Headwater - Self-Guided Walking in Kandersteg

6 days
from
1'169 CHF
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Trip code: 
W05AF
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
1–6
Min age:
8

Breathtaking natural beauty: snow-capped peaks, emerald-green slopes, amazing turquoise lakes, meadows thick with flowers

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.

Highlights

  • Breathtaking natural beauty: snow-capped peaks, emerald-green slopes, amazing turquoise lakes, meadows thick with flowers
  • A walker's paradise with thousands of kms of well-marked trails, stunning Alpine flowers, rare birds of prey
  • Friendly, family-run hotel with heated indoor pool, sauna and excellent cuisine
  • Based on our popular 7 night, Classic Swiss Alps Walk

Key information

  • 5 nights at Hotel Alfa Soleil
  • 4 days walking; averaging 5 hours per day
  • Altitude maximum 2322m, average 1100m

What's included

 

  • All breakfasts and dinners plus 4 picnic lunches
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Kandersteg guest card and travel pass for cable cars, funiculars, gondolas and local buses

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

4

Days of Walking & Trekking
Terrain:

Mountain walking on good (though sometimes narrow) paths with occasional steepish climbs.

Day by day breakdown
Day 218.0km/11.0miles
Day 319.0km/12.0miles
Day 415.0km/9.5miles
Day 517.0km/11.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Kandersteg
to
Kandersteg
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Kandersteg

    You arrive in time to settle in and perhaps enjoy an aperitif before dinner. Staying at Hotel Alfa Soleil.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    The Allmenalp and the Alpbach

    This easy-going walk begins with a spectacular cable car ride (included) up to the Allmenalp, a colourful meadow brimming with rural mountain charm. There are stunning views across the valley to towering cliffs, snow-capped peaks and glaciers. Continue into the pastures of the Alpbach, sheltered by a colossal mountain bowl where marmots 'cohabit' with farmers and their cattle. An afternoon descent of the Alpbach Gorge takes you down to the valley floor for a relaxed stroll along the River Kander to the hotel. Staying at Hotel Alfa Soleil.

    Optional shorter walk: 3.5 hrs, distance 11km/7mi

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    The Gasterntal and Klus Gorge

    You begin the day with an exhilarating 20-minute minibus ride (fare included) along a narrow road carved out of the rock wall. The UNESCO-recognised Gasterntal is Kandersteg's 'hidden valley', with snow-fed waterfalls splashing down sheer cliff faces. After an optional, loop-extension further up the valley, you meander down the River Kander, through woods and open meadows to the Waldhaus Nature Reserve - look out for lady slippers, fire lilies and more than 25 varieties of orchid. With the mighty rock walls of the Balmhorn, Tatlishore and the Atels towering high, follow the spectacular Klus Gorge where glacial meltwater rushes down over thunderous waterfalls. Staying at Hotel Alfa Soleil.

    Optional shorter walk: 3.5hrs, distance 13km/8mi

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Oeschinensee

    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), towering 2000m above it, and striped by dainty waterfalls trickling down from the Frunden glacier. Staying at Hotel Alfa Soleil.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Blausee and the Nordrampe

    A gentle hour's stroll takes you down to the Natural Park of Blausee - the Blue Lake (free entry with pass provided). Here you can wander through verdant woodland around the little lake, visit the organic trout farm and enjoy a drink on the lake terrace. Cross the valley at Kandergrund and pick up the Nordrampe Bahnwanderweg - a fabulous walking trail that in part follows the impressive railway as it makes huge loops and swirls through tunnels along the side of the mountain. Enjoy panoramic picnic spots and great views up and down the valley as you stroll past the evocative ruins of the Felsenburg tower. Hillside pastures and shady forest then leads you back to your hotel. Staying at Hotel Alfa Soleil.

    Optional shorter walks available.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Leave Kandersteg

    If pre-arranged, return to Zurich via Kandersteg rail.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Switzerland

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Switzerland

There are no specific health risks.

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 colourful salads. Typical desserts include Caramel-Birne mit Rum-Sabayon (caramelised pear with a rum sabayon) and Aprikosen-Symphonie (apricot gateau).

Weather

June through to August have the nicest weather, pleasant for walking. On average July is the warmest month. The rainy season falls between May and September, so rain is expected, remember to take your waterproofs. A word of caution - Switzerland can be hot in high season and so serious walking should be started early - remember your sun hat and suncream and take plenty of water with you. Our minimum recommendation is 1.5 litres per person per day. Please refer to the 'All you need to know guide’.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (moderate)
Average daily distance: 15km (9.3 miles), 5hrs.
No. of days walking: 4
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. NB: Some gondolas/cable cars do not operate in early/late season when alternative walks will be proposed.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotel Alfa Soleil

On arrival at the 3-star 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.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration. For a solo traveller there is an additional charge to cover transfer costs.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 056 631 86 64