destinations in the country and St. Beatus is no different. From Interlaken, you can either take a private cab or a public transport bus to reach the Caves. Bus 21 connects Interlaken Ost with Thun.
This trip lasting 22 minutes will get you to Beatushöhlen. The second option is to take a bus from Interlaken to Beatenberg, a trip that covers a distance of around 10 kilometres. The third option is to take the boat for the Caves, a trip that will give you panoramic views of the mountain ranges.
Best Time to Visit St. Beatus Caves
Switzerland attracts tourists throughout the year, as the landscape changes magnificently from season to season. The temperature in the Caves drops significantly during winter. Even in summer, the average temperature hovers 10-degree celsius.
Therefore, the Caves are open from mid-March to mid-November. Interestingly, many tourists have pointed out that the Caves seem to change their character and come to life during the rains. The sights and sounds on a rainy day are supposed to be markedly different from the others.
What Not to Miss at St. Beatus Caves
If after the underground exploration, you would like to know more about the geological processes that led to the creation of St. Beatus Caves, a visit to the Museum is highly recommended. This impressive and interactive museum houses everything you need to know about the history of the Caves, the legend surrounding it, and the unique cave structure and system of St. Beatus caves.
One can also learn more about the different types of rocks that have built the structure. Visiting students and those interested in geology can enrich their knowledge of complex geological processes in an interactive manner. All the information is relayed through audio guides that are easily available at the facility.
The audio guides are available in English, French and German, to the convenience of tourists. The multimedia screens and the immersive experience make the visit to the museum not academic, but engaging enough to interest a layperson. The information isn’t limited to mere geology.
There’s a treasure trove of knowledge on flora and fauna that exist both inside and outside the caves in the Jungfrau region. There’s no need to buy additional tickets to enter the museum as it is included in the entry fee for the caves.
Places to Visit around St. Beatus Caves
Interlaken offers a stunning array of opportunities for tourists of all hues. Whether you seek a romantic escapade or a cosy cabin in the hills or an adventurous trek or a cheery weekend for the whole family, Interlaken has it all. You can club your visit to the St. Beatus Caves with any of the remarkable experiences listed below.
Situated in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland, the lake takes its name from Thun, a city in Bern. A two-hour boat ride from Interlaken through the breathtakingly picturesque lake with lush forests, age-old villages and towns on its banks, will be worth every minute of it.
Half an hour from St. Beatus Caves is Mt. Jungfraujoch, which is referred to as the highest point in Europe. Visit this for a mesmerising panorama of snow, rock and ice, in varying shades of blue and white, as far as the eye can see. They say that on a clear day, you can see Germany, France and Italy from the mountain.
When you realise that it carries more than twenty thousand litres of melted ice from the glaciers of Jungfrau and that it’s the largest you will understand why the Trummelbach Falls are so loud. As it’s the biggest subterranean waterfall of the continent, you will have to traverse tunnels and elevators to get close to it.
Smaller when compared to Lake Thun, Lake Brienz ably makes up for its size by providing riveting views of the mountain range that are in playful contrast against the blue waters of the lake. Few romantic getaways are as transfixing as a boat ride on Lake Brienz.
It takes a cogwheel train to reach the Alpine Garden, but once you reach, you will realise that the ride wasn’t even half the fun. With around 600 varieties of plants native to the Swiss alps, the view here can get hypnotising. The eclectic colours vie for attention with the clear blue skies and snow capped mountains.
Other Essential Information About St. Beatus Caves
St. Beatushöhlen-Genossenschaft, Staatsstrasse 974, 3800 Sundlauenen, Schweiz
The St. Beatus Caves are open every day from 9.45 am to 5 pm, from 14th March till 15th November
The nearest airport to St. Beatus Caves is the Bern Airport. It’s around 40 kilometres from the Caves, a distance that can be covered in around 45 minutes
Legend of St. Beatus and the Dragon
The Caves have a history that’s as captivating as the destination. The folklore centres around St. Beatus, a Christian monk and hermit, also known as Beatus of Thun or Beatus of Beatenberg or the Apostle of Switzerland. Some sources trace his lineage to Ireland while others claim that he was a king in Scotland.
Saint Barnabas baptised him in England and St. Peter the Apostle ordained him as a priest in Rome. Afterwards, he was sent to evangelise various communities in Europe. According to legend, St. Beatus reached Lake Thun and decided to live there.
As a hermit, the isolated village of Beatenberg - now named after him - beckoned him with its rustic charm and simplicity. He decided to move into the safe and secluded Caves. It was there that he found a fire breathing dragon. St. Beatus fought the dragon, vanquished it and then lived in the Caves.
His grave can be found near the entrance of the Cave. As the country’s apostle, the Saint is worshipped everywhere in Switzerland and the story of him defeating the dragon has shaped the narrative of the might of good expelling evil. The official coat of arms of Beatenberg features St. Beatus defeating the dragon.
The Restaurant at St. Beatus Caves
If the intricately composed caves and their stunning geographical features aren’t enticing enough, how about dining at a restaurant with few parallels in the world? The highly-rated restaurant at St. Beatus Caves, located close to the parking area, offers spectacular panoramic views of Lake Thun.
After exploring the underground, tourists can relax and enjoy this immaculate view of the verdant green hills enveloping the lake, with the Alps in the horizon, the kind of luxury usually reserved for high-end resorts and exclusive villas. Whether it’s a cup of hot chocolate, traditional lunch or light snacks, the restaurant offers tourists a delicious mix of hot and cold meals during the day.
For dinner, because of the rush, you will have to book your table in advance. All the food served here is made from locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients, with the utmost commitment to environmental preservation.
Tips on visiting St. Beatus Caves
- The guided tours, accompanied by an English-speaking guide, are free of cost.