When visiting Switzerland, you really can’t have the full Swiss experience without at least one mountain excursion on your travel itinerary. But with so many gorgeous Alpine peaks to explore, how can you decide which one is right for you?
In my experience, a day at the Oeschinensee is bound to please most travelers. A high mountain lake above the town of Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberlands, the Oeschinensee is a spectacular location to get your Alpine fix. In fact, the region is a UNESCO World Heritage destination – noted for its unique landscapes and easy access. I believe that no matter what kind of traveler you are, you are sure to find this special slice of Swissness unforgettable.
7 Reasons to Add the Oeschinensee to Your Swiss Travel Itinerary
1. The town of Kandersteg is absolutely adorable and easy-to-reach.
Just a one-hour direct train ride away from Bern, Kandersteg is an attainable Alpine destination that doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part. In town, you can choose from dozens of hotels in order to extend your stay in the region. If you have the time to spare, I say do it!
2. The mountains are accessible to all ages and abilities.
A short walk from the Kandersteg train station leads you to the Oeschinensee cable car, which carries you some 400 meters up above the valley floor. Easy walking trails from the upper station to the lakeshore allow visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy the area. It’s possible to bring a stroller for little ones, and in the summer, an electric shuttle helps folks move to and fro for an extra fee.
Travel Tip: Except in winter, you can hike back down to Kandersteg and save some Swiss franc on the cable car return ride. It’s a lovely walk… and it’s all downhill!
3. You can swish down the Alpine slide!
Before you reach the lake, a ride (or five!) down the Alpine slide is a must! The toboggan run – called the Rodelbahn in German – is just to the left of the gondola station, and it’s open from May to October (as long as it’s not raining). Thankfully, it’s not just for kids; plenty of adults get in on the fun, too!
Travel Tip: the line for the rodelbahn can get pretty crowded on weekends. For a better slide experience, visit Kandersteg’s Oeschinensee on a weekday when you are more likely to get the whole run to yourself!
4. The Oeschinensee is truly stunning.
Words just don’t do this mountain landscape justice. With turquoise blue waters and waterfall-veined cliffs rising vertically from the opposite shores, the Oeschinensee has to be one of the most mesmerizing sights in all of Switzerland.
I’ve found Kandersteg’s Oeschinensee so enchanting that it secured a top spot on my Swiss Favorites list, and you can find out where it ranks by subscribing to Postcards from Hailey. I’ll send you my lookbook, The Best of Switzerland: My Top Ten Places in the Swiss Confederation, so you can take note of all my favorite places in this Alpine nation. Just click here to submit your information and get your free download now!
5. Enjoy the sun in the summer and the snow in the winter.
No matter in which season you visit, there is so much to do at the Oeschinensee! In the summer, enjoy swimming and rowing, fishing and sun bathing, hiking and biking, and picnics surrounded by astonishing scenery.
In the winter, you can do some skiing, go sledding, or just go for a winter walk. And once the lake freezes over, you can go ice-skating or ice fishing! It’s a magical winter wonderland.
6. You can have a meal at a mountain restaurant or even stay a night in the guesthouse.
For a trip to the Oeschinensee, you don’t have to carry a backpack full of supplies. Plenty of food and drink is available at a number of restaurants, which offer the usual Swiss suspects – beer, sausage, soups, schnitzel, and rösti (Swiss hashbrowns). In the summer, the Berghotel is open to guests, allowing you to spend even more time by this enchanting lake.
7. Okay, let’s be honest… there’s really no reason NOT to go to the Oeschinensee!
A visit to the Oeschinensee is truly a delight any time of year. And Kandersteg is a great little mountain village, which also gives you access to several other high Alpine areas, like the Sunnbüel or the Blausee. After three visits to this Swiss town, I’m still itching to go back and do more… and that’s why Kandersteg is at the top of my list for best places in Switzerland!
For more on this magical Swiss setting, visit these websites to get ticket prices, live webcam shots, and other helpful information to plan your visit:
The Oeschinensee: https://www.oeschinensee.ch/en/
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO SHARE…
Hi there! Isn’t this one of the most stunning landscapes you’ve ever seen? Do you think you’d prefer a summer visit or a wintry experience? Can you suggest some more gorgeous Alpine destinations that I need to check out?