Walking holiday in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Updated: Mar 6, 2020
Richard Hammond describes this 7-day self-guided, hotel-to-hotel moderate to challenging walking holiday that takes in some of Switzerland’s most stunning alpine scenery. This trip is reachable by train from the UK.
In a nutshell:
A hotel-to-hotel walking holiday that takes in the breathtaking alpine vistas of Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region. Walk from valley to valley enjoying its magnificent mountains, unspoilt nature and glistening lakes. Your luggage will be transported for you, allowing you to enjoy the journey. Three of the four hotels offer an indoor pool, so you can unwind at the end of the day.
Price: £1,020 per person (including car hire, but not train travel or transfers)
What's included: 7 nights at four selected 3-star hotels; route notes and maps; 7 breakfasts; 7 dinners; luggage transported (1 bag per person).
Departures: June, July, August, September, October
Nearest station to start of trip: Kandersteg
Nearest station to end of trip: Gstaad
How to travel by train to Kandersteg: It is possibly to travel by train from London to Kandersteg though it does require stopping off overnight in Paris. Take the Eurostar to Paris then change stations in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon for the connecting train to Lausanne where connect with a train to Brig for the final 45-minute journey to Kandersteg. The total journey time from London to Kandersteg is just over 17 hours. The transfer in Paris can take 20-30 minutes on the Paris metro (9 stops), but we recommend you leave at least 50 minutes for the entire transfer (see our guide to How to transfer between train stations across Paris) depending on where you stay overnight. For more details on the train journey from London to Kandersteg, including some suggestions for where to stay near the train stations if you want to break up the journey and spend more time in Paris, see our flight-free journey planner: Train from London to Lausanne.
Optional extra: 2 nights in Zürich City (from £248pp); 2 nights in Switzerland’s medieval capital, Bern (from £190pp).
What's the trip like:
Days 1 and 2 are spent in Kandersteg with a choice of walking routes (7km – 22km) that traverse the beautiful mountains that surround it.
Oeschinensee (grade 2 option: 7km, 2hrs; ascent 40m/descent 550m – or– 12km, 4.5hrs; ascent 530m/descent 1000m) takes in superb views over Lake Oeschinen. Gasterntal (grade 2 option: 22km, 6.5hrs; ascent/descent 700m – or– grade 3 option: 11km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 900m) explore the glacial Gastern Valley. Reach the start by bus, and if you opt to take the stop a little farther into the valley you will reach the blue ice of the Kanderfirn Glacier. Sherlock Holmes fans may decide to follow in his footsteps and tackle the Gemmi Pass, which reaches an altitude of 2,346m (grade 3: 20km, 6.5hrs; ascent/descent 900m – or – shorter option: 9km, 3hrs).
On Day 3 you have the choice of: Kandersteg to Adelboden via Bunderchrinde Pass (grade 3 option: 18km, 6.5hrs; ascent 1550m/descent 1400, which allows a choice of routes upon leaving Kandersteg – the most challenging (but rewarding) of which follows a high-level path up to and over the rocky Bunderchrinde Pass (2,000m). Or you can choose the easier Kandersteg to Adelboden via Blausee route (grade 2 option: 15km, 5hrs), passing the Blausee (Blue Lake). Both routes finish in Adelboden, where you will spend one night at the traditional Hotel Adler.
On Day 4 you will walk from Adelboden to Lenk (14km, 7hrs; ascent 760m/descent 1050m) passing two gorges, the summit of Sillerenbüel (1,972m), the Hahnenmoos Pass and the Simmen Valley before reaching the village of Lenk where you spend the night at the Hotel Krone. There is also the option of a cable car and bus.
On Day 5 you will take a scenic walk to Lauenen (15.5km, 6hrs; ascent 980m/descent 800m), heading up the steep, wooded Wallbach Gorge and passing a waterfall before gradually ascending the flanks of the Ronewald to cross the Trüttlisberg Pass at 2,038m. Here you may be able to spot chamois and marmots before descending to the pretty Lauenental Valley where you will stay in Lauenen for two nights at the Hotel Alpenland.
For your final walk, take a circular route (21km, 7hrs; ascent/descent 850m) to the bustling resort of Gstaad before ascending to the Höhi Wispile ridge to look back at the mountains you have walked over the last week before retiring back to Lauenen where your journey ends.
With a number of routes to choose from, the Oberland is a walkers dream, revealing views of rolling green hills, flower-filled meadows, hidden villages, sheltered valleys and snow-capped peaks.
How to enquire/book this holiday:
This holiday is provided by Inntravel, one of the founding tour operator members of Green Traveller. One of the great things about this holiday is its flexibility: you have a choice of start/end dates and you can add additional nights on to the itinerary. If you'd like to know more about this holiday, please see more details on the relevant page given below and if you'd like to book it, do contact them directly or complete their booking form and a member of their team will be in touch with you: