Travel

Travel Diary: Switzerland, Hollgrotten Caves

Lights in Hollgrotten Caves

With our plans to go hiking cancelled due to the torrential rain and the fact that none of us wanted to a) spend the day being soaked or b) slip down the mountain, we booked a train ticket to Zug instead, then hopped on to a bus to Baar where we walked a short distance to Hollgrotten Caves.

Hollgrotten Caves

Walking to Hollgrotten Caves

When the doors of the bus closed at our end destination there was a second when we all gulped and wondered if we had stepped foot into a horror movie. Stood in the middle of nowhere, at the top of the hill, with the fog eerily sifting around us and just one dark track through the forest ahead of us it all felt a bit off to begin with. But within a few minutes we had left our fears behind us and we found ourselves lost in the beauty of the natural landscape surrounding us. The trees loomed up towards the sky, the track looped in between them and the patter of rain combined with the roar of the river Lorze at the bottom of the steep hill filled our ears. It felt like we had stepped foot into another world and we were the only ones around to witness it.

It took us a while to reach the bottom as we kept stopping to admire the view and because the rain was making the track incredibly slippy but it was worth taking a slow descent as there was so much to look at. When we did reach the base of the hill we crossed a small bridge and followed the river along before we found ourselves at the entrance to Hollgrotten Caves. With the small fee of just 12 francs (£8.80) paid, our entry fee was again drastically cheaper than our transportation costs and we entered into the caves at the top of another hill through a small door that is hidden in the mountainside.

Lights in Hollgrotten Caves
Lake In Hollgrotten Caves

Once inside it felt like we had been transported into another world. With small snippets of information dotted along the pathway and hidden in the walls and with coloured lights shining on the stalagmites and stalactites it was an incredible yet informative experience. The caves themselves are situated inside the mountain range and are full of nooks and crannies, yet despite their exquisite formation they actually have a relatively short lifespan. The Hollgrotten Caves are unlike any other dripstone caves in the world as while other grottos are carved by underground watercourses in a process that takes millions of years; the Hollgrotten caves were instead formed on the surface over a period of just 3000 years! Considering their young age, the caves still boast an interesting history and have a number of mythical stories attached to them that just add to the overall experience.

The caves were first discovered in the 19th century by local miners and they were opened to the public in 1887, after which further sections were discovered in 1892 and 1902. Finally in 1917 a man-made shaft was excavated to link the upper and lower grottos together and it is now possible to walk from one end of the cave system to the other. In 2012 illuminating LED lights were added, further enhancing the visitors experience and they really do make the entire walk incredible as they light up the vast ranges of shapes and colours that have occurred naturally through the caves. While the actual features of the cave may not be quite as beautiful as that of the other caves I have visited in South Africa and Australia, due to the unique way that they were formed they were equally as interesting.

Inside the Caves

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Hollgrotten Caves and considering it was throwing it down outside, it was nice to spend a few hours exploring the underground passages without having to worry about being drenched, especially as most of my time in Switzerland was spent hiding beneath an umbrella!

Have you ever visited any underground caves?

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