Lake Brienz (Brienzersee)
Lake Brienz, which is fed by the Aare River, is a long sliver of a lake 8.6 miles (14 kilometers) long and 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) wide. Head to the area to stroll along the edge of the water on the promenade, take boat trips, and ride Switzerland’s oldest funicular railway. You can also see the 1,640-foot-high (500-meter) Giessbach Falls, takie the steam train (Rothorn Bahn) up Mount Brienzer Rothorn, and go hiking on the mora than 300 miles (500 kilometers) of trails that surround the lake.
Visitors usually come to Lake Brienz from Interlaken. A range of guided day tours based in the city can take you to the lake and guide you on hikes, cycling tours, and cruises.
Things to Know Before You Go
Some hikes start from Brienz, but the town is rather trapped, with the mountains rising on one side, and the lake on the other. There are more trails accessible from Interlaken.
Lake Brienz is located at an altitude of 1850 feet (564 meters). While this isn’t high enough to feel any altitude sickness, it is high enough to get cold at night, even in the summer.
In the summer, the water temperature in the lake rises enough to make it relatively comfortable for swimming. There’s also a lido (public outdoor swimming pool) at the edge of the lake, near the Brienz Railway Station.
How to Get There
The western shore of Lake Brienz sits at the eastern edge of Interlaken. If you’d like to head to Brienz town, take a 15 minute train ride on the Brünig railway line, which runs along the northern shore of the lake. Alternatively, you can reach a number of towns around the lake on the Lötschberg paddle steamer. To reach Lake Brienz from Lucerne, take the Brünig Pass over the mountains.
When to Get There
Lake Brienz is most popular in warm months, when visitors can take advantage of the area’s outdoor attractions like hiking and boating. In winter, the area is a good spot for some cross-country skiing.
Visit Lake Thun
Once you’ve explored Lake Brienz, head to the other side of Interlaken to visit Lake Thun (Thunersee). Attractions around the lake include a 900-year-old castle that sits on a hill overlooking the lake, the town of Thun (which boasts a number of historic buildings, including a stunning 12th-century castle) and the St. Beatus Caves.