An Interesting Visit to the
Salt Mines at Bex Switzerland
Staying in Les Diablerets we went from seeing sky high attractions one day at the Peak Walk and Glacier 3000, to literally going underground the next! We went underground to visit the Salt mines of Bex and it is a really interesting place to visit for all the family. The Bex Salt mines have been in operation for nearly 350 years, and what’s more they are still used to mine salt to this day.
Back in years gone by, salt was a very expensive commodity in Switzerland. Known as “white gold” it was extremely precious and had to imported into the country from abroad at great cost. That was until salt was discovered in the area around Bex, something which had a profound effect on the region and far beyond.
Today you can visit the mines and learn all about the story of salt at Bex. Tours are set at certain times throughout the day and you can book the slot which is most convenient online. The tour is conducted in French but when you arrive you are given an audio device so that you can listen to everything in English or several other languages.
First of all you are taken to a large auditorium where the guide gives an introduction and you watch a film explaining the history of the mines the explaining how they had all been built by hand. There are exhibition pieces in the auditorium including the guest book in which one of the most famous visitors, Alexandre Dumas, has signed his name.
Next you’re taken on a fun little train ride in a really small train which takes you deep into the centre of the mine where you get off and continue your journey on foot.
There are lots of tunnels and galleries to explore and at regular intervals there is a number marked on a sign which corresponds to an audio commentary in your guide – so the tour is entirely self-paced.
The interior of the mine is a huge labyrinth of underground tunnels, stairways and shafts and is very impressive to see.
There is lots of equipment on display as well as information on the different techniques used to mine salt over the years at the exhibition inside the Mines.
The exhibition explores the mining of salt and its use both domestically and industrially over the years.
You can also see how the salt crystals form on the walls.
It took us just over two hours to go round and was really interesting. One of the highlights for me was seeing the demonstration of salt being harvested from the water and the special sieve type machine which enables the salt to be formed into varying sizes for different uses.
There is even some Bex wine which has its own corner in the mines where it is left to mature.
It’s an interesting place to visit and an ideal rainy day destination for all the family. At the end of the tour you can even get to try your hand at mining yourself – something that was very popular with the children in our group! You then take the little train back to the main building where there is a gift shop which sells everything from different types of salt to jars of salted caramel and salt lamps.
We were visiting in Winter and were quite well wrapped up, but please note that if you are visiting in Summer the temperature is the same as it is always around 18 degrees – so do take a jacket or sweater in case you feel cold.
Bex Salt Mines
Address: Route des Mines de Sel 55, 1880 Bex
Tel: +41 24 46303 30
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased online in advance (Adults CHF 20, Children CHF 12) or on the door (Adults CHF 23, Children CHF 14). Children under 5 are free. Tickets can be booked here.
Please note Bex is pronounced “Bay”
How to get there
Take the A9 exit to Bex and follow the signs for “Mines de Sel” (not the signs for Saline de Bex)
Please note that the opening hours vary depending on the season so for the most accurate information please visit the the www.mines.ch website here
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