BEST THINGS TO DO IN BRIENZ, SWITZERLAND IN 2023

BRIENZ TRAVEL GUIDE – WHAT TO DO AND SEE + TRAVEL TIPS

Nestled amongst the Swiss Alps, on the shores of gorgeous Lake Brienz, Brienz is a wonderful little village to visit. Traditional, cute wooden houses, water sports activities, mountain excursions, and more – there is a lot to do and see in and near Brienz, Switzerland.

And here I share my tips for the best things to do in Brienz, Switzerland. Find out about the best activities along with many travel tips for your visit to this cute village in the region of Interlaken.

Brienz tourim
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BRIENZ TRAVEL TIPS : FAQ

Before we talk about the best Brienz activities, here are some quick travel tips.

LOCATION:

Brienz (at 566 meters above sea level) is located in the canton (state) of Bern in the Bernese Oberland. It is about 18km northeast of Interlaken, one of the best-known regions for adventures and outdoor activities, and flanks the gorgeous Lake Brienz on the northern end.

HOW TO GET TO BRIENZ:

  • From Brienz to Lucerne: about 60 minutes by car, 90 minutes by train
  • From Brienz to Zurich: about two hours by car, 2.5 hours by train 
  • From Brienz to Interlaken Ost: about 20 minutes by car or train 
  • From Brienz to Thun: about 50 minutes by car or 1 hour by train (90 minutes by train and bus).

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

HOW TO GET AROUND: 

Brienz is quite small, so you can walk to the sights – however, some of the places are outside of Brienz. For these places, I recommend getting around via public transportation, though a car might also be a good option.

BY CAR: Though I normally love road tripping in Switzerland, I should add that parking in Brienz is difficult; parking is, in general, tricky in the region. 

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Public transportation in the region of Interlaken and Brienz is great and it gives you the chance to get around easily.

If you stay in an official accommodation in Interlaken, you will get a guest card, that is, if you stay overnight in an official hotel/guest house, you are given a guest card that you can use for some buses and that also gives you a small discount on activities in the region (often around 10%). But for many of the places/activities mentioned here, it might not be very useful.

SWISS TRAVEL PASS: I have had a Swiss Travel Pass several times, and I think it is super useful. You can use almost all the buses and trains without any extra charge, the boat tour mentioned on this Brienz itinerary is included, and you get a 50% discount for most mountain excursions (some mountain excursions, like Mount Rigi near Lucerne, are included in the pass).

It is not cheap, but it might pay off (for me at least, it does). If you buy it via GetYourGuide, you usually have a free cancellation option in case you have to cancel (we never know what might happen).

MORE TIPS:

Currency/Money: The currency is the Swiss Francs. Euros are widely accepted, but the exchange rate is often terrible. Credit cards are often, but not always, accepted. In particular, smaller restaurants in Brienz did not accept my card. So, make sure to have at least some Francs with you. 

BEST THINGS TO DO IN BRIENZ

So, without further ado, find out what to do in Brienz.

Lake Brienz Boat Cruise

One of the most stunning lakes in Switzerland – and in the world – is Lake Brienz.

Nestled along the northeastern shores of the breathtakingly beautiful lake, the quaint village of Brienz had me falling in love at first sight! I must say, as an unofficial lake connoisseur, the stunning blend of turquoise waters simply captivated my heart and soul.

Trust me, you won’t want to miss experiencing the vibrant allure of this charming lakeside gem!

Arrive by boat at Grandhotel Giessbach or just do a boat tour on Lake Brienz
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Discover the serene Lake Brienz, gracefully nourished by the waters of the Aare River, the Lütschine River, and the enchanting Giessbach Waterfalls. While the lake’s crystal clear, nutrient-low waters may not be teeming with aquatic life, it’s certainly a breathtaking sight to behold!

Did you know that up until the 10th century, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz were actually a single body of water? It’s true! Over time, these enchanting lakes parted ways, showcasing their distinct charm, with the picturesque town of Interlaken nestled cozily between them.

When the sun graces the skies, Lake Brienz absolutely dazzles in its vibrant turquoise hue! One of the top Brienz activities to enjoy is a captivating cruise across the Lake Brienz.

Conveniently accessible near the Breinz train and main bus stations, you can embark on this unforgettable journey between April and October. Spanning 90 delightful minutes, this cruise sails from one enchanting stop to the next, giving you the chance to admire the picturesque landscape surrounding Lake Brienz.

Stay tuned for more details on these enchanting stops!

TIP: A Lake Brienz boat cruise is free with a Swiss Travel Pass. For non-Swiss Travel Pass holders, a day ticket for Lake Thun and Brient would probably the best pick!

➡️ Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass

➡️ Get your day pass for a Lake Brienz /Lake Thun cruise

Swimming at Lake Brienz

Ever wondered about the perfection of Lake Brienz? There’s a tiny secret – it’s quite the ice queen, even in summer! But don’t let its glacial charm deter you, because its mesmerizing beauty is worth the shivers.

Lake Breinz promenade at Brienz
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You know, many folks enjoy taking a dip in the slightly warmer Lake Thun, but on those toasty sunny days we’ve been having lately, the cool waters of Lake Brienz are simply irresistible! Plus, the water is so pristine, you won’t encounter any (hardly any) fish – fantastic news for those of us with fish phobias (believe it or not, they’re a real thing – I am living proof!).

So, why not give beautifully clean and “alomost 100%” fish-free Lake Brienz a try next time you’re in the mood for a refreshing swim?

And whether you get to the lido close to the Brienz train station or just walk along the lake, you’re sure to discover an abundance of delightful swimming spots in this beautiful lake, all while being surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Get Up Brienzer Rothorn

Discover the majestic Brienzer Rothorn, the tallest peak in the Emmental Alps, soaring at a stunning 2,350 meters! Choose your own adventure as you scale its heights: brave the journey on foot, tackling the challenging hike, or embark on a captivating one-hour steam locomotive ride across 8 km of scenic beauty.

Whichever path you choose, unforgettable vistas and memories await at the summit! 

Brienzer Rothorn with view on Lake Brienz
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View from Brienzer Rothorn
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Embark on an unforgettable adventure aboard an antique steam locomotive, as it chugs its way to the enchanting Brienzer Rothorn peak. Get ready to be captivated by the mesmerizing views of the shimmering Lake Brienz.

Sure, it gets crowded on sunny days, like any popular mountains spot, but trust us – the awe-inspiring experience is well worth your time, effort, and investment.

Why not enhance your adventure by purchasing a round-trip or one-way ticket (and add a downhill hike to it) for a scenic steam locomotive ride? Even if you’re a hiking enthusiast, don’t miss out on this unique experience while exploring the area. Trust me, it’s worth it! Here is more about the trip to Brienzer Rothorn.

Stroll Brienz Village

Nestled along the enchanting shores of Lake Brienz, you’ll find the charming village of Brienz, boasting some of the most exquisite wooden chalets you’ve ever laid eyes on. The crown jewel of this lakeside paradise is Brunngasse, fondly known as “the most beautiful street in Europe.

As you stroll down this enchanting avenue, you’ll be transported back in time, admiring 18th-century homes adorned with intricate wood carvings, each telling a unique story!

Brunnengasse in Brienz is a must see
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Most beautiful street in Europe, Brunnengasse in Brienz
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Brienz village center
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You’ll be mesmerized by the beautiful houses in the village! Although there aren’t many, taking a little time to wander around the village center and Brunngasse is well worth it.

Walk the Sculpture Trail/Skulpturenweg

Discover the enchanting “village of carvings” – Brienz, where the art of wood processing thrives! Stroll along the scenic Lake Brienz, and be captivated by the stunning Brienz sculpture trail, showcasing brilliant masterpieces from the prestigious 2016 International Woodcarving Symposium Brienz.

Let the creativity and craftsmanship of this charming village sweep you off your feet!

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Even today, there’s a school dedicated to the art of carving and violin crafting. Exploring the numerous statues adorning the lakeshore offers a one-of-a-kind experience and endless amusement for children and adults alike.

Do Some Water Sports

Discover the paradise that is Lake Brienz, where water sports enthusiasts can indulge in their passion to the fullest! Whether you have your own gear or need to rent, everything you need is waiting for you at Brienz. 

Water sports activities in Brienz
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Are you ready for some thrilling water adventures? Try your hand at exciting activities like wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and even the innovative sport of surf ski paddling! Want something more adrenaline-pumping?

Rent a jet boat and conquer the waters of Brienz! Get set for an unforgettable time!

Kayak Tour of the Lake Brienz

Imagine yourself kayaking through crystal-clear mountain waters, surrounded by dense pine forests, breathtaking Alpine peaks, and stunning countryside landscapes – as you already know by now, Lake Brienz is a stunner!

Join for an unforgettable adventure on the waters of Lake Brienz, where you’ll glide through picturesque sceneries and even visit the historic 12th-century Ringgenberg Castle.

Professional guides will ensure your safety and enjoyment throughout this small-group tour, accommodating up to six people to provide an intimate experience. Booking a guided Kayaking tours also ensures you have all the necessary kayak rentals and safety equipment for a truly spectacular journey! So, gear up and get ready to explore the enchanting beauty of Lake Brienz!

Visit Ballenberg Museum

Just a stone’s throw away from Brienz, you’ll discover the enchanting Ballenberg Open Air Museum – the largest of its kind in Switzerland. Here, history comes alive with over 100 charming vintage buildings dating as far back as the 16th century, all creatively arranged to capture the essence of Swiss heritage.

As you wander through the grounds, prepare to be greeted by the furry faces of 250 farmyard animals, and delight in adorable old-time gardens.

Open air museum in Ballenberg near Brienz top thing to do
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Ballenberg Museum in Interlaken
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Moreover, let your imagination soar at the various interactive workshops, events, and shops, while enjoying the tantalizing delicacies offered at the museum’s restaurants. An unforgettable, fun-filled day awaits at Ballenberg Open Air Museum!

Get ready for an exciting adventure as you spend a few delightful hours exploring the sprawling museum, that’s so massive it boasts two main entrances! This unforgettable journey will take you through intriguing exhibits and marvelous buildings, offering endless fascination – and not only kids will love it!

Get ready to spend hours exploring the countless captivating exhibits and architectural wonders that await you!

From Brienz, it is just a bus/car ride away. The bus no. 151, e.g. leaves from Brienz station and drops you off Ballenberg West station. This short ride just takes about 20 minutes and is free with a Swiss Travel Pass. Also, there is o entrace fee is included in a Swiss Travel Pass!

See the Giessbach Waterfalls

Get ready to be mesmerized by Switzerland’s enchanting Giessbach Waterfalls! With its tranquil waters gracefully tumbling down 14 majestic steps of rock, this towering beauty will leave you in awe.

Nestled within lush forests, you’ll discover breathtaking vantage points perfect for capturing the waterfall’s grandeur. Don’t miss the chance to witness the magical moment when the cascading water meets the stunning turquoise embrace of Lake Brienz!

Best things to do around Lake Brienz, Interlaken Giessbach Waterfalls
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Interlaken where to stay
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Looking for a magical adventure to the waterfalls? You have various options to choose from – arrive by car, hop on a bus, or treat yourself to a breathtaking boat ride. The boat is truly the way to go for a picturesque journey!

At the Giessbach boat station, choose between boarding the funicular to reach the Grand Hotel Giessbach or immerse yourself in a delightful 10-minute hike.

From there, marvel at the magnificent waterfalls and don’t forget to continue hiking, as you can even walk behind the cascading waters!

Explore Interlaken

Just a stone’s throw away from Brienz lies the renowned Swiss hotspot, Interlaken. Nestled between two picturesque lakes, Brienz and Thun, this town boasts of being Europe’s ultimate adventure capital!

Interlaken Where to go, Höhenmmatte
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So, whether you want to go up Harder  Kulm Mountain, do some paragliding, or experience one of the many other adventures the region is famous for, many tours start from here.

Embark on a visually stunning 20-minute train journey from Brienz to Interlaken Ost, as you feast your eyes on breathtaking vistas of Lake Brienz and the majestic Alps. This short yet remarkable ride promises to make your trip to Interlaken an unforgettable experience! Here are 50 things to do in Interlaken.

Fall in Love With Iseltwald

Discover the enchanting village of Iseltwald, nestled on Lake Brienz’s southern shores. Stroll amidst quaint Swiss wooden homes adorned with delightful decorations, perfect for exploring either from the mesmerizing Giessbach Waterfalls or vibrant Interlaken.

Iseltwald in Switzerland near Interlaken Arzo Travels
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Fancy some exhilarating water sports or capturing memories at an iconic pier featured in a renowned Korean film? The charming little gem of Iseltwalt awaits your visit! Check out my Iseltwald post for more tips. 

Enjoy a Day at Jungfraujoch

If in Brienz and in the region of Interlaken, make sure to add the Jungfraujoch to your Swiss itinerary

Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region. It is a saddle that connects the two impressive mountains, Jungfrau and Mönch.  

View of the Sphinx Observatory on Jungfraujoch, one of the highest observatories in the world located at the Jungfrau railway station, Bernese Overland, Switzerland. @shutterstock
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View from Eismeer Station on the way to Jungfraujoch
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Ice sculpure at Ice Palace at Jungfraujoch
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Getting up Jungfraujoch is a bucket list item for many, understandably because there is snow throughout the year. And it holds the record for being the highest train station in Europe – standing at almost 3,500 meters above sea level. You can do winter sports (we are talking about winter sports in the summer!), see the Ice Palace, or visit the Lindt Museum.

It is a rather expensive activity, and if you are on a budget, you can skip it and enjoy some other wonderful experiences. However, if you have the money, I suggest going up to Jungfraujoch. Find out more about my trips to Jungfraujoch.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST BRIENZ ACTIVITIES

Discover the charming village of Brienz, nestled along the breathtaking shores of Lake Brienz. This picture-perfect destination invites you to explore its stunning surroundings, while you’ll find pure delight in winding down your day, either by the serene lakeside or the quaint village center.

There are many things to do in Brienz and its surroundings – so enjoy!

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