Pfäfers is a municipality in the Wahlkreis (constituency) of Sarganserland in the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland. The villages Pfäfers, St. Margrethenberg, Vadura, Valens, Vasön and Vättis belong to the municipality.


The Taminatal can look back on a long history of settlement. In the Drachenloch above Vättis stonetools of cavemen and bones of bears, which ought to be 50.000 years old, were found. Parts of the found are exposed in the local museum in Vättis. Pfäfers reached importance through the foundation of the benedictine's friary in the first half of the 8th century. It existed over thousand years and was closed in 1838. Since 1847 the friary premises are in use as a mental institution.

In the 14th century Walser settled in the Calfeisental. Until today the colony St. Martin and the Walserhouse on the alp Ebni can be visited.

Around the year 1240 the thermal spring in the Taminaschlucht was discovered. The sick people which bathed in the curative water were let down the narrow canyon on ropes. In the year 1630 a bath house was constructed at the mouth of the canyon. The road to Ragaz was built in 1840 and in the following years the cure business was more and more relocated to there. Today, the Bad Pfäfers, the oldest baroque bath building in Switzerland, shelters a restaurant and a museum.

Two important milestones of the 20th century in economical aspects were the opening of the clinic Valens in 1970 and of the power plants Sarganserland in 1975. The clinic Valens is specialised in rheumatology, neurology and orthopaedy. The power plants Sarganserland run a pumped storage hydro power plant. The storage lake Gigerwald and the compensation reservoir Mapragg with the control centre in Mapragg belong to the power plant. Both companies are important employers for the population of the community.

Coat of arms

According to a legend, Pirmin wanted to built a friary in the region of Landquart. While the workers cut down trees, one of them accidentally injured his leg. When the monks cared for the injured man, a snowwhite dove appeared. It took a blood sprinkled splint and flew away. The monks followed the dove and found it in the Taminatal where it had alighted on a tree. Saint Pirmin took this as a sign from God and decided to build the friary on this place where it is now located

This anecdote is illustrated on the ceiling paintings of the church in Pfäfers.


In the municipality of Pfäfers there are three kindergartens, three primary schools and a high school. One kindergarten and one primary school each are located in Pfäfers, Vättis and Valens. The highschool in Pfäfers is visited from children of the whole municipality.



In Pfäfers you can hike to your heart's content in an intact landscape on well developed tracks.

The landmark of Pfäfers is the baroque minster at the entrance of the village. From Pfäfers the way goes up to the charming high valley of St. Margrethenberg. You can get an amazing sight from the viewpoint Piz Alun. St. Margrethenberg could also be the starting point for a hiking tour on the Calanda.

From Pfäfers you can also walk the otherway round down to the Taminaschlucht with its hot spring. The old bath house with the well-known museum and the Paracelsus memorial is worth a visit. Over the natural bridge you can reach the other side of the valley with the villages Valens and Vasön. The clinic in Valens has a public bath with water from the hot spring.

The southernmost village in the canton of St. Gallen is Vättis. From there you can explore the wild craggy Calfeisental or wander through mountain pastures of the Kunkelspass. With the cable way you reach the Vättnerberg with its wonderful panorama. Another possibility is to climb up to the Drachenloch which was inhabited in the Stone Age. The local museum Vättis gives a lot of information of the findings made by the researchers.


If you visit the Taminatal in winter, you find in St. Margrethenberg an efficient ski lift with well groomed slopes. It is ideal for families and those who look for a skiing area away from mass tourism. From the terrace of the restaurant at the upper station you can enjoy a wonderful view to the Rhine Valley and the mountains of Graubünden.

Cross-country skiing is possible in St. Margrethenberg as well as in Vättis. Both places maintain lovely runs. Well cleared pathes invite for a walk in the winter wonderland. For everybody who wants to warm up himself the cosy restaurants in each village feature a lovely service.


Pfäfers and Valens are independently from each other connected with Bad Ragaz. The excellent road network is crucial for this spacious valley. The bus system connects every village with Bad Ragaz with its access to the railway system. A bridge over the Taminaschlucht between Pfäfers and Valens is in plan.


Year 1850 1900 1950 1980 2000
Population figure 1315 1510 1900 1814 1754



The fraction Pfäfers contains the village Pfäfers itself and the hamlets St. Margrethenberg and Vadura. Pfäfers lies on about 800 metres above sea level at the entrance of the Taminatal. It counts about 600 inhabitants.

The most important employer with a total of 245 employees is the clinic St. Pirminsberg with its fields psychiatry, psychotherapy and addiction treatment. Mentally ill people from the south part of the canton of St. Gallen and from Liechtenstein were treated there. Further employments are provided from agriculture and forestry as well as the small trade.

The control centre and the equalising reservoir Mapragg of the power plants Bad Sarganserland are located in Vadura. The pumped storage hydro power plant produces 444 million kWh of electricity on average per year.

Places of interest

  • Ruin Wartenstein
  • Old Bath Pfäfers with Paracelsus museum and bath museum
  • Hot spring Bath Pfäfers
  • Taminaschlucht (canyon)
  • Natural Bridge
  • former fort Furggels


Vättis on about 940 metres above sea level counts approximately 460 inhabitants. The most important branches of trade are agriculture and forestry as well as the industry of the second sector.

A place of interest is the Drachenloch museum. Finds from the prehistorical place of discovery are exposed there. In Gaspus is the lower station of the cable way to Vättnerberg situated. Numerous hiking tours to the superb world of the alps start in Vättnerberg.

Behind Vättis lies the Calfeisental which is as well a popular hiking area. Worth seeing it is the storage lake Gigerwald with 147 meter high dam and the former colony of walser St. Martin.

Places of interest

  • Drachenloch - highest prehistorical place of discovery
  • Drachenloch museum
  • Walser colony St. Martin
  • Walser house on the Alp Ebni
  • Nature protection area Calfeisental and hunting ban area Graue Hörner
  • Glarner Hauptüberschiebung (geological); Candidate of UNESCO-World natural heritage
  • Silver mine Gnapperkopf


Valens (920 metres above sea level) inklusive the hamlets Balen and Gassaura has circa 400 inhabitants. This village could be described as a sun terrace and has preserved its natural character.

The clinic Valens, which is specialised in rheumatology, neurology and orthopaedics, is the most important employer. The treatments are supported by therapies with the curative water of the hot spring. The bath is also accessible for the public.


Vasön counts about 100 inhabitants and lies on 920 metres above sea level. Agriculture and forestry are really important in this small village with a strong cultural sense. Several hiking tours start in Vasön.

External links

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