If hiking the Gastern Valley isn't practical for you (say, if you're with a small child), another option to enjoy the hanging valley is to take Kander Reisen's mini-bus to the village of Selden. The van crawls along a tiny one-lane road with tunnels barely large enough to fit the vehicle. Scenery is tremendous, and when you get to the end of the line (the Hotel Gasterntal in Selden), you can then walk another 10-15 minutes to the hamlet of Heimritz. A few steps past Heimritz, you can get a good view of the Kanderfirn glacier (or you can hike right up to the glacier in 2 hours or so if you wish).
During the summer, the mini-bus departs every 1-2 hours from the Kandersteg train station, normally coinciding with the arrival of trains from Bern. Advance reservation is required, either by calling Kander Reisen directly, or through the Kandersteg tourist office. Fare is CHF 13 one-way, CHF 21 round-trip. Since this is a private bus, there is no discount for Swiss Pass, Swiss Card, or even the Kandersteg Guest Card.
On the southwest end of town is a modest cable car station for the steep trip up to the Allmenalp. It is possible to hike up, but for mere mortals (and those with a toddler in tow), using the cable car is a very good idea. At the top, there is a small restaurant, along with multiple hiking trails to destinations such as Ueschinen and Adelboden. Those who wish to hike to or from Adelboden will also find the cable car handy in shortening the walk by about 2 hours. The trails aren't really stroller-friendly, so we were limited in our walking by how far Minifrosch was willing to go. We still got some excellent views from the nearby trails, as well as the outdoor seating at the restaurant.
During high season (late May - October), the cable car runs every 15 minutes, or when there are at least 5 passengers ready to go. Other times of the year, the cable car runs by request only. As of 2013, fare is CHF 11 one way, CHF 17 round trip. A modest discount is provided to holders of Swiss Pass, 1/2 fare card, and Kandersteg Guest Card (discounted fares CHF 9 / CHF 14).
Kandersteg is a local station on the BLS (Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon) Railway, one of the many private railways in Switzerland. (don't worry -- Eurail and Swisspass are valid!) Until recently, it was on the main line between Bern and Brig, with most long haul trains stopping here. Now, however, nearly all of the InterCity and EuroCity trains have been diverted through the new Lötschberg Basis-Tunnel from Spiez to Visp, bypassing Kandersteg entirely. To replace the long-haul trains, BLS now runs "Regio-Express" trains between Brig and Bern, via Kandersteg and the old Lötschberg Tunnel. UPDATE: Many trains departing Bern now split at Spiez, with half of the train going to Zweisimmen, and the other half going to Kandersteg and Brig. Be sure to check the signs and/or video screens onboard to confirm the destination of your car is Brig, not Zweisimmen.
Here are the schedule highlights in a nutshell for 2013:
- The first train to Spiez and Bern departs Kandersteg at 5:54AM. Trains to Spiez then depart hourly at :13 past the hour from 07:13 until 21:13. The final train to Spiez departs at 22:43, where you can transfer to an InterCity train to Bern. Travel time to Bern is just under 70 minutes.
- The first train to Brig departs at 6:42 AM. Trains for Brig depart hourly at :42 past the hour until 22:42. The last train departs at 00:42. Travel time to Brig is about 40 minutes.
This cable car departs from Eggenschwand and arrives at the Sunnbuel bergstation. At Sunnbuel, there's a cafe, a Swiss Alpine Club hut, and a number of walking trails. You can take a short panorama walk around the area, or set off towards the Gemmipass. Those who are part mountain goat can take a steeper hiking trail to the Ueschinengrat (not to be confused with the Oeschinensee) and back.
As of July 2012, adult fares are CHF 23 for a one-way journey, CHF 32 for a round trip. Children can ride for CHF 11.50 one-way, CHF 16 round trip. 50% discounts with Swisspass, Swiss Card, and Kandersteg Guest Card.
The easy way to get to the Oeschinensee is to take the gondola. The gondola, which replaced the old chairlift (sesselbahn) in 2009, is a favorite for its lovely view of the Kandersteg area. Either take the village bus to the base station, or walk about 10 minutes down the path towards the Bluemlisalp, then follow the signs for the "seilbahn talstation."
The lift runs daily from 08:15 until 18:00 during summer, with shorter hours off-season. Last ride up is 10 minutes before closing.
The cost as of 2012 is CHF 17 per adult one-way, CHF 24 round-trip. 50% discount for Swisspass, "1/2 Abo" holders (e.g., Swiss Card), and Berner Oberland/Wallis Regional Pass. 25% discount with Kandersteg Guestcard.
Automobilverkehr Frutigen-Adelboden, or AFA (or "The Red Bus" as Minifrosch called it), runs regular bus service between Kandersteg and Adelboden, with stops along the way in small villages such as Kandergrund and Mittholz (home of the Blausee), as well as the district's main town of Frutigen. The first bus for Adelboden departs at 6:00 AM, departing on the hour until 23:00. An additional early bus departs for Frutigen at 5:35 AM weekdays. Travel time is about 30 minutes to Frutigen, 1 hour 5 minutes to Adelboden. Swisspass and half-fare cards are valid on this route. Check at the train station, your hotel, or the tourist office for the latest fares. Also check the blue information placard on the traffic island in front of the Kandersteg train station for updates. NOTE: The red AFA bus is not to be confused with the blue Sunnbuel/Oeschinensee bus, which, while also run by AFA, runs in a different direction and is not fully covered by Swisspass.
This is great! If you are flying Swiss Int. you can have your bags transported all the way through to your closest rail station. At the airport, no bags to pick up! We flew into Zurich and trained to Kandersteg, arriving about 3 pm. Our bags were at the station for pick up a few hours later. You can do the same thing upon leaving. Hand in your bags at the rail station and meet them at the airport. (Zurich or Geneva) Careful though, you have to hand in your bags for departure back to the airport a day or so earlier. Check with your particular station. Cost is $15 per bag, at this writing. The link I've given will give you up-to-date prices and more detailed information.
By train or by bus or by car depends where you wanna go to.
We went by car from Holland-Germany- Switserland and stayed overnight in Germany.
At Kandersteg we took a special train fto Wallis for cars, but u can also take a bus.
If you're not up to the 40-minute walk from Kandersteg to Eggenschwand and the Sunnbuel Gondola, you have the option to take a bus. This blue village bus with the "Sunnbuel" logo departs from several locations in Kandersteg, including the Kandersteg train station, to the Sunnbuel gondola station in Eggenschwand. Passage is free with Kandersteg Guest Card or a valid ski pass. Otherwise, fare is CHF 3 each way, CHF 2 with Swisspass or Swiss Card.
The bus departs hourly from the Kandersteg train station and the Sunnbuel cable car station, generally coinciding with train/cable car arrivals respectively. A few buses also depart from the Kandersteg train station to the Oeschinensee gondola valley station (check the website for details).
The Lötschbergtunnel is quite the convenience for travelers between Berneroberland and the north. The tunnel passes right through the Bernese Alps in 15 minutes. Before it was built, travelers had to bypass the mountains, adding precious time to their journeys. The train goes between Kandersteg and Goppenstein, Valais. You can drive your car onto the train. It's quite an interesting site to see the cars piled up on board.
Getting to Kandersteg is relatively simple, there are trains from Bern that stop in Kandersteg, and the train station is a short hike from the center of town. Getting around the town is a different story. This city is so small that you're going to have to walk everywhere unless you have a car. Not that most people don't mind walking around here anyway, seeing as the majority of people here during the summer months are avid mountain climbers who can certainly handle the flat streets.
If you're going to get around with a Swiss Pass you will need this big schedule book. It has the schedules for everything your pass is good for. Trains, ships, buses, and all those cable cars, funiculars, gondolas, etc.
This book is too much to carry around in your backpack, so we usually planned our route before leaving. The much smaller booklet to the left is available at the train stations and is very handy and easy to keep on hand. For instance, Kandersteg's booklet listed just the rail rides from that village.
If you're going to use the Post Bus, your Swiss Pass is invalid, you must pay. The Post Bus schedule is in a different book. ( A Big Fat Yellow Book)
Unlike the Allemalp Cable Car, which shoots straight up, the chairlift skirts above the ground, always giving you a delightful view of the mountain. Sheep and goats cavort right below you. Being in the open air is nice too. If it is cool, you can grab a wool blanket at the lift station to cover yourself with for the ride.
Kandersteg is a hikers paradise. Many people decide to stay in Kandersteg because it is a great base village for taking numerous hikes. In the center of town are many signs pointing the way to different kinds of hikes.
the plain yellow arrows are for walkers more than hikers.
the yellow signs that end with a red stripe surrounded by two white stripes mean that it is a mountain hike and more challenging.
the pink signs mean it is a winter walk and kept plowed during the snow season.
all the signs have the approximate time it will take for the hike.
example: 2std. 10 min. = 2 hours, 10 minutes
The chairlift of Oeschinen is on the opposite side of the village from Allmenalp lift. Lots of signs in town will send you in the right direction to catch this lift. GO EARLY! We had the ride to ourselves, and also the lake, by going up at 8:30 in the morning. When we came back down around 11 am, the line was long and weaving! The lift starts operating at 7:30 am during the summer months. Roundtrip cost 17.10 CHF. (with guest card)
Kandersteg is easily reachable by train from Bern or Brig. If coming from Bern, do note the train splits, so make sure your car is going to Kandersteg by checking the destination sign or...