Photo courtesy of Carmen Niederberger /Region Solothurn Tourismus
Verena Gorge and Hermitage
This scenic gorge and hermitage is named after the 3rd-century St. Verena, a Coptic Christian who was born in Egypt but is believed to have joined the Theban Legion’s mission to the Roman province of Rhaetia (partly located in modern-day Switzerland) and eventually came to live in a cave near the site of the hermitage, helping fellow young girls in the area. This mystical gorge and romantic streamside hermitage continues to be maintained by a real live hermit who was hired by the town in 2016. (The previous hermit got tired of the media scrutiny and quit the post. No joke!) The idyllic site is best accessed via an easy two-kilometer (just over a mile) hike, peppered with highlights like the mossy Magdalene and Mount of Olives grottoes and a tidy forested chapel built directly into the misty gorge, considered by some to be an ionic hot spot. Whatever your beliefs, it’s hard to deny that this primordial place is charged with oodles of Swiss manna.
By Adam H. Graham, AFAR Contributor
4500 Solothurn, Switzerland