A hiking paradise lies hidden above Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland – one of the Swiss Alps’ finest – since 2007 part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage area Jungfrau-Altesch-Bietschhorn: Oeschinen Lake.
Kandersteg is the starting point for a ninety minutes uphill hike to the lake. If you don’t feel like uphill hiking, take the cable car from Kandersteg and reach the lake from the top station in a 20-minute walk. The lake, located at 1,578 meters above sea level, offers something for everybody – fishing, rowing, swimming from May to October; ice-fishing, skating, sledding and skiing during the winter months. And of course hiking at all levels. Different restaurants from elegant hotel catering by the lake to the simplicity of the alpine hut on Oberbergli, above the lake, make sure you won’t go hungry.
Enjoy the lake and its surroundings not only for a day trip or a day hike, but check in for the night in one of the accommodation facilities by the lake or higher up in the surrounding Alps. The Swiss Alpine Club SAC runs an alpine lodge on the Blümelisalp (2,834 meters above sea level) and the Fründen lodge (2,562 meters above sea level). Both houses are reachable with good hiking gear in four to five hours. An overnight stay in an SAC hut is a special experience: absolute alpine peace, rare fauna and flora, breathtaking views and interesting talks with climbers, locals, top athletes – and a fabulous home made soup for dinner!
If you are looking for a special challenge and are free from giddiness, take the Fründenschnur (Fründen cord) on the way down from the Fründen lodge, or on the round-the-lake hike. The path leads straight through the scarp face of the east wall along the lake and is secured only with a cord to hold on to. The lake is 200 meters straight down below you.
Back in Kandersteg, enjoy coffee and local goodies in one of the bakeries to close the wonderful Oeschinen Lake experience.