Hike to Oeschinensee – The prettiest lake in Switzerland!

Hiking, Switzerland23 comments

Oeschinensee (or as it is known by the misnomer Oeschinensee Lake – ‘see’ in German means lake!) is a bright blue Swiss mountain lake in the Bernese Oberland region. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip from Zurich, Lucerne or Interlaken. Whether you are looking to relax amidst the tranquil surroundings of the beautiful Oeschinen lake or indulge in a bit more adventure hiking or riding the ‘Mountain Coaster’ (the Oeschinen lake toboggan run), Oeschinensee is the place to be. Read on for the ultimate guide to visiting Lake Oeschinen.

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Best time to visitMay to October
LocationGondelbahn Kandersteg Oeschinensee, Oeschistrasse 50, 3718 Kandersteg
Travel timeBy car: 2 – 2.5 hr  from Zurich or Lucerne, 1 hr from Lauterbrunnen, 45 min from Interlaken
By public transportation: 2 – 2.5 hr from Zurich HB or Lucerne, 1.5 hr from Interlaken and 2 hr from Lauterbrunnen 
Opening hours09.00 to 16:50 h (longer during June – September)
Ticket prices26 – 30CHF per adult depending upon the time of year (SBB halbtax applicable)
Ease of accessEasy – requires a roundtrip hike of about 1 hr but there’s an electric bus also available if you’d like to skip the walk
Closest towns to stay inInterlaken, Lauterbrunnen
Read morehttps://www.oeschinensee.ch/
Check out the weather camhttps://www.oeschinensee.ch/webcams-2/

Where is Oeschinensee

Oeschinensee lies in the Bernese Oberland region and is at a height of ~1600 m. The lake is accessible from Kandersteg through an aerial cable car followed by a short hike (~30 min) or an electric bus.

The spectacular Lake Oeschinen
The spectacular Lake Oeschinen

Have limited time in Switzerland? Here’s a 5-day Switzerland itinerary to take in the best of the country!

What is the best time to visit Lake Oeschinen

May to October are the best months to hike to Oeschinensee from the top station. The lake freezes over in winter and the trails usually open by May. During winter, ice skating and ice fishing are popular activities. 

How to get to Oeschinensee

You need to get to the Oeschinensee cable car station in Kandersteg to take the aerial cable car (also called gondola) up to the top station.

Oeschinensee parking map (Google Map Data ©2020 Imagery ©2020, Maxar Technologies) – Click to expand map

We drove from Zurich and it took us around 2 hr to reach the cable car station. There are multiple parking lots at the cable car station. We got there around 9:30 am on a July weekend and the parking lot was already filled up more than halfway. Parking costs 5 CHF per day. 

By train, from Zurich HB, it will take around 2 – 2.5 hrs, changing trains at Bern to reach Kandersteg. From Interlaken, it would take 1 – 1.5 hr to reach Kandersteg. From Kandersteg train station, the cable car station is a 15-minute walk away.

See also: Where to stay to visit Oeschinen Lake

Kandersteg to Oeschinensee cable car opening hours

Gondola cableway operating times: 09.00 to 16.50 h (last descent at 17.00).  The operating hours are longer from June to September. Check the latest timetable for Gondelbahn Oeschinensee here.

Kandersteg to Lake Oeschinen cable car tickets/ prices and schedule

A round trip ticket for the cable car costs 26 CHF per adult from December to June and 30 CHF per adult during July – November.  Tickets can be purchased from the cable car station, or online. 

The cable cars here are not the ones on a timetable but ones that are constantly coming and going with a capacity of 4-6. Just cross the turnstile (scanning your ticket) and enter into the first gondola that comes along – note that these do not completely come to a halt but slow down considerably so you can easily get on them.

The journey to the top station took  ~10 minutes with no intermediate stops in between. As you ride up you can see people whizzing below on the toboggan run called the ‘Mountain Coaster’

Oeschinensee hike – Overview

Here is the summer map for the region:

Oeschinensee hiking map

HikeOeschinen Bergstation – Oeschinensee – Oeschinen Bergstation (hike #4 or 5 on the map above)
I recommend taking trail #5 while going since it offers a beautiful view of the lake from a height. Take trail #4 while coming back.
Distance (roundtrip)~4 km
Duration (roundtrip)~1 hr
Ascent/Descent100 m
PathTrail #4 is a broad, well-developed path; Trail #5 has some uneven rocky patches
Difficulty levelEasy – Suitable for families of all ages 

Oeschinensee hike – Details

We were greeted by stunning views when we reached Oeschinen Bergstation – high mountain peaks and wide green meadows. The air was crisp and fresh, It was exhilarating!

Oeschinensee - how to visit Lake Oeschinen
Arriving at the top station and being greeted by these views, bliss!

There are a restaurant and toilets available here. The electric bus also starts from here, departing every 30 min and costs 8 CHF per adult. I would suggest walking both ways since it’s a beautiful trail.

Oeschinensee - guide to visiting Lake Oeschinen
Starting out on the trail

If you’re interested in doing the toboggan run, take a right. If you’re headed to the lake take a left and follow the signs for trail #4 or #5. The hike takes you through spectacular, steep mountains and we kept stopping to take pictures.

After about 10 min, there is a fork on the trail. If you want to do trail #5, take a left on to the slightly narrower path. If you want to continue on trail #4, continue on the main path. 

We took trail #5 and it led us through a forested area surrounded by mountains. 

Stunning views along the hike
Let’s catch a breath

Another few minutes walk brought us to the beautiful viewpoint over Oeschinensee. The icy blue coloured water and the steep cliffs behind it make for a stunning scene. We spent a long time taking pictures there.

Can almost see the lake in the distance
Oeschinensee

To continue down to the lake, you could walk straight down on the path from the viewpoint. However, it is a very steep and very slippery path. We saw several people almost slipping and falling! So, we decided to take the slightly longer, safer route! Continuing on the main path we soon reached the point where we joined trail #4. We could already see the lake from here and it was a breathtaking sight.

Oeschinensee - the ultimate guide to visiting Lake Oeschinen
Taking trail #4 towards the lake

There are restaurants, cafes and toilets as well as boat rentals available here. Since it was a summer weekend, the place was filled with families picnicking, boating and swimming (just the brave ones though since the water was ice cold!).

Oeschinensee - the ultimate guide to visiting Lake Oeschinen
How tranquil is the scene!
Oeschinensee, Kandersteg, Switzerland

We found a bench to relax on and tucked into our lunches.

After spending a couple of hours we started our hike back. The electric shuttle bus had just arrived and it tested our resolve for a bit! But we persevered, turned our backs to the bus and walked on!

The electric bus in question

When we got back to Kandersteg we saw that there were nearly 5-6 parking lots around that were completely full already and yet there were more cars arriving! This is a popular place among the locals. We hardly spotted many tourists though.

Practical tips for visiting Oeschinensee

  • Check the weather webcam before visiting – if it’s rainy or very cloudy, don’t bother spending money on the cable car tickets.
  • Get there early to avoid a crowded parking lot. Not much of a problem if you’re travelling by public transport though
  • Carry a cap/ hat – most of the hike is on open trails and the sun can get very hot

Other activities at Oeschinensee/ Kandersteg

Have you been to Oeschinensee? Drop me a comment with your favourite part of the trip. Are you planning a trip to the Jungfrau region (or looking for the best place to visit in Switzerland?!)? Let me know if you have any questions. 

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23 Comments

  1. Omg Oeschinensee looks wonderful! The water is so green and crystal clear and the mountain views are simply breathtaking! We haven’t visited much of Switzerland mostly because we’dd need to change money to Swiss francs haha… but we should definitely try to drive down there more often. Just 5 hours from home, so perhaps we should go next month. Thanks for this inspiring post!

    Reply
  2. Wow! The views here are gorgeous. The color of the lake reminded me of the lake I saw at Banff National Park, but there really wasn’t much of a hike to see the lake. I definitely would have taken the easier route even if it took a little longer because those very steep paths scare me!

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    • Ooh I’ve seen pictures of Banff and I’d love to go there someday – looks incredibly beautiful!

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  3. Oh my gosh this is SO beautiful! Lake Oeschinensee looks like an amazing place to visit. I love Switzerland and would love to go back soon. The hiking around the lake looks like a lot of fun and I would enjoy the cable car ride – although my wife wouldn’t, so she’d probably wait for me at the bottom LOL!

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    • haha don’t worry the cable car ride is quite gentle, not scary at all!

      Reply
  4. That scenery is simply breathtaking! The organization with the nice trails, boat rentals, restaurants, feels almost like a regular walk in the city park, but these tall peaks and turquoise lake are totally alpine beauty! We got to hike a few trails in the Alps in France, around the Mercantour National Park, and we can’t wait to explore some of Switzerland’s incredible hikes as well. It’s nice to be able to combine different routes as well, we usually like to add a few side options whenever possible.

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    • The Swiss Alps are absolutely incredible and there are tons of amazing hikes to do here!

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  5. I was in Interlakken in January for a few days but didn’t get to Oeschinesensee. It looks absolutely stunning in summer and I’d love to re-visit. I’m bookmarking this page because it has all the information I need to plan my visit. Thank you

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    • Thanks, Suzanne! Hope you are able to visit again!

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  6. I would definitely want to take the hike there. I would also love to do the cable car and rent some kayaks. The color of the water is incredible!

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  7. Oeschinesensee looks so beautiful but I’m not sure I could handle the cable car to get up there haha. The prices seem pretty decent too for such a stunning area!

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  8. I’ve never been to Switzerland, and I don’t have much knowledge about the place but this is stunning. Definitely giving me wanderlust

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    • Hope it inspires you to add Switzerland to your bucket list!

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  9. Wow, this is beautiful. I was in the region in May and wanted to do this hike but just ran out of time. I’m hanging onto your information for the future. I love that you included the details like best time to visit and information on the challenging parts of the hike with alternative options for the descent. Really helpful for people with bad knees. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Natasha! Do keep this hike in your list, it’s a beautiful one.

      Reply
  10. This looks like a wonderful hike! I’ve been to Switzerland several times but never to Lake Oeschinen. Loved the photos too!

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    • Thanks, Patrice! Oeschinensee is definitely one of the underrated places in Switzerland.

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  11. Ooooooh my goodness! Each time I see another one of your posts my feet get itchier! This looks amaaaazing, especially that you can get such gorgeous views for quite an easy hike.

    I feel like following your blog is bound to make me poorer as I may just *have* to get out to see these views for myself. 😀

    Reply
    • Hahaha, thanks Josy! 😀

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    • I agree – the mountains and the lakes here in this region are something else!

      Reply
  12. This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Thanks Martina! 🙂

      Reply

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About me

Gruezi! My name is Smita, a part time traveller and a novice travel writer, currently living in Switzerland. So far I’ve been what you might call a serendipitous traveller! I got a chance to visit several amazing places more by chance than by design. I would love to put all my extensive travel planning to good use by sharing it with you and hope that these inspire you to visit all those famous, and not-so-famous locations! Read More

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