CLASSIC SWISS ALPS WALK - DAY BY DAY
Hotel Alfa Soleil ***, Kandersteg
The Hotel Alfa Soleil is a traditional, cozy and family run hotel on the edge of the village (only 5 minutes walk from the centre) with a wonderful view over fields to the mountains behind. There are 35 rooms on three floors, all rooms are en-suite and have a television and telephone and hairdryer. For the evenings, the hotel has an English-style pub with a pool table and darts, which is also open to the general public. There is also a large lounge for residents with an open fire where you can relax for a quiet chat or with a book, or to play one of the hotel's board games.
Further details on the hotel website.
Day 1Â Â Arrive in Kandersteg
You arrive in time to settle in and perhaps enjoy an aperitif before dinner.(Staying at Hotel Alfa Soleil for 7 nights on Half Board)
Day 2Â Â Blausee (Blue Lake)Â 10km/6.5mi/3hr
A gentle walk to start your week, this varied and peaceful route takes you along the bottom of the upper Kandertal Valley to the world-famous Blausee - Blue Lake (reduction on the excursion with your guest card). Here you can wander through the woods and around the little turquoise lake before returning to your hotel for dinner in Nico's restaurant.
Day 3Â The Gasterntal and Kanderfirn GlacierÂ 13km/8mi/5hr
This is a day full of thrilling experiences, starting with an exciting 20-minuteÂ minibus ride along a narrow road literallyÂ carved out of the rock wall. The Gasterntal is Kandersteg's 'hidden valley', dozens of snow-fed waterfalls thundering down the sheer rock faces carved out by a gigantic glaciers 10,000 years ago. From this romantic nature reserve, and with the mighty rock walls of the Tatlishorn and Atels towering up on the right, you meander through woods and open meadows: look out for lady slippers, fire lilies and more than 25 varieties of orchid!
Day 4Â OeschinenseeÂ 15km/9.5mi/5hr
Widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Bernese Oberland, Oeschinensee is, in our view, the most beautiful Alpine lake in Switzerland. After a short ride up on the gondola (included), you climb to the viewpoint at Heuberg: nothing can prepare you for the cobalt blue of the water surrounded by the razor-edged peaks of the Doldenhorn (3638m), toweringÂ 2000m above it, and striped by dainty waterfalls trickling down from the Fruden glacier .
Day 5Â AllmenalpÂ 11km/7mi/3.5hr or 16km/10mi/5hr
A gentle start today with a spectacular cable car ride (included) to ascend to the Allmenalp (1725m), a colorful meadow brimming with rural mountain charm. Stunning views across the valley to the Oeschinensee with its magnificent turquoise-colored waters and towering cliffs adorned with waterfalls. From the summit the 360 view is nothing less than spectacular, with 12 mountain peaks above 3000m in close proximity, and occasionally eagles frequent the adjoining peaks.
Day 6Â Daubensee and the Gemmi PassÂ 15km/9.5mi/4.5hr or 20km/12.5mi/6hr
The Sunnbuel cable car (included) whisks you up to nearly 2,000m, from where you climb to a fantastic ridge walk along the Uschinengrat (2200m). If you're lucky, you'll spot wild deer on the upper slopes. You might fancy lunch at the renowned Schwarenbach Hotel, where Lenin and Picasso have signed the visitors' book. On past the Daubensee (sometimes still partially frozen) to the famous high Gemmi Pass (2322m), a major trans alpine route first used by the Celts. The extraordinary panorama of the Valais Alps to the south includes the Matterhorn (4478m) and Monte Rosa on the Italian border .
Day 7Â The Sudrampe RampeÂ 10km/6.5mi/4hr or 16km/10mi/5.5hr
Today starts with a 25 minute rail ride (pay locally)Â through the mountains up to the village of Hohtenn where your route takes you high above the Rhone Valley, and through a landscape of gorges, plunging waterfalls and small colorful villages hemmed in by vineyards on the edge of this fertileÂ valley.
Day 8Â Leave Kandersteg
The walking is of moderate difficulty and includes mountain walking on good (though sometimes narrow) paths with occasional steepish climbs.
Note: Some gondolas/cable cars do not operate in early/late season when alternative walks will be proposed.