Asphalt Mines


For over 100 years asphalt was laboriously mined in the underground asphalt mines of La Presta and exported all over the world for road construction. Today the mines are no longer in operation and are partially open to the public as a museum.

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In the year 1711 asphalt deposits were discovered at La Presta in Val-de-Travers - until 1812 the asphalt found there was used only sparingly and mainly in the medical field. Industrial scale mining of asphalt began in 1873 and continued until 1986. Tunnels extending for 100 kilometers on several levels, were hewn into the rock for mining purpose.

One kilometer of the underground mines is open to the public. Guided tours show how the detonation experts worked, how water was pumped out of the deep tunnels and how the asphalt was transported to the surface using horses. The last mine horse retired in 1975 - its work was taken over by electric locomotives till the mine was closed.

RailAway combined group offer

  • From the Rail Service Helpdesk 0900 300 300 (CHF 1.19/min. from the Swiss fixed-line network)
  • At railway station ticket counters

We recommend that you book early, i.e. at least 1 week before the start of your journey. Please note: You can only obtain this reduced RailAway combined offer at the points of sale given above.

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