The beautiful Oeschinensee lake is Kandersteg’s top attraction. Tucked against a cirque of cliffs above town, it’s a stunning emerald-blue lake that you’ll see on many Switzerland brochures. And for good reason – it’s stunning. Oeschinensee is easily accessed by gondola, which runs both in winter (there are a few small ski lifts below the lake), and in summer from early May until late October. Summer prices are CHF 28 round-trip.
You can also hike, up or down or both. There are a couple trails from town, and the 400 meter elevation difference makes it a 1 to 1½ hr hike each way for most people. But if seeing the lake is your main goal, take the gondola.
Once at the top, there is a fun summer luge at the upper gondola station, where 5 francs gets you a thrilling ride on a coaster along a curved metal slide. Summer luges are not uncommon in the Alps, although you won’t find them everywhere, and they are fun for all ages. From the top lift, it’s an easy, slightly downhill walk to the lake itself. There are more trails up and around the lake, and a couple of nice restaurants along the water’s edge. You can also rent paddleboats or rowboats at the water. If you like to fish, you can purchase a fishing license at the restaurant (you need your own equipment though).
There is a nice little beach a short walk clockwise along the north shore, which is popular for swimming, and that trail continues up to a rustic mountain restaurant called Unterberg… 200 meters above the lake, it might take about 45 minutes to walk up there, and rewards you with fabulous birds-eye views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Oeschinensee is a must-see if you are in the region, and a good reason to consider coming here in the first place!
See Oeschiensee’s office website for more info.