So, you’re thinking about traveling to Lake Brienz on your Switzerland trip? Great choice! This Top 10 will introduce you to everything important to see and do around Lake Brienz!
This spot in Switzerland is nothing short of magical, with its uniquely vibrant turquoise waters and the kind of scenery that’ll make you want to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. It is for these reasons that Lake Brienz is one of my favourite areas in all of Switzerland!
Cruise on Lake Brienz
The cruises on Lake Brienz are a summer activity only. Normally the ship take up schedule in April and cruise until November. Below you will find useful links with timetables. If you want year-round cruises in the Interlaken Region, you might want to check out Lake Thun!
Did you know that Lake Brienz got its special colour from a thing called glacier milk? Up in the mountains where the glaciers flow over rocks, they sand down tiny particles of these rocks. This turns the melt water of the glaciers into a milky liquid that then is the reason for the stunning colour of Lake Brienz.
Next up, let’s talk about Iseltwald. This village isn’t just a stop on the lake cruise; it’s a destination straight out of a Swiss fairy tale. Nestled on the shores of Lake Brienz, Iseltwald is like stepping into a living postcard. Although it gained popularity because it was featured in the Netflix series Crash Landing On You, it still remains the quirky and calm character is has always had.
Walking through Iseltwald, you’ll feel the pace of life slow down. The tranquility of the lake, coupled with the stunning backdrop of the Alps, makes for an incredibly peaceful experience. This why whenever I visit, I don’t rush. I suggest you do the same! Take your time to wander the narrow streets, enjoy a coffee by the lake, and maybe even dip your toes in the water if the weather’s warm.
Brienzer Rothorn (Cogwheel Train Ride)
After soaking in the serene beauty of Iseltwald, your next adventure awaits at Brienzer Rothorn. This isn’t just any mountain excursion—it’s a journey back in time aboard the Brienz Rothorn Railway, Switzerland’s oldest steam cogwheel train. As you ascend through the village of Brienz and head higher up towards more rocky territory, each puff of the steam engine and clack of the tracks seems to echo through the mountains, offering a nostalgic contrast to the tranquil beauty of Lake Brienz below.
Reaching the summit of Brienzer Rothorn presents you with panoramic views that are simply unmatched. Standing at over 2,350 meters above sea level, you’re treated to a 360-degree vista of the Bernese Alps, with Lake Brienz shimmering like a jewel far beneath.
Brienzer Rothorn is also a gateway to numerous hiking trails, catering to all levels of experience and ambition. And for those who simply wish to relax, the mountain’s restaurant offers a chance to dine with a view, where the Alpine peaks are your companions. Those who cannot get enough of the Rothorn: you get the chance to sleep in the hotel.
I personally really like the journey to Brienzer Rothorn and the views itself as it is super relaxing. And most of all, it’s probably the least touisty mountain peak in the area!
Important: The Brienzer Rothorn cogwheel train does not operate year-round. Check the website below for opening hours and seasonality.
Take a Swim in Lake Brienz
How about cooling off with a swim in Lake Brienz? Trust me, it’s as refreshing as it sounds.
You’ll find plenty of spots around the lake where you can just walk in and have your swim. Each place has its own special view of the mountains and trees, making it hard to pick a favourite.
And if you’re up for more than just swimming, Lake Brienz has got you covered. Grab a kayak, try stand-up paddleboarding, or just float around and take in the scenery. It’s the perfect way to relax and soak up the beauty of this place.
Just a heads-up: make sure to swim where it’s safe. You can literally just stop your car at one of the many parking bays and literally just go swimming there! And honestly, just enjoy it. A swim in Lake Brienz is one of those simple pleasures that makes you appreciate the little things in life.
If you want to have to comfort of a lido (we call them Badi in Swiss German), try the ones linked below.
Brienz is a Swiss village and famous for its beautifully preserved wooden chalets and has a vibe that’s straight out of a Swiss fairy tale. Walking through Brienz feels like you’ve stepped back in time. What makes Brienz really stand out is its rich tradition of woodcarving. This craft has been the heartbeat of the village for centuries, and you’ll see it everywhere—from artistic sculptures in shop windows to public art that adorns the streets. If you’re curious, there are shops and small workshops where you can watch artisans at work, transforming blocks of wood into intricate works of art right before your eyes.
Don’t forget to wander down to the lakefront promenade (one of the most beautiful ones in Switzerland). It’s the perfect place to relax with an ice cream or a cup of coffee and just enjoy the stunning views of the lake with the mountains in the background. There are deck chairs you can borrow for free and place them anywhere you like! The promenade is peaceful, making it the ideal spot to unwind after a day full of activities. Also, Brienz should be on your list when it comes to accommodation provided you like the peace and quiet of this village.
Walk Behind the Giessbach Falls
The Giessbach Falls is series of waterfalls cascades over 14 stages down the mountainside into Lake Brienz, creating a breathtaking sight that’s truly a feast for the eyes. The best thing: you can walk behind one of these waterfalls!
Getting to Giessbach Falls is an adventure in itself. You can take a short boat ride from Brienz or Interlaken to the Giessbach See landing, and from there, hop on the historic funicular railway that takes you directly to the Grand Hotel Giessbach. This ride offers some pretty stunning views, but trust me, it’s just a teaser for what’s to come.
Once you’re there, follow the well-marked trails that lead you to various vantage points for viewing the falls. And if you’re feeling at home in this place or just want to soak in the views a little longer, the terrace of the Grand Hotel Giessbach provides the perfect backdrop for a meal or a drink. Imagine dining with the sound of the falls in the background – it doesn’t get much better than that.
The Giessbach Falls are open and accessible year-round. Also they are free!
Ballenberg Open-Air Museum
Picture this: an entire Swiss village from way back when, spread out over a huge area, where you can actually walk into houses, farms, and workshops that have been picked up from all over Switzerland and dropped here. Welcome to the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum!
Walking around Ballenberg is like wandering through a living history lesson. You’re not just looking at old buildings; you’re seeing how people in Switzerland lived and worked hundreds of years ago. And it’s not all behind glass or ropes; there are real-life demonstrations of cheese making, bread baking, and all sorts of old-school crafts. It’s super interactive, which means you can get involved and maybe even try your hand at some traditional Swiss skills.
It’s not just an adult thing, either. Kids have a blast here, with tons of space to run around, animals to meet, and special activities just for them. It’s educational, sure, but in that fun, sneaky way where you’re learning without even realizing it because you’re having too much fun.
And when you start getting hungry, there’s no need to head back to the modern world for a bite. The museum has places right there where you can grab something to eat, sticking with the traditional Swiss theme. A half-day at Ballenberg is a deep dive into Swiss culture and history, all set in the beautiful scenery you’ve come to expect from Lake Brienz!
Important: The Ballenberg Open-Air Museumn is not open year-round. Check the website below for opening hours and seasonality.
Not directly located on Lake Brienz, but a bit further up the river Aare (feeder of Lake Brienz), Aare Gorge, known locally as Aareschlucht is a stunning geological formation and a testament to the raw power of water over thousands of years, carving a path through limestone rock. The gorge itself is about 1.4 kilometers long, with parts so narrow that you can almost touch both sides.
Walking through the Aare Gorge is an experience like no other. There’s a well-maintained walkway that allows you to safely navigate through the gorge, with the thunderous sound of the river echoing off the walls. It’s both exciting and calming, seeing how the water has shaped the landscape over millennia.
What’s cool about Aareschlucht is that it’s easily accessible and makes for a great half-day trip. Whether you’re a hardcore geology nerd or just someone who appreciates beautiful natural sights, the gorge won’t disappoint.
Important: The Aare Gorge is not open year-round. Check the website below for opening hours and seasonality.
Oberried (Swiss Village)
Oberried am Brienzersee is a village with a name that’s quite a tongue-twister. This cozy little spot by the lake that you might miss if you blink, but trust me, you wouldn’t want to. Oberried is all about kicking back and soaking in those peaceful, postcard-worthy views without the hustle and bustle. It’s got this laid-back vibe that’s perfect for anyone looking to just breathe and take it all in.
And here’s the thing about Oberried—it reminds you to slow down and appreciate the little moments. It’s not about ticking off attractions; it’s about finding that quiet spot where you can just be. Maybe it’s the stunning backdrop, maybe it’s the tranquil waters, or maybe it’s just the feeling of finding a hidden gem that makes Oberried so special.
Outdoor Picnic at Lake Brienz
So, you’ve been on the move, seen some breathtaking sights around Lake Brienz, and now it’s time to take it easy for a bit. What’s better than a laid-back picnic by the lake? It’s pretty much a must-do. Picture this: You, a cozy blanket, and a basket full of Swiss treats with the serene lake on one side and the majestic Alps on the other. Yeah, it’s as picture-perfect as it sounds.
Whether you pick a quiet corner in Oberried or find a nice spot along the bustling promenade in Brienz, you’re in for a treat. The beauty of Lake Brienz is that it’s surrounded by nature’s best work, making any picnic spot a good one. Just imagine chilling there, maybe with some local cheese, fresh bread, and, of course, some Swiss chocolate to top it all off. And the view? With the calm waters and the Alps in the backdrop, it’s like dining in a landscape painting.
The best part is how simple it is. No reservations needed, no dress code, and you can stay as long as you like (as long as you shut up after 10pm :-P).
What I love about Lake Brienz is how it feels like you’re stepping into a whole other world, one that’s calmer and just stunningly beautiful. It’s a reminder of how amazing nature can be and how important it is to take a moment, step back from our busy lives, and just enjoy it.
Top 10 Must-Do Activities Around Lake Brienz
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