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Classic Swiss Alps Walk

from $1,019.00

Here, in the ‘jewel in the crown’ of classic Switzerland, you’ll find many of the highest peaks – often over 4000m, the deepest valleys, the tallest waterfalls, the oldest glaciers and the most beautiful mountain lakes in the country.

  • Reviews 70 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
All about the Classic Swiss Alps Walk.

Kandersteg is in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, where the great arc of the Alps culminates in some of its highest and most spectacular peaks. This area epitomises the ‘chocolate-box’ Alps: lush green meadows bright with wildflowers, against a backdrop of rugged, wild mountains, topped with glistening glaciers.
A week’s stay here uncovers the very best of the region: a huge turquoise lake enclosed by towering cliffs, a hidden valley headed by a glacier, a sheer gorge carved out by glacial meltwaters, an Alpine pass that has been used since Celtic times and an abundance of wildflowers. Did we mention the spectacular views? The impressive white peaks of the 3970m Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and Matterhorn dominate the skyline with a plethora of other summits and glaciers close at hand. Amazingly, all of this is accessible on well-defined paths directly from the hotel (with excellent signposting) or after a short bus or gondola ride.
On arrival at the *** Hotel Alfa Soleil, your hosts, the charming Seiler family, will provide you with a Regional Travel Pass giving you unlimited use of cable cars and the regional bus service. They’ll also ensure you receive a full introduction to the area, including insider tips on where to spot the best alpine flowers!
When you feel like a rest from walking, there’s an elegant lounge, swimming pool, sauna, solarium and gym to keep you entertained. In the evening you can relax and enjoy regional dishes and fine wines in Nico’s restaurant.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 7 nights at Hotel Alfa Soleil
  • All breakfasts and dinners plus 6 picnic lunches
  • Kandersteg guest card and travel pass for cable cars, funiculars, gondolas and local buses
  • Route note directions and maps
  • Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (at designated place and time)
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Have spectacular views of the region: Eiger, Jungfrau, Matterhorn, Monch
  • Hike along well-marked trails amongst stunning Alpine flowers
  • Relax in a friendly, family-run hotel with heated indoor pool, sauna and excellent cuisine
  1. Day 1 Day 1 - 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)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 - Allenalp 11km/7mi/3.5hr or 18km/11mi/5.5hr

    It’s a gentle start today with a spectacular cable car ride (included) to ascend to the Allmenalp (1,725m), a colourful meadow brimming with rural mountain charm. There are stunning views across the valley to the Oeschinensee with its magnificent turquoise-coloured waters and towering cliffs adorned with waterfalls. From the summit the 360 view is nothing less than spectacular, with 12 mountain peaks above 3,000m in close proximity, and occasionally eagles frequent the adjoining peaks.

  3. Day 3 Day 3 - The Gasterntal and the Klus Gorge 13km/8mi/3.5hr or 19km/12mi/5.5hr

    This is a day full of thrilling experiences, starting with an exciting 20-minute minibus ride (included) along a narrow road literally 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 glacier 10,000 years ago. From this romantic nature reserve, and with the mighty rock walls of the Tatlishorn and Atels towering on the right, you follow the spectacular Klus Gorge where glacial meltwater rushes down over thundering waterfalls.

  4. Day 4 Day 4 - Oeschinensee 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 (3,638m), towering 2,000m above it, and striped by dainty waterfalls trickling down from the Frunden glacier.

  5. Day 5 Day 5 - Blausee and the Nordrampe 17km/11mi/5.5hr (shorter options available)

    A gentle, peaceful route takes you along the bottom of the upper Kandertal Valley to the world-famous Blausee – Blue Lake where you join a fabulous walking trail following the impressive Nordrampe railway as it makes its way through tunnels along the side of the mountain.

  6. Day 6 Day 6 - Daubensee and Gemmi Pass 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 (2,200m). 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. It’s then on past the Daubensee (sometimes still partially frozen) to the famous high Gemmi Pass (2,322m), a major transalpine route first used by the Celts. The extraordinary panorama of the Valais Alps to the south includes the Matterhorn (4,478m) and Monte Rosa on the Italian border.

  7. Day 7 Day 7 - The Sudrampe 10km/6.5mi/4hr or 16km/10mi/5.5hr

    Today starts with a 25-minute rail ride (payable locally) 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 colourful villages hemmed in by vineyards on the edge of this fertile valley.

  8. Day 8 Day 8 - Leave Kandersteg
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Where you stay
Hotel Alfa Soleil
The Hotel Alfa Soleil is a traditional, cosy 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, telephone and hairdryer. For the evenings, the hotel has a cosy lounge bar with a pool table and music desk which is open to both hotel guests and the general public. There is also a large lounge area 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.
Eating and Drinking

All meals are included throughout the trip, including picnic lunches. For dinner enjoy regional dishes and fine wines in Nico’s restaurant.

At the beginning of each set of notes we advise on the lunch situation and suggest good picnic spots. You can obtain supplies daily from the hotel’s picnic buffet or you can return to the hotel for a light lunch. We suggest you to carry 1-5 litres water per person, there are often benches for resting and admiring the views. There are also mountain restaurants with sun-trap terraces.

With such a mixture of language and tradition co-existing in such a small country, it is no wonder that there are so many regional dishes. In the Bernese Oberland, Austrian and German influences predominate; gastronomic local delicacies include geschnetzeltes Kalbsfleisch (veal in a rich cream sauce), Kandersteger Bratwurst au Mad re-Jus (roast sausage with a Madeira sauce), Lammbraten gefüllt mit Kraütern (herb roasted lamb) and smoked pork with sauerkraut, and a selection of colorful salads. Typical desserts include Caramel-Birne mit Rum-Sabayon (caramelized pear with a rum sabayon) and Aprikosen-Symphonie (apricot gateau).

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
Average daily distance: 15km (9.3 miles), 5hrs.
No. of days walking: 6
Terrain and route: good (though sometimes narrow) paths with occasional steep climbs

This is a self-guided tour, as such there will be no group or tour leader and you are free to complete the walks at your own pace and in whichever order you choose. Please bear in mind that although this is a self-guided holiday, the atmosphere in the hotel tends to be quite social and they will sometimes seat guests together at breakfast and dinner. We have suggested that 8yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you.

A week’s stay here uncovers the very best of the region: a huge turquoise lake enclosed by towering cliffs, a hidden valley headed by a glacier, a sheer gorge carved out by glacial meltwaters, an Alpine pass that has been used since Celtic times and an abundance of wildflowers. Did we mention the spectacular views? The impressive white peaks of the 3970m Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and Matterhorn dominate the skyline with a plethora of other summits and glaciers close at hand. Amazingly, all of this is accessible on well-defined paths directly from the hotel (with excellent signposting) or after a short bus or gondola ride.

The walking is of moderate difficulty and includes mountain walking on good (though sometimes narrow) paths with occasional steep climbs. Note: Some gondolas/cable cars do not operate in early/late season when alternative walks will be proposed.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 03/09/2018
5/5

Greening

Epic walking holiday in Switzerland, a week of gentle hiking at our own pace with the most superb mountain and lakeside views

coupled with excellent accommodation, service and a la carte food at the Alfa Soleil Hotel in Kandersteg. It was was wonderful.

Reviewed On 12/09/2019
5/5

Mr Lutener

The booking with our requested addition was handled quickly and perfectly. Travel was great with all connections working well. The hotel and staff were great with nothing too much trouble - we had a dietary request that was fully met without having to repeat it having notified Headwater. The routes were easy to follow and the Swiss know how to signpost. Weather was variable but normal for area and time of year but even so we did what we set out to do.

Reviewed On 13/09/2019
4/5

Mr Barlow

Generally good, but confusion at the point of booking as hotel was confirmed, we booked our travel and later we were advised Alfa Soleil was unavailable, so an alternative found. The Hotel Ermitage was very good. However, we were promised pick up on arrival and drop off on departure between the railway station and hotel, but neither were available, so we had a 15 minutes walk with heavy luggage. We attended the briefing meeting at the original hotel (Alfa Soleil) and received everything we needed for the week, with good advice, but there was no further contact with the local rep and our hotel (Ermitage) were not really aware that we were Headwater clients and never asked about our plans. They did ask who was paying the overall bill for our stay on departure, which was embarrassing (we were settling the drinks bill). Overall the holiday was very good, walking excellent, local staff friendly, hotel very nice and Headwater staff at HQ helpful and prompt, but some aspects (as described) did not live up to expectations. We prefer self-guiding, independent holidays, so not a big issue for us, but others may not be so happy. It would not put us off travelling with Headwater again, as it was very enjoyable, but there are areas that should be looked at to prevent repetition.

Reviewed On 05/09/2019
5/5

Mr Bruce

This was a fantastic holiday in beautiful surroundings. The mountain paths were more challenging than those we had experienced in a Dolomites itinerary with Headwater but totally passable with care and a reasonable head for heights; you did need a good level of fitness for the steeper routes but it was never an issue. Although not included in the suggested walks, we climbed to the Doldenhorn Hut which gave spectacular views. The Gasterntal Valley is another essential.

Reviewed On 12/09/2019
4/5

Mr Smith

Kandersteg offers a great deal of scope for a walking holiday and the Hotel Alfa Soleil is well situated for accessing walks in the surrounding area.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
September 22, 2019
Available
$1,019.00
N/A
September 29, 2019
Available
$1,019.00
N/A
October 6, 2019
Available
$1,019.00
N/A