Where The Alps Dip Their Feet In The Lake ➜ Brienz, Switzerland

In the middle of the Swiss Alps we found the enchanting town of Brienz at the Lake Brienz. A laid-back place, full of tradition and handcraft reflecting the peaceful surroundings and beauty in the residents creativity.

Brienz is a charming little town at the Lake Brienz embedded in the alps of Switzerlands Berner Oberland keeping its Swiss traditions like wood-carving alive.

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. 

Brienz, Switzerland
Unbeatable view of Lake Brienz

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.

Brienz, Switzerland
Evening stroll along the lake promenade

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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.

Lake Brienz Map
© www.bls.ch

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.

Brienz, Switzerland
Lake Brienz early morning

Getting In And Around Brienz

Brienz By Foot

Brienz has a beautiful lake promenade, decorated with an abundance of flowers and “happy” sculptures.

Brienz, Switzerland
Happy girl with fishes, Brienz

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.

Brienz, Switzerland
Wait a minute! Sculpture chases pedestrian.

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, Switzerland
Wanderwege, Brienz, Switzerland
Ballenberg, Brienz, Switzerland
The red marked paths are “Wanderwege” (hiking trails)

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

Brienz, SwitzerlandA 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)

Thunersee, Switzerland
Cruise on the Thunersee, Switzerland

 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.

Brienz, Switzerland
Pink clouds over Lake Brienz

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.

Brienz, Switzerland
Chairs with Huggler family portrait at Hotel Brienzerburli
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Typical Swiss chalet-room at Brienzerburli

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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!

Brienz, Switzerland
Hotel/Restaurant Brienzerburli, Brienz, Switzerland

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.

Ballenberg, Brienz, SwitzerlandDon’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.

Giessbach Falls

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.

Giessbachfälle, Brienz, Switzerland
Giessbachfälle, Brienz, Switzerland

Insider Tip: Short Lake Shore Walk Giessbach-Iseltwald ca. 1.5 Std.

Axalp

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.

Brienz, Switzerland
Turquoise Lake Brienz

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

  1. Ask the local tourist office or your host for detailed day trip information and maps
  2. Ask your host about the weather before you head off to your day trip.
  3. Never go into the mountains without protection against wind, rain and sun.
  4. Always take a map, water and picnic (at least energy bars) with you on walks.
  5. 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.
Brienz, Switzerland
Last light of the day in Brienz, Switzerland

Check out also 25 Best Things to Do in Switzerland from Arzo Travel!

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Brienz is a charming little town at the Lake Brienz embedded in the alps of Switzerlands Berner Oberland keeping its Swiss traditions like wood-carving alive.

This post was sponsored by Hotel Brienzerburli, Brienz.

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Author: Marcelle Simone Heller

I’m searching for natural beauty and wilderness, while I’m travelling relentlessly to find delightful places and encounters with wildlife. I try to capture the thrill of the moments in photography and words, hoping to inspire others with the love for animals and nature.

74 thoughts on “Where The Alps Dip Their Feet In The Lake ➜ Brienz, Switzerland”

  1. Switzerland is indeed the stuff that dreams are made of. Been there a couple of times but want to get back again and again. Brienze is one of the gems of Switzerland. It is fascinating to find small towns and vlillages across Switzerland which seem to have emerged from a fairytale.

  2. Your photo of Lake Brienz is so atmospheric. The one with the storm clouds, that must be one of the best Lake Brienz pictures around. I love how everything is Switzerland is so well organized.

  3. I’ve only been to this area once, and it was way too short! Your gorgeous photos have convinced me that a return trip is in order.

  4. I always sort of forget about Switzerland but, I always then see pictures and think – how could I forget about such an amazing place! The wood carvings are so cool and looks like there is plenty to do for everyone!

  5. Switzerland, in general, is just a beautiful place! Looks like you found a hidden gem! Thanks for sharing all this information. I go to Switzerland often and will definitely be adding these to my itinerary. 🙂

    Sidenote: your pop-ups are a little frustrating…might want to rethink that.

  6. Brienz looks absolutely charming! Seems like there are lots to do no matter which season you visit. Lake Brienz looks like a gem too. The color of that water is just so unreal and mesmerizing!!!

  7. Hey Marcelle,

    This is my second post on Brienz in as many days. This quaint town looks like a real thoughtfully fun-filled town. SO much efforts must have gone into creating it.

    Would love to be there some day.

    Thanks for shaing.

    Chesrs / Himanshu

  8. Brienz reminds us a lot of Lake Annecy in France, and a little bit of Konstanz in Germany. We loved both those places, so we’d certainly also find Brienz attractive! Thank you for this guide, that we’re keeping for our next road trip through the Alps!

  9. Brienz Looks like such a cute and quaint place, I do like stumbling upon places like this when I travel. I have to say the wooden carvings and sculptures really does add to the charm. I actually have a friend who’s traveling through the alps right now – I will definitely pass this post onto him, he would love it here 😀

  10. What a charming mountain town! I can’t wait to go exploring in the Alps. Im loving all the lake photos and the train looks like an awesome experience too! Will definitely save for later 🙂

  11. What a beautiful place to visit! Your photos are really great and have me dreaming of a trip here. I especially love the wood carvings. Those always impress me.

  12. Is there anything that the Swiss do wrong? Haven’t come across yet. It really great that Brienz is getting attention. Its sounds like a great place for people who like to explore places on foot (like me). The guided treks with duration mentioned is an awesome touch so that people do not go off on a trek which they cant finish.

    A morning bud ride to the starting point of a trek (count me in, any day). Thanks for a lovely post! Cheers 🙂

  13. I have not been to Switzerland, but generally when I hear of Switzerland, I hear of ski trips, but this is amazing. The views alone would be enough for me to venture here. Those sculptures and wood carvings are stunning as well. I can’t get over how beautiful everything is.

  14. I went to Switzerland a couple of years back and visited Lake Brienz but did not actually stay anywhere close by. We chose to camp on Lake Thun instead. I absolutely loved both the lakes though and they are so different in terms of their colours! Switzerland has some of the most amazing lakes. I do see though that you were slightly unlucky with the weather, on a sunny day, the lake is even more gorgeous!

    1. The weather was changing all the time and clouds piled up dramatically. Quite impressive. For photography I prefer clouds which reflect the sunset or -rise. But for walks and a boat trip on the lake you are right, I prefer sunny weather, too.

  15. Switzerland is a dream destination. Loved the laughing sculptures that you dont get to see anywhere else. The alps always remind me of Heidi as you said. I will hike each and every day on those beautiful trails when i get to switzerland.

  16. I love a town or city that has wooden sculptures in it…it makes it much easier to walk around with the girls as they have something to spot and look out for! The museum would be one of the top spots for us to visit if we visited as I love watching people hand make things. i feel like it a thing that is being left behind so I try to go to places like that to show the girls how things used to be done.
    I loved the look of the food too…lucky it is nearly tea time here!

  17. Oh cool I love Switzerland! It’s been a while since I’ve last been there, though – hope to get to go again soon! I love your pictures, too. The one with the rainbow looks so cool!

  18. Brienz is such a picturesque little place. Switzerland is a place where you stumble across these gems around every bend in the road. When we were in Switzerland we were charmed by a little town called Rapperswil set amdist the alps and by the side of a lake.

    1. Rapperswil has these beautiful half-timbered houses with the view on the lake Zürich and the alps in the background. You certainly found a great place in Switzerland, too.

  19. Fantastically comprehensive post, thank you so much! Not only some very helpful tips on transport, accommodation and time of year to visit, but so many really inspiring and beautiful photos. I love the various sculptures you have included as well as the natural landscape.

    1. Thank you, Kavita, for these compliments. I’m happy that you like it!

  20. Brienz looks so beautiful and incredibly well organized too. I love how they tell you how long it will take to make a certain trek – I’m sure they are signposted the whole way too. The bus to remote destinations sounds perfect for going a little further afield to start a trek.

    1. It’s very comfortable, because you can walk to one place and then you can take the bus to another, so you almost never have to walk the same way back (which is always important to me 😉

  21. I would like to spend a few hours walking along the Brienz lake promenade, sipping a coffee, staring at the landscape and photographing all the “happy” sculptures. What a pretty place to add to one’s Switzerland list.

    1. I didn’t know about the sculptures beforehand, but they definitively add to the ‘happy’ atmosphere of Brienz!

  22. Your pictures are gorgeous! I can see why you loved your visit. I think spending time on Lake Brienz would be high on my itinerary list.

    1. Thank you! I’m happy you like our pictures. Brienz lies strategically great, when you drive through Switzerland.

  23. I haven’t made it to Switzerland yet but when I do Brienz will be on my list. So much to see and do and the scenery is just stunning. I’d be tempted to get a little electric help on my bike but how gorgeous to ride everywhere. Boating is a favourite way to see a town too. It gives such a different perspective from the water. Loved this post!

    1. Thank you, Shona. You will love Switzerland. If you need any further recommendations, we are happy to help. We didn’t write to much about Switzerland yet, but we are pretty good in finding the travel hacks even in Switzerland 😉

  24. I just love this cute town of Brienz. So much to do! Great information for hikers, bikers, walkers, and more. Switzerland is beautiful and I am sorry I missed this town. Next time I am in the area I would definitely love to visit there. Pinned this for later! #feetdotravel

  25. Thanks for sharing this in depth information about Brienz, Switzerland. I love cycling and biking, so visiting in late summer/early autumn sounds ideal ideal. Your photos are beautiful!

  26. Brienz at the Lake Brienz sounds like an incredible place – I would definitely visit during summer as hiking and cycling are both activities I enjoy. Nice to know it’s an easy city to walk, and I love the scultptures you see around! The Swiss Open Air Museum looks fantastic, and I love that it’s a living museum. And Giessbach stream falls is obviously a must being a nature enthusiast. What a cool region, thanks for the overview!

  27. I was there last month! I stayed in Interlaken but did a short visit here. I just did not see the statues of the gentleman though. I wish I did because I am sure it would have made a great photo. Next time! Thanks for the great article!

  28. I couldnt help but smile seeing the ‘happy’ sculptures, I kinda want one of those happy girl with fishes water fountains in my front garden. Haha. Very cool that you were served a hearty and very generous sized meal, double happiness in my opinion.

  29. Your pictures are so full of adventure and bliss, loved the trails of nature marked by the touch of creativity. The family run hotel looks like a great place to end the day and the fun activites at Brienz really does complete the picture!

  30. Such an amazing destination. So much beauty to see. I love hiking and must go back and do some of the trails there.

  31. I visut Switzerland often as my mother lives there near Zurich but I have not been to Brienz – will definitely have to try to visit next time I am in Switzerland. Nice to hear about new places to visit 😊

    1. Hi Tracy! My family lives also near Zürich. It’s a stunning drive from Zürich along the Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne) over the Brünig Pass to the Berner Oberland. I hope you’ll be able to enjoy it some time.

  32. Brienz does sound like a charming town with great places to visit. I particularly enjoyed looking at the happy sculptures! They look pretty cool… 🙂 The whole town looks pretty easy to navigate (with all the useful signages) PLUS the hotel you’ve stayed in looks pretty homey! 🙂

  33. I love Switzerland, but haven’t been this far into the centre (usually spend time around the border with France, and near Lausanne). Brienz looks like it offers that archetypal Swiss experience of lakes, mountains, chalets, and delicious hearty food! The swiss style of buildings are just awesome. Looks like a great trip, and I hope to one day make it further across Switzerland.

    1. If you are near Lausanne the next time, you might want to consider a slow drive of about three hours from Lausanne to the Berner Oberland over Gstaad or le Park Naturel Régional Gruyère Pay’s-d’Enhaut, to Zweisimmen and Spiez. It’s particular beautiful and rewarding.

  34. I love to visit Switzerland for its beautiful landscapes. Your post is full of great content and photographs which I am sure will inspire more people to visit. I have pinned this post for future use 🙂

  35. There are so many little things that make Brienz a wonderful little town. The lake promenade, the woodcarvings and the beautiful lake definitely makes it attractive to me.

  36. We decided not to go to Switzerland when we were travelling Europe in 2012, and we’ve regretted it ever since. The alps look absolutely incredible there.

  37. You’re so right, judging by your photos this looks like a true fairy tail scenery. Beautiful clouds and the color of the sky! And add a mountain range to it, and a lake – it’s a winning combination. 🙂
    Boat ride at the Lake Brienz sounds like fun, at least that’s what I’d probably do first. 🙂

  38. The way you’ve captured the place with your pics is fascinating. Haven’t come across anyplace with this many interesting sculptures except maybe vienna. Would love to visit it sometime soon!

  39. The pictures of the lake are stunning! Esp with the turquoise waters and the rainbow over it! 🙂 The place looks so idyllic with its wooden statues! 🙂 Thanks for this off beat virtual journey. Wish to visit it someday!

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