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Grottes de Vallorbe
Magnificant Limestone Caves and Switzerland's largest Underground River

The Grottes de Vallorbe (Vallorbe caves) are a series of limestone caves of incredible beauty. Shaped over many thousands of years, they are full of magnificent dripstone formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, drapes, straws, "cauliflowers", and so on. Moreover, the caves have an actual river flowing through. This all makes for an exciting underground adventure.

Grottes de Vallorbe and Switzerland's largest underground river, the Orbe

The caves are located near the village of Vallorbe, in the Jura mountains in the canton of Vaud. This village is named after the river Orbe that flows through the caves and the valley: the Orbe valley, or Vallorbe. The caves have been open to the public since 1974, and have been continuously developed over the years to provide easier and more extensive access. There is a paved path combined with metal and wooden walkways and stairs, leading visitors past some of the most beautiful formations.

Automatic lighting turns on and off as you pass through, providing a fairytale atmosphere. And best of all, the caves can be visited as a self-guided tour, at your own pace.

Magnificant limestone formations in the Grottes de Vallorbes, the Vallorbe Caves, in the Jura Mountains in Switzerland

At the end of the tour you can also visit an extensive mineral exhibition, and there is even a "cheese cave". Here, freshly made cheese is matured in the natural environment the cave provides, with an ideal year-round temperature of around 10°C and a humidity of over 90%. You can buy some of this cheese, and various types of minerals, at the small souvenir shop at the cave entrance.

Fascinating Vallorbe Caves, the Grottes de Vallorbes in the Canton Vaud

These caves are one of my favorite places in Switzerland. I've been there several times, either alone or showing visitors around. Here are some more impressions of the caves, which I can highly recommend as a day trip from Geneva, Lausanne, or Neuchâtel. It's definitely worth to absorb the magic of the Grottes de Vallorbe!

Grottes de Vallorbe

The fascinating Grottes de Vallorbe in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland

Good to Know

The Grottes de Vallorbe are located in the Jura Mountains in the Canton Vaud and can be reached by car or public transport. 50 minutes by train from Lausanne and 40 minutes by bus from Yverdon-les-Bains.

From the Vallorbe train station it is a 2km (about 30-40mins) walk along the Orbe river to the parking area, from where it is another 500m (10mins) walk to the cave entrance.

The caves are open daily from March to November, but closed December to February. Opening hours vary per month though, so make sure to check the schedule before heading out. The self-guided walking tour through the caves takes about one hour at a leisurely pace.

Wim Hordijk

Wim Hordijk, the wandering scientist, is an avid hiker and has been trekking all over the world. Please visit his website for hiking and walking experiences in Switzerland, especially in the Western and Southern part of the country.

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