I wasn’t familiar with Brienz, I’d never been there, but I’d heard a lot about it. The Brienzer Rothorn Bahn in particular. I already knew that Lake Brienz is incredibly blue from my trip to Interlaken in winter for some winter kayaking on the ice-cold Lake Brienz. After days of action-packed activities in Grindelwald, Brienz is the ideal place to explore the beautiful natural surroundings a little more and find some peace and quiet – without getting bored.
My personal highlight was the location of Brienz Youth Hostel: It takes 28 seconds to get from the youth hostel to the lakeshore.
Stand-up paddle paradise: Brienz Youth Hostel
Part of the youth hostel in Brienz was recently renovated. My first impression is: it’s cosy and bright. The many windows give youth hostel guests a direct view of the lake. After all, it’s only a few steps away. The garden is a dream. There are a few trees, bistro tables and a ping-pong table. The meadow invites you to sunbathe. After a round of stand-up paddling, for instance. Because with the SUP, which you can hire directly from the youth hostel, you can explore Lake Brienz by water.
The perfect companion for this: the youth hostel drybag, which you can buy at reception, or the almost Lake Brienz-blue microfibre towel, if you’re in need of an ultralight bath towel. There is even a small beach right in front of the youth hostel. I’d grabbed something from the new self-service kiosk and ended the evening there in a deck chair. That makes for that holiday feeling!
By the way, you won’t only find the self-service kiosk in Brienz, the youth hostels in Schaan-Vaduz, Rapperswil-Jona, Zermatt, Valbella, Zug and Leissigen also have this cool invention.
Another highlight of Brienz Youth Hostel is the «Hüsli». My room is not in the main house, but in the small «Hüsli» next door. It offers a lot of privacy, a private bathroom, is wheelchair accessible and is surrounded by trees, so I feel a bit like I’m in the forest.
Giessbach Falls by boat
In the afternoon, I decide to go on a lake cruise. With the GA, it’s even free of charge. This is a great activity when the weather is nice. There’s also a restaurant inside. Those who wish can also get off at the «Giessbach» stop and take a hike to Giessbach Falls. On an information board I read that the first excursions there took place over 150 years ago. At that time, young women rowed the tourists to the other shore. In the past, it was quite normal that the women doing this had to be particularly pretty.
Up high with the steam locomotive
A trip on the historic Brienz Rothorn Railway is a must! Right next to Brienz station, the steam locomotive starts its long ascent. At the end of May, the railway ran to the Planalp middle station. From June, it travels to Brienzer Rothorn, at 2351 metres above sea level. During this almost eight-kilometre ride, you will enjoy fantastic views of alpine landscapes, huts, forests, the lake and, of course, numerous peaks.
On Planalp as well as on the Brienzer Rothorn there are inns where you can get a bite to eat. There are also numerous hiking routes to explore. For example, to the Ballenberg open-air museum (2h from Planalp). The Brienz Rothorn Railway has been steaming its way up the mountain since 1892, making it the only Swiss rack railway to operate daily. Guests of Brienz Youth Hostel and members of the Swiss Youth Hostels receive up to 20% discount on the ticket.
The excursion with the Brienz Rothorn Railway also marks the end of my Bernese Oberland trip. It’s time for me to return to my home town of Flims. I look forward to working with the Swiss Youth Hostels again soon.