Ride trains and boats into a magical underground world of atmospheric, multilayered caves, taking time to marvel at the spectacular geological formations.
The Bétharram Caves (Grottes de Bétharram) are more than just a geological curiosity, they are a fun-filled family attraction too. Travel just a short distance out of Lourdes to reach this enchanting complex of caves, sprawling over five levels. The caves invite visitors to explore them in a number of ways. Spacious walkways lead you underground, taking you to a train track and a boat ride that carry you into the heart of the mountain.
The caves were discovered in 1819 by a soldier from Napoleon’s armies. Later expeditions revealed the extent of the cave network and its many connected layers. Be one of thousands of visitors who have explored the caves since they opened to the public in 1903.
Join a guided tour around the caves, learning about the different formations. Limestone flows, stalagmites and stalactites create unforgettable sights throughout the caves as you follow the walkways lower into the complex. Spot unusual features, such as a stone in the shape of an elephant and the “Pool of the Naiads.”
Descend stairs to an underground lake, where you will board a boat with a dragon at the prow. A guide will then take you across the water and lead you to an underground train. Take a seat and ride the train though a tunnel for a very special way to experience the grottos.
Disembark the train and leave the caves at the end of the trail. The entire journey crosses around 2 miles (3 kilometers) of subterranean wonders.
Emerge from the darkness of the caves into an airy and light café. Here you can enjoy refreshments with stunning views through the large windows. Visit the souvenir store for stony mementos of your trip beneath the mountains.
Drive to the Bétharram Caves from Lourdes in about 20 minutes or take one of the local buses to Saint Pé de Bigorre and walk from there. A large car park accommodates hundreds of guests. The caves are open daily and children pay less to enter. Tours and audioguides are available in multiple languages.