Lake Brienz within the Interlaken Region, not to be mixed up with Lake Thun (Thunersee) which is on the other side, is one of the prettiest, yet surprisingly also one of the most underrated lakes in Switzerland!
This turquoise lake, the charming Swiss villages on the shoreline and the beautiful mountain landscapes of the Bernese Oberland and Jungfrau Region makes Lake Brienz one of the best places to visit in Switzerland. It certainly is one of our favourite places.
The beauty of the Lake Brienz area is magical. And if you are asking the question; where should you visit, Lake Brienz or Lake Thun, then carry-on reading to find out how beautiful the Lake Brienz area is.
Where is Lake Brienz?
Nestled amid the stunning landscape of the Bernese Oberland and Jungfrau Region you will find this beauty called Lake Brienz or its Swiss German name, Brienzersee. It is the smaller of the two lakes which border the Interlaken Region. The other larger lake is the Thunersee – Lake Thun.
The water from Lake Brienz runs along the river Aara into Lake Thun.
Within the small strip of land between the two lakes – Thunersee & Brienzersee, are Interlaken plus the small Swiss villages of Bönigen, Matten, and Unterseen. We have stayed in Bönigen in an Airbnb and can highly recommend it.
How to get to Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz is easily accessible by public transport and the train journey is an adventure and highlight in its own right. If you are travelling by the SBB train your end destination would be Interlaken OST.
And here is our Travel TIP
If you travel on public transport it is very likely that you will pass by Lucerne. From Lucerne travel by the regular train (operated by the Zentralbahn) to Interlaken Ost. This route will take you via Brünig-Hasliberg.
Consider leaving the train in Brienz and hop on a boat for the last leg of your journey to “Interlaken Ost” (or vice-versa).
The boat departs across from the train station, so even if you have suitcases with you, it is a fairly easy change. All train tickets and passes are valid on boats and no extra fees apply for a 2nd class seating. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy Lake Brienz by boat and marvel at its beautiful surroundings.
The map below shows you the different boat stops on Lake Brienz and on the Thunersee.
Where to Stay when visiting Lake Brienz – Brienzersee
The choice is yours as there are so many beautiful places to spend some relaxing time in the Jungfrau Region in the Bernese Oberland.
However, I would probably recommend to stay around Interlaken and Bönigen if you travel without a car and wish to explore the Interlaken area.
Should camping in Interlaken be your preferred way of spending the nights at Lake Brienz, then this is possible as well. You can find great Camping Places in Interlaken and Bönigen right by the water.
If you do visit Lake Brienz with a car then you will find some beautiful Hotels in Brienz itself. And for the more discreet places why not stay at the small camping site in Iseltwald at Strandabd & Camping Iseltwald. From there you will have the splendid view of its famous Schloss Seebourg.
Iseltwald is the only village on the south side of Lake Brienz. Therefore accommodation & Hotels in Iseltwald are popular and often sold out. So be organized if this is the place you like to stay when visiting Lake Brienz.
Things to do around Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz Cruise
The Lake Brienz Boat Tours are for sure one of the best ways to take in this awe-inspiring lake and its surroundings. And if you are travelling on a Swiss Train Ticket, then most stretches are included in your ticket.
Ferries operate between Interlaken & Brienz on a regular schedule which gives you plenty of time to enjoy the area the whole day. You can hop-on and hop-off the boats at any time.
These are the stopovers, Bönigen, Iseltwald, and Giessbach with multiple connections between April & October.
Of course, the list of things to do around Lake Brienz is endless and you could come back to this ridiculously beautiful place many times and still have not seen it all.
Lake Brienz Villages
Bönigen & Iseltwald are picturesque small traditional Swiss villages, and great for a stroll.
The Giessbach is famous for its waterfall which you can reach by taking a funicular (or hiking up) from the ferry station. Be prepared, depending on the time you visit, you can get wet!
Interlaken between Lake Brienz and Thunersee can be very busy. But it is one of the best places to base yourself when exploring the Bernese Oberland and it’s Jungfrau region. From there you are very quickly all over and this sometimes has its own value.
Brienz village is located at the top of the lake, direction Lucerne, and is called the “Woodcarving Village”. A tradition that goes back decades. It is well worth visiting Brienz to stroll around this picturesque village and follow the woodcarving statues along the way.
Catching the Sunset in Interlaken
If you are staying between the two lakes, Brienzersee and Thunersee, the best place to see the sunset is from lake Thun. You find a large Nature reserve the ” Naturschutzgebiet Weissenau” and a camping place. Anywhere in that area is perfect.
Close to the camping place, there is a large grassy place ideally situation to absorb these last sun rays with. picnic and marvel at a stunning sunset.
Best View of Lake Brienz – Brienzersee
It is always from the top where one can get the real feel of a pretty place, and this is no other when visiting Lake Brienz.
Harder Kulm -Top of Interlanken
Interlaken’s own local mountain, Harder Kulm offers views that leave you in awe.
Take in the spectacular views from the Zwei-Seen-Steg (Two-Lakes-Bridge). Stunningly blue Lake Brienz and the emerald blue Thunersee are competing against each other for the most beautiful lake. And not to forget majestically in the background the peaks of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
Located at 1300 m altitude, Harder Kulm is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
Harder Kulm is super easy to visit and also a great idea to catch the golden hours. A 10-minute cable car ride up from the gondola station located next to the Interlaken train station brings you to Harder Kulm.
The gondola that takes you up to Harder Kulm operates from April to November. As always on pretty places, avoid the peak July – August season and bankholidays if you’d rather not stand in queues
Views from Beatenberg
Another great place is Beatenberg. On the drive up there are many viewpoints with great photo opportunities, although not over Lake Brienz but over the Thunersee (Lake Thun) and the 3 famous peaks, Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau!
The Jungfrau Region around Lake Brienz and Interlaken
Not only will you visit one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland but also the stunning and unique Jungfrau Region.
So why not plan to visit Lauterbrunnen where there are numerous dramatic waterfalls cascading from great heights. I believe there are 72 waterfalls in total along in the Lauterbrunnen valley. Lauterbrunnen is 13 Km away from Interlaken.
You are also not far from Meiringen – Haslital (30 km) where the best Meringues await to be eaten and it is also the place to visit for all “Sherlock Holmes” fans. With a dedicated museum and a great Krimi Spass theme trail this would be a great family day trip from Lake Brienz.
Meiringen – Hasliberg is also home to the pretty “Muggestutz.” A kids theme trail which both you and the kids will adore.
Places Like Grindelwald, Wengen and for sure the James Bond Schilthorn experience are also only short distances away from Lake Brienz. Another must visit is the beautiful Flower Park and playground at Almendhubel in Mürren.
Other great things to do in the Lake Brienz Area
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I hope that the information provided here when you are planning to Visit Lake Brienz in the Interlaken Region will prove itself useful.
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below. You may also share your experience, so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries and stories as well
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