About Giessbach Falls (Giessbachfälle)
Giessbach Falls (also Giessbachfall or Giessbachfälle in German; pronounced “geeYES-bahkh-fell-uh”) spilled into the light blue Lake Brienz.
Nearby the falls was the historic Grandhotel Giessbach, which further added that bygone-era charm to the waterfall experience.
Although this waterfall was said to tumble about 500m in height over several tiers, we never really got a clean look at the entire drop.
So in reality, it felt like a shorter waterfall than its stated height.
In fact, it even felt shorter than the Reichenbach Falls, which at 250m was half as tall as Giessbach Falls.
Whatever the case, that didn’t take away from the overall experience of enjoying a beautiful cascading waterfall outside of the famed Lauterbrunnen Valley.
We even got to go behind the waterfall, which was something that wasn’t common in the Switzerland Waterfalls that we had encountered so far.
The Boat and Funicular Ride to the Giessbach Grand Hotel
If not for a fairly infrequent boat ferry that included a Giessbach Falls stop as it crossed Lake Brienz (or Brienzersee in German) between Interlaken Ost and Brienz, this was actually a pretty easy waterfall to visit.
After managing to boat across to the other side of the lake at the foot of Giessbach Falls, we then took a funicular ride up to the historic Giessbach Grand Hotel.
This funicular was quite possibly the oldest one in Switzerland as it dated back to 1879.
It was interesting to note that while the Reichenbach Falls funicular was closed due to high winds on the day of our visit, the Giessbachbahn remained open.
I suspect that it was sheltered from the easterly winds given its sheltered position in the forest and the surrounding mountains.
Anyways, at the hotel, we got our first satisfying look at the Giessbach Falls as the area around the facility (as well as the hotel itself) offered an attractive frontal view of it.
Walking closer to the Giessbach Falls
After taking our time enjoying the viewing spot of the Giessbach Falls from the hotel, we then followed a path that crossed behind the facility and towards some car park.
That car park suggested that it might have been possible to drive straight here from Brienz (something I might consider doing the next time I come here).
Nevertheless, the walking path then bent its way back towards the stream as it ascended towards a bridge crossing between the waterfall’s middle tiers.
Somewhere along this ascent, there was also a junction where the trail descended back towards the boat dock while passing alongside the lower tiers of the Giessbach Falls.
Just before the misty bridge crossing the falls’ watercourse, the path went upstream before looping behind one of the tiers of Giessbach Falls and ultimately coming back down towards the bridge.
There were other trails that continued higher up along the Giessbach Falls, but we didn’t get a chance to explore them so we can’t comment on them any further.
Overall, our visit to the Giessbach Falls took less than an hour though I certainly wished we had more time to enjoy this place.
That said, we were constrained by an inconvenient boat schedule, which really rushed our visit.
Some Inconvenient Logistics During Our Giessbach Falls Visit
Given the rather inconvenient boat schedule, we only had time to walk a short loop from the Giessbach Hotel to the backside of Giessbach Falls and back.
This rush was the result of us targeting the next boat that would pick up from Giessbach after it had dropped us off there.
The next boat after that wasn’t for another two hours!
Even though we mistakenly bought a two-way ticket for the funicular, had I been able to do this all over again, I’d personally recommend taking the funicular up with a one-way ticket.
That way, you can then make your visit to Giessbach Falls, check out the historic hotel, and then walk back down to the boat dock where you at least get to control your own return schedule independent of going down on the funicular.
Perhaps better yet, if we had rented a car, we probably could have driven to the car park for the Grandhotel Giessbach and not be slaved to the train, boat, nor funicular schedules.
Hindsight’s always 20/20 isn’t it?
Anyways, in addition to this boat and funicular ride, we also saw parts of the Giessbach Falls from the train (albeit from a distance).
Moreover, we witnessed the Giessbach Falls’ lowermost tiers as the boat approached the dock nearest to the Giessbach Hotel and waterfall itself.
Giessbach Falls resides near the town of Brienz, which sits within the Interlaken-Oberhasli District of the Bern Canton, Switzerland. I can’t find an official governmental authority administering this waterfall. So for information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may try visiting the Bern Canton website or the Brienz website.
Since we visited Giessbach Falls exclusively by public transportation (though I may self-drive if we’re fortunate to come back), I’ll describe the route from that perspective in this section.
From Interlaken Ost, we caught one of the fairly frequent trains (once every 15 minutes or half-hour I think) to Brienz.
Unfortunately, the boat schedule wasn’t nearly as frequent nor as flexible as the trains.
And the boat was our only bet at getting to the Giessbach Falls by public transport.
According to this brochure we picked up, the Summer Fahrplan (Schedule) was as follows:
Going East (Cruise Number in parentheses)
- Interlaken Ost: 9:40 (59), 11:45 (63), 13:10 (67), 15:10 (69), 16:50 (73)
- Giessbach: 10:53 (59), 12:51 (63), 14:16 (67), 16:16 (69), 18:06 (73)
- Brienz [arrival]: 11:05 (59), 13:05 (63), 14:33 (67), 16:30 (69), 18:20 (73)
Going West (Cruise Number in parentheses)
- Brienz: 11:15 (60), 13:15 (64), 14:45 (68), 16:50 (70), 18:30 (74)
- Giessbach: 11:27 (60), 13:26 (64), 14:57 (68), 17:07 (70), 18:42 (74)
- Interlaken Ost [arrival]: 12:28 (60), 14:35 (64), 16:10 (68), 18:15 (70), 19:50 (74)
Another option (if you think you won’t get seasick) is to take the boat directly from Interlaken Ost to Giessbach or vice versa.
Then, after visiting Giessbach Falls, you can take the short boat ride to the opposite end of the lake and follow that up with a train to complete the round trip.
You’ll just have to work with the restrictive boat schedule in order to make this plan happen.
Our Actual Logistics
For the record, we took the 14:45 boat from Brienz to Giessbach.
And then we took the 16:16 boat from Giessbach back to Brienz.
Based on this schedule, we barely had an hour at the Giessbach Falls, and I felt it was a bit rushed.
I don’t know what’s the deal with boats and bad schedules, but we had a similar experience at the Nachi Waterfall in Japan, but that was due to an utterly useless boat schedule to and from the Hotel Urashima.
But anyways, I digress…
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