Self-Guided Walking in Kandersteg Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
Switzerland
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W05AF
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

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

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

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

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

Trip 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

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.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. The hotelier is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency telephone number. In an emergency, the hotelier is sometimes able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

 

 

Adult min age:
17
Child min age:
8
Child max age:
16
Min group size:
1
Max group size:
6

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Kandersteg
End City:
Kandersteg

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • 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 picnic 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

    The Allmenalp and the Alpbach

    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
    Distance covered: 11 km / 7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • Day 3

    The Gasterntal and 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
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • 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
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9.5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • 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
    Distance covered: 17 km / 11 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5.5
  • Day 6

    Leave Kandersteg

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotel Alfa Soleil

Alfa Soleil Hotel, Kandersteg room

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. The restaurant is managed by owner/chef Nico Seiler, has an excellent reputation, and is rated highly by our customers so you will enjoy fine dining whilst staying here. 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.

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 £75.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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).

Transportation

Buses, trains and gondolas

Public transport in this area is frequent and reliable and the route notes advise on times and costs. It’s a good idea to obtain the Kandersteg Summer information booklet from the hotel or the tourist office. This gives the timetables of the cable cars and gondolas, the village bus and the bus to the Gasterntal valley.

Your regional travel pass will be supplied by the hotel on arrival and you should carry it with you as it entitles you to free travel on most of the regions cable cars, funiculars, gondolas and local buses.

NB In Switzerland 'Sfr’ and 'CHF’ are both used as abbreviations for the Swiss franc. You may need to walk to the station to catch a train for the Südrampe walk or to catch the bus to the Gasterntal valley or to go to INTERLAKEN. There are two routes to the station. If you want to buy any additional picnic supplies, turn right out of the hotel and walk up the main road. You pass a baker’s shop and a mini-supermarket. The Primo supermarket, which is open 7 days a week, is on the other side of the road after 500m. Shortly after the Primo turn right down Bahnhofstrasse to arrive at the station. For the alternative route turn left out of the hotel, walk to the first corner, turn left signed 'Blausee’ and continue to the river. Cross the bridge, turn left and continue to the station.

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 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’.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

The tour only prices for this holiday include our standard transfers. If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge). Transfers included from Kandersteg train station at 16:41, and back to Kandersteg train station at 10:00.

The air-rail prices for this holiday include our standard travel arrangements: British Airways Heathrow to Zurich 09:25/12:20, then rail from Zurich airport to Kandersteg (via Bern) 14:13/16:41 (transfer to hotel, 5 mins, provided). Return: Kandersteg to Zurich airport (via Bern) 10:13/12:50, then air Zurich to Heathrow 15:45/16:40.

In addition, alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. We can also offer the opportunity to upgrade to a superior service (business/club/first class) with most of our featured airlines. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf (£30 admin fee per person applies). 

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.

Location start:
Kandersteg
Location end:
Kandersteg

What to Take

Essential Equipment

We always recommend walking boots – in particular we advise against walking sandals as in some places it is loose and stony underfoot and there may be sharp stones and tree roots sticking up. It is a good idea to take a telescopic walking pole or poles which can be collapsed and fastened to the outside of a rucksack when not needed. A pair of walking poles is particularly useful on descents and/or at the end of a long day when they can be used to take the strain off your knees. Also, we find it convenient to carry maps and notes in a transparent waterproof map holder which hangs round the neck or over the shoulder.

Water bottle

Daypack

Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses

Warm jumper

Waterproofs

Optional Equipment

Walking poles

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.

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 CET (GMT +01:00)

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). 

230 Volts AC, standard European adapter required.

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 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, however you will need extra if you intend to buy wine at the table each evening or eat out for lunch on any of the walking days.

Responsible Tourism

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… 

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.