Kandertal among most beautiful Swiss valleys



This small chapel graces the hillside on ascent to Kandersteg

Switzerland's Berner Oberland is a wall of great peaks that rises to the east of Aigle and the Dents de Midi in the Rhone Valley, trending ever higher and higher as it goes eastward. There is but two ways to cross this mighty wall of alps: here, at Kandersteg, where the climb goes under the mountains; or far to the east at Grimselpass, which snakes its way up from Gletsch thru bare rock and ice. By far the more beautiful choice is here in the Kandertal, which begins on the peaceful shores of the Brienzersee, and climbs slowly, if bright and humid in the midsummer, into hazy green valleys to the town of Frutigen.

Here the road, one of the widest and best maintained that I have ridden consistently, in the entire alpine region, divides. Both routes bear examination by a thorough touring cyclist. To the right or west, the road climbs to Adelboden, with views of .... across a broad green sward the reward for your climb. Gasthaufs and biergartens come right to the roads edge, so don't be surprised if customers lean over and offer you a quaff of their brew.

The more attractive alternative is to turn left and begin the very manageable ascent to Kandersteg, where one can put the bike on a train for a short ride thru the tunnel to other side. Along the way, one will be treated to misty scenes of lush valleys and farmlands, as well as this small chapel which I photographed by walking off into the field nearby. This valley is a pleasant contrast to the main lake region, often overrun with tourists on the narrow roads by the waters edge. It is not crowned by the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau as the very next valley into the east is; but for all that, the roads are wider, the countryside more open, and the overall mood more friendly and placid. I would definitely recommend the Kandertal for those hoping to jump from the Interlaken region into the Rhone valley. 1