You will see Brienz at its best if you arrive there by boat. There is a regular boat service on the lake during the touristic season, going from Interlaken to Brienz and with stops at the villages on the banks of the Brienzer lake. There are also special initiatives, such as dinner cruises and steamboat cruises with music on board.
In Brienz there are actually two boat landings. One is nearer to the town and is called Brienz Dorf. The other one is close to the railway station and to the bus station, in the eastern part of the town. This one is also close to the station of the Brienzer Rothorn railway, so it is the most convenient if you are going to Brienz to do the train trip to the Rothorn.
All boats stop at both landings.
You can find the routes and timetables in the website here below.
Gettin to Brienz by train is very easy, because it is on the railway route between Bern and Lucerne.
Brienz is also one of the stations on the route of the GoldenPass trains, one of the famous touristic routes in the Alps that goes from Lucerne to Montreux (and vice-versa) via some of the most famous places such as Intarlaken and Gstaad.
In addition to these interregional trains, Brienz is served also by local trains that cover just the route between Meiringen and Interlaken, so during the summer a visitor can rely on trains every 30 minutes to get to Brienz or to leave it.
If one needs to make connections between trains and buses it is very easy as well, because the bus station is just by the railway station, as in all Swiss towns.
Cruising on Brienzersee and Thunersee is great fun and both lakes could be done easily within a day, especially when you always stay on the boats or choose the stations carefully, where you are leaving the ships, explore lovely places like Spiez, Schloss Oberhofen or Huenibach, Thun etc. and continue by the next ship.
All of the ships have a 1st class : the total upper deck, and a 2nd class in the lower decks.
Normally on mondays and at special days during the lower season day-tickets are available for both lakes for just 20 sfr / 13 Euros for both lakes.
These ships are also included in the "Regionalpass berner Oberland"
In Meiringen, jst a few km from Bienz, you may see this great funicular. The Reichenbach-funicular dates back to 1899 and recently all of the old wagons and the track were modernized. The track is just 714 meters long, the height-difference is 244 meters.
Trains run ever 15 minutes and the ride will take 7 minutes. At the top-station you will find several paths leading up or down again. Zwirgi is a place above the Reichenbachfall - walking up there take 20 minutes, and from there you may drive down a "monster" - see my sporting-tip !
The funicular runs daily May till beginning of October:
09.00-11.45 a.m. + 01.15-05.45p.m. every 15 minutes
In July and August between 09.00a.m. and 06.00p.m. every 15 minutes !
There are lots of free parking-spaces at the station !
From Meiringen station you way walk there within 20 minutes
For using the AUTOBAHN / highway in Switzerland - you will have to pay a " vignette " - a ticket to be attached behind your windscreen.
There are only 1-year-tickets available for the price of 40 sfr / 32 Euros and be aware, that there are high penalties, when they catch you without such a sticker on your windscreen.
Buy them at newspaper stands or directely at the border.
When arriving ON the Autobahn already from another country, there will be an exit for all those NOT WILLING to buy a vignette...
I may highly recommend to buy this sticker, simply because many of the fast roads like the road along the southern shore of Lake Brienz are included in the highway-system, although there is only 1 track in each direction and only a very few places, where you may overtake others. And still you save 30 minutes driving-time between Brienz and Interlaken. Also in other parts of Switzerland you may get on a highway without realizing immediately !!
In case that you are lucky with perfect weather and stay for at least 3 days in the area around Brienzersee & Thunersee , it really makes sense to buy the "Regionalpass Berner Oberland" :
This train-pass is valid 7 (220,-sfr) or 15 days (265,-sfr) and during 3 of these 7 or 5 of these 15 days you may use that ticket for unlimited travels, only for a tour to Jungfraujoch you pay 50 sfr extra and for Schilthorn 30 sfr extra - the Brienz Rothorn is totally included !!
The tickets are for 7/15 consecutive days, BUT you may choose any 3 (or 5) days of unlimited travels by yourself - you simply stamp your ticket at any trainstation into a machine on these days.
During the rest of the days you pay half of the ordinary prices.
This ticket includes also all trains and ships around Brienzersee and Thunersee, trains till Brig, Lenk i.S., Adelboden, Meiringen, Gstaad and halfprice all days to Zermatt, Luzern, Bern etc...
I had such a ticket with 7 days and could save a lot of money, although I had only 3 days with excellent weather-conditions !!.
See more details about that ticket on my link below !!
Ballenberg-Bahn is an old steam-train that you may see in Interlaken Ost in a shed at the end of track #4 (follow the sign-posts !) when you are lucky, there will be someone there to let you in, otherwise you may see at least the old wagons in front of the shed or return on a any friday at 02.00p.m., because every friday afternoon the shed is open for visitors !!
In summer the steam-train will make special tours according to these timetables :
for prices click on "Preise" - it is a pity that everything is just in german, but I guess you may understand most of these infos anyway.
Several train-rides are done each year in July, September and October between interlaken Ost and Giswil ( that is halfway between Brienz and Luzern - with a scenic ride going through Brienz and over the Brünig-Pass)
Be careful, I spoiled one of my jackets , when I touched the steam-train in order to make the picture of the driver's place - coal-dust is everywhere !!
The funicular taking you up from the ship-station to Grandhotel Giessbach is just 345 meters long and takes you up 90 meters in height. But it dates back to the glorious time of 1879, when most of the noble tourists arrived by steam-ship and would never have thought a second about taking a little walk uphills....
Still today you will always have a connecting funicular going down to the ship-station 5 minutes prior to the arrival of the ships and afterwards again a funicular going up to the hotel . Such a funicular is always connected by a thick rope with the oncoming wagon and they will meet in the middle of the track. In case of Giessbach-funicular only that wagon will be accessible, that is going TO the ship or FROM the ship.
The one-way-ticket is 4,50 sfr / return is 6 sfr
For holders of a "Regionalpass berner Oberland"
the returnticket is 4,50 sfr.
the funicular will only be operated, when a ship is arriving or leaving,because the ship-station is a "cul the sac" a place with a dead end.
Brienzer Rothorn-Bahn (BRB) is one of the most interesting mountain-trains that you may use in Switzerland. It dates back to the year 1891 and many of the trains of that time are still in use nowadays. In the 19th century the Rothorn-Kulm was the highest train-station in the world.
On top of Rothorn you may enjoy 2 restaurants , walk up to the peak of Rothorn or hike down to Soerenberg at the north-side of Rothorn or go down by cablecar. On the way to the top of Rothorn there are 3 stations with passing-places for the oncoming trains, and at the 1st such station ( Planalp) the trains get fresh water and oil and you may get out for 5 minutes in order to take pictures !
Try to be at the station 20 minutes before the trains are leaving !
The seats at the left will offer the best views in my opinion !
The 1st and maybe 2nd train in the morning are Diesel-trains !
Don't forget rain-gear and good walking-shoes !!
The weather may change all of a sudden on top of Rothorn !
The trains run between may 21st and October 23rd in 2005
for other years : take a look at the web-page below !
An ordinary return-ticket is 62 sfr / Halbtax: 50 sfr ! , and it is 100% included
in the "Regionalpass Berner Oberland"
the details are in my next transportation- tip !
Breathtaking scenes as you travel with the train from Luzern to Brienz past the beautiful lakes of Sarnen
The beautiful canton of Obwalden,. The trip along forests and sunny mountain peaks.
There are several ways to get to Brienz. From interlaken its a short train journey - about 15 minutes but a pleasanter alternative is to travel by lake steamer - takes about 1hour 15mins. Either way the train and boat stations are very close and are co-ordinated together - making a combined trip the best of both worlds.
Steamers sail hourly during summer months. The journey from Interlaken is about 1 hour 15 minutes. Most steamers have 2 decks, the upper first class, lower second. Eurorail and Swiss passes can be used and we took full advantage especially on the rainy days. My favorite on Lake Brienz was the old paddlewheel steamer that started service in 1914. All are immaculate and most serve food and beverages.
Brienz is easy to get to since trains run every hour from Interlaken. Swiss trains have to be the cleanest and most efficient I've ever seen.