Lake Brienz or Thun for a cruise?

Old Jan 10th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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Lake Brienz or Thun for a cruise?

Workin' on my trip plan for September/Switzerland...
Any opinions on which choice of lake to take a short cruise (2hrs max each way) from Interlaken? Best views? Most interesting town to debark and explore? Morning or afternoon is better?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Have visited all - but by car - not boat. IMHO Thun - with it's cute castle and arcaded shops is the cuter town. The only boat trip we took was Lake Lucerne - I think much better than either Thun or Brienz.
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 11:19 AM
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I really enjoyed taking the 20 minute train ride to Spiez, and from there taking the boat around the Thun. The views from Spiez are very pretty. You don't have to tour the whole lake once you're on the boat. I liked the afternoon.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._Thunersee.JPG

All that said, Lake Brienz is an exquisitely beautiful color, with a deeply peaceful. Try to see it, even if only from a passing train, if you can.

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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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well that narrows it down, LOL !

I hadn't thought about a train out and the boat back (to save some travel time), maybe that's something to look at.

I was surfing Flickr.com to see if that would reveal which lake to choose, but wasn't a clear winner (although I lean toward Brienz). Also have noted the cruise + Brienz Open-Air museum - if my companions will be interested in that.
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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They're both very pretty lakes, but imo Brienz is the lovelier, especially if the weather is not so good. Brienz is a gprgeous green, and is even attractive in the rain; Thun is a vivid blue in the sunshine, but not so attractive in rain. Brienz is smaller - the boat trip from Interlaken to the far end at Brienz is 1 hour 15 minutes, whereas Interlaken to Thun is at least two hours each way, so that may be a factor for you.

Lake Thun has more options in terms of stoppping off points: Thun itself probably has the most to see if you're restricting yourself to just one, but I preferred the castle at Oberhofn and the 19th century Schloss Hunegg not far away (both have their own boat stops IIRC). Afternoons are better for opening times.

OTOH Brienz has the best place of all to visit in the open air museum at Ballenberg (a short bus ride from Brienz) - a wonderful collection of old buildings from all over Switzerland, with animals and demonstartions of old crafts/rural life as well. But it's a whole day outing, really, so if you only have a half day open for this trip, you're probably better off skipping it.
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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Another thing you can do on Brienzersee is stop at Giessbach, ride the short funicular up to the hotel (which looks like a fairy castle) and walk to the waterfalls:

http://www.giessbach.ch/en/the_grandhotel/about.php

That terrace looks like a perfect spot for lunch on a nice day.
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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Ooooh, I like waterfalls...

I like the idea of Lake Brienz + the outdoor museum. Are there good directions or signage from the boat dock to the bus for Ballenberg? and then is it easy to find the outdoor museum from there? I have noted it but not done the research yet. (Just got some books in from Christmas gift cards!)
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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I have done both lakes by boat and I prefer Lake Brienz. If you leave on the early boat, you can catch the Rothornbahn cog train to the summit or catch a bus to Ballenberg. The Rothornbahn is right across from the train station and you catch the bus hourly at the train station for an afternoon in the open air museum.
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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Hello Travelnut

Plop me on a boat on a nice sunny day, and I could drool forever. Something about sitting in the front with the breeze at my face..ahh.. The scenery is so spectacular. Both ways by boat is a must for me anyway. But if you are short on time, certainly taking the train one way is a great option. You can't lose either way!

Here is a good link to the Brienzersee steamship. They've got pricing and schedule info, plus there are combo tickets for boat / Ballenberg museum.

http://www.bls.ch/e/schifffahrt/schifffahrt.php

The boat stop is a very short walk to the bus which takes you straight to the museum entrance.

Oh, and ditto what enzian said about the Giessbach Falls detour. Fabulous!

Happy travels!
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 05:22 PM
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Thank you - I'm leaning toward Brienz and related activities...
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Both lakes have their merits. If you have a choice of one, Interlaken to Brienz with a return by train wins my vote.

Why? The wood carving shops in Brienz, the open air museum at Ballenburg easily reached by post bus from the rail statio, and the furnicular ride described above.

If you wamt to devote the day to it, visit Ballenberg. It is an iteresting museum of Swiss rural life in the the late 1800s and possibly the early 1900s. Some shops sell food and there are restaurants. Also some of the exhibits are in working order such as the saw mill. We watched the saw miller cut up a whole log into lumber.
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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I first visited Lake Brienz when my parents took our family on a camping trip to Europe when I was 14 over 30 years ago. The town of Brienz was memorable, but even more memorable was the Geissbach waterfall across the lake. So much so, that I've gone back to the lake and the waterfall, with the path over and underneath, about 3 or 4 times as an adult. It's a great place to stop off to take a short hike around from the boat if your time allows.
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Old Jan 10th, 2009, 08:16 PM
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You can have a great time with either lake.

You can just trundle around the lake(s), or you can go part of the way and get off for a number of cool excursions while you're there.

From the Lake Thun you can visit the caves at Beatenbuch, or get up from there to Beatenberg (the village on the ledge above) and from there to the top of the Niederhorn.

Or - for a good leg stretch, you can walk from the Beatenbucht to Interlaken

Or across the lake you can take the train from Spiez to Mülenen (two short stops) and go up on the Niesen.

From the Lake Brienz, from the actual town of Brienz, you can go up to the Brienzer Rothorn, or across the lake to the Reichenbach waterfall where Sherlock Holmes met his demise... Read up on it (and believe every word, of course).
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Old Jan 11th, 2009, 04:10 AM
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Thanks for all the input - I see we have a lot of options for one of our days.
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