Driving to Leukerbad
On a week-long stay in Geneva, I decided to take a summer trip to Leukerbad - for some hiking and gondola-riding (which did not happen), and for some quality spa time (which did).
Leukerbad is about 2 hours' drive from either Geneva city centre or from Geneva airport. To speed up the process, get onto Route 1 to Lausanne as soon as possible, and turn off for Route 9 towards Vevey, which will lead you to Autoroute du Rhone. Follow on till you pass Sion (signs would be for either Sion or Brig). In Leuk, and from there you should see a sign to Leukerbad. From here, it's a true bendy mountain road, so be careful - especially given that at certain points (particularly under bridges) the road is for one vehicle only. In winter chunks of the road may be closed and snow chains should be taken.
Total distance from Geneva is about 200km, and it's slightly further to the Zurich airport - ca. 225km.
- Skiing and Boarding
- Spa and Resort
- Hiking and Walking
Another gondola on the other side to gemmibahn, runs from Leukerbad and the Albinen ladders to the Rinderhutte at 2315m - something for the next time we are here. The Albinen ladders incorporate 8 ladders of 100 m height. In old times this was the shortest way to Leukerbad. Today a footpath has been integrated but is only recommended for those who do not suffer from fear of heights or dizzy turns!
Gemmi-weg - The Hard Way Up!
Of course the other way up the Gemmiwand to start the Gemmi Pass is to walk up the Gemmiweg. Yes amazing there is a pathway hewn out in this rocky cliff face in 1737-1740. Allow 2 hours for the hike up and have a good head for heigh as there is a 600m sheer drop! From the gondola we could see many people zig-zagging their way up the cliff face - I could see steps on the steeper sections so really it doesn't look too bad a climb if you feel adventurous. Have a look at the pics to see the terrain.
- Hiking and Walking
We took the Gemmibahn gondola up to begin our easy walk along the Gemmi Pass to the top station of the Sunbuel Gondola of Kandersteg. Down the gondola and a bus took us into the centre of Kandersteg - our base for the next few days. We could have walked from the valley station in Kandersteg (allow 30 mins) but our round ticket included the bus - again so organised at Swiss ticket offices, they offer the information that a special round ticket can be purchased. Its obviously a well known excursion. At the top another small gondola can be taken down to the Daubensee, it runs every 15 mins from 9-12 and 1-5pm - but really its a pleasant walk down and doesn't take too long.
Our journey to Leukerbad involved a 20 minute train journey from Brig where we had been staying to Leuk where a connecting bus was waiting for the hairpin ride up to Leukerbad - the Swiss transport system is so organised. What wonderful views we enjoyed of the valley, mountains, vineyards and castles en route - the weather was perfect so managed to catch some scenes on the camera as we wound up and up to the spa town of Leukerbad. The whole journey took just over an hour. The bus stops at the post bus station and does not go into the town itself - its mainly pedestrianised.