Things to Do in and Around Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz knows how to amaze people. With its turquoise color, it makes people from all over the world fall in love – including me.

It is for sure one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe!

While there are more sights around Lake Thun, Lake Brienz is still my favorite. With cute towns on its shores, an interesting color, waterfalls, and more, it is a place that should be on any Switzerland itinerary (if you are curious what to do around Lake Thun, read my post here).

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Hotel view of Lake Brienz

Travel Tips for Lake Brienz

So, before talking about the best activities around Lake Brienz, here are a few tips.

Lake Brienz Info

Lake Brienz is in the region of Bernese Oberland, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It is about an hour away by train or car from Lucerne and flanked by Brienz on the northern shores and Interlaken on the southern shores.

The lake is primarily fed by the Aare River, the Lütschine River, and the Giessbach Waterfalls.

The water is so low in nutrition that there isn’t much sea life. However, it is also freezing and not the first choice for swimming.

  • Max. width: 2.8 km
  • Max. depth: 260 meters
  • Surface elevation: 560 meters

Until the 10th century, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz were one lake. After the separation, each became its beauty! While I wonder what it once looked like, I appreciate having two jaw-dropping lakes.

It wears its best color when the sun shines – its turquoise color makes this lake one of the prettiest ever. With about 30 kilometers of shoreline, there are several cute villages and towns nearby that offer fun activities to do.

Most beautiiful lake in Siwtzerland Lake Brienz

Where to Stay in Lake Brienz

If you stay in an official accommodation in Interlaken or the area, you will get the Interlaken Guest Card that gives you discounts on certain activities. You can also use public transportation in Interlaken and its surroundings for free (usage is limited, though).

I prefer staying in the area around Lake Thun a bit more. But Interlaken is a great place to stay. It is central, busy and you get to many attractions easily.

If you stay around Lake Brienz, my tip is the Grandhotel Giessbach. It is closed ruing the wintertime, but if it is open, it is just something unique, and my top tip for two or three nights).

Most people prefer staying in Interlaken, though, and you can make it your base and then easily explore Lake Brienz and its surroundings.

Interlaken where to stay

How to Get Around Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz makes it a joy to drive, ride, or walk around. It doesn’t matter if you get around via car, public transportation, cycle, or just on foot because each of these modes is fantastic for getting around the lake (and I should not forget boats as a great way to get around – more on that later).

Best Things to Do In Lake Brienz 

You probably can guess how much I love this pretty lake, but I don’t just like looking at it – there are quite a few activities to do in, on, and around Lake Brienz.

Lake Brienz Boat Cruise

If you are looking for Lake Brienz’s best tip, the answer is: cruising Lake Brienz on a boat. I can‘t remember how often I have cruised Lake Brienz, but I am sure I will never get tired of it.

Even if you aren’t the biggest boat lover, this is probably one of the prettiest cruises you can take (the highlight is passing the Giessbach Waterfalls).

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

Whether you start from Interlaken or Brienz, you will see the lake and its scenery from a unique perspective, and you get a good idea of the geography of the lake and its towns/villages.

Getting from Brienz to Interlaken by boat takes about 2 hours. You have the chance to hop off at several stations (including at Giessbach Waterfalls – more on that below).

  • For Lake Brienz boat tickets (and Lake Thun), click here. You can find out about rates and get some more information (my tip is to use the ticket and then do a Lake Brienz and Lake Thun boat cruise which you can do in one day as they are very close to each other.
  • With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can use most boat cruises without any extra charge in Switzerland. Boat cruises on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are included in the Swiss Travel Passes.

Enjoy Watersports on Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz is actually quite cold, so most people prefer swimming in Lake Thun. If you bring your own equipment, you can do almost any kind of water sport. But even if you do not bring your equipment, there are many watersport rental options for Lake Brienz.

You can do wakeboarding, wake surfing, wakeskating, water skiing, sailing, windsurfing, or new stuff like surf ski paddling (do not ask me!). These water sports are available around Lake Brienz in Bönigen, Iseltwald, and Brienz.


Talking about swimming: Though you could swim at many spots, there are several lidos at Lake Brienz. Lidos are outdoor swimming pools at the lake/river. And in a country like Switzerland, there are many, many lidos. Perfect for a day to relax. 

Brienz Lido offers secluded shady areas. There are a large lawn area and ample access to the refreshing waters of Lake Brienz. This place is ideal for families as it also offers a children’s paddling pool with three different depths, a water trampoline, two diving towers, a floating platform, and a playground. The entrance is about $5 for adults.

There are also free lidos to visit – like the one in Iseltwald.

Visit Interlaken 

Interlaken is the most famous town on the shores of Lake Brienz. The town is known as the world capital of outdoor activities, like paragliding, but it also offers exciting places for people less into outdoor activities.

Switzerland Interlaken at Lake Thun
I have a post with many activities to do in and around Interlaken, which you can check out here.

Walking / Hiking At Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz is also perfect for beautiful strolls and hikes. I haven’t walked all of Lake Brienz yet, but parts of it (from Giessbach Waterfalls to Iseltwald, e.g.) and walking directly along the shores is one of the most fun activities in Lake Brienz. 

So whether you are more ambitious than me (and walk the whole lake) or do a little hiking – you will surely enjoy both.

Stroll Brienz

On the northern shore of the lake lies this idyllic village: Brienz. The village’s 18th-century wooden chalets make you feel like you have been beamed back in time. With the lovely promenade, it is probably one of the cutest places at Lake Brienz.

Best things to do at Lake Brienz, Interlaken

Drive Along Lake Brienz by Car

Getting around Lake Brienz is not just a necessity: It is fun. So, I also added it as one of Lake Brienz’s best activities. If you enjoy driving, you will love driving along the shores of Lake Brienz. 

Though driving along Lake Thun is probably more scenic, Lake Brienz is also perfect for lovely window views.

Tip: for the best views, drive from Interlaken to Brienz. The lake is not always visible from the window view. However, you get a few great views.

Brienzer Rothorn

Once in Brienz, you can experience another Lake Brienz highlight: Getting up Brienzer Rothorn. You could hike up or use the old locomotive to enjoy the mountain views of Brienzer Rothorn (about 2,100 meters above sea level). The lake is often in sight while going up.

View from Brienzer Rothorn

Giessbach Waterfalls

The Giessbach Brook tumbles in 14 stages over 500 meters and then flows into Lake Brienz. For the best view, head over on a boat or hike up to the waterfall. At some point, you can even go behind the waterfall.

You will have a view of the Grandhotel Giessbach and the lake.

Best things to do around Lake Brienz, Interlaken Giessbach Waterfalls

The hotel is a beautiful luxury hotel. If you can, I recommend booking a room at Giessbach Hotel in Brienz with a waterfall view. The hotel is closed in winter, but you can enjoy the waterfall view even if you don’t stay at the hotel.

Balcony - Waterfall view room


Iseltwald is another adorable village on the southern shores of Lake Brienz. The pier has become a popular photo motif, but the traditional Swiss houses feel authentic despite the tourists. Get here by Postauto, car, or boat – or walk to Iseltwald from the Giessbach Waterfalls. 

Where to stay in Switzerland
Check out my quick Iseltwald guide for more info.

Cycle Around Lake Brienz

I haven’t cycled Lake Brienz, but it has become a bucket list item because cycling around the lake is probably pure bliss.

Yes, it is a mountainous area, and you might have to pedal a bit harder at times, but with views of Lake Brienz, it should not be too difficult.

Harder Kulm

There are many mountain peaks with great views in the region of Interlaken, but Harder Kulm station is directly linked to Interlaken Ost train station, southwest of the lake. 

Harder Kulm in Interlaken and things to do
Great views of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun will be your reward – whether you hike up or take the funicular. From here, you also have a beautiful spot to watch the sunset (though you should look towards Lake Thun rather than Lake Brienz).

Hop on a Train Around Lake Brienz 

Fancy a scenic train view of Lake Brienz? One of the moments I enjoyed most was the train ride from Interlaken to Brienz – views like this make train rides worthwhile.

Tip: If going on a train ride, choose the route from Interlaken to Brienz and sit on the window on the right in the direction of travel.

Lake Brienz is a stunning lake with a beautiful watercolor – but there is more to do in and around Lake Brienz than just admiring it. You can enjoy so many different activities and beautiful places to visit at Lake Brienz that it is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.

Looking for more tips on things to do in Switzerland? Here are 50 fun activities!


Lake Brienz is one of Switzerland´s gems. The color, the attractions along the shores (including Giessbach Waterfalls or Brienzer Rothorn) make it one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. 

I have visited many, many times and I am sure I will never tire. Is Lake Brienz worth visiting? I hope, the above images and info have helped to answer the question. Yes, yes, yes, it is worth a trip!

Safe Travels, Arzo


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