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Swiss Trails: Bernese Oberland & The Valais

8 Days & 7 Nights 5 Read 1 reviews
  • Traverse the alpine meadows of the Gemmipass as you walk from the Bernese Oberland to the Valais
  • Visit the iconic turquoise shores of Oeschinensee high above Kandersteg
  • Explore the Gasterntal Valley—a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Look out for ibex, chamois, marmots, and bearded vulture along the trail
  • Relax and unwind in Leukerbad—renowned since Roman times for its thermal springs and spas
On this twin centre trip enjoy a stay in the town of Kandersteg nestled in the Bernese Oberland then walk over the Gemmipass to Leukerbad in the Valais. Hike in a mix of popular and peaceful valleys as you explore the surrounding mountain scenery; high limestone cliffs, alpine flower meadows strewn with charming wooden chalets and the turquoise waters of glacial lakes and rivers. Begin the trip in Kandersteg, a hub of outdoor activity, and enjoy the hospitality of your friendly accommodation after time spent exploring the regions lakes and mountains. From Kandersteg visit the iconic Oeschinensee with it’s turquoise waters. Feel as though you’ve journeyed into the past as you wander among the forests and farms of the Gasterntal valley, and drink in the mountain scenery from Allmenalp. Then follow the Gemmipass to reach the charming spa town of Leukerbad—a perfect base for admiring the surrounding peaks and passes of the Valais before relaxing in the thermal waters and tasting the local alpine cuisine.
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What To Expect

A self-guided walking holiday ideal for those wishing to sample some of the best hiking Switzerland’s west has to offer. With the exception of the Gemmipass route between Kandersteg and Leukerbad (14.5 km) all of the walks are optional and range from 8.5 km up to 23.5 km so you can make your holiday as energetic or as relaxing as you like. By including cable cars in the itinerary much of the typically steep alpine terrain can be avoided.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Multi Centre Walking | You will spend multiple nights in one or more of the locations on this walking holiday

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, Groups > 10, First Timers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Foodie Adventures
  • Mountains
  • Special Occasions

Inspiration:

  • Classic

Grade & Terrain

The trip is graded moderate; some previous walking experience and a good level of fitness is recommended so you can relax and enjoy the scenery.  Our routes follow wide tracks, paths and sometimes narrower mountain paths occasionally with steep slopes above and below—as with most Alpine walking a good head for heights and sure-footedness is required. The incorporation of cable cars avoids most steep ascents and descents, but some steep sections are unavoidable—walking poles are highly recommended.

Navigation

Our routes are easy to follow with detailed route notes and GPS tracks provided on our Macs Adventure smartphone app.  Walks are signposted by the yellow Swiss waymarkers and red and white painted markers on rocks and trees but you’ll find some map reading experience helpful.

Experience & Fitness

As all the walks are self-guided you will be responsible for navigation, decision–making and safety during your trip. The walks are graded moderate—they are not strenuous and although there are some uphill and steeper sections, these are not particularly challenging and are all on well-defined paths and tracks. The route notes often describe shortcuts and route variations so you can tailor your day depending on how you feel.  

Accommodation Information

We specifically choose our accommodations to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to walkers, great hospitality and delicious local food. During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.

Upgraded Accommodation

Why not upgrade your hotels in Kandersteg and Leukerbad? Please see below our standard upgrade hotels.

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers. If you require single rooms in your party we will of course try to accommodate your request, subject to availability. Please note that singles may not be of the same standard or size as twins/doubles.

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most accommodations will be able to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, your route notes include details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way at cafes or mountain restaurants. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or at nearby bars and restaurants.

Included
  • 7 Nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Detailed trip documents, GPS tracks, maps and access to route notes on the Macs Adventure smartphone app
  • Baggage transfer from Kandersteg to Leukerbad
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to and from Kandersteg & Leukerbad
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Cable car tickets
  • Taxis, bus journeys and other public transport
Extras
  • Additional nights before or after the tour
  • Upgraded accommodation in Kandersteg and/or Leukerbad

When To Go

The alpine walking season is relatively short; from mid-June to mid-September. Please note that if there's a long winter the higher walks e.g. the Rinderhutte to Restipass route, could be affected by snow cover.  We keep an eye on conditions from Macs HQ and will update and support you if there's a likelihood high snow cover snow will affect your trip. 

Getting to the Start

For general travel planning and information in Switzerland, please go to: www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/transport-travel/getting-around . Switzerland is well-connected internationally from Geneva, Zurich and Bern airports.  Depending on where you fly from the SBB train service should be able to provide frequent transport links to Kandersteg.  From Geneva Airport take the train (approx. 3h 30 bookable with SBB) to Kandersteg.  The train journey is a scenic one along the north shore of Lake Geneva (you’ll catch a glimpse of the 140m high Jet d’Eau) before heading south to Martigny, then east into the mountains surrounding Kandersteg and Leukerbad.

Getting from the End

Onward travel from Leukerbad to internationally connected Geneva Airport is easiest when taking the bus (30 min) to Leuk train station and catching a direct train (2h 30) to Geneva Airport.  The train journey takes you west along the beautiful Rhone valley and through the vineyards on the north shore of Lake Geneva. You can also make your onward travel arrangements from Zurich or Bern airports.

Cable Cars

Some of the routes featured in the itinerary make use of cable cars.  This allows you to explore further afield and conserve your energy (and knees!) avoiding the steepest ascents and descents where possible. Your pre-departure information pack will provide all the information you need to navigate the well-organised Swiss cable car system.

Baggage Transfer

Bag transfer on this trip is available as per your itinerary from Kandersteg to Leukerbad with our local transfer partner so you won’t need to carry more than a day bag on the Gemmipass walk.  We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20 kg per person.

Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Kandersteg and overnight Day 2 Walk Oeschinensee to Kandersteg 7 miles / 11 km Day 3 Gasterntal Valley Loop Walk 14.5 miles / 23.5 km Day 4 Walk Kandersteg to Allmenalp 5 miles / 8.5 km Day 5 Walk Kandersteg to Leukerbad (via Gemmipass) 9 miles / 14.5 km Day 6 Fluealp Loop Walk 8 miles / 13 km Day 7 Walk Rinderhutte to Restipass 8 miles / 13 km Day 8 Onward Travel

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