Trails of the Swiss Alps
Discover the western end of the Bernese Oberland range
Reviews 2 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
Located in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, where the great arc of the Alps culminates in some of its highest and most spectacular peaks, Kandersteg is a walker’s paradise. This area epitomises the ‘chocolate-box’ Alps: lush green meadows bright with wildflowers, against a backdrop of rugged, wild mountains, topped with glistening glaciers. We stay at the charming Hotel Alfa Soleil, owned by the Seiler family, and discover the best of the region offers, including towering cliffs, a hidden valley headed by a glacier, a sheer gorge carved out by glacial meltwaters and more.
* All breakfasts, 5 packed lunches and 6 dinners
* 7 nights 3-star Hotel Alfa Soleil, all rooms en suite
* All transport (by train, cable car and bus) and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
- Single Accommodation (available on request – limited availability, inquire for supplement)
- Centre based in the pretty village of Kandersteg
- Classic Swiss landscapes
- Views of the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and Matterhorn
- Waterfalls and wildflowers (best in early spring/summer)
Your holiday begins at the Alfa Soleil hotel in Kandersteg. You should aim to arrive late morning to early afternoon for a pre-dinner briefing from your walking leader.
Walk along the Kandertal Valley to the world famous Blausee Lake.
A gentle walk to start our week, this varied and peaceful route takes us along the bottom of the upper Kandertal Valley to the world-famous Blausee – Blue lake. Lunch can be taken at the lake, followed by an optional swim. The afternoon is free to enjoy the hotel’s facilities and the wonderful views of the valley.
Ride on the Sunnbüel cable car to the start of the walk. Cross the cantonal border into the Valais; hike to the northern end of the Daubensee.
In the morning we take ride on the Sunnbüel cable car to the start of the walk. We then cross the cantonal border into the Valais and walk to the Schwarenbach Hotel, where even Lenin and Picasso have signed the visitors’ book! From here we walk to the northern end of the Daubensee (sometimes still partially frozen) to the famous high Gemmi Pass (2322m), a major transalpine 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.
Short ride on the Oeschinensee cable car followed by a circular walk to the Heuberg viewpoint.
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 cable car, we climb to the viewpoint at Heuberg. Nothing can prepare us for the cobalt blue of the water surrounded by the razor-edged peaks of the Doldenhorn (3638m), towering 2000m above it, and striped by dainty waterfalls trickling down from the Frunden glacier.
Optional activities include rowing on the Oeschinensee or a visit to the lakes near Interlaken.
Ride on the Allmenalp cable car followed by a walk along the paths into the Ueschinen valley; descend to Kandersteg.
It’s a gentle start today with a spectacular cable car ride to ascend to the Allmenalp (1725m), 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 3000m in close proximity, and occasionally eagles frequent the adjoining peaks.
Walk through the Gasterntal Valley to the Kanderfirn Glacier; return with local bus.
This is a day full of thrilling experiences, starting with an exciting 20 minute minibus ride 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 up on the right, we meander through woods and open meadows; look out for lady slippers, fire lilies and more than 25 varieties of orchid before we return to the hotel with a local bus.
End Kandersteg. Following breakfast we say our goodbyes and take our train to the airport.
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. It has been owned by the same family for three generations. All rooms are en suite and have a television, telephone, hairdryer and wifi.
For the evenings, the hotel has a cosy lounge bar with a pool table which is open to both hotel guests and the general public. There is also a large lounge area for residents with an open fire, gym, indoor pool, Jetstream and soft-jacuzzi and sauna.
Single rooms are available for a supplement – subject to availability.
All breakfasts, 5 packed lunches and 6 dinners included. For dinner, we enjoy regional dishes.
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)
The walks on this trip are graded moderate and they include mountain walking on good (though sometimes narrow) paths with occasional steepish climbs. Some walks will get your pulse racing but we will also have plenty of time to rest. Although the walks are not technically challenging, you do need to be steady on your feet. All walks take between 4 and 6 hours including lunch stops and require a moderate level of fitness.