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.

Brienz is one of my go-to destinations in Switzerland. Often I just visit for a few hours, sometimes just even only for an hour, and sometimes I stay longer.

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 tourism


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


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.

There is also another Brienz in Graubünden, but we talk about the one in Interlaken/Bernese Oberland.


  • 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).

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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. And you will not be able to use the guest card to get from Interlaken to Brienz (just half the way).

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).


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. 


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.

Arrive by boat at Grandhotel Giessbach or just do a boat tour on Lake Brienz

Discover the serene Lake Brienz, gracefully nourished, amongst others, by the waters 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! It is one of my favorite lakes in the country – and Switzerland has many Gorgeous lakes!

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

When the sun shines, Lake Brienz absolutely dazzles in its vibrant turquoise hue! On foggy or rainy days, it might be less colorful but believe me, it is still a beauty at any time of the year.

One of the top Brienz activities is a captivating cruise across Lake Brienz. Conveniently accessible near the Breinz train and main bus stations, enjoy a relaxing boat cruise between April and October.

Spanning 90 minutes, this cruise sails from one enchanting stop to the next, giving you the chance to admire the picturesque landscape surrounding Lake Brienz.

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 be 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! Yes, the water is always cold, yet its beauty is worth the shivers.

Lake Breinz promenade at Brienz

Many enjoy taking a dip in the slightly warmer Lake Thun, but on those hot sunny days, the cool waters of Lake Brienz are simply irresistible!

Plus, the water is so pristine, that 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 “almost 100%” fish-free Lake Brienz a try next time you’re in the mood for a refreshing swim?

Whether you get to the lido close to the Brienz train station or just walk along the lake, there are several fun 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, tackle 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

View from Brienzer Rothorn

Embark on an unforgettable adventure aboard an antique steam locomotive, as it chugs its way to the Brienzer Rothorn Peak. 

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

You can either enjoy a round-trip or get a one-way ticket (and add a downhill hike to it). Even if you’re a hiking enthusiast, I highly recommend using the iconic steam loc at least for some parts of the journey. Trust me, it’s worth it! Here is more about the trip to Brienzer Rothorn.

The downside? The loc only operates in the summer months.

Stroll Brienz Village

Let´s talk about Brienz now. Brienz boasts some of the most exquisite wooden chalets in the country. The crown jewel of this lakeside paradise is Brunngasse, fondly known as “the most beautiful street in Europe“.

As you stroll down this (tiny and short) street, 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

Most beautiful street in Europe, Brunnengasse in Brienz

Brienz village center

Be mesmerized by the beautiful houses in the village! Although there aren’t many buildings, it normally just takes me a few minutes to stroll it, taking a little time to wander around the village center and Brunngasse is well worth it. 

Walk the Sculpture Trail/Skulpturenweg

Discover the “village of carvings” – Brienz, where the art of wood processing thrives! Stroll along the scenic Lake Brienz, and be captivated by the 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!

Brienz Sculptures

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.

I have to admit that I am not so much into art, but these wooden sculptures even make me smile whenever I see them.

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

Try your hand at exciting activities like wakeboarding, wake surfing, and even the innovative sport of surf ski paddling! Want something more adrenaline-pumping?

Rent a jet boat and conquer the waters of Brienz! Though I have not done much watersports in Brienz yet, this seems an activity, people really enjoy.

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 a kayak tour, 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 tour also ensures you have all the necessary kayak rentals and safety equipment for a truly spectacular journey! 

Visit Ballenberg Museum

Near Brienz is the 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

Ballenberg Museum in Interlaken

Moreover, let your imagination soar at the various interactive workshops, events, and shops while enjoying the delicacies offered at the museum’s restaurants. 

Spend a few 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!

From Brienz, it is just a bus/car ride away. The bus no. 151, e.g. leaves from Brienz station and drops you off at Ballenberg West station. This short ride just takes about 20 minutes and is free with a Swiss Travel Pass. This bus ride is so scenic, I was sad it ended after a few minutes. 

If you are prone to motion sickness, bring your medication and sit at the front of the bus.

Also, there is o entrance fee (included in a Swiss Travel Pass)!

See the Giessbach Waterfalls

Get ready to be mesmerized by Switzerland’s gorgeous 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. 

Best things to do around Lake Brienz, Interlaken Giessbach Waterfalls

Interlaken where to stay

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 10-minute hike. It is quite steep but even I was able to do it, and so will you if you are physically not handicapped.

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

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.

The stunning 20-minute train journey from Brienz to Interlaken Ost is a feast for my eyes, so I am not ashamed I sometimes just hop on the train for the window views.

Here are 50 things to do in Interlaken.

Fall in Love With Iseltwald

Discover the beautiful village of Iseltwald, nestled on Lake Brienz’s southern shores. Stroll amidst quaint Swiss wooden homes adorned with delightful decorations.

Iseltwald in Switzerland near Interlaken Arzo Travels

Fancy some exhilarating water sports or capturing memories at an iconic pier featured in a renowned Korean film? Iseltwald is, like Brienz, another little village that has stolen my heart. Equally beautiful, I consider it a must-see in the region.

Check out my Iseltwald post for more tips. 

Enjoy a Day at Jungfraujoch

If in Brienz and 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.  

Sphinx Observatory on Jungfraujoch,, Bernese Overland, Switzerland. @shutterstock

View from Eismeer Station on the way to Jungfraujoch

Ice sculpure at Ice Palace at Jungfraujoch

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.

I have been at the top several times, in winter, spring, and summer, and loved it regardless of the season. Maybe, just maybe, winter and spring were my favorite times to visit, as there is even more snow which makes it even more special to me.

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.


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The charming village of Brienz, nestled along the breathtaking shores of Lake Brienz is picture-perfect. It 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.

While Brienz itself is small, and you might not need more than a day to explore its main attractions (including Brienzer Rothorn), I think it is so pretty and makes a good base to explore the surroundings.

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

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