The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Situated high on a mountain plateau in the Bernese Oberland, Kandersteg is very much a traditional Swiss village offering plenty of marked winter walking paths.
Special Selection Hotels
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 30800
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
Situated in a high mountain valley in the Bernese Oberland, Kandersteg is very much a traditional Swiss village. It has many charming wooden chalets and houses, the oldest dating back to the Middle Ages. Since the first hotel was built in 1789 Kandersteg has slowly developed into an uncluttered, peaceful and unspoilt resort with many of the best things that Switzerland has to offer. The natural landscape is truly beautiful. Snow-covered meadows and wooded lower slopes are surrounded by the high peaks of Blüemlisalphorn, Doldenhorn and Lohner, rising to over 12,000ft. Come December, (usually) the first snow descends on the village transforming it into a winter paradise, allowing for the perfect setting for our winter walks.
Kandersteg offers around 35 miles of marked winter walking paths, many of which are in the valley and on the lower slopes. We can walk to the Oeschi forest, enchanting with beautiful snow covered trees. And take a steady climb to the viewpoint Risetenegg, which rewards us with a wonderful view of the whole village of Kandersteg. We will make use of the chair lifts or cable cars to gain height for some spectacular walks, which otherwise would be beyond the grade.
As with all winter activities snow cannot be guaranteed. However, the walks are equally spectacular however one gets around.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
We fly from London Heathrow to Zurich with British Airways. On arrival we take a scenic journey by train to the beautiful alpine village of Kandersteg.
Transfer Time = 2h 30m
Oeschiwald. A pleasant introductory walk, starting along the river, then up to the woods and back to town, allowing for orientation in Kandersteg. After lunch, we will continue walking through town then along the river Kander to the Lotschberg Tunnel which starts at Kandersteg and extends 9 miles under the Alps. The walk also passes the International Scout Centre and some of the area’s iconic hotels.
Kandersteg to Reichenbach After a short bus ride to Kandergrund we walk down the beautiful Kander valley to Frutigen for lunch on the banks of the Engstliche River. We then follow the Engstliche and Kander rivers into Reichenbach where some of the distinctive buildings date back to the 1500s. Here we have time to explore, have a drink and then we return to Kandersteg by train. Please note this is not the Reichenbach of Sherlock Holmes fame. That is elsewhere in Switzerland.
Loetschental. We take the train through the mountains to the isolated Loetschen valley and continue by bus to Blatten where the road stops in winter. We continue on foot up the winding route to Fafleralp, where we can take our lunch at the welcoming Gasthof and enjoy the stunning views. We then return to Blatten and back along the river to Kippel.
This is planned as a free day. There are many options to consider, your RWH tour leader will be happy to discuss. Remember you have a ticket which offers reduced prices on local public transport. A trip to Adelboden has proved popular on previous holidays as has a visit to the Tropenhaus at Frutigen, where sturgeon for caviar and exotic plants are grown using warm water from below ground in the railway tunnel.
Sunnbüel. The cable car takes us to the top of Sunnbüel and we then walk the Gemmi pass as far as Daubensee. After an initial descent we cross the flat ‘Spittelmatte' before climbing to Gasthof Scwarenbach for refreshments. Our picnic lunch by Draubensee might well be shared with alpine choughs! The views throughout are magnificent – the highest destination of the week.
Oeschinensee. We take a cable car up to the ski area and walk to a lovely scenic viewpoint at Oeschinensee. We then circle down to the lake. It is not uncommon to leave Kandersteg in mist and arrive at Oeschinensee in sunshine.
After lunch we return to the valley and walk up behind the hotel through the “High Woods” to a viewpoint then descend through farmland to town.
We return by train to Zurich Airport to take our flight back to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
20th Dec 2021 - 27th Dec 2021 (7 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
We stay in the family run three star traditional Hotel Alfa Soleil surrounded by spectacular views of the beautiful mountains. The location is ideal as we are just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of the village. The hotel has a heated indoor swimming pool, a wellness area with Jacuzzi and steam room and a fitness gym. It also has an old style English pub with a dart board. There is a lounge place where you can relax by the open fire.
We stay in in twin bedded and single rooms with ensuite facilities. The rooms are equipped with telephones, satellite TV and a hairdryer. Free WIFI is available throughout the hotel.
We will enjoy breakfast and dinners. The four course dinners are the hotel have been very highly reviewed. Three lunches are included and two of those will be a packed lunch and the other a light lunch at the hotel. The hotel even allows you to fill your bottle or flask with tea or vegetable Bouillon before your walk. On Christmas Eve a specially themed dinner will be served to continue the celebrations.
This is a grade 4 walking holiday, where we can expect 6-9 miles of walking a day. Our walks will take us 3-5 hours and ascents/descents are up to 350m. Kandersteg is at a height of about 1120m. The highest point we can expect to reach is 2179m close the Dauben lake. Kandersteg provides some wonderful walking through alpine winter scenery and is well established for winter walkers. Mighty peaks surround the town of Kandersteg, these will act as a breathtaking backdrop only and we will not be attempting to climb them! You should expect to walk on generally good paths or routes adjacent to cross country ski tracks. These can become rough, stony or slippery for short sections; we’ll adjust our pace accordingly and the programme will always be adjusted to cope with any inclement weather conditions. We can expect to encounter snow and ice, sometimes making the paths icy and slipperyy. We recommend good quality snow and ice grips, these will be beneficial and required for most days. We include routes through woods, alpine pastures and meadows – a magnificent landscape with some great views!
Kandersteg provides some wonderful walking through alpine winter scenery and is well established for winter walkers. Mighty peaks surround the town of Kandersteg, these will act as a breathtaking backdrop only and we will not be attempting to climb them! You should expect to walk on generally good paths or routes adjacent to cross country ski tracks, but occasionally these become rough and stony or slippery for short sections; we‘ll adjust our pace accordingly and the programme will always be adjusted to cope with any inclement weather conditions. We include routes through woods, alpine pastures and meadows – a magnificent landscape with some great views.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Switzerland
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc.
The euro is widely accepted in Switzerland, however occasionally change may be given in Swiss Francs. ATMs are widely available in most towns and villages throughout Switzerland.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Flights from London Heathrow to Zurich and return with British Airways.
The journey between Zurich airport and Kandersteg (approximately 2 ½ hours) is by train. On arrival at the station our luggage will be transferred to the hotel while we take a short stroll.
Land only package: This applies if you will be organising your own travel arrangements, and travelling to the hotel independently to the rest of the group. You will still be entitled to receive your tailor made Swiss Rail tickets. These tickets enable you to travel by train between the airport and Kandersteg. These also provide a 50% reduction on travel in between these areas. To obtain this ahead of your holiday then please email David Kay at [email protected] and we can organise the delivery of your tickets. Please be aware that these are not usually delivered to our offices until two weeks – ten days prior to the departure date. So you will be sent your pass after this time.
If you are joining and leaving the party in Switzerland it is assumed, unless you have advised us otherwise, that you will meet and leave the party at our hotel in Kandersteg. If this is not your intention, please let us know in writing, at least 5 weeks before departure.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Regional Flights (R2). We offer regional flight options on this holiday but due to the location and travelling time to our resort we operate just one transfer vehicle between the airport and hotel. This may mean that there is a wait at the overseas airport in one or both directions.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
The hotel restaurant where we have buffet breakfast and four-course dinners has an excellent reputation for serving excellent quality locally grown food. Three lunches are included and two of those will be a packed lunch and the other a light lunch at the hotel. The hotel allows you to fill your bottle or flask with tea before your walk each morning. On Christmas Eve a specially themed dinner will be served to continue the celebrations. In other weeks there may be a fondue night and a special five-course meal one night.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Paths can be very icy in certain conditions. We recommend that you use ice-grips on the sole of your boots. You can usually purchase these in resort. Or you might like to purchase them in the UK for around £35-40, and you can do so from the following website: www.icegripper.co.uk/store/chain-traction/icetrekkers-diamond-grip. Yaktrax ice grips are available from branches of Cotswold Outdoors.
Walking or Ski poles are also recommended as they are particularly helpful in soft snow.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Switzerland
Electricity in Switzerland is supplied at 230 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a two prong round pin continental pug adapter which will fit into any three prong receptacle. More information can be found at www.power-plus-sockets.com.
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
You may wish to visit the Switzerland Tourist Office website: www.myswitzerland.com/en/home
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Switzerland
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Switzerland.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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