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Everything you need to know about visiting Oeschinensee in Switzerland (and why you should go!)

Oeschinensee in Kandersteg, Switzerland

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Let's be honest, you can't go far in Switzerland without being treated to spectacular views. It really is one of the most scenic countries I've been to. There are so many great things to see and do in Switzerland, but one of the best places to visit (in my opinion), is the beautiful Oeschinensee (Lake Oeschinen). It is honestly breathtaking how incredible this lake really is, you just have to see it for yourself! Make sure that you don't miss this from your Switzerland itinerary!


1. How to get to Oeschinensee, Kandersteg

2. How to hike the Oeschinensee panorama trail

3. What else is there to do at Oeschinensee?

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Everything you need to know about visiting Oeschinensee

Lake Oeschinen (Oeschinensee) is located in the small town of Kandersteg, Switzerland, just 45 minutes by car (or 1 hour by train) from the popular hub of Interlaken and 2 hours by train from Zurich. Oeschinensee is not as widely visited as some of the other attractions in the area, but in my opinion, it is one of the must-see places in Switzerland. It’s a small, but beautiful lake, surrounded by steep, rugged cliffs with glistening blue water and plenty to do for all the family.

Trust me, you don't want to miss this when visiting Switzerland! To help you plan your day out at the lake, here's some top tips with everything you need to know about visiting Oeschinensee.

Want to see another one of my favourite hikes in Switzerland? Check out my blog post on hiking the Schynige Platt Panorama trail.

1. How to get to Oeschinensee, Kandersteg

Kandersteg is relatively easy to get to if you have your own car. It also has a train station if you don't have your own vehicle. I’m going to use Interlaken as a base, as that’s where we stayed before visiting Kandersteg. From Interlaken, you can drive to Kandersteg in just 45 minutes and you can park at the gondola station. If you are travelling from Interlaken by train, you will need to get a train to Speiz, and change to a second train to Kandersteg.

Once you’ve arrived in Kandersteg, you will need to take the gondola up the mountain to reach Oeschinensee. There are walking trails up the mountain, if you would prefer, but I would recommend taking the gondola. There’s also the option of buying just a one way ticket for the gondola, which is what we did - taking the gondola up and then walking back down. The walk from the gondola station back to Kandersteg was only an hour, but it was very steep and I'm glad we chose to only walk down and not up as well!

The pretty town of Kandersteg, Switzerland

Wander around the pretty town of Kandersteg

2. Hiking the Oeschinensee panorama trail

One of the best ways to really appreciate the beauty of Oeschinensee is to hike around the lake. There are several trails that have incredible elevated views over the lake. The most popular trail is the Oeschinensee panorama trail. You can choose to do the full loop trail, or hike to the viewpoint at Unterbargli, then return the same way (this option is easier and better for those with a fear of heights). We chose to do the easier option, which I'll share with you here.

Starting your hike at the gondola station - there are two options you can choose from to reach Oeschinensee; trail 4, which is direct to Oeschinensee or trail 5, via Lager - take trail 5 and follow signs for Lager / Oeschinensee.

The start of the hiking trail to Oeschinensee in Kandersteg, Switzerland

The start of the hiking trail to Oeschinensee, Kandersteg

The start of the hiking trail to Oeschinensee in Kandersteg, Switzerland

The trail winds through pine trees from the gondola station to Oeschinensee viewpoint

You will continue walking along the gravel path through open meadow and past clusters of pine trees. Soon you will come to a small hut and a gorgeous viewpoint of Oeschinensee, make sure that you stop here to get great photos of the stunning blue lake. This is one of the best viewpoints of Oeschinensee, and you can see from here why it is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland.

Admiring Oeschinensee from Lager viewpoint, Kandersteg, Switzerland

Admiring Oeschinensee from Lager viewpoint

From the Lager viewpoint, pick up trail no. 8 which is signed as Oeschinensee to Heuberg. This is the full panorama loop, which takes 3 hours and is 8.5km long. Don't worry if you don't want to do the full loop, you can still follow this trail as far as you want and then turn back. This section of the lake is the most beautiful part, so you won't want to miss it!

The trail continues on a gravel path through a pine forest and soon you will start to get glimpses of the lake shore through the trees. Leave the trail here and spend some time at the edge of the lake. After relaxing for a bit at the lake, pick the trail back up and continue heading along trail no. 8 to Heuberg / Unterbargli.

Oeschinensee in Kandersteg, Switzerland

Taking some time out to sit by the shoreline of Oeschinensee

The trail slowly starts to climb higher up the mountain side, with elevated views down to the lake until you reach Unterbargli, a large undulating meadow with gorgeous views down to the lake and across the surrounding mountain ranges. This is a great place to stop for a picnic lunch. There is also a cafe here (although it was unfortunately closed when we visited early October).

The view over Oeschinensee from Unterbargli, Kandersteg, Switzerland

The view over Oeschinensee from Unterbargli

From Unterbargli, you can choose to either continue along trail 8, to complete the full panorama loop or return the same way you came, tracing the shoreline of the lake. Be warned that the rest of the full panorama loop is very steep and the path can be quite narrow, which is why a lot of people (including us) turned around at this point and went back the way we came.

3. What else is there to do at Oeschinensee?

Even if you don't fancy hiking, Oeschinensee is still worth a visit and is great for families as well. From the gondola station, take trail no. 4, which leads directly to Oeschinensee. Tucked away on this corner of the lake is a restaurant, play-park, and barbecue pits. You can also rent rowing boats to take out on the lake, and in the warmer, summer months you can swim in the lake too. It’s a great place to spend a few hours.

One of the barbecue pits at Oeschinensee and a rowing boat in the background, Kandersteg, Switzerland

One of the barbecue pits at Oeschinensee and a rowing boat in the background

The lake is only a 20 minute walk from the gondola station, but if you are not able to walk, you can pay to ride the small electric shuttle which will take you to the lake.

Before leaving, make sure you take a ride on the mountain coaster - it's only 5 CHF (£4.40) for one go or 18 CHF (£16) for 5 rides (adult price) and is great fun! You control your own speed and it’s a great feeling whooshing down with views of mountain ranges on the horizon!

A couple of action shots from the Mountain coaster!

I hope that this guide has inspired you to add Oeschinensee to your Switzerland itinerary. The colour of the water is just incredible and the surrounding mountain ranges are also really beautiful. It is definitely one of the best places we visited on our trip to Switzerland.

Check out some other activities for your Switzerland trip!

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