Unesco Ice Walk

Oeschinensee, BE

The Oeschinensee above Kandersteg in the Berner Oberland, a beautiful lake that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Region, is particularly beautiful and charming in winter. In the colder months, it is a perfect place to enjoy the serenity of nature, as well as a variety of winter sports, including skating on the black ice of the frozen lake, where they clear several trails. At a nearby restaurant you can warm up with a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate and a grilled sausage.

For the past few winters, they have also been offering the UNESCO Ice Walk—a hiking trail with two different routes that lead you on a serene and relaxing trail across the ice, which is up to 50 cm thick in places. You can watch the skaters and ice fishermen try their luck while enjoying the beautiful panorama of the Oeschinen Mountains from a completely different perspective. This year, with the recent warm weather, the trail has not yet opened and not all hiking trails are accessible (as of January 17, 2023), but check their website for status updates.

You can reach the Oeschinensee by taking a gondola from Kandersteg; from there you walk approximately 30 minutes to the lake. Both the gondola ride and the trail are stroller friendly. If you are feeling sportier, you can also opt to take a longer 90-minute trail to the lake. To get back to Kandersteg, you can either go back to the gondola or go down their 3.5-km long thrilling toboggan run to the base station of the gondola. Note that toboggans can only be rented at the base station of the gondola, not at the Oeschinensee itself.

Kandersteg is a 1.5-hour drive from Basel and can also be reached by train.

Information is available at https://www.oeschinensee.ch/en/.

photo: © christoph wandfluh / oeschinensee.ch