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ISELTWALD, SWITZERLAND: THINGS TO DO, WHERE TO STAY & MORE

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Lake Brienz and Iseltwald Castle

Iseltwald is a tiny fairy-tale village in Switzerland that less than 500 lucky people get to call home.

It’s littered with picturesque Swiss houses and sprinkled with lakeside cafés and restaurants offering views of the snow-capped mountains in every direction.

After spending a month in Switzerland and visiting the village on a number of occasions, I’ve ticked off just about all there is to do and see in the area.

Iseltwald and lake brienz
Chalet in Switzerland

In this guide, I’ll let you know all of the key details such as how to get there and travel around, the best time of year to visit and what there is to do in the area.

I’ll also recommend the best places to stay for those wanting to enjoy a serene and peaceful break in one of Switzerland’s most beautiful locations.

Before we jump in, if you’re tight on time then here are some really important things to know about travelling to Iseltwald and Switzerland in general:

🚄 Getting around: It’s highly recommended to grab the Swiss Half Fare Card if you’re using public transport to travel around as it will save you a significant amount of money!

🚗 Car rental: If you’d prefer to rent a car, then Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com are my favourite platforms.

📱Data: Using the Airalo eSim is the most hassle-free way to use your phone abroad instantly

🏨 Accommodation: I’ve put a bunch of recommended places to stay in this guide, but my favourite is Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald

🛶Must-do sell-out experience: if there’s one way to see Iseltwald it’s from a kayak, and Hightide Kayak School is one of the best to book with.

Ok now thats done, lets crack on with the guide!

Where is Iseltwald?

Iseltwald is a small fishing village that’s situated on the edge of Lake Brienz – one of the most stunning turquoise lakes in Switzerland.

It’s part of the Jungfrau Region in Bernese Oberland and is not too far from the increasingly popular town of Interlaken.

How to get to Iseltwald

If you’re wanting to head to Iseltwald, you’ll almost certainly be coming from Interlaken.

And, if you’re not, it’s worth ensuring that you also tick Interlaken off your list whilst you’re in the area as it’s a pretty cool town with heaps of awesome things to do nearby.

The below information assumes that you’ll be coming from Interlaken, but if you’re not, then using a platform such as Rome2Rio will show you the best and most cost-effective way to get from A to B.

Getting from Interlaken to Isetlwald

Boat travelling to and from Interlaken and Iseltwald

Car

If you’re travelling by car, then Iseltwald is just 10 minutes away from Interlaken.

Once you arrive, there is one car park in the centre of the village called Parkplatz.

You can pay by cash, card or phone and it’s relatively inexpensive.

For directions, use the link below.

Parking: Parkplatz

Bus

There are regular buses from Interlaken to Iseltwalt which leave once every hour.

You’ll need to catch bus number 103 from any of the bus stops which are dotted around the town.

If you get stuck then head to the bus stop at Interlaken Ost Train Station as they’ll always stop there.

It is approximately a 20-minute journey and costs a few euros.

Boat

For a more scenic journey to Iseltwalt, you can hop on the boat which leaves from Interlaken Ost.

Although this takes 45 minutes and is more expensive at around €10, it’s an experience in itself to travel to the village this way.

Most days, boats leave between 9 AM and 3 PM once every hour, every day of the week.

However, this can sometimes vary so it’s always worth checking the Brienz timetable ahead of time.

Boat: timetable

Is Iseltwald worth visiting?

Iseltwald is one of the must-see villages on the edge of Lake Brienz.

It’s included on most people’s Interlaken itinerary as it’s not too far away and is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant town.

If you like to explore peaceful, idyllic and fairy-tale villages that have lots of things to do and see, then Iseltwald is almost certainly worth a visit.

Best time of year to visit Iseltwald

Autumn

birds eye view of Lake Brienz island

Autumn is filled with stunning colours and crisp mornings.

The temperatures begin to fall significantly and by the end of the season, you’ll see snow on the ground.

There are fewer tourists during this time as many of the nearby attractions begin to close until the temperatures start to heat up again.

I’d recommend heading here no later than the first week of October if you want to be able to enjoy a lot of what’s on offer in this area.

Summer

Summer here sees temperatures between 20 and 35 degrees.

It’s when there is the highest number of tourists visiting the area, yet the village never feels too crowded – perhaps because it’s somewhat a hidden gem in the Jungrfrau Region.

Winter

Iseltwald castle in winter
Iseltwald castle in winter

Winter in Iseltwald will be a magical wonderland with a dusting of snow covering the area.

Most locals will be hunkering down for the winter and a lot of the tourist hot spots will be closed.

You’ll be able to explore the area on foot and admire the picturesque sight, but you’ll have to swap most of the outdoor activities for things such as skiing or snowshoeing.

This small village will be relatively quiet, but nearby ski resorts such as Grindelwald will see an influx of tourists.

A better base for the winter is likely Interlaken, and you can read the complete guide here: Interlaken in winter.

Spring

Spring will sees temperatures almost double from the beginning to the end of the season.

You can expect it to reach 20 degrees once May comes around and the flowers are in full bloom.

Popular tourist attractions begin to open towards the end of the season which draws people in. Yet, this little village is still relatively quiet at this time of year.

How to get around

a person walking to Iseltwald

The village is very small with lots of tiny country roads and little lanes. As such, the best way to explore the area is on foot.

If you’re doing a whistlestop tour of the area, then you could also consider cycling, since a lot of the walking trails are also suitable for bikes.

Things to do in Iseltwald

Before we jump in, I just wanted to tell you about SafetyWing – they’ve been my go-to travel insurance company since I started travelling full-time because they’re ridiculously affordable (around 80% cheaper than my previous insurance and they offer basically the same thing).

I won’t say too much more, but here’s the link if you want to check them out: SafetyWing

Visit one of the Iseltwald viewpoints

a bench overlooking Lake Brienz

All along the edge of Lake Brienz, there are stunning viewpoints.

Sometimes this is a pier and sometimes this is a bench, but either way, one of the best things to do in the village is to sit down, relax and admire the view.

It’s a truly magical place that you can only really soak in once you’ve taken a minute to sit still and do nothing but look around you.

My favourite of these spots is the two benches which look out onto the lake opposite Boutique Hotel Bellevue which is just 5 minutes walk from the village centre and very peaceful.

Location: Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald

views of Iseltwald from Axalp

Alternatively, you can admire the views of this charming village and Lake Brienz from Axalp.

Axalp is best accessed by heading up a winding mountain road by car.

It takes approximately 30 minutes from Iseltwald and once you arrive, there is a wealth of walking trails and spectacular views below.

This is one of the few areas with this kind of elevation that you can drive to rather than catch a train or hike, so it’s worth making the most of it if you want to enjoy incredible views without paying for a train or enduring a long hike.

Location: Axalp

Canoe on Lake Brienz

two people canoeing on Lake Brienz

One of the most popular things to do in Iseltwald is to canoe around Lake Brienz.

There are a few different companies which offer this service in the village, however, the most conveniently located company is Outdoor & Wassersport BO.

They are situated less than a 10-minute walk from the village centre and offer canoe rental from 30 minutes to a whole day.

Prices range from 15 to 60 Swiss Francs and the owners are friendly and provide helpful accessories to keep your valuables safe and dry. You’ll also be offered a life jacket.

Location: Outdoor & Wassersport BO

Crash Landing on You filming spot/Iseltwald Pier

a pier in Lake Brienz
a pier in Lake Brienz

Those who watched the Netflix hit series ‘Crash landing on You’, will instantly recognise this spot from the scene where one of the main characters played the piano on the pier.

For those who didn’t, this is still a nice place to head to for a photograph with a stunning backdrop. In fact, it’s one of the best places to propose in Europe!

Explore by kayak

Kayaking around lake Brienz

An alternative way to see Iseltwald is from a kayak on Lake Brienz.

And to be honest, this is one of the most highly recommended things to do in the area so I definitely recommend booking it in advance.

For the best guided tour, go with Hightide Kayak School.

You’ll be on the water for approximately 3 hours and you’ll pass many sights around the lake. It’s a totally tranquil experience and one you certainly won’t forget from your trip to this stunning part of Switzerland!

Check prices: Hightide Kayak tour of Lake Brienz

Enjoy sweet treats at Lake Lodge

desert at Lake Lodge
desert at Lake Lodge

Lake Lodge is a hostel which you’ll find more information on in our accommodation section of this guide.

However, it’s also a great place to grab some food, including cakes, desserts and scrumptious sweet treats.

Doughnuts, lemon meringue pie, crème brûlée…you name it, they’ve got it.

You’ll find a gorgeous little terrace with views over Lake Brienz to enjoy whilst you eat your pudding of choice!

Stroll along the Iseltwald lakeside path

One of the best free things to do in Iseltwalt is to stroll along the lakeside path.

You can walk almost 2 kilometres along a flat path before it begins to incline and ultimately lead to Geissbach Falls.

The trail begins from the centre of the village and heads away from Interlaken along a country road before arriving at a gravel path.

You’ll want to head along this gravel path which is predominantly flat.

Once you reach a point where the route begins to incline, you can turn back towards the village if you are not interested in the steep hike to Geissbach Falls.

This walk should take no longer than an hour, depending on how often you stop for pictures.

Route map: Iseltwald lakside trail

Giessbach Waterfall trail

Giessbach Falls
Giessbach Falls

For those that do want to hike up to Giessbach Falls, you’ll need to continue along this trail.

After the two-kilometre mark, you’ll reach your first steep incline.

Over the next two kilometres, you’ll climb a few hundred meters before drastically descending back down almost the same elevation over half the distance.

You’ll then be able to enjoy a flat section of the walk before you jump into the final accent that zig-zags all the way to Giessbach Falls.

Once you’ve admired the falls for free, the route loops around and finds an alternative way back to the village.

There are some steep descents in this section, but it’s nice to return a different way from which you came.

This 11.7-kilometre route is well-signposted and should take around 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete.

It’s a diverse trail that’s challenging yet highly rewarding that most novice hikers can complete which a few breaks here and there.

Route map: Giessbach Falls Trail

Those who are worried about the climb to Giessbach Falls have to option to take Europe’s oldest funicular railway from the Giessbach ferry port instead.

There will still be a short hike on the other end, but it’s significantly easier.

Book tickets: Giessbach Bahn

Have a meal at Iseltwalds castle-like hotel

Grandhotel Giessbach
Grandhotel Giessbach

Iseltwalds castle-like hotel is also known as Grandhotel Giessbach. It’s situated along the Giessbach Waterfall Trail and is the perfect place to stop for lunch if you’re taking this route.

The location is arguably one of the best in the area, with views over Lake Brienz in one direction, and Giessbach Falls in the other.

The exterior is white and red in colour and has three spires which protrude from the roof, which is what makes it so castle-like.

Inside is just as spectacular.

Its traditional decor is feels immensely luxurious and offers the perfect place for a special meal.

You have the option to dine in the restaurant or bar, however, it’s worth double-checking the opening times of these ahead of your trip.

Check opening times: Giessbach Restaurant

Admire Castello di Iseltwald

Iseltwald Castle

Castello di Iseltwald is the castle which sits on the peninsular of the village.

It brings a fairytale atmosphere to the village and looks absolutely magnificent against the glistening Lake Brienz and snow-capped mountains.

Unfortunately, you cannot go inside the castle, but it’s still a beautiful sight from afar.

Cycle around

Lake Brienz

If you’re tight on time then exploring Iseltwald and the surrounding areas by bike is a great option.

You’ll need to rent a bike from the nearby town of Interlaken and cycle just over half an hour to Iseltwald.

For the majority of the way, the route is flat. However, the last section of Iseltwald is steep.

You’ll need decent fitness levels to be able to tackle the hills, or else I’d recommend renting an e-bike instead.

If you have some time on your hands, I’d highly recommend following the cycling loop around Lake Brienz.

I did this on my road bike since I took it with me on this trip.

There are a few hills, but nothing outrageous, and it was a great way to see not just Iseltwald, but many of the other cute towns and villages around Lake Brienz.

The route is just under 40 kilometres and you’ll need to allow approximately 3 hours if you want to stop and explore the towns and villages.

Bike rental: Flying Wheels Interlaken

Watch the sunset over Iseltwald

Iseltwald at sunset
Iseltwald at sunset

This charming town on the lake is a sight for sore eyes when the sun begins to set.

It’s a beautiful view from almost anywhere besides the lake, yet perhaps the two best spots are those which I have already mentioned: the ‘Crash Landing on You’ pier and the two benches opposite Boutique Hotel Bellevue.

Location: ‘Crash Landing on You’ Pier
Location: Boutique Hotel Bellevue

Paddleboard on Lake Brienz

Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is yet another popular watersport that can be enjoyed on Lake Brienz from Iseltwald.

You can rent these from Outdoor & Wassersport BO, which is the same place you rent canoes from.

The pricing is the same, which is 30 minutes to a whole day from 15 to 60 Swiss Francs.

In addition, this company also offers SUP yoga classes, so be sure to head down and see them for more information on their timetable if you’re staying nearby.

Location: Outdoor & Wassersport BO

Walk to Mülibach Falls

Mülibach Falls are somewhat of a hidden gem in Iseltwald.

It’s far less talked about than the popular Geissbach Falls. Yet, this stunning waterfall is well worth the hike.

In order to get to Mülibach Falls, you’ll need to walk just over 2 kilometres from the centre of Iseltwald.

This already makes it much more accessible than Geissbach, which is almost triple the distance.

Although it’s a fairly steep climb, it’s short-lived and most reasonably fit people can handle it.

The trail is mostly sheltered by woodland and once you arrive at Mülibach Falls, you’ll be able to see it toppling from above, before following the trail which leads behind it.

Route map: Iseltwald to Mülibach Falls

Sunbathe or swim in Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz and boats

The long stretch of road between Interlaken and Iseltwald is home to some of the best sunbathing and swimming spots by Lake Brienz.

There are dozens of hidden coves that can be reached from the country road that offers total privacy.

Sometimes, it feels like you have the whole lake to yourself when you snag one of these.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon with your head in the book whilst you soak up the Swiss sunshine, or you’re wanting to cool down with a dip in the water, doing so by Lake Brienz is one of the most unbelievably beautiful locations.

It’s worth remembering that this is glacier water, so even during the summer period, the water can still be quite chilly.

I swam here during July and it was a refreshing break from the sweltering heatwave, but definitely much colder than I was expecting!

Have a BBQ by Lake Brienz

toasting marshmallows

One of the coolest things about Switzerland is that they have tonnes of BBQ facilities and picnic areas dotted all over the place for visitors to use.

The one in Iseltwald is situated along the lakeside pathway that leads to Geissbach Falls – just past the campsite.

Location: Unter Den Fluehen Bbq

Visit Iseltwald Beach

Diving board at Iseltwald Beach

Iseltwald beach isn’t your typical beach, but rather a big grassy patch which overlooks the lake. It’s filled with sunloungers, ladders into the water, a diving board, as well as a man-made pool for children to play in. In addition, there are showers, a bar and games tables.

This is the perfect spot to visit on a sunny afternoon for those who want to relax or swim in Lake Brienz whilst still having a number of facilities available to them.

There is also a campsite here for those looking for a pitch which you can find more information on in the next section of this guide.

Location: Iseltwald Beach & Camping

Where to stay in Iseltwald

When it comes to staying here, you have just 3 hotels, 1 hostel and 2 campsites to choose from. All of these are great options which offer beautiful lake and mountain views.

Hotels

Strandhotel

The Strandhotel
Photo by Standhotel
The Strandhotel restaurant
Photo by Standhotel

Strandhotel is conveniently located next to the docking station for the boat which runs to and from Interlaken.

It’s a 3-star hotel with traditional-looking Swiss rooms that come equipped with everything you may need for a short break.

Each room also offers a balcony with views over Lake Brienz and the nearby mountain range.

Within the hotel is a popular restaurant that has an excellent decking area overlooking the lake that can be utilised even on a rainy day.

The food is something which the previous guests highlighted as being excellent, with a wide variety of choices.

Check prices: Strandhotel

Hotel Chalet du Lac

Hotel Chalet du Lac balcony
Photo by Hotel Chalet du Lac
Hotel Chalet du Lac bedroom
Photo by Hotel Chalet du Lac

Hotel Chalet du Lac is an absolutely stunning place to stay.

It’s situated just a few minute’s walk from the centre of the village and is in prime position to view Iseltwald Castle on the peninsula.

Whilst this hotel is traditional there is a modern twist, which gives it a warm and cosy feel. Each room has a balcony with wonderful views all year round.

The food here is excellent and heavily praised by guests and locals alike. From the produce to the presentation, it’s a dining experience that is top-notch.

The icing on the cake with Hotel Chalet du Lac is the staff; they are warm and wonderful, and keen to offer their local knowledge on what’s available to do in the area.

Check prices: Hotel Chalet du Lac

Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald

Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald bedroom
Photo by Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald
Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald food
Photo by Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald

Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald is your typical Swiss chalet from the outside with a modern and welcoming interior.

Like most accommodations around here, it sits on the edge of Lake Brienz and most rooms offer spectacular views from a balcony.

In addition, you’ll find a terrace with plenty of deck chairs and dining tables to enjoy your breakfast with a view.

Breakfast is highly praised by previous guests, stating that not only is the quality fantastic but also the variety of foods which you would not typically expect to be on offer.

The friendly owners of this B&B go above and beyond to ensure you have an excellent stay and that nothing is too much trouble.

Check prices: Boutique Hotel Bellevue Iseltwald

Hostels

Lake Lodge Hostel

Lake Lodge Hostel
Photo by Lake Lodge Hostel

Lake Lodge Hostel is where I stayed on my first visit to Switzerland many years ago. It’s one of the sweetest hostels I’ve experienced and it has a wonderful homely feel to it.

The rooms contain bunkbeds which are incredibly close together, but when you’re paying a fraction of what you would for a hotel and still benefitting from stunning lake and mountain views, you can’t complain too much.

The hostel comes with a large well-equipped kitchen, a lounge area and plenty of bathrooms. There is also a garden with a hammock, tables and chairs – it really is a home away from home.

Check prices: Lake Lodge Hostel

Campsites

Camping du Lac

Tents at Camping du Lac
Photo by Camping du Lac

Camping du Lac is a pretty little campsite that sits on the edge of Lake Brienz.

Although the site is small, the pitches are a decent size and the facilities are clean.

In addition, there is also a playroom for children and a communal area to relax in when the weather isn’t so good!

You can access most of what’s on offer in the area by foot from this campsite and the owners are incredibly helpful if you’re looking to book a local tour or need some advice on what to do and see.

Check prices: Camping Du Lac

Strandbad & Camping Iseltwald

A glamping hut at The Strandbad & Camping Iseltwald
Photo by Strandbad & Camping Iseltwald

The Strandbad & Camping Iseltwald site is fantastic.

The two friendly owners – Michele & Marius – offer large camping pitches, glamping-style barrels made by Marius himself, a bistro with games tables and an idyllic lounge area by the lake.

If you’re looking to escape the larger town of Interlaken for a slice of paradise, then this site is an excellent choice.

You’ll be able to access all of what’s on offer in the area from here and benefit from being on the doorstep of the trail to Geissbach Falls.

Check prices: The Strandbad & Camping Iseltwald

Before you reach the end of the guide, don’t forget to grab your SafetyWing travel insurance that I mentioned at the start of the guide.

I use them on every trip because they’re around 80% cheaper than what I was paying previously whilst still offering more than enough coverage!

Explore Switzerland further

Lauterbrunnen Valley
Lake Brienz

If you liked the sound of Iseltwald and you’re looking to explore other nearby towns and villages, then I’d highly recommend exploring Lauterbrunnen next.

If you’re considering visiting during another time of the year, then Lauterbrunnen in winter is also really great.

It’s one of the prettiest villages in all of Switzerland and thousands of people visit each year.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an itinerary to follow that includes both Iseltwald and Lauterbrunnen, then I’d recommend reading my Interlaken itinerary.

Check out more Switzerland guides here: Switzerland

Stay Wild Travels.

Disclosure: just a heads up that every now and then I collaborate with companies I really believe in to share how awesome they are. This may mean that some links within my guides are affiliated and I will receive a small commission if you book using these links. This supports me being able to continue to bring you new guides about epic locations, so a massive thanks if you do book anything through these!