Would you like to combine two highlights in Switzerland in just one hike? Then you should take this hike from the picturesque Iseltwald to the Giessbach waterfalls.
How do you get to Iseltwalt?
Iseltwald is a small village on the Brienzersee (Lake Brienz) in Switzerland. It’s located about 10 kilometers from Interlaken and 12.5 kilometers from Brienz. The village is easily accessible by car. From Interlaken, Iseltwalt is also easily accessible by bus.
Bus number 103 runs regularly from Interlaken to Iseltwald and the journey takes only 30 minutes.
Tip: Book a hotel or hostel in Interlaken and you will receive a pass that allows you to travel for free on public transport in Interlaken. You can also use this for the bus to Iseltwald.
How to hike from Iseltwald to the Giessbach waterfalls
From the town center of Iseltwald, you can follow the yellow signs in the direction of Giessbach. You’ll soon leave the village as you hike along the Brienzersee.
Hiking along the Brienzersee
During the first part of the hike, you walk on a path right next to the Brienzersee, it’s a beautiful view!
At a certain point, you’ll be hiking in the woods (the Brienzersee can still be seen on your left from time to time) and you occasionally have to climb and descend a bit. Luckily, they’ve cut out some beautiful steps to make it easier for you.
At some point, the landscape looks a little bit like a jungle. Beautiful forest paths, lots of moss, and sometimes you have to hike between the high rocks. Very adventurous!
After this rocky stretch, you arrive at a picnic area and this is approximately the halfway point of your hike to the Giessbach waterfalls. After the picnic area, you mainly hike through the woods to the waterfalls.
The Giessbach waterfalls
You can hear the Giessbach waterfalls before you see them, they are incredibly powerful! At first, it looks like a small waterfall, but as you get closer, you see more and more. The Giessbach waterfalls thunder through 14 terraces no less than 500 meters down into the Brienzersee.
The best thing: you can walk under the Giessbach waterfalls via a metal bridge! From this bridge, you also have a nice view of the beautiful Grandhotel Giessbach.
If you have passed under the Giessbach waterfalls, you can follow the hiking trail on the left, so you can return to Iseltwald.
Back to Iseltwald
You can hike back to Iseltwald in three ways:
- Via the path along the lake (the same way back)
- Via the middle road (this has the same length as the path along the lake)
- Via the upper road (this is a difficult trail with many height differences, this route takes the longest)
I chose to hike back to Iseltwald via the middle path. You’ll hike on a dirt road at first, that turns into an asphalt road. Because you’re hiking a little higher along the mountain, every now and then, you’ll have a great view of the Brienzersee.
You also hike past a number of farms and occasionally see a few cows chilling in a meadow. They all wear a cowbell and the ringing really makes you feel like you are hiking in the Alps.
Because Iseltwald itself is at the shore of the lake, you will still have to descend quite a bit. This happens at the end of the trail, and you hike down to Iseltwald on a fairly steep forest path.
Before you know it, you will be back at the lake and you will see the beautiful castle of Iseltwald on the peninsula in the Brienzersee.
Iseltwald is a small village (it has only 400 inhabitants) and has a long history. The first time someone wrote about Iseltwald was in the year 1146. The whole village is part of the Swiss Heritage Sites and therefore has a protected village view. A striking feature is a castle on the peninsula, which is now a rehabilitation center. Iseltwald’s economy mainly revolves around fishing and tourism.
It is advisable to stay a night in Iseltwald and there are several beautiful accommodations, such as:
- Hotel Châlet Du Lac: Charming 3 star family run hotel.
- Lake Lodge Hostel: Cozy hostel for the budget traveler.
- Boutique B&B Bellevue Iseltwald: Inn with nicely furnished rooms and a large sun terrace.
About the hike from Iseltwald to the Giessbach waterfalls
The hike from Iseltwald to the Giessbach waterfalls and back is about twelve kilometers long. It takes between 3 and 4 hours and it is a fairly easy hike (there is little difference in height). Bring some food and drinks with you, as there are no facilities on the way.
Tip: read this post What’s in my pack? Packing list for a day hike.
You can also choose to do a one-way hike to the Giessbach Falls and take a ferry back. There is a small pier at the foot of the Giessbach waterfalls, and from here, you can take a ferry to either Iseltwald, Brienz, or Oberried. Check out in advance what the schedule of these ferries is because they don’t go that often. You can find the ferry schedule on this website.
For me, this hike from Iseltwald to the Giessbach waterfalls is one of the most beautiful hikes I made in Switzerland. It is also good for beginners because there is little difference in height. Also, it is a very varied walk, the landscape is very scenic and you get to see many beautiful things.
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