The spectacular Giessbach Waterfalls are a huge series of waterfalls that cascade down the mountain to Lake Brienz. The Giessbach Falls tumble down in 14 stages, falling a total of 400 meters.
So, if you are planning on visiting Giessbach Falls, here is some great information to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time there.
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Where Are The Giessbach Falls?
The Giessbach Falls are located on the side of Lake Brienz approximately 5 km from the town of Brienz in the Bernese Oberland in Canton Bern.
How Do You Get To The Giessbach Falls?
The Giessbach Falls can be reached on foot, by boat, or car depending on how you wish to get there. Below I have included a lot more detail on the options available.
Driving by car to the Giessbach falls is very convenient and there is a parking lot nearby. It costs 10 CHF for cars, 20 CHF for vans and 30 CHF for larger vehicles like buses. There is quite a lot of room, however, if you come later in the day, especially on a weekend you might find it is full.
If you wish to come by boat you can catch one of the regular boats that cross lake Brienz from either the Brienz (See), Ringgenberg (See) in Interlaken, or Isletwald which is closer to the falls itself. You should use the SBB online app to figure out the best route for you as it might involve both a train and boat or just a boat. It depends on the time of day.
Learn more about public transport here.
Once you arrive at the Giessbach See jetty it is an approximately 20-minute walk up to the falls or you can take the Grandhotel Giessbach funicular.
Lucky for us there is a Giessbach funicular station right near the arrival point on the boat. So, if you don’t want to hike up to the upper falls you can catch the Giessbach funicular. A funicular ride one way costs 5 CHF and it is 10 CHF return. Although, given how easy it is to walk down compared to up, and the different views you get, I would suggest walking down.
It is also a great way to see the falls up close on the cable car as it crosses the falls as it goes up. This amazing engineering feat was actually constructed in 1879 if you can believe that, and it used to be powered by water rather than electricity.
You can find the Giessbach Funicular timetable here.
Hiking From Isletwald to the Giessbach Falls
Another great option is to hike from Isletwald to the falls. The walk takes you along the shores of Lake Brienz (sometimes called “Giessbach See” but clearly not) to the Giessbach falls jetty and takes around 1.5 hours. This way, you can enjoy the magnificent views of the turquoise blue lake and then spend some time at the falls afterward.
There are also boat and train options from and to Isletwald as well as Brienz and Interlaken as I have mentioned above.
Hiking Around The Giessbach Falls
The ideal way to experience the Giessbach falls is to walk. There are various trails from the lakeside where the boat arrives all the way to the top of the falls. However, for most people that is a long walk as it takes between 60-90 minutes.
My recommendation is to take the funicular to the hotel and then walk up to the next bridge over the falls. This is the point where you are actually behind the Giessbach Falls. An amazing experience for sure. On top of that, you see the Giessbach Hotel opposite you which makes for a great photo.
There are also various other bridges you can cross on your way down to the lake, including one almost at the bottom. Each gives you a new and unique view of the Giessbach falls, so is worth checking out if you have time.
If you have arrived by car, the trail will lead you to the mid-point of the falls, so you will need to decide if you continue up or just go down to Lake Brienz from there. There are lots of options.
Of course, while you are in the area, you should also visit the historic Grand Hotel Giessbach too.
Grandhotel Giessbach, Switzerland
The historic Grandhotel Giessbach is located within throwing distance of the Geissbach Falls and offers both an astounding view and significant historic charm. The hotel hails from 1873 when a rich Zurich family commissioned the hotel. Not only that but the hotel is built around the first tourist funicular in Europe that helps guests arrive from the boats below. It is truly one of the must-see historic hotels in Switzerland!
The hotel is designed in the Belle Epoque with a grandiose interior and a large balcony and terrace to help enjoy the surroundings. There is also a large park and gardens, which makes sense when you are right on top of the premiere waterfall in the region.
It is a great place to have a meal if you are staying in the area, or even spend the night. If you can afford it. With rooms starting at over 200 CHF a night, the prices are certainly not ridiculous, but also not something everyone can afford.