Must-knows about Brienz

  • Brienz is a lakeside village in the east of the Bernese Oberland.
  • It’s at the foot of the Brienzer Rothorn, to which you can travel by cogwheel train.
  • Most of the village offers splendid views of Lake Brienz and the surrounding mountains.
  • Brienz is famous for its wood-carving tradition.
  • If you’re based here, you can make day trips to the Hasli Valley, the mountain passes of Central Switzerland, the Jungfrau Region, and Lucerne.
  • Hiking options directly from the town are limited.
Recommended season: early April to late October
Altitude: 563 m (1847 ft)
Town size: Small
This town is on a lake
Local language: German
There is a train station

Things to do in Brienz Copy link to clipboard

Find your activities in and near Brienz

GoldenPass on snowy spring day in Montbovon
Scenic train tripMin. time required: 5:30
Several special GoldenPass trains run on this beautiful route between Lucerne, Interlaken and Montreux. Here's all you need to know about the trains, scenery, costs, …
Boat for lake Brienz waiting near Interlaken Ost
Boat Lake Brienz
Scenic boat tripMin. time required: 1:00
Boat trips on Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland can be made from spring to fall. Learn how to get to the docks, which rides …
Lake Brienz and Bernese Alps seen from Brienzer Rothorn
Brienzer Rothorn
Mountains, Scenic train tripMin. time required: 3:00
Prepare for an excursion to the Brienzer Rothorn in the Bernese Oberland. A steam train takes you up to panoramic views of Lake Brienz and …
Country Roads of Switzerland (Classic
Country Roads of Switzerland (Classic, 14 Days)
Scenic bus tripGuided multi-day tour
See Switzerland in all its natural splendor during this 2-week guided tour that whisks you from snow-capped mountain peaks to floral valleys. Outside Lucerne, complete with wooden bridges and baroque churches, zip to the top of Mount Stanserhorn, a pinnacle so tall you can see France and Germany. Take in …

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Best of Switzerland (9 Days)
Best of Switzerland (9 Days)
Scenic bus tripGuided multi-day tour
All the Best of Switzerland with a side visit to Italy. What could be better? Your travels will take you to Lake Geneva for local wine, cheese and delicious desserts in Lavaux, Lord Byron’s enchanting Chillon Castle and the pretty town of Brienz for a masterclass in Swiss wood carving.

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  • Extra Support: if you book here, MySwissAlps can also assist if you have questions about your order.
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Wood carving in Brienz

Brienz has a history with wood. The wood carving school in town opened in 1884.

There is a wood carving museum, so you can learn everything about this craftsmanship. Several shops in Brienz offer wood carving products in all shapes and sizes.

The Ballenberg open-air museum

Close to Brienz is the Ballenberg open-air museum. This is a great excursion for the entire family. You'll see typically Swiss farmhouses and learn about the old Swiss crafts.

Bus rides over the mountain passes

East of Brienz is a network of stunning mountain roads. We recommend making at least one bus ride during your stay. Note that many rides can be made in summer only. Highlights are:

  • the ride to Grindelwald via Meiringen and Schwarzwaldalp in the Rosenlaui Valley
  • the four-passes tour that starts and ends in nearby Meiringen

Travel info and village map Copy link to clipboard

How to reach Brienz by train

Brienz can best be reached by train. You can get there from the directions of Meiringen (10 minutes), Interlaken (20 minutes), Zurich (2h20) and Lucerne (1h30).

You can find all connections to Brienz in the Swiss timetable.

How to reach Brienz by car

It's possible to get to Brienz by car too. From Zurich, it takes about 1h30.

If you're driving from the north or east, you need to cross mountain passes:

  • the Brünig Pass if you travel from the direction of Lucerne
  • the Susten Pass if you're coming from Gadmen or Wassen
  • the Grimsel Pass if you're arriving from the Upper Rhone Valley in the Valais
  • the Furka Pass if you're coming from Andermatt

The layout of Brienz

Brienz is small, but it's stretched out along the north-eastern banks of Lake Brienz. There are outskirts toward the west, east, and up on the hills on below Brienzer Rothorn.

The two main areas in the village are:

  • The area with the train station, main bus stop, and boat dock. They're all right next to one another. The supermarket can be found here too.
  • The part a bit west of the train station. Smaller shops can be found here, on or near the main street "Hauptgasse". The main bus stop here is "Brienz Dorf".

Traveling in Brienz

If your accommodation is near the rail station or close to the main street, it's easy to get by on foot.

If your accommodation is a bit farther away, you can take a bus or train. There's a train station in Brienz West for example. And there are bus stops throughout the village.

Rail passes for a stay in Brienz

As a hotel guest, you'll receive the Brienz guest card for discounts on local trips and attractions. In most cases, you need more than that though.

The Berner Oberland Pass is an excellent choice if you want to travel roughly between Lucerne, Bern, Meiringen, Gstaad and the Jungfrau Region.

Consider a pass for the whole of Switzerland if your itinerary includes more regions, or if you'll be traveling in the months in which the Berner Oberland Pass is not available.

Learn how to find the best pass for your plans here.

The town of Brienz on a map

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When to visit Brienz Copy link to clipboard

The best time to stay in Brienz and to visit the town is early April to late October. The views of the lake and its surrounding mountains are wonderful during this season.

Brienz is less suitable for a winter stay. Snow in the village isn't likely. Boats at the lake don't operate. Nor does the train to the Brienzer Rothorn. The pass roads east of Brienz can be closed down too.

Weather forecast for Brienz Copy link to clipboard

What weather in Brienz is like

Brienz has a mild climate. It's usually above freezing point in winter. In summer, expect temperatures between 20°C and 25°C or more.

On typical warm summer days, clouds tend to build over the mountains first, and then spread to other areas. On such days, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz can remain cloudless for relatively long, more so than villages in the Jungfrau Region for example.

5-day forecast for Brienz

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Where to stay in Brienz Copy link to clipboard

Brienz is small, so there's not a huge selection of hotels. But the hotels that are available, are often close to the lake and offer rooms with panoramic views.

Boulevard with traditional houses in Brienz by the Brienzersee

Hotels in the lovely lakeside town Brienz

Find your hotel in the pretty town of Brienz. Many hotels offer views over Lake Brienz. Just board the boat …

The pros and cons of Brienz

These are reasons to stay in Brienz:

  • Brienz is a little town offering all facilities you need during your holidays. It’s not as lively as nearby Interlaken, but it’s much more authentic.
  • The lake and the mountains guarantee a great view from about every spot in town.
  • You can cover several areas from Brienz. That’s how we used Brienz: as a base town to visit diverse regions, and this suited us very well. The Jungfrau Region and the Hasli Valley near Meiringen can be reached within half an hour. A train trip to Lucerne takes about 1h30.

The possible cons of Brienz are:

  • Hiking directly from town is possible, but the options are limited: the mountains rise up on one side of the town and the lake is on the other side.
  • You’re not directly in the Alps. If that’s what you prefer, consider one of the villages in the Jungfrau Region, the Valais or Graubünden instead.

Other websites of interest

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Page author: AnnikaSince early childhood I've been visiting Switzerland during my holidays and I just fell in love with the country. I spent many summers in the Bernese Oberland, which still feels like my second home, and then started to explore other areas. Traveling, hiking and photographing in the Swiss Alps are my absolute favorite activities.