Switzerland is a fantastic country for walking breaks, long or short. The public transport system is so good that it is possible to be based almost anywhere using a combination of trains, buses and in some cases boats and lifts.
This series is intended to highlight some of the towns and villages we have found to make ideal bases. Some of these are less known than the more popular destinations, and can therefore be less crowded. We have based the selection on the following criteria:
- Convenient access by public transport – no car required
- Great places to stay and eat
- Excellent walking that is easily accessible either direct from your accommodation or by using local transport services such as buses and lifts
- Stunning surroundings (not difficult in Switzerland!)
For more information on travel passes in Switzerland, please see our page of Recommended Resources.
Kandersteg, outside the main holiday season, is a relatively peaceful village in the Bernese Oberland. It is surrounded by an extensive network of walking trails and lifts which provide access to lakes, valleys and gorges, with stunning mountain peaks all around.
Kandersteg has plenty of comfortable hotels, restaurants and shops. From here it is easy to arrange day trips to Thun, Bern, Interlaken or Zermatt. It therefore makes an ideal base for a short walking break, or for a longer stay.
Getting to Kandersteg
Kandersteg is best reached by train (see Voyages-sncf to check routes, timetables and tickets if you are coming from the UK or Europe, Rail Europe to check routes, timetables and tickets from the US or Canada, or Interrail for a range of passes including multi-country passes). From Zurich and Zurich airport there are a few direct trains. Coming from the south (Geneva or Zermatt), get a train to Brig, and then change to a train that takes you to Kandersteg via the Lotschberg Tunnel.
Where to Stay
Two excellent hotels with great restaurants are the Swiss Quality Hotel Bernerhof and the Chalet Hotel Adler (see photos). For other choices, including hotels, guesthouses and apartments, try using the booking.com search box.
For ideas for walks around Kandersteg I highly recommend Walking Easy in the Swiss and Austrian Alps by Chet Lipton. This book has some excellent suggestions with easy-to-follow directions, and although a little old, the routes have not changed.
Here are some suggestions:
Oeschinensee is a very beautiful lake which can be reached by gondolas from Kandersteg.
You can wander on trails on either side of the lake or rent a boat, and there is a hotel and restaurant.
The views around the lake are spectacular, even on a dull and misty day.
After spending time at the lake you can follow footpath signs back to Kandersteg, either on the road or on the wanderweg.
Kander Gorge and Waterfalls
From the Sunnbuel cable car base station on the outskirts of Kandersteg, you can walk up through woods to the impressive Kander gorge and waterfalls.
It is possible to walk further into the beautiful Gasterntal. Or if you wish to you can catch the Gasterntal bus to Selden (which must be pre-booked) and walk back through the gorge to Kandersteg from there.
Blausee, the Blue Lake, really is blue! There is a lovely park and a trout fishery here, and you can have a boat trip on the lake. There is also a hotel with a good restaurant if you wish to have lunch – see Hotel Blausee.
To walk to Blausee follow the signs from Kandersteg railway station, following the river.
When you leave the park you can return the same way, or on the Wanderweg Kandergrund by following signs to Kandergrund. You pick up a trail that takes you into the forest with great views, before descending to the little used Kandergrund Station. On reaching the station follow a signed, zig-zagged path to Kandergrund bus stop where you can get a bus back to Kandersteg.
These are only a few of the many possibilities for walks around Kandersteg. There are several other lifts which can be used, as well as buses and trains. I can’t wait to return!