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Berner Oberland Hiking in Kandersteg

The Alps in Switzerland in the Bern Canton.
Kandersteg, a small town in the Bernese Oberland of the Swiss Alps, is a hiking and skiing destination located in the River Kander valley, south west of Interlaken (population: 1200, elevation: 3,852 ft/1,174 m). Kandersteg is not as well known or crowded as other places in the Swiss Alps and is an excellent base for a summer hiking trip. There are hiking trails through the valley, three mountain rides to take you to walks at higher levels and a bus to take you into another, more secluded, valley for hiking.

Where: Kandersteg in canton Bern, in the Bernese Oberland, south of Spiez (near Interlaken).

Tourist Office: Kandersteg Tourist Office
The tourist office has local maps showing the mountain rides and trails. Look for them online or request brochures be mailed to you. Check the Tourist Office website for information about hiking passes. These give discounts on the regular prices of the mountain rides.

When to go: Hiking in the Swiss Alps is best from June to September. Many mountain rides do not run at other times (except in winter for skiing). Wildflowers are at their best in July.

Transportation: You don't need a car in Kandersteg but if you have one, you can drive into the town. The train brings you from Spiez to Kandersteg and buses run in the valley. It is a small valley and you can walk to most places.

Where to stay: Book your vacation rental on the Kandersteg Tourist Office website or with Interhome.

About the Hiking

Mountain rides and buses take you up into the mountains to the hiking areas. There are three mountain rides open in the summer: gondola to Oeschinensee, gondola to Allmenalp and a large gondola to Sunnbuel. Plus a bus to the Gasterntal Valley.

Chairlift: Kandersteg - Oeschinensee
Short chairlift ride to a lake in the mountains above Kandersteg. It is a 20 minute walk from the chairlift to the lake, or walk the whole way (1 hour) and take the chairlift back down. There are more walking trails up there and restaurants on the lake.

Gondola: Kandersteg - Allmenalp
A small gondola that goes up a steep rock face, making the ride a bit frightening, but there is a good view at the top and it is an easy 2 hour walk back to Kandersteg. There are other walks from the top. You could do a 5 hour, 20 minute hike to Adelboden, in the next valley, then take a bus from there to Frutigen, and get the train to Kandersteg.

Gondola: Kandersteg - Sunnbuel (Sun Bowl)
Take a bus, drive or walk (30 minutes) from Kandersteg to the end of the valley to get to this mountain ride. The large gondola takes you up to 1900 meters (good views). From the top of the cable car it is an easy 1 hour hike to a hotel/restaurant (Berghotel Schwarenbach). Continue for another hour to Gemmi Pass where you look down to the town of Leukerbad and out to the Valais Alps. Then either walk back or take the gondola down to Leukerbad and take the train back to Kandersteg.

Bus: Kandersteg - Selden in the Gasterntal Valley
The road to the Gasterntal Valley starts at the end of the Kandersteg valley, at the Kander Gorge. A mini-bus (reservations needed) goes up the narrow mountain road to the village of Selden. If you want to drive get a pass from the tourist office. The road is narrow and cannot accommodate two lanes of traffic, so the times you can drive are restricted. To walk from the start of the mountain road to Selden (on a trail, with parts on the road) takes two hours. There are restaurants in Selden and in a few other spots in the valley. Or walk part of the way to Hotel Waldhaus and then walk back.


The town center.

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