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VISIT ISELTWALD – BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE

BEST THINGS TO DO IN ISELTWALD

Iseltwald is one of Switzerland’s gems. Located on Lake Brienz‘s southern shores, it is like a fairy-tale village surrounded by the Swiss Alps with one of the most beautiful lakes just on the doorstep.

I have been lucky enough to visit Iseltwald several times, yet I have never written a blog post about the best things to do in Iseltwald. Why? I do not know. Iseltwald is such a pretty little place that is definitely worth a visit – and worth a dedicated blog post!

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ISELTWALD TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some quick tips for your trip to Iseltwald.

LOCATION ISELTWALD:

Iseltwald is in the canton of Bernese Oberland on the southern shores of Lake Brienz.  

It is close to Interlaken, which is one of my favorite travel destinations. So, I always make sure to visit Iseltwald and spend some time here as it is just 20 minutes by public transportation. 

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

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HOW TO GET TO ISELTWALD:

Iseltwald is easily accessible by car, public transportation, or boat.

By car:

  • It takes about 20 minutes from Interlaken (9km).
  • From Lauterbrunnen, it takes about 35 minutes (21km).
  • From Lucerne, it takes almost 2 hours (despite it being just 80 km) but driving the mountain roads will take time.

There are parking spots just outside the village center (it is just a 3-minute walk). One hour of parking is less than $1 (have cash ready).

By public transportation:

  • Iseltwald does not have a train station, but buses from Interlaken Ost go to Iseltwald (takes about 20 minutes).

By boat:

  • A scenic – if not the most scenic way – to get to Iseltwald is via boat. There are Lake Brienz boat cruises that stop in Iseltwald as well. The ships stop at many stations (including Interlaken, Brienz, or Giessbach Waterfalls).

Private tour:

  • You can also do a private tour from Interlaken. The private tour includes a trip to Iseltwald but also allows you to visit some other gorgeous places nearby.
Iseltwald castle Switzerland Arzo Travels
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SWISS TRAVEL PASS

If you use public transportation, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass.

  • It allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs.
  • You can also do boat cruises without additional costs – and cruise Lake Brienz (but also Lake Thun) with the regular boats to get around.
  • It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price).

The prices are quite high – but I have bought them myself, and it pays off if you get around via public transportation and are active. If you just plan to visit Morcote and stay there for a few days, it might not make sense financially. 

So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you. For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/ mountain rides often (even if I road trip Switzerland). 

I also love boat rides – which means many, many boat cruises for me. Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.

BEST TIME TO VISIT ISELTWALD

Iseltwald is lovely to visit all year round. My favorite time, however, was in summer. When it is warm and sunny, Lake Brienz looks even better. You can do more outdoor sports and spend time at the lake.

It does get busier in the summer months, but it usually is not overrun as Interlaken is.

Autumn is another great time to visit. Especially September and October. On a sunny day, it looks exceptionally pretty with the foil foilage. There might be no snow in the winter months – but snow could happen. Actually, snow can also happen in the spring months. This photo was taken on my last trip in April!

Lake Brienz in the winter months
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Iseltwald – Lake Brienz also in April

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ISELTWALD

  • Bring a water bottle! Switzerland is expensive, but at least fresh water is free – there is a water fountain next to the boat station.
  • German is the main language. However, (basic) English is spoken in the tourism section.
Water fountain Iseltwald in Switzerland
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WHERE TO STAY IN ISELTWALD

I have never stayed in Iseltwald myself – but definitely love the idea. You get to see the village when hardly anyone is around. If you plan to stay overnight in Iseltwald – which sounds like a great idea – check out these two hotels:

WHAT TO DO IN ISELTWALD

I would lie if I said there are millions of activities for visitors, but here are my favorite things to do in Iseltwald.

STROLL THE VILLAGE CENTER

Iseltwald is really tiny. I mean, really tiny and there are not many buildings or attractions. What should we expect with less than 400 inhabitants? Well, the few buildings are charming, though.

Puppygak in Iseltwald in Switzerland
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Buildings in Iseltwald in Switzerland
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Here you have some real, traditional Swiss houses. The ones you see in movies and the ones you probably connect to Switzerland.  It has an authentic touch to it – so, the houses are definitely some of my favorites around Lake Brienz.

Houses in Iseltwald in Switzerland
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Arzo Travels in Iseltwald with dog
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STROLL PROMENADE

Lake Brienz’striking color is no secret – and if you are in Iseltwald, it will be natural to admire the lake. If you do not want to get on Lake Brienz, the best way is to stroll the promenade.

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Statue Iseltwald in Switzerland
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Walk shores Iseltwald in Switzerland
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There are also a couple of restaurants. So, enjoy your lunch/dinner/snack outdoors with amazing views.

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PIER

The pier at Iseltwald boat station is actually famous! Apparently, it is very famous!

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It was a filming location for the Korean movie “Crash Landing on You.” When I visited for the first time (in 2016 or 2017) and took that picture, it was not even famous. The movie was filmed just in 2019, and the pier has become quite popular since then. 

Pier in Iseltwald in Switzerland
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In winter, there might be snow in and around Iseltwald. We won’t know – there is no guarantee. I actually visited Iseltwald in April and had a winter vacation instead of my spring vacation as I was actually hoping for. The Pier looked like this – still pretty, right?

Lake Brienz. Iseltwald in winter
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BOAT TOUR

Talking about boat tours: Iseltwald is a perfect starting (or end) point for a boat cruise. Boat cruises start in Interlaken and end in Brienz – this takes about 1,5 hours. One of the stops is Iseltwald. 

Boat tours from Iseltwald in Switzerland
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If Iseltwald is your base, hop on a boat and enjoy the surroundings (these pretty Swiss Alps…).

If you do not want to do the entire boat tour, you can get out after several stops and hike back or take the bus back to Iseltwald. I have probably been on 4 Lake Brienz boat tours so far. And I hope to hop on more boat tours. Iseltwald boat station is one of my favorite stops! 

Iseltwald boat Switzerland Arzo Travels
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Arrive by boat at Grandhotel Giessbach or just do a boat tour on Lake Brienz
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WATERSPORTS

I could not help to notice all the different water sports activities offered in Iseltwald. At the hostel, you can book water sports activities. If you are into SUP, kayaking, or other watersports, this is the place to be. 

Water activities Iseltwald in Switzerland
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GIESSBACH WATERFALLS HIKE

Giessbach Waterfalls is one of the most unique waterfalls in Switzerland. The good news is that you can get from Giessbach Waterfalls to Iseltwald on foot.

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Interlaken where to stay
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I walked from Giessbach Waterfalls to Iseltwald, but of course, you can also do it the other way around: The hike/walk is along the shores of Lake Brienz and pretty easy.

It is a 6kilomter long hike, and there will be some uphill hiking (or downhill if you start from the Giessbach Waterfalls), but overall it is one of the most leisurely scenic hikes you can take in Switzerland.

Best things to do around Lake Brienz, Interlaken Giessbach Waterfalls
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The Giessbach Waterfalls have a total length of around 500 meters over 14 stages.

To see the waterfront from behind, you walk to the boat station of Giessbach Station and then either walk up (10 minutes) or take the funicular.  Then you are at the hotel and have to do an additional 15-minute hike).

You can then either take the boat to get get back or just hike back.

TIP: If you plan a boat tour, I highly suggest getting from Iseltwald to Giessbach by boat (it just looks amazing from the boat), hiking up to behind the waterfall, and then walking back to Iseltwald.

VISIT THE CASTLE – SCHLOSS SEEBURG

After the pier in Iseltwald, the castle might be the most outstanding attraction in Iseltwald. It looks pretty amazing – a perfect location for this castle.

Many might be wondering how to visit it. Well, the bad news is that it is not open to visitors. It is a rehabilitation center, and so we can only admire it from afar.

Iseltwald hike from Giessbach_
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Apparently, it is for sale (since 2015) but so far, no suitable buyer has been found. So, let´s see what will happen to this beautiful castle sitting on the peninsula.

ISELTWALD LIDO 

Lake Brienz is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. It’s not only the unique color – but also the cleanest lake in Switzerland.

So, swimming in Lake Brienz is a popular place. In Iseltwald, you will find a lido. Enjoy a day at the “pool” (Lake Brienz), have snacks, swim, get a sunbath, and do whatever you usually do at the pool.

It is perfect for anyone – but most of all probably for families as there is also a children’s paddling pool.  Just keep in mind that Lake Brienz’s water is coooold.

  • Open daily from May to the end of September
  • Closed in poor weather
  • Free entry

One day, I was on a boat cruising Lake Brienz. And I heard a couple discussing whether they put chemistry in the lake. The man could not believe a lake that big could be so clear and clean without any chemical help. Yes, Lake Brienz is really that clean, but not because of chemistry.  The lake is primarily fed by the Aare River, the Lütschine River, and the Giessbach Waterfalls which makes the water so clean. The water is so low in nutrition that there isn’t much sea life.

DAY TRIPS FROM ISELTWALD

Iseltwald makes an excellent base for day trips.

Whether you want to see Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, or many other places, my list of day trips from Iseltwald is long, so check out my post on the best day trips from Interlaken. Those trips can also be done from Iseltwald.

IS ISELTWALD WORTH A VISIT?

Iseltwald is a pretty village on the shores of Lake Brienz. The location alone makes it a perfect destination – combined with all the cute houses, watersport activities, and hiking options to Giessbach Waterfalls, it is a great place to visit.

Yes, Iseltwald is worth a trip – whether you make it your base and explore other areas or visit only for an hour or so. 

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Stay safe and enjoy!

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