Magdalena Hermitage

What a strange place! An ancient troglodyte hermitage, dug during the 17th century in a sandstone cliff overlooking the Sarine River, near Düdingen, in the Canton of Fribourg. You won't believe your own eyes!

Magdalena Hermitage

A place totally out of the ordinary, which you see just in a flash as you pass on the motorway between Freiburg and Bern...

Just after Fribourg, shortly before the exit for Düdingen, the motorway crosses the Sarine (now the artificial lake of Schiffenen) on the Madeleine bridge... Keep your eyes open: in front of you, the cliff is hollowed out with holes, which you may have always thought were the "eyes" of some military fortress. It is not so: you have just caught a glimpse of the Magdalen hermitage (Magdalena Einsiedelei), the work of some 17th century devotees...

It is located near the village of Räsch, near Düdingen (Guin), carved into the molasse cliffs overlooking the lake. It consists of various underground rooms, has a total length of 120 m and was dug by two hermits from 1680 to 1708 on the site of a hermitage inhabited since the 15th century.

It is a unique place in Switzerland and one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the canton of Fribourg. It is owned by the parish of Düdingen/Guin but is open from May to September from 9 am to 8 pm and in April and October from 9 am to 6 pm.

To protect it from a landslide and to preserve it for posterity, it underwent extensive restoration work in 2005-2006 and is safe to visit. The openings in the cliffs let in enough light but a torch is not superfluous if you want to see all the corners.

There are many things to see, including an underground church (with an underground bell tower too), but also a strange geological phenomenon: natural erosion has brought back the original sand structures of the molasse cliff and you walk on the dunes of a 20 million year old beach, the remains of the sea that covered Switzerland during the Miocene!

Contrary to appearances, access to the hermitage is very easy: on the motorway, take the Düdingen exit, drive through this small town and go towards the small hamlet of Räsch following the brown signs "Magdalena Einsiedelei" - it is very well indicated. Just after a bridge over the motorway, a path on the left leads down to a shooting range where you can park. The hermitage is nearby, just follow a path along the forest to get there.
This guide features more places in the same region, check them out!
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