Giessbach Falls are half an hour’s drive from Interlaken. You can find the Giessbach Waterfall on the southern shore of Lake Brienz, about 77 kilometers from Bern. It gets its water from the Faulhorn-Sagis Valley, which flows into Lake Brienz.
Giessbach Falls and Johannes Kehrli
More precisely, the Giessbach Falls can be found near Axalp, in the Interlaken-Oberhasli district of Bern. The water pours from Faulhorn-Sagis, through alps and forests, before falling 500 meters in 14 cascades to Lake Brienz. There’s a footbridge near the waterfalls where you can see the water coming from above and going down.
For providing us easy access to the Giessbach Falls, we can thank a Swiss teacher named Johannes Kehrli.
When tourists first started coming to the Bernese Oberland, a lot of people visited the Reichenbachfalls in Meiringen and Staubbach in Lauterbrunnen. Giessbach Falls wasn’t known then. Then there was Johannes Kehrli, who had alps that he would take care of near the waterfalls. As a school teacher, he had time to tend to the meadows near the waterfalls during the summer.
In 1817, he put up a bench with an awesome view of the waterfalls. In the following year, in 1818, he built a footpath from the lakeside to the falls. People started flocking to Giessbach Falls more and more. Four years later, the footpath was improved with help from the Bernese government.
Johannes Kehrli, who was also a musician, would yodel and play the Alphorn to Swiss Music. Soon after, he had a log house and started serving food and drinks near Giessbach Falls. Currently, he’s recognized as the founder of the hospitality industry in Giessbach.
Located near Giessbach Falls is the historic Grandhotel Giessbach, which further adds charm to the area. Grandhotel Giessbach on Lake Brienz is a beautiful, historic hotel built back in 1874. With its towers, balconies, and terrace, this four-star hotel from the Belle Epoque period looks like a romantic castle.
Grandhotel Giessbach has beautiful suites and furniture. It’s also the place for parties, weddings, and family gatherings with its Belle Epoque Hall or Salon Davinet. It has a 22-hectare park and garden as well as a natural outside pool.
From 1983 to 1990, it was completely renovated. This renovation has made Grandhotel Giessbach one of the most renowned hotels in the Swiss hospitality industry.
Grandhotel Giessbach was awarded Historic Hotel of the Year in 2004. It’s one of Switzerland’s most beautiful hotels.
You can see the waterfalls above and the lake below from the hotel. The Giessbach Falls are nearby, and you can go under them if you want to. It is possible to climb the Giessbach Falls from the hotel; the waterfall’s height is around 1,000 meters. A particularly mesmerizing part is a circular route that runs partly behind one of the Giessbach waterfalls for 20 minutes.
You may also walk to the beautiful Lake Brienz from the Grandhotel Giessbach if you wish to.
How to Get to Giessbachfalls
Giessbach Falls is undoubtedly a spectacular setting in the Bernese Oberland. You have several options:
- Ferry from Brienz – 11 minutes journey
- Ferry from Interlaken – 1-hour journey
- By car – There is a parking lot directly outside the Giessbach Falls
- By bus – Bus from Brienz BE to Brienz BE, Abzw. Giessbach
The quickest way is to take the ferry from Brienz. If you are coming from Interlaken, it’s an hour boat ride from Interlaken Ost. You can also opt to go by car or bus. Take note that buses do not run very often, so you will have to plan accordingly.
The Giessbach Funicular connects the Giessbach See Pier (Lake Brienz) with the hotel and waterfalls, which are situated above the lake. If you don’t want to take the funicular ride, you can walk up and down the path from the lake to the hotel. Riding the funicular is optional.
The Giessbach funicular dates back to 1879, making it one of the oldest in Switzerland. This trip is only 345 meters long and takes a few minutes. It is possible to ride the funicular one to three times an hour. If it is too crowded, they may increase the frequency. Please check the schedule for details on Giessbach.ch.
Recommended Excursions near Giessbach Falls
After you are done visiting Giessbach Falls, you can opt to head to Iseltwald. It is only a 90-minute walk to the stunning village of Iseltwald from Giessbach.
Other excursion options nearby are the following:
- Ballenberg Open Air Museum – More than 100 original homes from different regions in Switzerland, animals, and more.
- Brienz – A beautiful village with wooden chalets and sculptures due to their tradition of wood sculpting.
- Brienzer Rothorn – A red steam train leading to Brienzer Rothorn in the Emmental Alps
- Aare Gorge – Loud roaring glacial water formed over thousands of years in Hasli Valley
- Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge – This glacier gorge is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jungfrau-Aletsch
Final Thoughts: Giessbach Falls
It’s no wonder that Giessbach Falls is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Bernese Oberland. It combines a scenic ferry ride across one of Switzerland’s most picturesque lakes, a funicular ride up one of Europe’s oldest funiculars, the stunning Grandhotel Giessbach, and cascading waterfalls.
Visit the spectacular Giessbach waterfalls near Interlaken. There’s a good reason the waterfalls are popular with locals and tourists.
- Farley, Claudia. Giessbachbahn: Claudia Farley explores Europe’s oldest working funicular. Swiss Express: the Swiss Railways Society journal, Issue 97 – March 2009. Accessed on 6 April 2022.
- Grandhotel Giessbach. Giessbach Funicular. Accessed on 6 April 2022. https://giessbach.ch/en/giessbach-bahn-1.
- Schwizer, Viviane. Das Grandhotel Giessbach hoch über dem Brienzersee: ein Stück Sehnsucht bewahren. Visit: Magazin der Pro Senectute Kanton Zürich, Februar 2005. Accessed on 6 April 2022.
- Werder, Jules. Johannes Kehrli, der Entdecker der Giessbachfälle. Die Berner Woche in Wort und Bild: ein Blatt für heimatliche Art und Kunst, 8. März 1924. Accessed on 7 April 2022.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.