- Distance: 6km (one way)
- Time: 2hours
- Refreshments: Kandersteg or Blausee Lake
Today was an easier day, visiting the world-famous Blausee Lake – Blue Lake. The route started from the hotel so we could leave as soon as we were ready, without relying on any public transport or gondolas. The path to Blausee Lake was easy to follow, mainly downhill and went through some lovely countryside surrounding Kandersteg. If you wanted an even more restful day, then you could catch the bus from Kandersteg direct to the Lake. There are numerous buses that run, and your hotel or the tourist information will be very happy to help. This website will also give you bus times: https://www.bls.ch/en
We did this walk to Blausee Lake on a very hot day, so we didn’t rush it, and enjoyed looking at the scenery we were passing. It is a gentle, peaceful walk along the bottom of the Kandertal Valley. There are little information posts along the way, about the history of the area, which I highly recommend stopping to read as they are very interesting – and it’s in English!
So, turning left out of the hotel, we were on our way. We quickly turned off the main street after about 30m and were then straight into farming land. It was lovely to look at some of the old but also modern working houses that were along this stretch. Continuing to the river, we crossed the bridge and turned right. I was surprised by how well the river was flowing considering it had been dry for quite some time.
As we went under the railway line, we continued uphill along the path to a T-junction. Turning left at the sign shortly afterwards, and right at the next T junction, we then quickly took a right fork into the woods. It was nice to finally have a bit of shade and enjoy the cover of the trees. Instead of coming across wild strawberries today, the route was lined with lots of wild raspberries. Perfect for a little snack! After enjoying the shade for about a km, we then turned right downwards towards the river. You will pass by some traditional swiss farmhouses with the big cowbells hanging across the front of their house. I do wonder how heavy each of those bells are….and how easy it is to put them up and take them down!
In continuing towards the river, we also came across a little shed-like structure perched high on a rock in the middle of a field. This rock was so big, that there were two ladders perched on the rock to access it! I would love to know the reason for it being there. I understand that being off the ground might help limit the amount of vermin. Whatever the reason, building it perched upon the rock was impressive!
As mentioned, this is quite an informative route, with lots of points of interest along the way. In 1947, on the night of the 19th December, a massive explosion happened in the Kandertal valley. This was from 3,000 tonnes of ammunition exploding in the ammunition depot of an army situated inside the mountain. It caused a massive rockfall, where 240,000m³ of rubble covered part of the village within seconds. Over 40 houses were destroyed but amazingly only 9 people died.
It was nice to rejoin the river and walk alongside it. Listening to the bubbling water as we walked. Once again, the walk was full of wildflowers and nature – especially butterfly’s. I have never seen so many different colours and patterns of butterflies and moths. The Swiss Alps seemed to be a mecca for them! Crossing the river, we walked through some lovely pastures until we met the road at Teuffe. We passed through a lovely little community, and after 250m along the road (on a path) we reached the entrance for Blausee Lake.
We got free entry into Blausee lake as part of our guest card. And I have to say this was the most touristy place we went too whilst in the Alps. The lake is in the middle of Blausee Nature Park – 20 hectares of magnificent Alpine scenery. In 1885 a travel guide said Blausee was the “jewel of a landscape immersed in magical forest solitude“. However, nowadays it is very accessible, with coaches dropping of tours and occasionally weddings happening. Therefore I would advise you get there as early as possible to avoid the main queues, and to go during a weekday if possible. We arrived for about 1030 and I am glad we didn’t get there much later. There was already a very small queue forming, but when we exited in the afternoon the queue was a lot bigger.
Legend of the Blue Lake
Long ago in the lonely forests of Kandergrund there was a lake which was just like any other. The petrified firs in its depths greyly reflected the gigantic rocks which surrounded it. Only wild ducks swam on the surface and timid deers quenched their thirst from it. A young couple, a maid and a shepherd, spent many moonlit summer evenings on its banks, dreaming of young love. They went for a sail on the still lake where they revelled in the prospect of their future together.
But one day the lad fell over a cliff whilst collecting wild hay. The heartbroken maid knelt by the corpse of her loved one and that night she fled to the still lake where she sailed the boat, striking around wildly with the oars in her grief, until she drifted exhausted, finally slipping silently into the cool waters of oblivion. As she died, the little lake took on the blue of her eyes and its waters have remained as blue as the sky ever since, guarding the secret of this great love.
The lake was actually created by a landslide more than 15,000 years ago. Disappearing glaciers left holes in the ground of the Kander valley. The Blausee is fed by groundwater from the Kander river and underground springs. And because of its clarity, the mineral-rich crystal clear water gets its unusual deep blue colour. The underground springs also keep the water at a constant cool temperature, which is ideal for the trout living in it.
The water of the lake also feeds the trout farm. Blausee is known for its outstanding quality of the fish and has its own hatchery. You can walk around part of the trout farm, and I must say there were a lot of fish – both rainbow and salmon trout. There is a large information board explaining all about the breeding and development of a trout – from an embryo in the egg into a fully-fledged swimming fish. The unique slow growth of trout, as well as Blausee’s ‘quality before quantity’ breeding philosophy, makes their trout very high value and pure natural product.
If you want to buy some trout then it is available in the shop. Or maybe you would prefer to have it cooked for you – in which case, the restaurant by the lake is the place to go. It may be best to reserve a table as the restaurant appeared to be very busy.
As well as the trout farm, there is a glass-bottom boat ride you can go on around the lake. This is included with your ticket. Now when I say lake, it is more like a big pond and the boat ride only lasts about 10minutes. However, it does allow you to see the lake and surrounding views from a different angle. We were the only English in the boat, so the boatman talked in Swiss – thankfully Catherine could interpret for me! The lake is so clear that you can see tree trunks and rocks at the bottom of the lake even though it’s up to 12 m (39.4 ft.) deep. You will also pass over the place where the maiden now lies.
There are numerous walkways and paths throughout the park that you can explore – and I highly recommend you do. We enjoyed doing the walk that went up to the alpaca enclosure. We had a nice walk around the enclosure and then into the woodland away from the sun!
The woodland surrounding the lake is beautiful, and has a mystical feel to it. Don’t worry about trying to follow a set route – the map they give you doesn’t seem to match the paths. And where is the excitement in following a route! We enjoyed just having an explore and seeing what we could find – bridges, woodland steps, moss-covered rocks, towering pine trees. You really can have a little mini-adventure and get away from the busy lake.
We found a route that seemed to go nowhere and then after squeezing through some rocks appeared into a little cavern of moss-covered rocks and trees, and clearly was an actual path as we followed it back onto a main walkway. We followed another route as well that ended up as a dead-end. Maybe, just maybe if we went through on our hands and knees we might have emerged into some secret place. But we decided to leave that secret place for the elves and fairies, which surely must live in a forest like this?!
There are also lots of play parks and push chair friendly paths for those of you with children.
As I mentioned previously there are a couple of places to buy food at the lake. The main restaurant has a lovely terrace overlooking the lake (advisable to book a table: https://www.blausee.ch/en). However, there is also the option to bring you own food and cook it on one of the many fire pits they have (wood is provided free of charge). A lot of people were making the most of having a wood fired BBQ. We had a picnic with us, so sat on one of the numerous benches by the lakeside and enjoyed our picnic while throwing the odd crumb into the lake for the trout to have.
After buying some swiss biscuits from the gift shop, we exited the park and decided to catch the bus back. The bus stop is just outside the entrance to the carpark. You can walk back along the same route we came on, or there is even a different footpath on the opposite side, if you look at a map.
I must admit this wasn’t my favourite day – mostly due to it being a bit too touristy for me. However, it was a beautiful place and I’m still glad we visited. So, if you are looking for somewhere with romantic walkways, a striking blue forest lake, meandering trails, towering pine trees then this is worth a visit. It is a charming place to relax for half a day – and any age group will enjoy it, with it also being suitable for children.
You can also stay over at the 3-star hotel by the lake. It is perfect if you are looking for a special romantic place for a night. At night the lake is lit from below, and although it’s most spectacular with the sunlight hitting it, it has a different special feel to it when all the tourists have gone.
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