Trails of the Swiss Alps Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Switzerland
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TDU
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

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 with gastronomic food, 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.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights 3-star Hotel Alfa Soleil, all rooms en suite
  • 5 days of summer walking, 1 free day

  • Altitude maximum 2400m, average 1525m
  • Travel by train, cable car and bus

Trip Highlights

  • Centre based in the pretty village of Kandersteg in the Bernese Alps
  • Classic Swiss landscapes
  • Views of the Balmhorn (3,698 m) and the Bluemlisalp (3,663 m) 
  • Waterfalls and wildflowers (best in early spring/summer)

Is This Trip for You?

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.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
15

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Kandersteg

    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.

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Walk along the Kandertal Valley and the Lotschberger trail.

    On our first day of walking we will visit the Kandersteg valley and the famous Lotschberger train line which is an important feature of the area. We wander through woods and paths towards the small village of Kandergrund for lunch before we continue the walk towards Frutigen.

    There is on option to travel back by bus (CHF6) or train (CHF11.20).

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9.4 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    400
    Activity (hours):
    3
  • Day 3

    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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 20 km / 12.5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6
  • Day 4

    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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9.4 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 5

    Free day.

    Optional activities include rowing on the Oeschinensee or a visit to the lakes near Interlaken.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    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. We might even get a chance to stop at a local alpine chalet to have a drink and taste their cheese!

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 7

    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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8.1 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6
  • Day 8

    End Kandersteg.

    End Kandersteg. Following breakfast we say our goodbyes and take our train to the airport.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

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. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £110.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

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

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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 - remember your sun hat and suncream and take plenty of water with you. Our minimum recommendation is 1.5 litres per person per day.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Kandersteg

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Kandersteg in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. The usual, standard check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

We organise independent train transfer from Basel or Geneva to Kandersteg train station via Spiez or Bern (approx. 2.5hours). Train e-tickets will be sent out with the final joining instructions. 

Those who travel independently will need to take the train from the airport to Kandersteg. For train timetable and more information please visit https://www.sbb.ch/en/timetable.html

Upon arrival at Kandersteg the hotel provides free shuttle transfer from the train station to the hotel. It can be ordered by calling +41 33 675 84 84. The address of the hotel is: Hotel Alfa Soleil Äussere Dorfstrasse 99, 3718 Kandersteg, Switzerland 

Location start:
Kandersteg
Location end:
Kandersteg

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Walking boots with good ankle support
  • Water bottle
  • Daypack
  • Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
  • Warm jumper
  • Waterproofs

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles
  • Swimwear

Practical Information

Passport

Switzerland

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Switzerland

No visa required for British passport holders.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry Lyme disease, Tick-Borne Encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

Vaccination

Switzerland

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Switzerland's Timezone:
Europe/Zurich CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Switzerland's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC. Switzerland also has a 3 round pin plug, which includes a grounding pin (type J). 

Money

Switzerland's Currency

The national currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (June 2017) of approximately 1.2 to the GBP,  0.96 to the USD, 0.74 to the CAD, 1.1 to the EUR, 0.73 to the AUD and 0.69 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Swiss Francs in cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

All meals including picnic lunches and dinners are included (apart from the free day), however you will need extra if you intend to buy wine at the table in the evenings. Swiss tourist tax (approximately CHF 28 for the duration of the trip) is payable locally, as well as the local bus or train on day 2 (CHF 6 or CHF 11.20).

 

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the leader at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a reasonable starting point, we suggest a contribution EUR 15-20 per person for the leader.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.