Ezoic

Brienzer Rothorn: the must-knows

  • Brienzer Rothorn is a 2244 m high mountain top above Lake Brienz.
  • You can reach it by a nostalgic steam train ride in a unique landscape.
  • The top offers wide views over Lake Brienz and the Bernese Alps.
  • If you don’t like cable cars and gondolas, this is the perfect way to travel to a high viewpoint.
  • In summer, you can make a fantastic tour via Giswil with 5 modes of transport.
  • If you like Brienzer Rothorn, you may also be interested in Schynige Platte.
Min. time required: 3:00
Season: early May to mid October
Recommended season: early June to mid October
Max. altitude: 2244 m (7362 ft)

Info about prices and reservations Copy link to clipboard

Brienzer Rothorn price

The standard fare for a return trip Brienz-Brienzer Rothorn is CHF 96 per adult in 2023.

  • Many rail passes allow discounted or free traveling.
  • If you take the first train of the day, you can get a discounted ticket. Availability is limited.

Where to buy your Brienzer Rothorn tickets

  • Tickets for the steam train can be purchased online or at the valley station in Brienz.
  • If you plan to do the round trip: cable car tickets can be bought at the valley station. Bus tickets can be purchased online in advance or from the bus driver.

Reservations

  • Make sure to book seats for the steam train in advance if you're traveling in a group of 10 or more travelers. Do so at least two days in advance.
  • For individuals and smaller groups, reservations are optional. A seat guarantee costs CHF 8 per person.
  • If you make the round trip via Giswil: reservations for the cable car aren't required. You do need to book seats for the bus if you're in a group of 10 or more people.

Book your Brienzer Rothorn tickets Copy link to clipboard

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Adventure sport, Scenic boat trip, Scenic drivePrivately guided day tour
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Discounted steam train tickets with your rail pass Copy link to clipboard

The below rail passes offer discounts or even free traveling to Brienzer Rothorn.

PassDiscount
Berner Oberland Pass Free:
  • Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn (train)
  • Sörenberg to Brienzer Rothorn (cableway)
Day Pass Discount 50%:
  • Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn (train)
  • Sörenberg to Brienzer Rothorn (cableway)
Swiss Half Fare Card Discount 50%:
  • Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn (train)
  • Sörenberg to Brienzer Rothorn (cableway)
Swiss Travel Pass Discount 50%:
  • Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn (train)
  • Sörenberg to Brienzer Rothorn (cableway)
Swiss Travel Pass Flex Discount 50%:
  • Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn (train)
  • Sörenberg to Brienzer Rothorn (cableway)
Tell-Pass Summer Free:
  • Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn (train)
  • Sörenberg to Brienzer Rothorn (cableway)

How to reach Brienzer Rothorn: directions and map Copy link to clipboard

Steam train Brienz-Brienzer Rothorn

Brienz can be reached by car, by train (20 minutes from Interlaken, 90 minutes from Lucerne), or by boat from Interlaken.

From the train station, you only need to cross the street to reach the steam train station. From the boat dock, it's about 2 minutes on foot to the steam train station.

Cable car Sörenberg-Brienzer Rothorn

There's also a cable car to Brienzer Rothorn. It leaves close to the bus stop 'Sörenberg, Rothornbahn', on the other side of the BrĂŒnig Pass. The bus can be boarded in Giswil and other stops along the way. Check timetables: it's not available all year, and the cable car isn't operational in 2023 because of construction work.

Round trip via Giswil by bus, cable car, steam train, train, and boat

Instead of going up and down the mountain by the cogwheel train, you can also make a beautiful round trip and use 5 different modes of transport. Note that you can't make the trip as described below in 2023, because the cable car to Sörenberg is temporarily closed.

  1. From Interlaken, take a train along the GoldenPass route, (via Brienz and Meiringen) to Giswil.
  2. Change to the Postbus that takes you to the Glaubenbielen Pass.
  3. At "Glaubenbielen, Parkplatz", change for a bus to "Sörenberg, Rothornbahn".
  4. Take the cable car up to the Brienzer Rothorn.
  5. Take the cogwheel train down to Brienz.
  6. Walk over to the boat dock and take a boat to Interlaken. Alternatively, you can take a train.

Map: routes to Brienzer Rothorn from Brienz and from Sörenberg

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Map

Operation dates, schedules and timetable Copy link to clipboard

2024 operation dates for Brienzer Rothorn

  • The train from Brienz operates from 8 June to 20 October 2024. As early as May, there may already be train rides between Brienz and the mid-station Planalp.
  • The cable car from Sörenberg to Brienzer Rothorn operates from 30 May to 20 October 2024. From May 18, you can already enjoy the cable car ride during the weekends.
  • The bus between Giswil, Glaubenbielen, and Sörenberg operates in the summer high season only and not on all days. Check the timetable carefully.

Planning your trip in the timetable

You can check the separate steam train, cable car, and bus timetables through the links here. Alternatively, you can plan your trip with the Swiss timetable. These are the destinations to enter:

  • "Brienz" for the railway station of Brienz
  • "Brienz (See)" for the boat dock of Brienz
  • "Brienz BRB" for the valley station of the steam train
  • "Brienzer Rothorn" for the top station of the steam train
  • "Giswil, Bahnhof" for the start point of the bus toward Glaubenbielen/Sörenberg
  • "Glaubenbielen, Parkplatz" for the stop at which you'll change to the bus to Sörenberg
  • "Sörenberg, Rothornbahn" for the bus stop close to the valley station of the cable car to Brienzer Rothorn

Find schedules for the boats on Lake Brienz here.

Best months for Brienzer Rothorn Copy link to clipboard

An excursion to Brienzer Rothorn is best from early June to mid October. These are the months in which the steam train operates all the way to Brienzer Rothorn, and not just to mid-station Planalp.

The chance of a combination of snow-capped mountain tops in the distance and beautiful vegetation on the lower hills is best in June (late spring) and October (fall).

Weather and forecasts Copy link to clipboard

Check the weather forecast below to make sure that the top of the mountain isn't in the clouds, and that the skies are clear enough to enjoy the wide views.

The Brienzer Rothorn is not exceptionally high for Swiss standards. There will normally be no snow on the top in late spring, summer, and early fall. It can still be chilly though, as the top is fully exposed to the wind. Dress in multiple thinner layers so that you can adapt to whatever circumstances you will encounter. Bring along your sunglasses.

5-day weather forecasts for Brienzer Rothorn

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Weather forecast

What an excursion to Brienzer Rothorn is like

The steam train

It’s a real pleasure to board the train in Brienz, and travel to the top the same way that’s been used since 1891. This by a steam locomotive pushing the carriages up the mountain on a cogwheel railway. It takes an hour to reach the station on the top of the Brienzer Rothorn, at an altitude of 2244 m. Diesel locomotives are available too, which will be used if there are lots of travelers or technical issues.

Scenery during the ride

The scenery along the way is extraordinary: the train winds its way up the mountain, crossing meadows and forests. Once the mid-station of Planalp has been reached, the forests make place for alpine meadows, rocks and sharp ridges.

What to see and do at the top

On the top, there is a tremendous view of Lake Brienz deep down in the valley, the Bernese Oberland in the south, and Central Switzerland in the north. There’s a restaurant and a mountain lodge to spend the night in. Note that this is closed in 2023 due to revision and construction work.

Special steam train experiences

Apart from the normal rides, there are special excursions that require booking in advance. Examples are:

  • a “Salon Rouge” ride, including a look behind the scene at the steam train depot and nostalgic 11-course catering during the ride;
  • a “‘Full Moon”‘ ride: an evening trip with dinner in the top restaurant;
  • a “driver’s seat” ride in the steam train locomotive.

Brienzer Rothorn FAQ

  1. How long does the trip to Brienzer Rothorn take?

    Allow at least an hour on the top to fully enjoy the views, and at least 3 hours for the full trip from Brienz. The round trip via Giswil takes at least 6 hours.

  2. What’s the best side of the train to sit on?

    We recommend the left side when departing from Brienz to get the majority of good views.

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Arno
Page author: ArnoI have visited Switzerland countless times since 1997. I've explored most of the country, but find myself staying in the Bernese Oberland and GraubĂŒnden most frequently. The alps and the rail network remain very impressive, even after all these years.