November 2010
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Travel – Brienz, the Swiss center for woodcarving

Brienz is in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district and is a municipality located in Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland. Brienz is actually a small village and is famous as the Swiss centre for woodcarving. Brienz has an area, as of 2009, of 47.99 square kilometers (18.5 sq miles). This village is on the north bank of Lake Brienz in the Bernese Oberland at the foot of the Brienzer Rothorn Mountain. It has 3000 inhabitants approximately. It is located right in the middle of mountains and at the end of Lake Brienz. This place also leads to the Bernese Oberland, the Ballenberg Open-air Museum as well to Lucerne or Interlaken or across the nearby Alpine passes.
This village is surrounded by different communities. On its upper end is Lake Brienz. To the north it includes the Aare River and the village of Kienholz. On the left bank it has Engi and Schwendi. From the right shore the land rises to the Rotschalp, Planalp and Giebelegg before reaching the Brienzer Rothorn (2,351 m (7,713 ft)). From the left shore it rises over the Brienzerberg and Giessbach Falls, Tschingelfeld, Hinterburg and Axalp until it reaches the Schwarzhorn (2,928 m (9,606 ft)).
The parish church of Brienz includes Oberried am Brienzersee, Schwanden bei Brienz, Hofstetten bei Brienz and Brienzwiler. Brienz is also known as the “village of carving”. It is known for its wood processing and violin-making. It also has a school for carving.

The Top Events located here:
• Exhibition entitled Swiss traditions: chalets – costumes – folk music (May – Oct )
• The Ballenberg Country Theatre ‘Farinet, der Falschmünzer’ (Jul – Aug )
• Day of folk music from Central Switzerland (Aug )

Places to see:
• Brunngasee: It is the most beautiful part of Brienz. It is a street with the houses in the street dating from the 18th century. The houses have beautiful decorations and full with wood carvings. The houses have a traditional look with their overhanging roofs and heavy wooden balconies.
• Ballenberg Open-air Museum – This museum has collection of old buildings which are hundred centuries old from all over Switzerland. Others include farm animals, gardens, workshop demonstrations and cozy guesthouses. The Freilichtmuseum at nearby Ballenberg has some 80 typical houses and farm buildings from all over Switzerland scattered across its alpine pastures. Traditional crafts are demonstrated by costumed workers during the season, which runs from mid-April through October. Admission is 12 francs for adults, half-price for children.
• Brienzer Rothorn: This is at an altitude of 2350 meters above seal level. It is accessible by only rack-railway in Switzerland which is regularly powered by steam. The steam train runs 8 to 11 times a day from the end of May through late October. The roundtrip fare is 62 francs, but one can try to save money if one can do hiking one way, riding up and hiking back down.
• Lake Brienz Shipping – This Lake has steam cruises on the lake Brienz in Switzerland.
• Swiss School of Wood Sculpting – This is a Wood Carving School and there are examples of this art – in the shape of figures or signposts which are dotted around the whole village.
• Giessbach Falls – These falls are thundering waterfalls. This waterfall is accessible with the Giessbach-Bahn, the oldest Funicular in Europe. You can drive to the falls, or, even better, take a boat from Brienz. A funicular (opened in 1879) hauls you up the rocky hillside in four minutes, or you can hike 20 minutes to see the seven waterfalls that total 980 feet (278m) in height.
• Church of Brienz: This is a church with a carved altar of 1517. It dates back to the 12th century.
• The Brienzersee or Lake Brienz: It is the Brienz’s main attraction. This clear lake is 8-3/4 long and 1/5 miles wide (15 x 2.4 km), with a maximum depth of 860 feet (262m). This lake is surrounded by forested mountains.
• Lake Promenade: It was built around World War that leads along the village to the lake shore. It is magnificent with its flower beds and tree plantings.

How to get there:
• By rail: Brienz is on the railway line between Lucerne and Interlaken. Brienz can be reached by a 30 minute rail journey from Interlaken Ost- all the Luzern trains stop at Brienz. Brienz is located on the narrow-gauge railway line which links the famous holiday destinations of Interlaken, Meiringen-Hasliberg, Brünig, Lucerne and Engelberg. The other station is the small base station of the steam rack-railway up the Brienzer Rothorn panorama and hiking peak.
• By boat: take a 1.5 hour boat journey from Interlaken – the boat leaves frequently behind Interlaken Ost railway station.
• To go around: Brienz has only one main street Hauptestrasse. One can go on foot. To walk the full length of the street will take only15 minutes.

Best time to visit / climate:

The best time to visit Brienz is summer that is around May, June and August. Walking along the Lake Promenade, playgrounds, swimming, lake viewing, cruising, visiting the hallmarks is nice and pleasant in summer. The fares are also worthy at this time with deals. But the wintertime is not a losing time either with winter sports in Axiland. Also there is the Meiringen-Hasliberg ski region which is also easily accessible.

Location on Google Maps:

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Road journey between Zurich and Brienz on Google Maps;

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Places to stay (hotels / restaurants)

• Hotels Combined (list of hotels with reviews)
• Tripadvisor (hotels, restaurants)
Hotels and more
My Switzerland

Blogs / Sites about Brienz:


Images and photos of Brienz:

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Videos of Brienz:

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Boat ride from Interlaken Ost to Brienz, Switzerland

Train arrival in Brienz, Switzerland

Brienz and Rothorn Bahn Mountain Railway. Part 1

Brienz, Switzerland

Driving along Lake Brienz

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