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Switzerland is not short of beautiful places to see and the impressive Giessbach waterfall is definitely one of the best things to see when visiting Switzerland. Close to Brienz and Interlaken, the Giessbach waterfall is easily accessible and is a great way to spend a few hours in Switzerland's beautiful Jungfrau region.
How to visit the Giessbach waterfall, Switzerland
The impressive Giessbach waterfall cascades 500 metres from the Giessbach brook down into Lake Brienz in 14 stages. Sitting in front of the waterfall is the historic and opulent Grand Giessbach Hotel, which was built in 1874. Shortly after that, the funicular was built to transport tourists to the hotel and the waterfall.
You can experience the Giessbach waterfall from the viewing platform at the base of the falls, or by following the walking path which zig zags up the cascades. The path crosses in front of the waterfall, and if you want to get really close to it (and don't mind getting a bit wet!), you can even walk behind one of the cascades.
Another point to note is that it is completely free of charge to view the waterfall. The only thing you will need to pay for is transport to the them! Switzerland is an expensive country, so anything you can do for free is a bonus and this is one of the best things you can do for free near Interlaken in the Jungfrau region.
The Grand Giessbach hotel and Lake Brienz seen here from the Giessbach waterfall
How to get to the Giessbach Waterfall?
The Giessbach waterfall can be reached either by hiking there or by taking Europe’s oldest funicular from the shore of Lake Brienz to the base of the falls. You can also drive to the Giessbach hotel, which is positioned in front of the falls.
Ferry + funicular - Catch the ferry from the town of Brienz, which will take you to the shoreline underneath the Grand Giessbach hotel. Here, you will need to get on the funicular to take you the 100 metres to the base of the waterfall and the hotel.
By car - There is a small car park close to the waterfall, from there you will need to walk the short distance to the fall - note that from here you will arrive mid-way up the falls and not at the viewpoint at the base.
By bus + walking - There are many walking routes around Lake Brienz which will get you to the Giessbach waterfall, but perhaps one of the more well known and accessible routes is from Iseltwald.
From Interlaken, take the 103 bus to Iseltwald (this bus is part of the bus network which offers free travel if you have an Interlaken guest card - something which all accommodation providers in the area should provide you with).
From Iseltwald, follow the shoreline of Lake Brienz to the Giessbach waterfall. Most of the way the route stays low to the shoreline, but you will have a short steep climb at the end as you make your way to the Grand Giessbach Hotel and the base of the waterfall.
Tip: To walk back to Iseltwald, instead of following the same shoreline route back to Iseltwald, follow the higher path from halfway up the waterfall to get amazing elevated views of Lake Brienz and your return.
Looking out across Lake Brienz, Switzerland
What is there to do at the Giessbach Waterfall?
1. Admire the view from the base of the waterfall
However you get to the Giessbach waterfall, as soon as you arrive, you will immediately be rewarded with a magnificent view. There is a small hut in front of the waterfall selling drinks and snacks for you to enjoy with a view. (If you are on a budget, pack a picnic and sit on one of the benches away from the hotel tables!)
The Giessbach waterfall, Switzerland
2. Climb up the waterfall
There are walking paths all the way up to the top of the waterfall, criss-crossing over the falls at various stages. The paths are well marked and easy underfoot. Towards the top of the waterfall, you can even walk behind one of the cascades.
Standing close to the top of the Giessbach waterfall
Standing behind the Giessbach waterfall, looking down to the Grand Giessbach hotel
3. Relax on the Grand Giessbach Hotel terrace
If you don't fancy the walk up the waterfall, you can admire it from outdoor terrace of the Grand Giessbach Hotel. Here, you can order drinks and enjoy them with a view as you listen to the roar of the waterfall. On the other side of the hotel terrace, you will also get gorgeous views of Lake Brienz. There are several bistro tables to sit and enjoy drinks here too.
4. Enjoy lunch in the Grand Giessbach Hotel restaurant
If you are looking for something a bit more fancy, head to the hotel's conservatory restaurant. The glass-fronted restaurant looks directly out to the waterfall, making for a beautiful lunch setting. Its the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.
Sitting on the terrace of the Grand Giessbach hotel
How much does it cost to visit the Giessbach Waterfall?
The Giessbach Waterfall is completely free to visit! The only thing you will need to pay for is getting there, and if you choose to get the free bus from Interlaken and walk to the waterfall, then you will be able to enjoy the waterfall without paying a single penny! This really is one of the best free things to do in Interlaken!
I hope you found this short guide useful and it has inspired you! The Giessbach waterfall is definitely worth a visit, it is one of the top places to see in the Interlaken area and no entry fees!