Blausee (“Blue Lake”) is probably one of the most famous travel destinations in Switzerland.
If you have Instagram, you’ve probably seen countless photos of it. If you’ve ever bought a ticket at the local SBB, you’ve probably seen a poster of it. If you’ve ever signed up for a tour of Switzerland, it was probably offered as a destination. Or maybe you Googled “most beautiful places in Switzerland” and it came up. For a little lake in the mountains, it sure has quite the reputation and appeal. I finally went to see it for myself. Here are my impressions and tips 🙂
My favorite moment was walking down the short path amongst the trees and then as the corner turns, catching my first glimpse of the water.. the color is so vivid that it’s really hard to believe your eyes for a few seconds. It’s a wow moment. (my advice: if you love to take photos, take your first photo right there and then – I took a ton of pictures but the best are the very first ones when you’re fresh under the spell).
I also love that the lake has its own special story. As the legend goes, heartbreak is the reason Blausee got its stunning turquoise-blue color. There was a once a young maiden, in love with a local shepherd. But one day, while out in the mountains, the shepherd fell from a cliff to his death. The maiden came every day to the lake to cry over her love and her tears turned the color of the water into eternal blue. As you walk around the lake today, you will see a statue of a maiden in the water.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Zurich, you take the train to Bern (1 hr). In Bern, you’ll switch to another train along Thunersee (Lake Thun) and arrive in Spiez, where you’ll jump onto a slower, panoramic train that will start to take you into the Alps. Your final train destination is Kandersteg. This journey from Spiez to Kandersteg is very scenic as the train curves around and up making loops along the mountains – have your camera ready! – and no there is no better side to sit on – it’s stunning everywhere you look.
Kandersteg is an Alpine village that serves as a base point for those wanting to explore Blausee or Oeschninensee. For Blausee you get onto bus #230 for about 10 minutes and get off at a stop conveniently called “Blausee BE” – you’ll know it because half of the bus will get off with you ;).
Once you get off the bus, you cross the street and see a parking lot and a big sign – you’ve arrived! The lake is actually located in a gated park and entrance fee is 8 francs. You can buy tickets at the cashier here, and voila – you are inside an Instagram picture 🙂
MY TIPS FOR EXPLORING
- DO the lake as a one day trip from Zurich. We departed from Zurich just after noon and were at the lake around 14-15h, spent about an hour and a half there (could’ve easily stayed longer but also it felt like enough time) and then started the journey back.
- DON’T rush to the lake and miss the surrounding area. The village from which you have to take the bus – Kandersteg – is really beautiful and the bus ride itself curves around some epic mountain views. Give yourself some time in the village and enjoy the scenic trip!
- DO think of it as a relaxing destination – the lake is small and you can walk around it in 15-20 minutes. The rest of the time you can sit on the park benches or hang out on the wooden loungers and enjoy the epic view. I’d even recommend bringing a little picnic.
- DON’T worry about hiking shoes – the lake is very accessible with just a short walk, but I’d bring sensible shoes so you can explore every corner and also walk around in the surrounding area 🙂
- DO take the little boat across the lake. It’s included in the admission price and it’s a really cool way to explore and enjoy the colors of the water. The bottom of the boat is made of glass so you can see the bottom of the lake! The lovely old man who rows the boat is also full of smiles and stories and probably knows the lake better than anyone.
- DO go to the park’s restaurant and sit on the terrace – if only for a cup of coffee. The view is just too good to pass up. (lunch was tasty there too)
- DO check the bus schedules if you’re going by public transport. The bus comes only once an hour to the lake and once an hour from the lake. Check the schedule in advance and you won’t end up waiting too long at the bus station.
- DON’T expect Blausee to be the most beautiful lake you’ve ever seen if you’ve already seen a few other lakes in Switzerland. Let’s be real here – this lake is stunning but this country is blessed with gorgeous nature. Blausee is so hyped up that it’s easy to be disappointed, so just go there without expectations and let that insane color of the water enchant you.
I’ve been saving Blausee to my bucket list for a while and it was the perfect opportunity to take my mom there (she’s seen it on posters and instagram so many times that she needed no convincing – she reaaally wanted to go :)). It was a nice day trip, going further and further into the Bernese Alps and seeing this photogenic gem in real life. We came away with a lot of new impressions, lungs full of fresh air and iPhones full of beautiful photos.
Extra tip: if you can squeeze in two lakes into one day, definitely go to the nearby Oeschinensee. It’s less popular than its neighbor but, in my opinion, not any less beautiful.