Lake Brienz is one of the stunning lakes in Switzerland and probably in Europe too. And one of the top things to do when you are around Lake Brienz is visiting Brienz, one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland located on the shores of Lake Brienz, Switzerland. Brienz is a perfect base to explore the popular Switzerland Tourist attractions located in the Bernese Oberland Region. We had changed train at Brienz several times when visiting other Switzerland destinations but never stopped by to actually visit this village.
It was during a visit to the Ballenberg Museum when we were enchanted by the sheer beauty of the region. We decided to walk all the way back from the Ballenberg Museum to the Brienz Station covering around 6 km with our year old kiddo in the stroller. Initially, we walked through the countryside where the street was lined with apple trees. The lush green meadows on either side of the street stretched for miles. Walking further the pretty chalets popping up in the meadows. It did look like straight out of a fairytale. Ballenberg to Brienz walk was one of our most memorable trips in Switzerland.
Visit the Ballenberg Museum
The Ballenberg Museum is an open-air museum displaying over 100 traditional buildings like barn, chalets, farmhouses, and huts. Each of these buildings has been transported from their original sites and reconstructed in the Ballenberg Museum. The buildings represent different regions in Switzerland providing insight into the way of life in that particular Swiss region. You will find chickens, goats and even the cows grazing in the meadows. Visitors get a chance to watch the cheese-making process and taste some too. Walk through the chalets recreated with actual utensils and interiors to give an idea of the life of Swiss people.
Brienz Station to Ballenberg is a 15-minute bus ride. There are two entrances to the Ballenberg Museum and the bus stops at both the entrances. Both entrances have ticket shops and parking if you are traveling by private vehicle.
Walk Along the Lake Brienz
A walk along the promenade of the turquoise-colored Lake Brienz is no less than a surreal experience. It took us over an hour to reach Brienz Lake from Ballenberg by walk. When we got a glimpse of the shimmering Lake Brienz we couldn’t resist continuing our walk along the shores. We crossed an underpass to reach the lake shore. The shore was lined with small pretty chocolaty chalets with their backyards on the shore. The backyards were overflowing with beautiful flowering plants, there were small vineyards, and private boats docked at the shore. Wouldnt you dream of owning a house on the shores of a beautiful lake?
We walked further towards the station along the Lake Brienz. The shore was dotted with wooden benches perfect for taking in the views of the shimmering lake at the foothill of the mountains. Perfect location if you are looking for a romantic setting on Switzerland honeymoon.
On the other end of the station is a small garden along the shore decorated with sculptures and flowerbeds. The garden offers breathtaking views of the Brienz Village and the neverending stretch of turquoise waters.
Visit Aare Gorge and Reichenbach Falls
Aare Gorge in Hasley Valley of Switzerland is a hidden wonderland carved by the Aare River. A train from Brienz to Meiringen and then from Meiringen to Meiringen Alpbach will get you to the destination. From the train station, the Aare Gorge is a couple of km walk. The journey will take you less than an hour.
The gorge can be explored through a 1.4 km long wooden boardwalk winding its way through the towering rocky cliffs. The gorge sometimes drops to a sheer depth of 200 m offering a thrilling experience. And the path sometimes passes through the colorfully illuminated tunnels which have benches if you want to take a break and behold the breathtaking landscape around.
There are two entrances to enter into the Aare Gorge, Aareschlucht West, and Innertkirchen. Both ends can be accessed by trains which would need a little bit of walking from the train station. There is a restaurant, ticket counter, and souvenir shops at both the entrances.
You can easily do Aare Gorge and Reichenbach Falls on a day trip from Brienz. The train from Aare Gorge also stops at Reichenbach Falls stop. The funicular takes visitors to a platform at the top which offers a breathtaking view of the roaring Reichenbach Falls from close.
Explore the Brienz Village
Brienz Village is known for the tradition of wood carving and is well-known as the ‘village of carving’. One of the best ways to explore this tradition is to walk around the Brienz Village. Brunngasse is the most popular street in Brienz Village lined with houses some of which date from the 18th century. These houses are adorned with beautiful work of art in wood carvings.
You can get a postcard-perfect view of the Brienz Village from the Lake promenade near the Brienz Train Station.
There is more for enthusiasts who would like to learn more about the wood carving tradition. Visitors can visit the Huggler Woodcarvings shop in Brienz and learn about the traditional handicraft of wooden sculpture and watch the artisans at work in their workshop. There is also a Wood Carving College in Brienz where wood carving with traditional methods is taught.
There is also a Wood Sculpture Museum in Brienz which displays a permanent exhibition of wood carvings, sculptures, and reliefs. The collection also includes a variety of antique musical instruments and artifacts on the history of wood carving tradition. More here.
Brienz to Interlaken
Interlaken is a beautiful resort town in Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. The town is located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz which makes it a perfect base to explore the places around the lakes on day trips from Interlaken. The lake shores are dotted with beautiful villages and some of the unique attractions like St Beatus Caves, Aare Gorge and mountain summits like Schynige Platte and Niederhorn.
There are plenty of fascinating things to do in Interlaken. The Interlaken Old Town is set in a picturesque setting along the Aare River with a backdrop of massive mountains. The old town has numerous beautiful chalet style buildings overflowing with colorful flowers and adorned with cowbells. The old town is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.
If you can manage the time you can also plan a visit to Harder Kulm. The cable car station to reach the mountain summit of Harder Kulm is few minutes walk from the Interlaken Ost Station. The summit offers breathtaking views of the Interlaken town, the Lakes of Thun and Brienz and the mountains of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.
Lucerne Day Trip
Lucerne, one of the prettiest Switzerland cities is less than an hour’s train ride from Brienz. Explore the best of this charming city on a Lucerne day trip. Start with the 14th-century Kapellbrucke or the Chapel Bridge set in a stunning location with the views of the Lucerne Old Town. When you are walking through the bridge do not miss the 17th-century paintings hanging from the roof of the bridge. The Old Town has numerous beautiful fountains and medieval buildings adorned with colorful facade paintings.
Also not to miss is the historic Lion’s Monument which was built in the memory of the Swiss soldiers who died during the French Revolution. One of the top things to do in Lucerne if you are visiting with kids is a visit to the Swiss Transport Museum on the history of transport in Switzerland. The museum displays life-size models of trains, planes, cars and other automobiles.
Brienz Rothorn is one of the best mountain rides in Switzerland where a 100-year-old cogwheel steam train takes you to the summit at a height of 2244 m. The steam train chugs past breathtaking views of Alpine meadows, forests, magnificent Alps and Lake Brienz. The ride up to the mountain takes about an hour.
The summit offers stunning views of Lake Brienz and the Bernese Oberland. There is a restaurant and a guest house on a summit if you looking to spend the night. The steam train does not operate during the winter months (November to March), April and May. There is also an option to take a post bus from Giswil to the cable car station near Sorenberg Village and then a cable car up to the Brienzer Rothorn. Read more here.
Visit the Iselwald Village
Iseltwald is a charming Switzerland village on the shores of the Lake Brienz. The village of Iseltwald can be reached by a 20 minutes bus ride from the Interlaken Ost train station or by boat from the Brienz Station. We would recommend you visit by boat which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. The beautiful chalets overflowing with colorful flowers on the shores of the lake with a backdrop of massive mountains looks like straight out of the fairytale.
There is a restaurant ‘Strand Hotel’ where you can try some cheesy Swiss specialties with views over the lake. You can stay at Hotel Chalet du Lac or Strand Hotel if you are looking to spend a night amongst the breathtaking landscape.
Giessbach Waterfalls and Grand Hotel Giessbach
If you are visiting Iseltwald Village by boat from Brienz Station the boat stops at an intermittent stop – Giessbach See funicular station. You will see a small red funicular connecting a majestic building on the top. The grandeur building on the top is the 19th-century Grand Hotel Giessbach.
There is also a gorgeous Giessbach Falls on the summit. You can either hike through the forest enjoying the gushing waterfalls from different vantage points or just behold its glory from the terrace of the Grand Hotel Giessbach. The hotel rooms with grandiose belle epoque rooms with views of either the lush forest, waterfalls or the magnificent Brienz Lake.
Lake Brienz Boat Trip
One of the best things to do in Switzerland is to take a boat trip on one of the stunning lakes of Switzerland. Lake Brienz is surrounded by small villages and numerous other fascinating attractions including the majestic Giessbach Falls. A boat trip on the Lake Brienz is a perfect way to enjoy the scenic vistas and the mountainous landscapes around the lake.
There are plenty of options for boating trips. Apart from the normal boat services, there are boat trips which include Swiss special dinner or lunch. Details here. If you are looking for some fun adventure with family and friends or some leisure time you can hire a rowing-boat, Sea Kayak or a Pedalo from one of the shops at Lake Brienz. You can even go on a fishing trip with a guide in a traditional fishing boat.
Lake Brienz Attractions Map
Best Time to Visit Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz looks beautiful in every season, be it bright sunny summers or the fall when the lush green landscape around the lake turns crisp golden or the winters when the landscape is clad in a white blanket. Same goes with the places around Lake Brienz but winters see a good probability of snow and rains which can cause inconvenience to get around.
And then the trains to Brienzer Rothorn, the funicular to the Grand Giessbach Hotel are closed to the public during the winter months. The boat services across the Lake Brienz is limited too.