English | Deutsch We always find a reason to take a detour through the alps, when visiting Switzerland. This time we decided to drive from the Lake Lucerne region along the scenic route of the Brünig Pass which connects central Switzerland and the Bernese Oberland to Brienz at the Brienzersee. Winding down the road the clouds gave way to a fairy tail incomparable beautiful mountain scenery.
Where is Brienz, Switzerland?
The small town of Brienz lies at the northern shore of Lake Brienz somewhat in the middle of Switzerland, embedded in the Berner Oberland Region of the Swiss alps.
Arriving in the late afternoon the sunset tinted the landscape in vibrant colours, which made us grab our cameras and head off to the lake-shore promenade of Brienz for a evening stroll.
Best Time To Visit Brienz
Summer Half year (May to October)
If you want to have indefinite options to explore the regions attractions, opt for the summer season. For hiking and cycling, late summer and autumn is the best time. The Swiss summer holidays in July and first week of August are the busiest months.
Winter Half Year (November to April)
Situated in the Alps, Brienz has no shortage of rains and rough weather. Since the village is only on 566 meters above sea level, snow is not that abundant as in earlier years. With some warm clothes, boots and an unlimited ticket for public transport or a hired car, this season has its own fascination for mountain lovers. Snow shoe trails, cross country and downhill skying, ice skating, curling and other winter pleasures will keep you entertained.
Getting In And Around Brienz
Brienz By Foot
Brienz has a beautiful lake promenade, decorated with an abundance of flowers and “happy” sculptures.
Wood Carving Tradition Of Brienz
Little we knew about the wood carving-tradition of Brienz which provided additional income to the farming community already before tourism started almost two centuries ago.
Hundreds of well signposted walking paths lead from Brienz into the mountains. Follow the yellow signs and you will know, where you go and how long it takes. Very convenient! (Alpine Hikers: your signs on the high alpine paths are red/white).
Brienz By Bicycle
Maybe you would like to cycle along the lake or prefer to challenge the mountain trails on your own or with a guided tour. You can rent bicycles with or without electric support and mountain bikes (ask at the hotel reception).
Brienz by Public Transport
It wouldn’t be Switzerland without offering a perfectly organized system of public transport. Whatever your preference is, you’ll almost always find at least a bus in the most remote mountain valleys.
Checkout combined tickets for train, bus and boat with reductions for cable cars and many other attractions on Switzerland Tourism before you travel as some of them are only bookable before arriving in Switzerland.
If you are already in Switzerland you’ll find offers for local transport and attractions combined at Brienz Tourismus and at your hotel reception desk. (Click on the picture for more information).
The beauty of Brienz is that all the public transport are all situated at the main square and you can access any, be it the train, boat, the Brienz Rothhorn Bahn and bus next to each other.
Brienz Rothorn Bahn
This worldwide unique steam rack railway takes passengers from 566m to the end station Rothorn Kulm at the Brienzer Rothorn on 2244 m above sea level since 1892. The Swiss engineers were considered mildly out of their mind for this pioneering effort back then and it’s still a challenging project to keep the steam rack railway as shiny and running for more than a century.
Lake Brienz Boat Trip
A boat trip on the Lake Brienz is a beautiful option to see the region at a slow pace from a different angle. You can book half day trips, day trips and combinations with dining options or plenty of sightseeing attractions. (Click on the schedule for offers)
As the mountain air turned chilly and the last pink clouds said goodbye for the day, we were happy to find a cozy chalet room at the traditional, family run Hotel Brienzerburli which lies directly at the lake shore.
Accommodation in Brienz
There is plenty accommodation to choose from in Brienz with and without star ratings. We liked to stay in a family run hotel with direct access to the lakefront, in original Swiss style and best of it, dog-friendly. With the Hotel Brienzerburli we found just that and we were pleased to be greeted by the son Mathias Huggler, adamant traveler himself, when he’s not receiving guests at the hotel.
Mountain air makes hungry and we were craving for some real Swiss hearty food, a specialty of autumn. The seasonal menu of neigbouring Lake Restaurant of Hotel Löwen, which also belongs to the Huggler family, and the menu at Restaurant Brienzerburli offered fall specialties. No question for us what to order!
Most important to have a digestive night stroll in the quite alleys of Brienz in safe little Switzerland!
Activities And Day Trips From Brienz
Swiss Open Air Museum Ballenberg
In the Swiss Open Air Museum you’ll find historical rural edifices from all parts of Switzerland. The edifices were taken apart piece by piece and reassembled on the Ballenberg in Brienz. It’s a world of its own in the most beautiful setting of the Bernese Alps which takes you back in time of Heidi and Peter.
It’s a living museum which means, that you’ll see tradespeople exercising their handcraft as in earlier times like making shingles for the houses, producing cheese, weaving baskets and more. Animals are also kept and gardens maintained like in the old days.
Don’t be surprised that you need at least a day to enjoy the museum to the fullest! No problem as your dog is welcome, too.
The Giessbach stream falls over a length of 500 meters in 14 stages, where it tumbles past the historic Grand Hotel Giessbach to make its way into the Lake Brienz. A path leads up to and behind the waterfall which makes for a stunning view. Several trails depart from here for short and extended hikes.
Insider Tip: Short Lake Shore Walk Giessbach-Iseltwald ca. 1.5 Std.
A little family-friendly ski-resort in the winter and a close-by wanderers paradise is Axalp. You’ll also find the woodcarving trail there.
Insider Tip: Axalp – Hinderburgseeli – Woodcarving Trail
Further Ideas for Activities:
- Horse-drawn carriage ride
- Swiss Wood-Carving Museum Brienz
- Aare Gorge, Meiringen
- Day trip to Grindelwald
- Day trip to Engstlenwald with mountain lake
- Wildpark Brienz (Game Park)
- Day trip to Hasliberg
- Watch Museum Oberhofen (Interlaken)
- Grimselwelt with the Reichenbach Falls (Sherlock Holmes)
- Glacier Gorge Rosenlaui
5 Tips For Your Travels To Brienz, Switzerland
- Ask the local tourist office or your host for detailed day trip information and maps
- Ask your host about the weather before you head off to your day trip.
- Never go into the mountains without protection against wind, rain and sun.
- Always take a map, water and picnic (at least energy bars) with you on walks.
- If visiting in Winter: Snow is great! If you take your own car, put your snow tires and buy snow chains just in case the snow comes down faster than the snow snowplow works.
Check out also 25 Best Things to Do in Switzerland from Arzo Travel!
This post was sponsored by Hotel Brienzerburli, Brienz.