If you were to somehow magically be transported to Lake Oeschinen, I bet your initial reaction would be you’re at the very place they filmed the Sound of Music. You will be forgiven for that honest mistake. That 1960’s movie was actually not shot here. But the likeness from the movie are eerily similar. Oeschinen is a valley and a lake, also of the same name, about 2.5 miles from Kandersteg. The lake sometimes is primarily the reason tourists flock to this sleepy hamlet surrounded by breathtaking mountains.
Oeschinensee: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Located at an altitude of 1578 meters from sea level, Lake Oeschinen covers an area of 1.1147 square kilometers. That may not sound as something extraordinary. There are certainly larger high altitude lakes in the world, but none this beautiful.
The location is very close to the Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area. Back in 2001 this area was designated as the first natural world heritage site in the Alps, a rare recognition indeed. A visit to this area is a must do for anybody who loves nature; especially for someone with a penchant for nature photography.
To reach Lake Oeschinen, you can either take the hiking route. Not at all difficult and actually an enjoyable hour long endeavor with ample opportunities to make some stunning images of the Swiss mountainside. Or else if you are short on time or simply want to fast forward to the best bits take the gondola ride that starts from Kandersteg. On the way treat yourself to some amazing views of the Doldenhorn. The Doldenhorn is a sub-four thousander, one of the many that dots this part of Switzerland. It reaches an elevation of 3638 meters and overlooks Lake Oeschinen on its north.
Things to do in Oeschinen
While at Oeschinen you shouldn’t miss two things for the world. First is the toboggan run and the second is the boat ride. Both of these attractions are closed during the winter months due to snow. You can directly rent a boat on arrival at Oeschinen. For the toboggan ride as well you can buy tickets at the site. The run starts at the highest station of the Oeschinensee cable cars.
Lake Oeschinen is frozen for about five months of the year. But as they say, the fun doesn’t stop just because it’s frozen. One of the major attractions during this time of the year is ice fishing. Several varieties of Trout and Arctic Char abound in this waters. And when you are tired after a day of nature admiration, enjoy some peppered lab at a local restaurant, wash it down with some drinks and hit the bed in one of the many mountain guesthouses that dot the town.
Located at an altitude of 1578 meters Oeschinen is best approached from Kandersteg. Hiking is an option but the popular mode is definitely the gondola ride; simply because of the breathtaking views that it offers. The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area is major attraction indeed. But you could choose to spend a few days in tranquility soaking in the peace quiet of the sleepy town.