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Visiting Switzerland: Iseltwald & the Bernese Oberland

Dernière mise à jour : 16 mars

There are those places you have an idealised vision of in your head, and when you discovered them they are exactly like you imagined. When I visited one of the most picturesque regions of SwitzerlandIseltwald and the Bernese Oberland, it’s what happened.

Think majestic mountains, crystal-clear blue lakes, lush green fields and small villages made of wooden built chalets: welcome to the Bernese Oberland, poster-perfect Switzerland!

View of the village of Iseltwald

The Bernese Oberland is in the southern end of the canton of Bern, Switzerland, and Iseltwald is a village located on the southern shore of Lake Brienz within the Bernese Oberland.

  • Iseltwald

When you arrive by car to Iseltwald you have to leave your car at the entrance of the village. Only locals are allowed to circulate by car. Once parked, you start walking down a small path winding through deep green fields and pretty little flower orchards until reaching the actual village.

View of the village of Iseltwald and its chalets

Iseltwald is one of the daintiest tiny villages I’ve ever seen. It’s your typical Swiss mountain village. Wooden built chalets surrounded by manicured flower gardens, a few cute restaurants, a crystal-clear lake and simply jaw-droppingly gorgeous landscapes! The glorious sunny weather we had during our walk only added additional perfection to the entire day.

Chalet in the village of Iseltwald
Communal garden in the village of Iseltwald besides a lake
Close-up of a chalet in the village of Iseltwald

Iseltwald is the ideal destination if you enjoy the outdoors. Hiking, lake swimming, boating, kayaking, paragliding, there is something for everyone.

In addition to exploring Iseltwald, we also went on a short boat cruise to another of the region’s landmark: The Grand Hotel Giessbach and its grandiose waterfalls.

  • Giessbach

There are multiple ways to go from Iseltwald to Giessbach: by boat, by car or – if you are very brave – by foot. We opted for the boat, as the weather was so gorgeous!

View of the dock in the village of Iseltwald

You start by boarding a grand white and red painted period-style steamboat. And after a 15–20 minutes mini-cruise, you reach the hamlet of Giessbach.

Close-up of red and white period steamboat on Lake Brienz

Giessbach is home to two national historical landmarks: the Grand Hotel Giessbach and its neighbouring waterfall.

If the “Belle Epoque” era is your favourite, you’ll love the Grand Hotel Giessbach! The main building was built in the late 19th century. By the 1910s, the Grandhotel Giessbach had become the meeting point for global royalty and high society.

View of the Grand Hotel Giessbach from behind the waterfall
Close-up of the Grand Hotel Giessbach

After a short ride on the historical red-painted funicular, you reach the hotel’s lovely garden terrace. Stepping into the hotel really feels like stepping back in time. Or being in one of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novel. Period-furniture, antiques pendant luminaires, brocart fabric on the walls, even the color palette is the same as the original 19th century one.

Historical red funicular of the Grand Hotel Giessbach
Pink ballroom of the Grand Hotel Giessbach
Green dining room of the Grand Hotel Giessbach

The other landmark in Giessbach is its waterfall. It’s cascading over a length of 500 meters, down to Lake Brienz.

View of the Giessbach waterfall

Following a narrow path along the watercourse, you can climb up the 14 levels up to its top. But, if you feel more “lazy”, stop at one of the first levels, where the path will take you behind the cascade. There you’ll have a full-on view of the hotel.

So, if you want to discover poster-perfect Switzerland, visit Iseltwald and the Bernese Oberland. You won’t be disappointed!


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