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Lake Brienz or Thunersee?

Hi folks,

Which in your opinion is the better lake, if you could do only one this trip?

We will be traveling in September to this region.

I see that one could stop off at various places on the Brienz cruise? For example, Aare Gorge. Does the boat get to the area and we get off, and they come back to meet us at some point? I am a bit confused about these boat cruises. Is it a one way trip by boat and returning by train?

Posted by
12040 posts

They're almost mirror images of each other, so that's a tough choice. Thun has a nice castle. The town of Brienz has a steam train that you can ride up to an Alpine meadow. Also, if you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, Reichenbach Falls are near Brienzersee.

Posted by
196 posts

I think they are both great trips and each has its own great sights. I am going to assume you are planning to leave from Interlaken so a couple of things:
The round trip out to Brienze and back on the Brienzersee is about 2hrs 40mins with about a ten minute wait. Round trip out and back to Thun on the Thunersee is about 4hrs 20mins also with a 10 min wait. I usually take the R/T on Brienzersee but take the cruise on Thunersee out to Thun and return to Interlaken by train (always check the train schedules; sometimes you might only have 5-7 minutes to catch the train at Thun back to Interlaken but the boat dock is just across the street from the train station.)

The boats are not like trains so be sure to check schedules (again!) if you decide to hop on/hop off. There is some time between boats.

Remember, the cruise on the Thunersee leaves from behind the rail station at Interlaken West while the Brienzersee cruise leaves from outside the rail station at Interlaken Ost (they are about a mile apart).

Food and drink are served on the boats and if you are using a rail pass, you may get a discount.

Posted by
502 posts

Thanks folks. Indeed we are going through Interlarken. Sorry for not adding that one.

And Interlarken to Kandersteg? Feasible day trip?

Posted by
33337 posts

It probably comes down to which lake has more of what you want to see on it.

There are a number of boats on each lake so if you have the day, and it isn't too late in the day, you can get off at any of the stops and get back on the next boat going past, maybe continuing your forward journey or perhaps returning, depending on what you want.

Thunersee has a castle. Brienzersee has a funicular railway which leads to an old hotel and from which easy walks take you behind a waterfall and through beautiful woods and gorgeous lake views.

Thunersee has the town of Spiez and small city (really a suburb of Bern) of Thun which you can explore (up quite a bit from the boat as the boat dock is the lowest part of each).

Thunersee has a bigger area and longer trips, Brienzersee has Brienz at the tip which has wood workers, a steam cog railway - the Rothornbahn - going up a mountain, and is just one train stop from Meiringen which beautiful and has special associations for Sherlock Holmes fans.

Thunersee seems more developed to me, Brienzersee more tranquil.

The canal out of Interlaken into the lake is longer on the Thunersee.

I've done them both, like them both, and I personally prefer Brienzersee because it has more of what I want.

But this is a personal choice to see which has more that you want.

How about starting with the first boat and doing them both?