The Blausee could be described as a tiny lake in an unexpected place. We caught the train to Frutigen, via Spiez, then boarded the bus heading in the direction of Kandersteg. We disembarked at Kandergrund (don’t forget to warn the driver!), then headed down the back road, following the river. This takes you to the back entrance of the Blausee, near the barbecue area and playground, and the signs display the entrance fee but no-one is there to enforce it. Therefore, it is up to you! We sat at one of the picnic tables and ate our lunches whilst enjoying the beautiful view. Take your time and walk around the lake’s perimeter. The bus stop is just at the end of the road into the front entrance. Board the bus to Kandersteg- it’s only a 12-minute journey!
Illegal drone shot. Oops! (Didn't see the signs!) The water is so clear! The colour of the water has to be seen to be believed
Kandersteg is a charming village with ancient wooden chalets standing amid the hotels. Our first visit was over 25 years ago. Back then, as a young, romantic couple, we had our photo taken holding hands across our outside table at the Hotel Bernerhof as we looked across the field to the beautiful wooden church. Although my memory may not be 100% accurate, it seems like it has barely changed in all the years that have passed.
In the village of Kandersteg The River Kander
As lovely as Kandersteg is, I do recommend walking up or catching the gondola to the Oeschinensee area. We had a couple of hours to enjoy the Rodelbahn at the top of the gondola, and this is a must (in my point of view!) for adults and kids alike. Of course, there are height/age restrictions but the little ones can ride in front of the adults. The stick control applies the brakes, but don’t be too cautious! Just go for it! The Rodelbahn... Such fun!
The Oeschinensee: It is quite a long walk (20-25 minutes) to reach the lake, but there our travels ended as we checked into the Berghotel Oeschinensee. We were able to sit and watch the lake gradually clear of tourists and change colour as the sun set. The Berghotel Oeschinensee has shared bathrooms on every floor, but they were modern and clean, and our newly-renovated room faced out over the lake, plus the dinner was delicious, so we had no complaints! To walk by the lake after dinner with no-one else around was very special, and this is another reason that I recommend staying here. The peaceful Oeschinensee Reflection shot! View from our window- Berghotel Oeschinensee Early am view
The mornings are much the same, and the opportunity to take a peaceful early morning stroll by the Oeschinensee should not be missed. We had to leave by 7:30 am and we found that most of our fellow guests were also leaving early to start their hikes, so breakfast was busy (but delicious!). The walk down to Kandersteg follows a road and is very straightforward, then we had to walk through the village and out to the Allmenalpbahn to take the gondola. This cuts a steep section from the hike and it’s a good idea to take this unless you are fast walkers who are not taking long breaks. We found that a break for lunch, plus countless photo stops, and the fact that we had one slower walker in our hiking party meant that we arrived in Adelboden just in time for dinner. The road from the Oeschinensee to Kandersteg The Allmenalpbahn (mini gondola!)
But I digress - back to the Allmenalpbahn: it is very popular with paragliders but the cabins are tiny, and can only fit 3 to 4 paragliders plus equipment, or 7-8 hikers (max is 8). Luckily there were 7 of us, as our backpacks took some space! Toilets are underneath the Talstation; it may be worthwhile taking an extra few minutes here before beginning the rather steep ascent.
Starting our climb Looking up towards the pass
We travelled along dirt roads, passing farm buildings, then these roads progressed to grassy tracks and eventually we were walking on scree (loose rocks). This was the tricky part: the track follows the curve of the mountain and is very narrow in sections. One slip, and a tumble down a steep slope is likely. Overnight rain had made things even more treacherous. There were parts where I clung to the rocks on the side of the slope and could not look down as I stepped across yet another very narrow section! Last farm buildings until after the pass The track narrows... This may give you some idea! It's not easy! Violets in the scree!
The youngest member of our hiking party (18 year-old) was freaking out at every sound of shifting stones and small rockslides. I don’t think she has very fond memories of this hike! One thing to remember is to take the time to turn and look behind you when you attain a decent height, and take in the spectacular view of the Blümlisalp and the distant Oeschinensee which is now below your altitude. Kandersteg (bottom of picture), the distant Oeschinensee and the Blümlisalp
As you rise to the top of the scree section, look around for chamois/ibex (I couldn’t tell from where I stood!). During our 2017 trip we saw a fox, many marmots and a squirrel, but never one of these sure-footed creatures. We were thrilled to see a group of 3 picking their way across the stones. Don’t be fooled by this “mini-pass”, as you still have another short climb before you reach the Bunderchrinde.
The closest pic I could capture! The view from the top! Looking back up to the pass (Adelboden side) The "U" shaped depression is the Bunderchrinde pass.
The Bunderchrinde pass is over a “U”-shaped depression surrounded by the towers of crumbling rock that define this area, and now Adelboden, way down in the valley, is beckoning. Our lunch stop had to wait, as the upper parts are very steep and exposed. The wind was chilly, so we walked on to find a more sheltered spot, zig-zagging down the scree until we hit the grassland. After lunch we made good progress and we were soon on the road down to the village.
Adelboden lies in the valley below us So pretty! Our hike is coming to an end! Nearing the village
Adelboden: There was a village festival the evening we arrived and we had a marquee full of people right outside our hotel (the Adler). We swam in the indoor-outdoor pool, with views all the way back to the Bunderchrinde pass, and soothed our weary muscles. We were assured that all festivities would be over by 10pm, and- indeed- the marquee had disappeared and everyone seemed to have gone home by the time we returned from our fondue dinner with our friends (further out of the village). The Adler is centrally located so it was easy to explore Adelboden the next morning. We fell in love with this place - it is away from the hordes of tourists because it is not connected by rail (only bus), and it is at the end of a valley. Visit the bakery on the main street and drool over all the cakes and pastries. We bought our lunch rolls from here (plus a few treats!) before we caught the bus to our next destination.
View from the Adler hotel- see the pass? Beautiful Adelboden
We made a promise to ourselves to return to Adelboden for further exploration of the region. In particular, we would like to walk up near the spectacular Engstligen waterfall. Adelboden is a family-friendly village with a children’s playground, tennis courts, a pushchair/wheelchair-friendly hiking trail and dairies to visit for cheese tasting/purchasing. But please don’t all come at once - you’ll spoil the peace!
... And in 2022, we DID return and we visited the waterfall, hiked up to Engstigenalp one day and up to the Hahenmoos Pass the next. It's a large area to explore and you can spend several days here with plenty to see and do! The hikes are much easier than the Sefinenfurgge, the Hohtürli and the Bundechrinde, and they become progressively easier as you near the end of the trail at Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Engstligen Falls Cloudy (and slightly spooky(!) Engstligenalp. The hike up to Hahenmoos Pass Beautiful alpine flowers are everywhere to be seen (and are marked with small signs) on the hike up to Hahenmoos.