Classic Swiss Alps Self-Guided Walk

8 days
from
£1,439
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4.5 / 5 from 2 reviews
Walking & Trekking
Suitable for:
Age 8+
Activity level:
Moderate
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
W07AF
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
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

  • 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

Key information

  • 7 nights at Hotel Alfa Soleil
  • 6 days walking; averaging 5 hours per day
  • Altitude maximum 2322m, average 1100m
  • Countries visited: Switzerland

What's included

  •  All breakfasts and dinners plus 6 picnic lunches
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Kandersteg guest card (for discounts at local sites and attractions)
  • Regional travel pass for local buses and cable cars
  • Free entry to the Blausee (Blue Lake) Nature Park

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
  • Transfers (if booking a land only package)
Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for tailor made trips:
020 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.

6

Days of Walking & Trekking
Terrain:

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

Day by day breakdown
Day 211.0km/7.0miles
Day 313.0km/8.0miles
Day 415.0km/9.0miles
Day 517.0km/11.0miles
Day 615.0km/9.5miles
Day 710.0km/6.5miles

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

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Kandersteg

    Arrive at the 3 star Hotel Alfa Soleil, well known locally for its excellent cuisine and enjoy a welcome drink before dinner which is included all week along with picnics or light restaurant lunches. Below is a suggested itinerary for the week but you are free to pick and choose when and where you walk each day.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Allenalp

    This easy-going walk to start your week 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    The Gasterntal and the Klus Gorge

    This super walk begins 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Oeschinensee

    Widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Bernese Oberland, Oeschinensee is one of the most beautiful Alpine lakes in Switzerland. After a short ride up on the gondola lift (included), follow a marvellous mountain path up to the Heuberg Viewpoint and picnic spot. The cobalt blue water of the lake, surrounded by the snow-capped, razor-edged peaks of the Doldenhorn (3,638m) and the Bluemlisalphorn (3,663m) towering 2,000m above, will be a lasting memory. Call in at the mountain chalets at Obberbargli and Underbargli for refreshments and soak up this unforgettable scenery as bell-toting cows munch at the grass in the pastures below, while dainty waterfalls trickle down from the Frunden Glacier.

    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 (entry included with short boat ride). 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Daubensee and Gemmi Pass

    The Sunnbuel cable car (included) whisks you up to nearly 2,000m to begin today's walk. Enjoy refreshments at the renowned Schwarenbach Hotel, where Lenin and Picasso have signed the visitors' book. It's then on to the Daubensee and 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 Weisshorn (4,506m) and the Matterhorn (4,478m).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    The Sudrampe

    Today starts with a 25-minute train ride (payable locally) through the Lotschberg mountain rail tunnel (14km long) to Hohtenn. The walk takes you high above a youthful River Rhone, through a landscape of gorges and hidden side valleys - and small hillside villages boasting traditional wooden chalets built on the upper edges of this fertile, vineyard-adorned valley. You follow part of the Lotschberger-Sudrampe railway trail - superb railway engineering, viaducts, tunnels and bridges - but you don't need to be a train buff to enjoy this great little hike.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    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: 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. NB: Some gondolas/cable cars do not operate in early/late season when alternative walks will be proposed.

Call for general departures:
01606 720003
Call for tailor made trips:
020 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:
01606 720003
Call for tailor made trips:
020 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.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2018
    Katie Woodson

    Recommend

    I was a bit hesitant to take a self guided tour, but I am glad I did. The hotel staff was great and the fact that food was included with the package made it a fantastic affordable going abroad trip. The trails are well marked and the areas are beautiful. The train ride from Zurich to Kandersteg is actually 2.5 hours but the scenery on the route is amazing. If you like the outdoors and hiking this is the package for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nature! Living in the city the fresh air and green felt good.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Nandita Nelson

    Alpine adventure with gourmet delights

    A wonderful weeks walking in the Swiss Alps, azure lakes nestled amidst towering ice-capped crags and gourmet dining. Even with mixed weather a wonderful getaway.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first glimpse of the sparking cobalt blue Oeschinensee lake in the sunshine, with the toerung cliffs around with waterfalls cascading down. The trains running unfailingly and strictly on time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walks on the Headwater trip notes were not necessarily the most inspiring. They suggest Blausee on Day 1. This is a gravel track that farmers use there and back, not challenging, and a waste of a sunny day. Blausee itself was VERY touristy, coaches arrive. Worth seeing the lake and trout farm, but save this one for a rainy day as we did. The Klus Gorge walk can be done as a half day activity by going to the bottom of the Sunnbuel cable car on the 241 bus from Kandersteg (free with the Wanderpass you are issued), cross the bridge, walk up to Waldhaus and back. Don't bother with the other section..again gravel track. This means you can use the voucher for the trip to Selden to do the Kanderfirn glacier walk which is MUCH nicer. Otherwise it is 13CHF each way on the bus to Selden. Other good walks not mentioned are from Oeschinensee to Freundenhutte (other side of the lake from Heuberg). This has an interesting path, crossing several waterfalls (bridges provided) and slabs of rock. We discovered it on the day we were leaving, and only managed half of it, as we had to leg it to Zurich airport. Also another in the Alpbach region up to First was highly rated by someone in our group, though we did not have time to try it. The Sudarampe walk was deemed only OK by those who did it, we did not.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The wine at the hotel was ridiculously expensive. we stuck to the house wine, which was actually quite good. The food was superb---varied, fresh and utterly delicious. Try the pool, the unexpected jacuzzi style jets at one end were great for tired muscles.

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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