The pretty village of Kandersteg sits in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, where the great arc of the Alps culminates in some of its highest and most spectacular peaks. Awe-inspiring and dramatic, the area epitomises the 'chocolate-box' Alps: lush green pastures and lowland slopes carpeted bright with wildflowers against a backdrop of rugged mountains - all topped off with sun-glistening glaciers.
A stay here uncovers the very best of the region: the stunning Oeschinensee mountain lake enclosed by towering cliffs; the hidden Gasterntal Valley with its glacial meltwaters thundering down a narrow gorge, and an Alpine pass that has been used since Celtic times.
Did we mention the spectacular views? One moment you will be spellbound by the glacial legacy, whilst in another it will be the cobalt blue of the Oeschinensee that will take your breath away. Woodlands, pine forest and open meadows are decorated with lady slippers, fire lilies and more than 25 varieties of scented orchid, where you walk to the the tuneful ringing of cowbells. With the company of the occasional swooping eagle, it is easy to feel on top of the world. Amazingly, all this is accessible on well-defined paths directly from the hotel or after a short bus or cable car ride.
On arrival at the 3 star Hotel Alfa Soleil, your hosts, the charming Seiler family, will provide you with a Regional Travel Pass giving you unlimited use of cable cars and the local bus service. They'll also ensure you receive a full introduction to the area, including insider tips on where to spot the best alpine flowers!
When you feel like a rest from walking, there's an elegant lounge, swimming pool, sauna, solarium and gym to keep you entertained. In the evening you can relax and enjoy regional dishes and fine wines in Nico's restaurant.
The walking is of moderate difficulty and includes mountain walking on good (though sometimes narrow) paths with occasional steepish climbs. NB: Some gondolas/cable cars do not operate in early/late season when alternative walks will be proposed.
Arrive at the *** Hotel Alfa Soleil, well known locally for its excellent cuisine and enjoy a welcome drink before dinner which is included all week along with picnics or light restaurant lunches. Below is a suggested itinerary for the week but you are free to pick and choose when and where you walk each day.
This easy-going walk to start your week begins with a spectacular cable car ride (included) up to the Allmenalp, a colourful meadow brimming with rural mountain charm. There are stunning views across the valley to towering cliffs, snow-capped peaks and glaciers. Continue into the pastures of the Alpbach, sheltered by a colossal mountain bowl where marmots 'cohabit' with farmers and their cattle. An afternoon descent of the Alpbach Gorge takes you down to the valley floor for a relaxed stroll along the River Kander to the hotel.
This super walk begins with an exhilarating 20-minute minibus ride (fare included) along a narrow road carved out of the rock wall. The UNESCO-recognised Gasterntal is Kandersteg's 'hidden valley', with snow-fed waterfalls splashing down sheer cliff faces. After an optional, loop-extension further up the valley, you meander down the River Kander, through woods and open meadows to the Waldhaus Nature Reserve - look out for lady slippers, fire lilies and more than 25 varieties of orchid. With the mighty rock walls of the Balmhorn, Tatlishore and the Atels towering high, follow the spectacular Klus Gorge where glacial meltwater rushes down over thunderous waterfalls.
Widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the Bernese Oberland, Oeschinensee is one of the most beautiful Alpine lakes in Switzerland. After a short ride up on the gondola lift (included), follow a marvellous mountain path up to the Heuberg Viewpoint and picnic spot. The cobalt blue water of the lake, surrounded by the snow-capped, razor-edged peaks of the Doldenhorn (3,638m) and the Bluemlisalphorn (3,663m) towering 2,000m above, will be a lasting memory. Call in at the mountain chalets at Obberbargli and Underbargli for refreshments and soak up this unforgettable scenery as bell-toting cows munch at the grass in the pastures below, while dainty waterfalls trickle down from the Frunden Glacier.
A gentle hour's stroll takes you down to the Natural Park of Blausee - the Blue Lake (entry included with short boat ride). Here you can wander through verdant woodland around the little lake, visit the organic trout farm and enjoy a drink on the lake terrace before returnign to the hotel.
The Sunnbuel cable car (included) whisks you up to nearly 2,000m to begin today's walk. Enjoy refreshments at the renowned Schwarenbach Hotel, where Lenin and Picasso have signed the visitors' book. It's then on to the Daubensee and the famous high Gemmi Pass (2,322m), a major Transalpine route first used by the Celts. The extraordinary panorama of the Valais Alps to the south includes the Weisshorn (4,506m) and the Matterhorn (4,478m).
Today starts with a 25-minute train ride (payable locally) through the Lotschberg mountain rail tunnel (14km long) to Hohtenn. The walk takes you high above a youthful River Rhone, through a landscape of gorges and hidden side valleys - and small hillside villages boasting traditional wooden chalets built on the upper edges of this fertile, vineyard-adorned valley. You follow part of the Lotschberger-Sudrampe railway trail - superb railway engineering, viaducts, tunnels and bridges - but you don't need to be a train buff to enjoy this great little hike.
NEARBY:The Hotel Alfa Soleil is a traditional, cosy and family-run hotel on the edge of the village (only 5 minutes' walk from the centre) with a wonderful view over fields to the mountains behind. The restaurant is managed by owner/chef Nico Seiler and has an excellent reputation and is rated highly by Headwater customers so you will enjoy fine dining whilst staying here.
Room upgrades: Superior Double with Balcony, Junior Suite or Suite.
Junior suites have a seating area and balcony. The recently refurbished Suites have two rooms - bedroom and living room with south facing balcony.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
First time with Headwater. We found the holiday to be as busy or as relaxed as you wanted. The walks provided were interesting with various levels of difficulty, meaning that you chose which route to follow. The hotel accommodation, staff and food were excellent. The food being some of the best food that we have ever been offered in a hotel. We will be looking at Headwater breaks in the future.
The family run hotel was excellent in every aspect. The staff were friendly and welcoming, the food was first class and the service was prompt and efficient. We had a super room at the front of the hotel with a balcony looking out at the snow capped mountains. It was ideally situated for all the walks for which excellent information was provided. The walks were amongst beautiful scenery with typical Swiss mountain chalets, cows with ringing bells etc. We made good use of the included cable cars. We were lucky to have had excellent weather apart from one day of low mist & cloud. If we had had poor weather for the entire week it would have considerably lessened the enjoyment of the holiday as the point of being there was to experience the wonderful mountain scenery. Of course, you can't do much about the weather!
Perfect location ideal for walking. Stunning scenery. Kandersteg is picturesque and the hotel ideal with great staff.
Generally good, but confusion at the point of booking as hotel was confirmed, we booked our travel and later we were advised Alfa Soleil was unavailable, so an alternative found. The Hotel Ermitage was very good. However, we were promised pick up on arrival and drop off on departure between the railway station and hotel, but neither were available, so we had a 15 minutes walk with heavy luggage. We attended the briefing meeting at the original hotel (Alfa Soleil) and received everything we needed for the week, with good advice, but there was no further contact with the local rep and our hotel (Ermitage) were not really aware that we were Headwater clients and never asked about our plans. They did ask who was paying the overall bill for our stay on departure, which was embarrassing (we were settling the drinks bill). Overall the holiday was very good, walking excellent, local staff friendly, hotel very nice and Headwater staff at HQ helpful and prompt, but some aspects (as described) did not live up to expectations. We prefer self-guiding, independent holidays, so not a big issue for us, but others may not be so happy. It would not put us off travelling with Headwater again, as it was very enjoyable, but there are areas that should be looked at to prevent repetition.
The booking with our requested addition was handled quickly and perfectly. Travel was great with all connections working well. The hotel and staff were great with nothing too much trouble - we had a dietary request that was fully met without having to repeat it having notified Headwater. The routes were easy to follow and the Swiss know how to signpost. Weather was variable but normal for area and time of year but even so we did what we set out to do.
Brilliant holiday. We had a fantastic time. Thank you.
Kandersteg offers a great deal of scope for a walking holiday and the Hotel Alfa Soleil is well situated for accessing walks in the surrounding area.
This was a fantastic holiday in beautiful surroundings. The mountain paths were more challenging than those we had experienced in a Dolomites itinerary with Headwater but totally passable with care and a reasonable head for heights; you did need a good level of fitness for the steeper routes but it was never an issue. Although not included in the suggested walks, we climbed to the Doldenhorn Hut which gave spectacular views. The Gasterntal Valley is another essential.
A charmingly rustic hotel, placed perfectly for all walks. Passes for buses and cable cars extremely useful - but beware train fares are on the high side!
Kandersteg is a truly lovely location. The hotel was very welcoming and our room very comfortable. We were upgraded to a Junior Suite and had a view of the mountains from our balcony. The food was excellent. Being able to prepare a packed lunch was a real bonus, as food and drink in Switzerland are both very expensive. Luckily,apart from the first day, the weather was ideal for walking. Most routes were clearly marked, although there were a couple of walks which would benefit from clearer instructions. The scenery is spectacular, particularly as the alpine flowers were still in full bloom. The grading is accurate. Some walks are relatively steep and if, like me, you are not keen on walking downhill on loose stones, can be a little daunting, but they are well worth the effort. We haven't stayed in one location on a walking holiday before, but had no regrets, as the walks were varied and never less than stunning. We would thoroughly recommend Kandersteg and the Alfa Soleil to anyone contemplating walking in Switzerland.
The walking is good and varied with stupendous views if the weather is kind, as it was for us. Plenty of flowers, butterflies, lizards in mid-July for added interest. The hotel staff were very friendly and the food was definitely a cut above usual hotel fare, both in content and presentation. Switzerland is an expensive country but Headwater's price includes most of the basics so that we paid for little else except wine, a couple of cups of coffee and the rail fare to the Sudrampe walk. We heartily recommend the latter as it is such a contrast to the other mountain walks, rather like going from Switzerland to Provence!
A brilliant holiday, everything worked like clockwork, the staff in the office were efficient, helpful and charming, the location and hotel were superb. Very happy customers.
Hotel Alfa Soleil is very traditional, comfortable and welcoming and it’s worth making sure you get a balcony room as the mountain views are outstanding. The small pool was never busy. The food all week was excellent and in particular the hotel catered for a special diet with great care.
Many of the walks use lifts, trains or buses and it was really helpful to have the lift pass and bus pass included, especially as the lift pass puts you ahead of the queue. We thought the Blue Lake was a bit over-
the walks were all fabulous and the walking notes accurate and interesting. All walks were open in July and the waterfalls in particular were spectacular because of melting snow from the very high peaks. The Sudrampe walk is different from the other walks, but the further we went, the more memorable and fantastic it was.
You need to change platforms at Bern railway station. There’s just enough time for the change of platform with luggage but it is a bit tight, particularly as one of our trains was running a few minutes late, so it’s worth knowing which platforms you need before you set off.
A fantastic week in Kandersteg with a good range of walks from easy to challenging. Could have stayed another 3 or 4 days easily. Hotel Alfa Soleil was really nice.
Really enjoyable holiday. The hotel at first feels a bit old fashioned but we were very comfortable there and grew to love it. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The food was excellent especially the two themed nights. The view from the balconies was spectacular and ever-changing. The walks were well chosen....mostly up on a lift and walking down through wonderful flower meadows and rushing ice blue rivers. The walk at Ochinen See was the most challenging, especially as there was still snow and melt. Walking poles are essential. Switzerland was beautiful but very expensive....the picnics for lunch were very welcome. Overall we had a great holiday.
The mountain scenery viewed from the walks was superb, we were lucky to enjoy fine weather, and the hotel and the food were excellent.
This is an amazing location with varied and fabulous walks. We went in May so there was alot of snow on the higher routes which meant we could not do all the walks planned. However the hotel advised us on alternatives and we had 6 stunning walks against a backdrop of beautiful snow-capped mountains and mostly had the trails to ourselves. A truly memorable holiday and I would love to return to do the additional routes. Thankyou to Headwater and the team at the Alfa Soleil.
An enjoyable week in an area of outstanding beauty. The hotel and food were excellent, and the fact that the cable car and bus pass travel were also included made this very good value for money.
A beautiful location for lovers of alpine walking.
This was not just a fantastic location for a walking holiday - buses/trains cable cars within easy reach, but an amazing hotel as well - both in therms of location and view.. Although only allocated 3* the food and service were simply exemplary - 4 course, exquisite meals each night using local produce and very imaginative menus. The ability to make your own lunch pack up each day was great and not something we have seen before. This is a hotel that goes the extra mile (well kilometre) and so deserves to be successful. A real gem!
Super location - was concerned that being in a single location might be limiting but there is a wide range of different walks on offer.
Epic walking holiday in Switzerland, a week of gentle hiking at our own pace with the most superb mountain and lakeside views
coupled with excellent accommodation, service and a la carte food at the Alfa Soleil Hotel in Kandersteg. It was was wonderful.
A superb introduction to walking in the Swiss Alps. Great use of cable cars/gondolas to allow access to higher level walking experience. Fabulous food and friendly service at Alfa Soleil
Excellent holiday in the Swiss Alps. Scenery stunning and enough accessible walking for those of average fitness for at least 5 days - easily more. Notes were helpful and clear. Accommodation excellent - get a balcony room at the front of the Alfa Soleil Hotel for stunning views every morning - worth the extra. Food is very good/excellent and far beyond what you would expect from a 3 star hotel. The picnic system works well as you will be spending 4 - 7 hours a day walking. Easy to add more distance to the walks and well signposted hiking trails mean you are not restricted to the walks provided. Kandersteg is slightly less touristy than Murren and similar resorts, but the mountains in this valley are, perhaps, slightly less dramatic.
Given that Switzerland is notoriously expensive - this holiday represents very good value for money.
Stunning weather helped make this a memorable walking holiday in the beautiful Swiss Alps. The food and staff at the Hotel Alfa Soleil were excellent.
Wonderful holiday - one of our best. Great walks - varied and accurate. Organisation by Headwater was good. Would certainly consider going with them again.
We would very much recommend Classic Swiss Alps Walks to anyone who enjoys walking in superb mountain scenery. The hotel accommodation and food were excellent to complete a terrific holiday.
Very enjoyable walking holiday. The only issue we had was the walk to Blausée which was not a good walk and a very long uphill Walk on the way back. We caught the bus but did no have the right bus pass with us. It would be worth putting in the notes that the
Card used for the lift pass is also valid for the buses.
This is an excellent holiday in that you are located in a quiet valley with mountains all around and easy access to them via public transport and cable cars. There is a good range of walks of different grade ( not all of which are advertised by Headwater). the tourist information locally is excellent, the people are friendly and the Alfa Soleil hotel is a good base (with excellent food!). However, Switzerland is expensive! But the all-inclusive nature of the Headwater package overcomes this - it's good value!
Expert arrangements that leave enough flexibility for individual nuance.
A well organised break with great walks and excellent accommodation. 5* food at a lovely 3* hotel.
This was a great introduction to walking in Switzerland.
We have done two walking holidays with Headwater and both have been excellent. The walking instructions and directions are clear and they often add useful additional information about the walk you are on.
This holiday on the surface appeared quite expensive when we booked it but proved to be exceptional value for money. Taking into account everything that was included in the price: flights, trains, accommodation, meals, local bus/cable car passes, and knowing the cost of things in Switzerland, the price for the week is excellent value for money. Food at the hotel is on another level, every night was at least 4 courses of some of the best tasting food I've ever had. Very friendly and helpful staff. The town is very picturesque and surprisingly quiet at nights. This was our first time hiking outside of the UK, and I think I'm going to struggle to find anywhere nicer for our next adventure outside of the UK, but would definitely recommend this holiday to anyone looking to venture into Europe for a hiking trip.
Excellent week in the Alps walking was outstanding and a great range of walks provided as we were quite ambitious and was able to adapt the walks to suit our needs to be more challenging equally loved our couple of days low level descriptions were accurate but the paths were marked so well that we never used our compass skills!
Excellent holiday. This is our second year as there are so many exceptional walking options from the hotel using the extensive free lift and bus pass.
We had a very enjoyable holiday, the hotel was good with an excellent restaurant, the quality of the food was first class. The walking was varied, the scenery was beautiful and we really appreciated that the holiday included a local bus and gondola pass.
well placed in a busy valley with three cables card within a mile from hotel. So life and peace.
Beautiful region, lovely hotel with great food and superb walking - aided by exceptional weather. Switzerland is quite expensive but we felt this holiday was great value for money.
Outstandingly beautiful area with plenty of fantastic walks. The location could not be better and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The hotel was great with very friendly and helpful staff. The food was excellent - varied, tasty and creatively presented. We had glorious weather for the entire week so we were lucky and could get out and about every day. The information provided by Peter and the other staff was very useful and helped us to get the most from our time. We liked the packed lunch buffet which really helped given the prices of things generally. Similarly the transport pass which gave us free travel on cable cars and buses. Getting there and back was easy and travel very smooth.
The only slight downside was that our room was rather small, particularly the bathroom which was very cramped, and generally not as luxurious as other Headwater hotels we've stayed in. I realise that Switzerland is a very expensive country and this holiday is very good value so it's probably a compromise to keep the holiday affordable. It certainly didn't spoil our stay. We had a wonderful time - thank you Headwater and Alfa Soleil.
We had a fantastic time on the Classic Swiss Alps walking holiday. Everything was organised for us - from the flight to the journey to the hotel and details on the walks. The hotel staff were all very friendly and extremely helpful. The food was the surprise of the trip, it was delicious!
The walks and the scenery was spectacular, and the suggested routes were all brilliant. There was also enough flexibility in the suggested guide to vary the hiking to your level of ability.
Overall, we had a brilliant time!
Good summer walking in a lovely valley. Not as spectacular as the Jungfrau region, but impressive. Great to have passes for most (but not all ) of the walks. Good cooking at Alfa Soleil, though watch out - heavy handed in cooking with cream.
Even in bad weather there are walks one can do.
Our trip we booked through Headwaters for a stay in Kandersteg, Switzerland at the Alfa Soleil was the highlight of a few weeks spent in Europe. The hotel was wonderful, and the hiking suggestions from Headwaters were great and provided us with all the information we needed to do some great hiking on our own. They scheduled our train trips and everything worked just as planned. It was great to have a home-base from which to do a lot of different hikes in the area. We were very pleased with our whole experience!
Kandersteg is the most perfect setting - the beauty of the mountains, lakes and meadows is breathtaking! The walking options are fabulous - but remember to take your poles for those steep downhill sections! The staff at the hotel were welcoming and so helpful - a real plus. A wonderful holiday!
Wonderful holiday - excellent hotel in an amazing varied area for walking with stunning views round every corner. The buses and lifts - free with the complementary pass - make the high level walks (and/ or restaurants) so accessible. One of our best holidays ever and we will be back!
We had a wonderful time - excellent hotel, interesting food and superb walking. If you like wild flowers, it was a stunning to see the variety and colour on display. It is a reminder of what we have lost with our 'improved' grassland and factory farming. What was nice was that we could tailor each day's walk with the help of the hotel staff according to how strenuous a walk we felt like and what the weather was like in various parts of the area.
The Classic Swiss Alps walking holiday was a wonderful blend of a comfortable and welcoming hotel and varied walking. As a single centre holiday it was good to be able to access amazing scenery very easily and close to the hotel. The walks could all be tailored to suit ability, weather and level of energy by extending or shortening the suggested itineraries. The map was a great help in addition to the written descriptions. We were there at the end of June just before the hay cut in the village fields so saw the myriad meadow flowers before they were harvested, a process that was also very interesting to watch. The higher alpine meadows were the best we have ever seen anywhere and the waterfalls were impressive, fed by the melting snow. Kandersteg, where the holiday is based, is well served by trains and this was our method of transport all the way from England.
This was our third trip with you and all have been most enjoyable - the right length of walks and the grading worked out fine.
A very good experience with lovely location, accommodation and scenery.
Great location and excellent Hotel with some fantastic walks for all abilities.
Good value and well thought out
Excellent hotel, food and location.
Our first walking holiday and first with Headwater. We had a great experience and will come back. A few errors in notes we will send details to you.
Hotel is in great location, all walks are very close and varied. Hotel was comfortable, our room was old in terms of decor, but others have been recently refurbished. The evening meals were pretty good (mainly meat, very little fish), breakfast was rather bland (limited selection mainly bread). Packed lunch was welcome, but was a sandwich only, which was quite lacking compared to other Headwater packed lunches.
Contrasting walks in a beautiful area of Switzerland. The two walks to the Oeschinensee and the Doldenhornhutte are particularly challenging with many steep or tricky paths often very narrow and across waterfalls or shale slopes. Essential to have a head for heights and walking poles. These however were the best walks with terrific views. Do the extension to the Daubensee walk as the views at the final destination are well with it. The Alfa Soleil Hotel is a good 3 star hotel and our junior suite was excellent and worth the upgrade. Our one complaint of the room would be the shower and the sudden change of temperature when running going from very cold to scorching and dangerously hot; we had to be be swift to move out of the range of the spray when this happened. Breakfast is not as varied as other Swiss hotels we have stayed at and there was a huge additional charge if you fancied eggs and bacon. The food overall was inconsistent and not up to expectation following all the reviews and varied from poor ( tough poached chicken and lamb curry one night) to very good on the barbecue evening. However, great value holiday overall for Switzerland which is very expensive. PS the house wine is very good and at 22 Swiss francs per 50cl, a bit of a bargain.
Exceeded expectations, scenery gorgeous, hotel friendly and helpful staff
Great walking on good paths. Excellent scenery and wonderful alpine flowers.
Consider Berne as a day off destination.
It was a beautiful location and we had some lovely walks and saw amazing flowers. The hotel owner who was supposed to give us some guidance was not as helpful as he could have been. He raced through some information on the first evening and gave us various passes not all of which he explained.After that, he told us about one bus route being unavailable and arranged for us to travel on it when it became available. However when we asked questions subsequently, in particular if a route was Ok, he said it was up to us if we went on it. In fact it was challenging with some landslides on steep mountainside and frozen snow partially covering a fast-flowing stream through which we had to paddle.
The breakfast and packed lunches were great. Dinner was positively gourmet. (Whisper it low, but we would have preferred something simpler with fewer courses so that there was time for a walk afterwards). Mark-ups on the wine in the restaurant were enormous. We were also rather startled to be charged for tap water every night.
This was our second visit to the Alfa Soleil in Kandersteg. We were incredibly fortunate to receive a double upgrade to their new Loft apartment!! We had booked a new junior suite and we believe we were given this because there were a large party of elderly people staying and possibly some of them had booked the Loft, only to find there was no lift. This really made our week's stay as it was spacious and beautifully furnished giving us room to spread out and to also enjoy the enormous terrace with views all round of the mountains.The weather held up every single day and what with this, and the excellent food provided by Nico, we could not have had a more enjoyable stay.
Everything worked just as it should. We were very happy indeed with our holiday. My wife's dietary restrictions were coped with very efficiently and without fuss by the hotel. Thank you very much!
Wonderful walks, great advice from Peter at hotel. We walked every day, and enjoyed exploring the area. Food and the friendly staff at the hotel made this one of our best holidays.
A good short break in spectacular surroundings, with enough guidance to enable us to enjoy the area to the best as and when we wished without forcing us into any particular programme.
Kandersteg is a good base for the series of walks suggested by HW but also for constructing your own routes if you are a confident walker. The hotel is comfortable and friendly and the food was mostly excellent. A small buffet was provided every day from which to make sandwiches for a picnic lunch, although more choice of fruit would have been welcome. Kandersteg village is very quiet (at least in summer) and we were a little disappointed at the lack of anywhere to go in the evening apart from having a drink in another hotel. Prices for cable cars, soft drinks, coffees and cakes were higher than envisaged but quality was very good. The scenery in the valley is stunning but the typical mountain weather meant that the peaks were not always visible. On cloudy days, it was good to have the choice of taking a quick train ride into the Rhone Valley area where the weather was usually better. Several of the walks in the HW itinerary can be shortened or lengthened to suit individual abilities and taken as a whole they give a very good overview of the area.
The Alfa Soleil is a wonderful hotel with a really excellent restaurant.
We're vegetarians and the chef provided an amazing series of creations over the week for us.
The hotel proprietor is a lovely host who really takes care of all his guests and the hotel team are superb.
The walks are amazing and very varied with plenty of other options - one day we took a day trip to Bern which is a fascinating city, and also spent a day on the lake taking a steamer from Spiez.
We travelled by Eurostar and TGV - dinner in Paris on the way out and lunch in Basel on the way back - really comfortable - do book ahead and get cheap first class tickets for the TGV though.
Overall an enjoyable holiday, the walks are definitely in the 2 boot category but using the cable cars means much of the walking is flat or downhill. The scenery is majestic providing you can see it for the clouds! Go prepared for mixed weather, we were in Kandersteg in early July and had everything from glorious sunshine to sleet (above Oeschinensee) by way of rain and thunderstorms. We were lucky enough to see an ibex, marmots and an eagle (at the top of Gemmi Pass). The paths were all well maintained and the signage is very good making the navigation easy.
The hotel is welcoming and the rooms comfortable if somewhat dated in decor and furniture. The food is good but be aware that it's a 4 course set menu with just a choice of 2 main courses (or an unspecified vegetarian option). The 'lunch buffet' where you can make up your own packed lunch at breakfast time is a good idea.
The travel arrangements all worked well and the Swiss trains were on time as expected. Being a Saturday the train from Zurich Airport to Bern (and return) can be busy and does not cater particularly well for luggage, we had to leave our bags in the area by the doors along with a number of others. The reserved seats that Headwater provided were necessary but these were upstairs away from our bags. Also note that the train from Bern to Kandersteg splits at Speiz with only the front portion going to Kandersteg and Brig, we didn't find this entirely obvious when boarding the train. It's not a big problem as the ticket inspector checks that you're in the right part of the train but it's easier if you don't have to move yourself and your bags at one of the stops.
A great holiday based in an excellent friendly hotel with good local food. The walks,starting from the hotel or via a short train, bus or cable car ride,were interesting and varied. The walks are deserving of the 2 boot status, taking most of the day to complete with the suggested extensions, allowing time for photographs, eating the excellent hotel picnics and admiring the views and the magnificent alpine flowers in June.
We thought that this was an excellent walking holiday. The variety of the walks meant that we could always choose one which suited us plus could travel to the next valley for better weather. The hotel was extremely comfortable and Peter and Agnes were great hosts with lots of good advice.The big surprise was the quality of the food which was definitely 5 star with good flavours and presentation
Reassured by a member of Headwater staff who had just been there that the Alpen Soleil in Kandersteg was 'a quiet hotel', we were very disappointed to discover that the hotel is right on a main road at the front and that at the back is a railway line carrying cargo freight through the night. In the hot weather, with windows open, it was hard to sleep for the noise of traffic and trains, all the more intrusive because occasional.
Wellorganised, comfortable hotel, easily followed walking notes, beautiful area, challenging treks
We enjoyed our holiday. However, we were a little disappointed by the lack of entertainment in the evening at both the hotel and location.in general.
In terms of value for money we felt the holiday content was expensive when compared to other holidays we have been on. And I do appreciate that we were in Switzerland!
Kandersteg was an exellent place for a walking holiday with a good variety of walks but age was against us (we are 80plus) in some instances, we made full use of the cable cars however.
Switzerland is breathtakingly beautiful and we loved it, but everything was very expensive, so we were glad of half board and the picnics provided which helped to keep the cost down.
Awesome scenery, excellent hotel, wonderful wild flowers and butterflies.Mixed weather.
An excellently organised walking holiday with a selection of very interesting walks. First rate hotel with superb food - makes a huge difference to be 'family owned' and upon arrival we were given an upgraded room as the hotel was not full. A very nice way to start! Kandersteg is quite beautiful and the people courteous and friendly. It helped that we had superb weather for 5 out of 7 days and the mountains and meadows were looking their best. All in all a most successful holiday. Thank you Headwater.
Don't go to Alfa Soleil, beautiful scenery, rubbish food
We are so sorry that the food at the Alfa Soleil did not meet your expectations. It genuinely took us by surprise - it is normally one of the highlights! Please let me assure you that our Swiss Progamme Manager will be discussing this with the hoteliers and monitoring the situation closely. We have worked with Peter and Agnes at the Hotel Alfa Soleil for many, many years and they are always extremely keen to act on our feedback, we are confident that any issues will be resolved effectively.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 7 night self-guided walking holiday includes:
Single-centre accommodation in a hotel
All breakfasts, picnic or light restaurant lunches and 4 course evening meals
Management by local hotelier
Route directions and maps
Standard transfers to/from your hotel (if booking inclusive flights)
Kandersteg Guestcard (for discounts at local sites and attractions)
Regional travel pass for local buses and cable cars
Free entry to the Blausee (Blue Lake) Nature Park
How to book:
|21st May 2022||US$2149||Tour only: US$2149||Check availability|
|28th May 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|4th Jun 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|11th Jun 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|18th Jun 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|25th Jun 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|2nd Jul 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|9th Jul 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|16th Jul 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|23rd Jul 2022||US$2249||Tour only: US$2249||Check availability|
|30th Jul 2022||US$2179||Tour only: US$2179||Check availability|
|6th Aug 2022||US$2179||Tour only: US$2179||Check availability|
|13th Aug 2022||US$2149||Tour only: US$2149||Check availability|
|20th Aug 2022||US$2149||Tour only: US$2149||Check availability|
|27th Aug 2022||US$2149||Tour only: US$2149||Check availability|
|3rd Sep 2022||US$2149||Tour only: US$2149||Check availability|
|10th Sep 2022||US$2149||Tour only: US$2149||Check availability|
|17th Sep 2022||US$1999||Tour only: US$1999||Check availability|
|24th Sep 2022||US$1999||Tour only: US$1999||Check availability|
|1st Oct 2022||US$1999||Tour only: US$1999||Check availability|
Please contact us for child prices.
Self-guided walking Managed locally by hotelier.
Saturdays from 21st May 2022 to 1st Oct 2022, for 7 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All breakfasts, picnic or light restaurant lunches and 4 course evening meals
You should allow £20pp for the train journey at the start of day 7.
Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Kandersteg train station at 16:41, and back to Kandersteg train station at 10:00.