Last Updated on 14/07/2022
Lake Brienz, surrounded by mountains, is like an oval bowl with turquoise milk water on the bottom. The water owes its milky color to the Aare, which flows into the lake between Brienz and Giessbach.
Despite the beautiful color of the water, a Lake Brienz cruise seemed boring to me. Apparently because of always the same banks. It was more pleasant to take the Interlaken – Meiringen train with huge panorama windows than to “hang around” for a long time on a ship between the banks.
Lake Brienz attractions
Along the Aare from Interlaken
Fortress ruins and church in Ringgenberg.
The most interesting for a boat trip is the Brienz – Giessbach – Niederried section. The main attraction is the Giessbach waterfall cascade.
How to get to Giessbach falls
You can get here by public transport on the water.
either from Brienz (1 hour 10 minutes)
or from the Engi stop (approx. 15 minutes on foot, bus 152 Brienz – Axalp runs once an hour or less)
or from Iseltwald (1 h 30 min, bus from Interlaken-Iseltwald, then walk).
Another option is bus 152 Brienz – Axalp to the Bramisegg stop, then a little up and down along the entire waterfall.
The Hotel Giessbach was built in 1873. The funicular has been in operation since 1879 – the oldest still functioning funicular in Europe, designed for the transport of tourists. The funicular leads to the hotel, the difference in altitude is 100 m. The timetable is adapted to the boats, the price is around 6-7 francs one way and 10 francs both. Alternatively there is a hiking trail, not very steep but very stony.
View of hotel from the lake.
The waterfall has 14 steps and a height of about 500 m. Most of the water is at the beginning of the season, with half of it staying until September. Still, half looks good.
A waterfall from the opposite bank.
The lower step is near the pier and is best seen from the ship, especially from the 1st class upper deck.
Funicular to the hotel.
The next level is at the hotel level. It’s easier to get there from the path from below.
Then the path goes to the next level – here it goes over the bridge behind the waterfall. From here the trail is not so good – stone steps, driftwood. But you can climb even higher if time allows and there is a desire. And although the waterfall is less interesting at the top, you can still enjoy the view of the lake.
The view of the lake can also be reached if you follow the path from the hotel: we leave the funicular, turn left immediately behind the hotel and walk past the backyards. The full view from this point is at the very beginning of the post.
The small town of Brienz suggests:
- Steam mountain railway to Rothorn,
- Open-air museum Ballenberg nearby (read more about the museum here)
- own preserved and developed wood carving traditions. In Brienz on Brunngasse, old wooden houses (mainly from the 18th century) have been preserved.
- Above the town there is also a wildlife park, which was created at the end of the 19th century on the initiative of the carving school. Animals should serve as models for carvers.
- Carving works can be viewed in the Museum Holzbildhauerei.
View of Brienz from the lake.
Confluence of the Aare. The Ballenberg Museum is located on a small hill on the left.
We weren’t interested in the railroad to Rothorn as after all the previous ones it wasn’t surprising to see the view of the mountains. In addition, after an uncomfortable trip to Schinige Platte, we didn’t even want to think about the historic railway.
However, we stared at the locomotive with pleasure. This is the oldest steam train in Switzerland (1892). Rides to a decent elevation of 2244m.