Headwater - Classic Swiss Alps Self-Guided Walk

8 days
from
$1,979 USD
incl. taxes
View Trips
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 2 reviews >
Moderate
Learn more
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 and travel pass for cable cars, funiculars, gondolas and local buses

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
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 218.0km/11.0miles
Day 319.0km/12.0miles
Day 415.0km/9.0miles
Day 517.0km/11.0miles
Day 620.0km/12.0miles
Day 716.0km/10.0miles

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

Kandersteg
to
Kandersteg
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Kandersteg

    You arrive in time to settle in and perhaps enjoy an aperitif before dinner.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Allenalp

    It's a gentle start today with a spectacular cable car ride (included) to ascend to the Allmenalp (1,725m), 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 3,000m in close proximity, and occasionally eagles frequent the adjoining peaks.

    Standard hotel.

    Optional shorter walk: 3.5hrs, distance 11km/7mi

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    The Gasterntal and the Klus Gorge

    This is a day full of thrilling experiences, starting with an exciting 20-minute minibus ride (included) 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 on the right, you follow the spectacular Klus Gorge where glacial meltwater rushes down over thundering waterfalls.

    Standard hotel

    Optional shorter walk: 3.5hrs, distance 13km/8mi

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Oeschinensee

    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 gondola (included), you climb to the viewpoint at Heuberg. Nothing can prepare you 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.

    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Blausee and the Nordrampe

    A gentle, peaceful route takes you along the bottom of the upper Kandertal Valley to the world-famous Blausee - Blue Lake where you join a fabulous walking trail following the impressive Nordrampe railway as it makes its way through tunnels along the side of the mountain.

    Standard hotel

    Shorter options available

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Daubensee and Gemmi Pass

    The Sunnbuel cable car (included) whisks you up to nearly 2000m, from where you climb to a fantastic ridge walk along the Uschinengrat (2200m). If you're lucky, you'll spot wild deer on the upper slopes. You might fancy lunch at the renowned Schwarenbach Hotel, where Lenin and Picasso have signed the visitors' book. It's then on past 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.

    Standard hotel

    Optional shorter walk: 4.5hrs, distance 15km/9.5mi

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    The Sudrampe

    Today starts with a 25 minute rail ride (payable locally) through the mountains up to the village of Hohtenn where your route takes you high above the Rhone Valley, and through a landscape of gorges, plunging waterfalls and small colourful villages hemmed in by vineyards on the edge of this fertile valley.

    Standard hotel

    Optional shorter walk: 4hrs, distance 10km/6.5mi

    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:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
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:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
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

Trips you might also like