brienz switzerland
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  • Post last modified:November 19, 2023

Table of Contents

Where Is Brienz In Switzerland?
What Is Brienz Known For?
How To Get To Brienz
Best Things To Do In & Around Brienz
Brienz Switzerland Hotels – Where To Stay
Perfect Day Trip From Interlaken To Brienz
More Tips For Switzerland Travel

Brienz is one of the most charming villages in Switzerland. Picture traditional Swiss wooden houses with geranium flowers, stone pathways, craft shops, and stunning views of crystal clear lake and the immense Swiss Alps. That’s how it feels to be there.

I spent 2 weeks living with a local family in an alpine cottage above Brienz making Swiss cheese. Besides, I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and often came to Brienz to enjoy its beauty and unique attractions.

In this article, I’ll give you tips for visiting this charming place and getting the most out of your visit.

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Where Is Brienz Switzerland?

Brienz, Switzerland, is located 17km/10.5 miles from Interlaken, central Switzerland. It’s at Lake Brienz, one of the most beautiful Swiss Lakes with incredibly turquoise water.

Brienz is situated 74 km/64 miles from Bern, the Swiss capital, 53 km/33 miles from Lucerne, 103 km/64 miles from Zurich, and 128 km/80 miles from Zermatt.

Brienz Switzerland Map

Here is a map of Brienz so you can better picture its location. The best is to reach it from Lucerne and Interlaken if you don’t have a car and want to take trains.

What Is Brienz Switzerland Known For?

Brienz is one of the most picturesque Swiss villages, with cute wooden houses and stunning views of Lake Brienz. It’s the main village on Lake Brienz, from where the boat operates to other towns and villages on the lake.

It’s also famous for the stunning Brienzer Rothorn Mountain and the historic steam rack railway leading to it – Brienzerrothorn Bahn. It’s the only cogwheel railway in Switzerland with daily steam operation.

The entire ride is an amazing experience and offers breathtaking views.

brienz switzerland hidden gem
Brienz at Lake Brienz – Switzerland

👉 READ ALSO: Best Of Switzerland Itinerary: 8 Days By Train

How To Get To Brienz Switzerland

You can get to Brienz by car, train, or bus.

If you want to fly, you must book a flight to Zurich and take a train from Zurich airport to Brienz. It’s the easiest option if you’re arriving from overseas.

Getting To Brienz By Train

Taking a train is very easy. If you’re coming from the northern part and cities like Zurich, you’ll have to take several trains.

There is direct train from Lucerne to Interlaken (Zentralbahn) that stops in Brienz. If traveling from Zurich, you’ll have to change trains in Lucerne.

If you’re traveling from Geneva or Bern, you’ll have to change trains in Interlaken. The only direct train to Brienz runs between Interlaken and Meiringen or Lucerne.

So from Geneva, you’ll change in Bern, then hop on another train to Interlaken Ost, change again, and take another train to Brienz.

From Bern, you’ll only have to change the trains in Interlaken Ost.

NOTE: Interlaken has 2 stations: Interlaken West & Interlaken Ost. The train to Brienz operates from the station Interlaken Ost.

Check out the best train connections and deals to Brienz via Trainline.

Zentralbahn train from Lucerne to Interlaken OSt
Zentralbahn train from Lucerne to Interlaken Ost

Getting To Brienz By Bus

You can also take a bus from Interlaken to Brienz, but it’s much longer than a train. The road alongside the lake is tiny and curvy, so the bus takes a long time to get through.

I recommend train travel here as it’s easy and fast, and you’ll get the most breathtaking views (sit on the right side of the train when traveling from Interlaken).

Check out bus connections to Brienz via SBB.

Getting To Brienz By Car

You can also get to Brienz by car. Traveling from Interlaken, take the road on the right side of the lake; it’s easier. That’s a speed road with tunnels, so you’ll get to Brienz faster.

The road on the left side of the lake passes through tiny Swiss villages and is very narrow in some parts, making it harder for cars to pass through.

Rent a car in Interlaken to visit Brienz and surroundings here.

👉 READ ALSO: 23 Incredible Things To Do In Jungfrau Region

Brienz Switzerland: Things To Do In & Around Brienz

Brienz offers some of the most unique attractions and activities in Switzerland. And the best part is that many people don’t know, so it’s not too crowded even during the summertime.

Below, I’m giving you the best things to do in Brienz and around Lake Brienz. You can create an amazing itinerary with these.

Here is a list of the 13 things to do in and around Brienz in Switzerland:

1. Take The Brienz Rothorn Bahn

One of the best things to do in Brienz is to take the Rothorn Bahn to the Brienzer Rothorn Mountain. It’s the only steam cogwheel railway in Switzerland that operates daily.

The entire journey takes an hour, and you’ll enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Brienz until you reach the top.

The ride on the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn has been one of the best experiences in Switzerland for me. Book your tickets in advance, especially if you plan to visit in the summertime. It gets crowded.

NOTE: ‘Bahn‘ is a German word for ‘railway’. So ‘Brienz Rothorn Bahn’ is ‘Brienz Rothorn Railway’.

brienz switzerland brienzer rothorn bahn
Me on the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn

2. Walk To Brienz Viewing Point

Walk up to the Brienz Viewing Point. It’s a stunning, 4.6 km/2.8 miles long hike in nature, perfect for your relaxation. From Brienz, it takes about 2 hours to reach the viewing point.

Take some food and have a picnic up there. It feels like being part of the Heidi fairy tale.

Do you know the Heidi character? As a little kid, I was in love with her, and hiking in Brienz felt exactly like Heidi’s world.

NOTE: ‘Aussichtspunkt’ is a German word for ‘Viewing Point’ in English.

brienz switzerland lake brienz viewing point
Brienz Viewing Point

3. Hike To Planalp

You can hike up to Planalp, the middle station of the Brienzer Rothorn Railway. Let me tell you a secret many people don’t know – a local woman comes to the station almost every afternoon to sell homemade Swiss cheese to tourists.

I spent 2 weeks making this cheese with the woman and her family in their alpine hut (close to Planalp). She comes down with this delicious cheese in the afternoon, and you can buy it from her (for about 20 CHF).

So I recommend hiking up to Planalp, enjoying the views, and then buying this cheese – it’s delicious. You can also buy it when sitting on the train.

Brienzer Rothorn steam train
Brienzer Rothorn steam train

4. Hike To Rotschalp Viewing Point

If you want to feel more like the Heidi world and enjoy the Swiss mountain, keep walking from Planalp to the Rotschalp Viewing Point.

It’s the spot with the alpine huts where local families live in the summertime. And I got to live there for 2 weeks with one of the families making cheese.

It’s my secret spot and one of the most beautiful around Brienz, where barely any people come. Walking through the dirt pathways on the mountains and enjoying breathtaking views of Lake Brienz is an incredible feeling of freedom. You might even spot Jungfraujoch from up there.

If you want, you can take the Rothorn Train to Planalp and walk from there. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the viewing point from Planalp. The hike is 4.3 km/2.7 miles long.

Lake Brienz Swiss cheese farming
Lake Brienz Swiss cheese farming – Rotschalp

5. Go Alpaca Trekking

Lama Trekking is one of the most unique things to do in Brienz (that you can barely do anywhere else). There is a cute Alpaca range, and a local man will guide you on Alpaca around the stunning Brienz and its scenery.

You can choose how many hours you want to enjoy the trekking, from 2 to 6 hours. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

brienz switzerland lama trekking
Alpaca Trekking
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6. Walk Through The Brunngasse

Brunngase is the perfect instagramable spot in Brienz. It has traditional wooden Swiss houses on each side with beautiful geranium flowers.

Walking through the village without maps and getting lost in the pretty corners is one of my favorite things. You never know where your legs will lead you. It’s fun, try it out.

NOTE: ‘Gasse’ is a German/Austrian word for ‘street’.

best day trips from Interlaken Iseltwald

7. Visit Rolf Blöchlinger Shop

Rolf Blöchlinger is the wood master in Brienz, creating stunning wooden statues.

You’ll feel the smell of fresh wood when you enter the shop. And you can usually see him carving various shapes into the wood, too.

Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s worth checking it out. His art is amazing.

8. Enjoy Brienz Beach

Brienz also has a beach, so it’s perfect for relaxing in the summertime. You can swim in Lake Brienz or enjoy the atmosphere and stunning views.

Or rent a paddle board and try it close to the beach.

brienz switzerland beach
Brienz Beach

9. Walk Around Lake Brienz

I’m not telling you to walk around the entire lake because it’s huge. But one of my favorite relaxing walks in the town is to walk from the center to the Brienz camping.

You’ll walk alongside the lake, and the scenery constantly changes. It’s a nice and peaceful walk.

Once you come to the camping place, there is another beach, where you can rent a kayak or a paddle board. Or simply sit on a bench and soak up the atmosphere.

brienz switzerland brienz lake walk
Me walking around Lake Brienz

10. Enjoy Brienz Lake

Admire the beautiful Brienz Lake from Brienz. It’s one of the prettiest lakes in the country. It’s turquoise waters are incredible.

You can go paddle boarding or kayaking on the lake or just chill and sit next to the lake and enjoy the beauty of Brienz.

11. Ride A Boat On Lake Brienz

One of my favorite things is riding a boat on this stunning lake. After I visited Brienz Rothorn Mountain and walked through Brienz, I hopped on a boat and traveled to Interlaken.

It’s an unforgettable journey, and you’ll get beautiful views of other Swiss villages. The entire ride takes 2 hours from Brienz to Interlaken.

boat ride on Lake Brienz Switzerland
Boat ride on Lake Brienz – Switzerland

12. Visit Giessbach Waterfalls

You can also take a boat to the nearby Giessbach and visit the impressive waterfalls. It’s a nice 20-minute walk from the boat pier leading up to the waterfall base. You’ll crisscross the waterfall on the way several times and enjoy the views.

At the top of the waterfall is a historical hotelGrandhotel Giessbach. It’s a super quiet environment with stunning views. So have a coffee or a lunch there and enjoy the peace.

Alternatively, you can also walk from Brienz to the Giessbach Waterfalls. It’s another great hike and takes about 1 hour & 20 minutes (5 km/3 miles long).

best day trips from Interlaken Iseltwald Giessbach Waterfalls
Iseltwald & Giessbach Waterfalls

13. Explore Iseltwald

Another charming Swiss village on Lake Brienz is Iseltwald, which is very famous among visitors. Like Brienz, it’s full of traditional Swiss wooden huts and is worth walking through and enjoying the atmosphere.

Stop at the pier and stare at the Swiss beauty around. You can also canoe on the lake.

After, stop at the Lake Lodge and treat yourself to some delicious sweets.

brienz switzerland iseltwald
Iseltwald at Lake Brienz

👉 READ ALSO: Is Swiss Travel Pass Worth It? All You Need To Know

Brienz Switzerland Hotels – Where To Stay

If you want to enjoy a peaceful Swiss holiday, I recommend staying a night or two in Brienz. It might be even better than staying in Interlaken.

While Interlaken has better hotels and more accommodation options, Brienz is the perfect place to stay in nature.

So here are my top hotel recommendations for Brienz and spots around it:

Brienz Youth Hostelbudget-friendly hostelbook here
Chalet Romanticamid-range apartment at the lakebook here
Large Apartment In Town Centermid-range apartment in the centerbook here
Apartment Am Brienzerseemid-range apartment at the lakebook here
Hotel Steinbockmid-range hotelbook here
Grandhotel Giessbachluxury hotelbook here

Brienz In Summer

Summer is the best time to visit Brienz. Everything is open; you can go hiking, swimming, enjoy the beach, ride the Brienzer Rothorn Train, and enjoy the boat rides on Lake Brienz to nearby villages.

The best time to visit Brienz is June and September. It’s less crowded around this time, and the landscape and lake colors are at their best beauty.

brienz switzerland brienzer rothorn mountain
Me at the Brienzer Rothorn Mountain – views of Lake Brienz

Brienz In Winter

Winter isn’t the best time to visit Brienz if you want to enjoy its activities.

Most shops are closed, the Brienzer Rothorn Bahn doesn’t operate until June, and even the boat on Brienz Lake is on a winter break.

If you only want to see the village and walk around, you’ll love the winter atmosphere when the cute wooden houses are covered in snow.

But other than that, almost everything is closed in Brienz in winter.

👉 READ ALSO: Switzerland In Winter: Best Places To Visit & Things To Do

Brienz Landslide & Evacuation

You may have heard of the catastrophic landslide near Brienz in June 2023. However, I wanted to clarify that it’s not the Brienz village on Lake Brienz we’ve been talking about in this article.

It’s another village where the landslide happened called Brienz/Brinzauls. The village is in Graubunden canton, southeastern Switzerland, close to Albula.

The 86 inhabitants were evacuated, but luckily, the rocks stopped right in front of the village, so barely any damage was caused.

So don’t mix up these two villages. It’s the Brienz/Brinzauls in Graubunden where the landslide happened, not the Brienz village close to Interlaken.

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Perfect Day Trip From Interlaken To Brienz

I also have a great day trip itinerary from Interlaken to Brienz for you. Honestly, Brienz is more charming than Interlaken, so I highly recommend making this trip rather than staying in Interlaken. You’ll get more out of your visit.

Morning In Brienz

In the morning, take a train from Interlaken Ost to Brienz. Don’t forget to sit on the train’s right side (travel direction) for the best views.

Once you come to Brienz, cross the street and hop on the Brienzer Rothorn Train. I recommend taking the first train as it’s less crowded and overall the best experience. Ride to the top of Brienzer Rothorn Mountain.

Then, enjoy walking around and get to the cross or one of the viewing points. Sit down and enjoy the breathtaking views (some of the most beautiful views in Switzerland).

After, take the Brienzer Rothorn train back to Brienz. Alternatively, you can get off in Planalp and walk back to the village. Or you can walk to the Rotschalp Viewing Point, then get back to Planalp, and down to Brienz.

brienz switzerland brienzer rothorn hikes
Views from Brienzer Rothorn – my hikes

Afternoon In Brienz

In the afternoon, explore Brienz for a while. Walk through the famous Brunngasse and admire the wooden statues in the Rolf Blöchlinger shop. Buy ice cream in Migros supermarket, sit beside the lake, and enjoy.

After, take a boat from Brienz back to Interlaken.

If you still have time, you can walk from Brienz to the Giessbach Waterfall, enjoy dinner or a coffee there, and then take a boat to Interlaken.

👉 READ ALSO: 5 Best Panoramic Trains In Switzerland

FAQs: Brienz Switzerland

I’ve also answered some frequently asked questions to help you plan your visit better. Check my answers below.

Is Brienz Switzerland Worth Visiting?

Yes, Brienz Switzerland is 100% worth visiting. It’s one of the hidden gems in Switzerland and the most beautiful villages. It also offers many unique things, such as lama trekking and hiking on the local trails with breathtaking views.

Is Thun Or Brienz Better?

You can’t compare Thun and Brienz because Thun is a city, while Brienz is a little village. I prefer Brienz because it has that traditional Swiss atmosphere.

Brienz is perfect for relaxing and disconnecting, while Thun is a big city where you have all the facilities.

Is It Safe To Swim In Lake Brienz?

Yes, it’s safe to swim in Lake Brienz. I recommend staying close to the shore, as boats and jet boats ride on the lake. So don’t go too far where the boats are as they might not see you swimming there. But otherwise, it’s safe.

WRAP-UP: Brienz Switzerland

This is Brienz in Switzerland, one of the fairy-tale places in the country. If you’re visiting the Jungfrau region and Interlaken, you can’t miss this beautiful spot with a unique steam rack railway. It’s an unforgettable experience.

If you have any questions or need a customized travel itinerary, contact me at I’ll gladly help you.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

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