We recently attended an event just outside Interlaken. Since it was too early to go home after that, we wanted to visit someplace in the nearby surroundings since we are not so often near Lake Brienz. The place of our choice was the Giessbach waterfalls. I have had it a long time on my “bucket list”, a list of places that I plan to visit in Switzerland. And I’m so glad we did it because the experience was really stunning. We never walked BEHIND the waterfall.
The Giessbach Falls are located on the south side of Lake Brienz, east of Interlaken, about 70km from Bern.
I have always thought that to reach to reach the falls, you have to take the ferry, then a funicular up to the Grandhotel Giessbach (but this can be pricey for those, who would like to enjoy Switzerland on the budget). But you can also arrive by car right to the hotel parking. Take the A6 and A8 direction Brienz, take exit 29 and follow the Route 9 to Giessbach. When you are lucky, a yellow “Postauto” bus will be in front of you, sounding the horn in front of the curving corners, a warning to the opposite driver that you are driving. Once you’ve parked your car, it’s a short walk to the nearest viewing point.
Anyway, for those who would like to take the ferry, there is a BLS (the company that operates ferry rides on the Lake Brienz) timetable and price list.
As I mentioned, we left the car in the parking lot. But not at the hotel because it was already full. Even before entering the hotel premises there is an “improvised” parking lot along the road where there is plenty of space (and you do not have to pay here 😉 ). From here, it is a few minutes’ walk to the waterfalls (see map above) to the first view of the waterfalls.
When we first soaked up the first impressions of the view of the waterfalls, we walked the steep narrow and dirty path that leads up through the woods (not suitable for the stroller). Very soon you reach the walkway, which leads BEHIND the waterfall. Here you get an amazing view through the cascade. Believe me, it’s a unique experience! In addition, the view from behind the waterfall looking towards the fairytale Grandhotel Giessbach with Lake Brienz and the mountains in the background is unforgettable.
Then we crossed the bridge to the other side (more photo/viewpoints 🙂 ) and by the forest path, we reached the lower bridge over the roaring water (which was therefore heavily occupied by tourists). From here, we went to the Grandhotel Giessbach.
Instead of enjoying some tasty food on the hotel’s terrace, we went further down the hiking trail (which is suitable for strollers). The switchback trail led us to the point where the waterfalls tumble into Lake Brienz. From here, it’s a few dozen meters to the funicular station we wanted to take back to the hotel.
The Giessbachbahn was established in 1879 and it is the oldest funicular in Switzerland. The ticket price for an adult (logically just the way up 🙂 ) was 5 francs. Children under the age of 12 and hotel guests are free of charge. The timetable and the cableway pricelist can be found here.
The historic fairy-tale-like Hotel is right next to the upper station of the cable car, right at the foot of the natural spectacle. You can choose whether you want to have a view of the lake or the waterfalls on the outdoor terrace. We just quickly peeked inside and walked on its premises.
In order to keep the sanity of both us and the staff of the noble restaurant, we decided to have coffee and popsicles not in the hotel restaurant but in the kiosk below the hotel patio (here you can also get some snacks like hot dogs, sandwiches, and drinks). Yet we were enjoying the fantastic views of the waterfalls.
For those who can not imagine their trip without roasting, I have a good news at the end: a short walk from the car park (you will walk around) is a great place for roasting, with the necessary equipment, as is the custom in Switzerland 🙂
You just can´t miss the trip to the waterfalls if you are on this side of Lake Brienz. But in my humble opinion, the Trümmelbach waterfalls near Lauterbrunnen were more impressive for me (the two places are about half an hour away by car, so if you stay in these places longer, I recommend to visit). But without any doubt, the Grandhotel Giessbach together with the historic funicular give this place the Belle-epoque charm, which I really liked. Anyway, we enjoyed our trip and we would definitely like to take future visitors 😉
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