Brienz is a very beautiful and cozy village on the shores of a huge lake with open views to the mountains and white peaks: let us discover top things to do in this beautiful Swiss destination.
I was actually quite surprised how beautiful Brienz was, because I haven’t really heard that much about this village and it does never make into top destinations of Switzerland to visit. After visiting it, I would really put it into the list of most beautiful Swiss villages.
It has a very nice old town with many hotels and boutiques, but as well is quite close to other famous places as Grimsel Pass, Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken. I think that Brienz is a pretty good location for tourist and Swiss guests who are looking for a place to stay next to the mountains if they would spend a few days in Switzerland. It is a very good location to travel to many more places during day time, and a great location to spend your evening by the lake chilling with your family or friends.
I do really consider it as next time my friends come to Switzerland, as a great spot for exploring central Switzerland.
Let us discover what to do in Brienz, how to get there and some other important information.
How to get to Brienz
Brienz is just 103 kilometers from Zürich and you can reach it 1 hour 26 minutes with your car. You are going to have a very nice alpine drive on the last kilometers leading to Brienz.
There is a parking place right next to the train station (address: 11 149, 3855 Brienz). Parking costs 1 CHF an hour.
If you wish to reach Brienz by train, the trip again would take pretty much the same time as by a car, please have a look at the latest time schedules and prices right here: Swiss trains.
Facts about Brienz
Brienz is in a canton Bern and spoken language over there is german.
Brienz city was first mentioned back in 1146 and in 1528 it joined the canton of Bern.
Population of the village is around 3000 people and it is situated at elevation of 566 meters.
Things to do in Brienz
Brienz is in a perfect location to offer many activities for people: lake, mountains, beautiful little old town. People can come here to have a very nice walk by the lake or have a dinner in a restaurant with great view. Nature lovers can go to the mountains and take the train up to Rothorn or take a bout tour on the lake. There is something for everyone.
Walk by the Lake Brienz
The walk by the lake is very pleasant as you can enjoy the views to the mountains, white peaks and as well the crystal clear lake. In summer time it is even possible to have a little swim as there are very comfortable stairs leading straight into the lake. Just be aware to take swimming shoes, because the floor of the lake is stones, not sand.
I was surprised in a very good way, that the local municipality offers Brienz guests free comfortable chairs to use. You can simply take them, use them, rest in them, drink your coffee or have a snack, relax, and later on put them back. This is the first time ever I see such a thing anywhere.
As well, I saw couple more very cool things.
First one is that on the shore of the lake there a big hot tubs which are heated by wood. You can rent them, get in with your friends and just have a good time. Never seen such a thing in any village or city anywhere else. You can have a look at their rental offers right here: Brienz Hot Pot. There are different size hot tubs up to 8 people.
Another thing was: for the first time I saw the Fondue vending machine. How cool is that? They have different taste fondue from local factory in Interlaken. One package for two costs around 20 CHF.
So I was pretty much surprised to see three in a row things I’ve never seen in this village. It really made a good impression.
The walk from the parking lot to the church (which is in the end of Brienz) takes around 20-30 minutes if you don’t rush it. There are wooden and metal sculptures by the lake, some games and so on. It is possible to continue the walk by the lake outside Brienz, but it is much closer to the road and quite noisy.
The whole walk back and forth: 1 hour.
This is probably the most famous activity in Brienz.
It has an amazing trip to the mountains by an old cog wheel train. If you have tried a cog wheel train ride, you must do it. It is not just a nature experience, you are going to touch the history of trains.
You will begin your trip in a beautiful wooden train station in Brienz and get higher and higher while getting amazing views (don’t forget your camera to be ready) until you reach Rothorn station on higher than 2000 meters altitude. Just listen to one number: on a clear day on the top, you can see 693 peaks! 693! Let that sink in.
I actually hiked myself to Brienz Rothorn from the other direction from Sörenberg, and believe me, the views are extremely rewarding. You can read about it here: Sörenberg – Rothorn hike.
Once you are on the top, you can walk on the ridges of the mountain: it is really fascinating.
On the other side, there is a viewing point, hotel and a restaurant. It is a very nicely maintained and comfortable place on the top. You are going to love it.
Be aware that train doesn’t go all the time, so please check schedules and prices right here: Brienzer Rothor train.
If you are willing to do some hiking, you can go up by train and go down on foot. The hike is very nice and all the time down, so it is not exhausting at all. As well, on the top there’s a cable car which can take you down to Sörenberg, the other side of the mountain.
Lake Brienz boat tour
Lake Brienz is pretty big and beloved by Swiss people and tourists because of its clarity, cleanliness and amazing views.
Lake Brienz goes even to Interlaken and there quite a few different boat trips you can take, but the one I would offer to do is to Iseltwald village.
Iseltwald is yet another beautiful and charming village on Lake Brienz with amazing huge chateau/castle/mansion. It is called Schloss Seeburg – it looks stunning, you can’t miss it. There is a fancy restaurant inside it.
On the way to Iseltwald you are going as well sail by Giessbach See – a waterfall pouring into the lake.
The boat ride would take you about 30 minutes. Once in Iseltwald you can take a walk and have lunch or drink in local restaurant. Afterward you can jump in another boat and go back to Brienz.
If you really enjoy boat rides, you can take a boat to the end of the lake to Bönigen and do some exploring over there.
Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum
If you are interested in Swiss history, that is a great place for you to visit.
Ballenberg is a big open air museum where you can walk around, get inside the buildings, see how people lived back in the day, see different workshops, old jobs and other village activities.
It is a great place to visit with family as you and your children can learn a lot about the old ways.
You should as well check out the museums event calendar so you can go there on a celebration or festive day, so you can experience much more.
There are farm animals in the museum as well, children mostly love it.
In the museum you can find a shop with local delicacies and they even provide different courses from knife making, glass blowing to leather basket courses.
Be aware that museum is not open all year round and usually opens on the first week of April. Have a look at all their official information here: Ballenberg museum.
Schweizer Holzbildhauerei Museum
There is a museum in the middle of Brienz, in the old town.
It is a museum dedicated to wood working.
There you can find a very wide variety of artists works from wood: carved animals, people, statues and so on. The variety is definitely one of the biggest in Europe.
You can find it here: Hauptstrasse 111, Brienz, entrance price is only 5 CHF.
Brienz is definitely a great place to visit and you won’t be disappointed.
It is a great place for long visit if you want to explore the mountains or the lake and great for a short visit if you just want to have a slow walk by the lake and have a cup of coffee.
Brienz is lucky to be in such a spectacular location and in a great neighbourhood.
If you have any questions about things to do in Brienz, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.
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