Hello everyone! My husband and I will be visiting Stresa in about 10 days and considered taking a day trip to Kandersteg to visit Oeschinen See. We want to ride the coaster (weather permitting), swim or boat the lake, have lunch and potentially hike (if it's not too difficult). How long should we allow for the day trip? The train arrives around 11AM and the departure times are either 3pm or 7pm, which is quite a gap. Any feedback is so much appreciated.
Oeschinensee is one of my favorite places anywhere---I can never get enough time there, so we spend a night or two at the mountain inn on the lakeshore.
You are looking at the trains with one change at Brig, which require reservations on the EC leg from Brig to Stresa. These depart Kandersteg at 14:42 and 19:42. But in between, there are hourly trains with an additional change at Domodossola, which do not require reservations. These depart Kandersteg at 15:42, 16:42, and 17:42. These do take a bit longer for the journey, but would be worth it for the flexibility.
I would say the 14:42 does not give you enough time (unless it is pouring rain) and the 19:42 gives you too much time unless you want to have dinner there orninnKandersteg). Be sure and check the Gondolbahn schedule for the last trip down to town---they used to stop running at 6pm but maybe that has changed).
So I would suggest staying flexible and plan on taking one of the intermediate trains back---you can decide when you get there and see how much you want to do. There is a nice level walk along the lakeshore going clockwise from the inns, through some wooden sculptures and to a waterfall before the trail starts climbing.
The 16:42 train from Kandersteg is on the short side of travel time for the 2-change trains (2:38 back to Stresa) so you might aim for that one---but no reservations are needed, so you do not have to decide now.
Lola, this information has been incredibly helpful! Thank you so much for your reply! We are so excited for our visit. Is there a place you recommend for dining while we are there? Also, are there a lot of people who swim in the lake or is that not really recommended?
Being that the lake is glacier fed and frozen over 5 months of the year, I'd say it would be a rather bracing swim.
Train schedules at http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
It is beautifully clear and great for swimming---but the water is very cold. I have only seen one person actually swimming out into the lake---interesting as he was swimming nude! My husband "raced" our two teenage nephews one evening, a short swim across the narrow inlet by the inn---highly entertaining to all spectators. Hubby (a former college swimmer) beat them and all were very cold when they finished.
So Inwould guess boating is a better plan, unless they have had an unusually warm summer. A boat will get you out into the lake for nice views all around.
The localmwebsite www.oeschinensee.ch should tell you if the Rodelbahn (summer luge) will still be running. And will give the schedule for the Gondalbahn.
Then only places we have dined are at the mountain inn (Hotel Oeschinensee) and Hotel Adler in the town. The door at the inn is very good--much of it from their own farm---but if you stay for dinner there you will likely miss the last gondola down. So it is good if you have lunch there instead. (I recall the menu is the same for lunch and dinner. Ntheirnice cream treats are amazing, if you are interested).
The food at Hotel Adler is excellent. I have done both the "half board" dinners and ordered off the ala carte menu. You would do the latter as you are not a guest at the hotel---but you are very welcome in the dining room. They have a glassed-in area that is very pleasant. Beware---wherever you go, Swiss restaurants are considerable more expensive than their Italian counterparts.
Hotel Adler is very close to the pedestrian path short-cut to the train station.
If you view the Hotel Oeschinensee menu and find it too heavy for lunch, you can stop in the grocery store---I think it is a Coop, right next to the Kandersteg TI on your way to the gondola base, and buy sandwiches in their little deli for a picnic. That way you will have room for ice cream when you get to the lake.
Use SBB.ch for the train schedules. And have fun---wish I were back there now.