My family (w/ 11 + 14 yr old kids) spent a week in the Bernese Oberland in early August. Our goal was to hike some of the segments of the "Via Alpina" trail and visit some of the famed Berghotels.
We began and ended at an airbnb in Kandersteg connected to Waldhotel Doldenhorn. The Kandertal area is nearly as beautiful as Lauterbrunnen, but much less crowded. We did two day hikes. At Öschinensee, the loop hike above the lake (#8 on the tourist maps) offered a round-trip with the most stunning views. Our next hike to Gimmi Pass was our only day with some light rain, but the Berghotel Schwarenbach offered timely refuge. At the vertigo-inducing pass, we considered descending into Leukerbad to visit the hot springs and return by bus/train, but decided that our hotel's spa would be more comfortable. (When we do return to Kandersteg, we will head straight for Gasterntal, a stunning UNESCO-protected valley above Kandertal that puts Yosemite to shame.)
We stored our luggage in Kandersteg and, with just backpacks, left early for Jungfraujoch. It was incredible, but the tourist surge was a shock. Bring sunglasse and sunscreen, and take the side hike to Monchsjochhütte. I'd caution anyone against booking Jungfraujoch tickets more than a day or two in advance, since the trip would be a costly waste-of-time if the weather is no good. We overnighted in Wengen, a picture-perfect town despite being saturated with international tourism. Our hotel ("Arenas" formerly "Lauberhorn") was fine, but lacked the warm ambience of Kandersteg. Our evening meal at Sina's was tasty and fairly-priced.
The next day we visited Trümmelbach Falls, a cool stop that we should have skipped since it caused us to reach the gondola at peak time, slowing our ascent to Mürren. The views in Mürren were even better than Wengen! We enjoyed relaxing at the playground Allmendhubel above Mürren and, late in the afternoon, we set out on a short walk to Pension Suppenalp, high above town. It's an old, dilapidated place with a very friendly owner and colorful guests and locals (and a cigarette machine!). At first impression, we regretted not choosing the nearby Berghotel Sonnenberg, which was cleaner and less likely to collapse in a storm. But Suppenalp's charm (and the nearby family of marmots) ultimately won us over.
From Suppenalp, we began our most serious hike over Sefinenfurgge Pass. It's only about a 10 mile hike, but it takes the whole day. The scenery was spectacular. and I loved how all the different flowers arrange themselves at different elevations (one type lived only in a narrow band of about 50 meters). Rockstockhütte is a lodging option East of the pass, a good choice if you want to spend more time hiking in the Mürren / Gimelwald / Schilthorn area. Crossing the pass was a real adventure not unlike entering Mordor in Lord of the Rings, with barren scree and high winds. From the pass, we could look down on our destination, Griesalp, but it was several more hours before we arrived at the immaculate and comfortable Pension Golderli for the night.
Our final day, we hiked down the steep canyon from Griesalp . The entire valley is UNESCO-protected with very little development, served only by foot trails and a twisty toll road. The hiking trail snaked around the canyon's many rocky chasms and waterfalls, which were more impressive than Trümmelbach falls. With the infrequent bus schedule in mind, we hiked our way to Kiental, caught the bus to Reichenbach, and train back to Kandersteg. Within moments of boarding,heavy rain descended on the area. What luck we had! After a final night at the hotel spa, we said goodbye to Switzerland. We hope to return!