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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Lunch at Giessbach

In 14 stages over 500 meters, the Giessbach falls from the high valleys of the Faulhorn region down into Lake Brienz. At the foot of this natural spectacle lies the historic Grandhotel Giessbach, accessible via the oldest funicular in Europe.

Michael and I with our friends Cordula, Astrid, and Volker took the steamship Lötschberg from Interlaken Ost to Giessbach for lunch. This past week, Cordula hiked and camped around the Matterhorn with her golden lab, Fanta while her parents stayed in Beatenberg. Fanta is beautiful and so well behaved. They are staying at Dorint Bluemlisalp Beatrenberg on the 10th floor with a view of Lake Thun. What's perfect is that the hotel welcomes dogs.

"Whether you come with the historic funicular from the Giessbach See boat station, on foot on a leisurely hike or from the nearby car park, the mighty roar of the Giessbach Falls is unmistakable. The 20-minute circular route takes you directly to the Giessbach Falls after a short climb. The section behind one of the waterfalls is particularly fascinating. Your gaze wanders past the splashing masses of water to the fairytale Grandhotel Giessbach, the turquoise Lake Brienz and the Brienzergrat. After rainfall or when the snow melts in spring, the Giessbach carries a particularly large amount of water. The roaring cascades then whirl up the water even more impressively and the refreshing spray invigorates - the unique nature experience."

Michael found out a new feature on his Apple watch. He received a notification that the watch detected 90 decibels for 5 minutes and that 30 minutes could cause hearing loss. Who knew?

"The Giessbach rises in the high valleys and basins of the Faulhorn-Sägistal area and feeds the world-famous Giessbach Falls, which plunge into Lake Brienz at the boat station. There has been a footpath leading to and under the waterfall since the 19th century. The 14 steps of the Giessbach Falls have borne the names of Bernese heroes since the same time. "

The Grandhotel Giessbach was built in 1873-74 and is situated in a 22-hectare park and garden area. The Giessbachbahn was opened in 1879, the oldest funicular in Europe that is only used for tourism. It connects the "Giessbach See" boat station with the hotel, which is around 100 meters above Lake Brienz."

This is lunch with a view!

Dining at Giessbach's terrace has changed from years' past. Now, you get your own table, read the menu and then go up and order. Someone does bring your order to your table. I think they created more problems for themselves. Half the time people forget their table number when ordering, which slows the ordering line. The menu is also smaller. Yes, they have a place on the other side and on the upper porch where you are waited on. Unfortunately, you need to make reservations two days in advance. I will think twice about coming back here for lunch. Maybe, the hotel can't find enough servers. It was just so enjoyable having lunch with friends! That is what is important.

Lots of activity on the lake. It was a beautiful day but a little too humid for Michael and me.

Must be such fun to use the slide!

Don't happy. Put on your sunshine face.

Passing by some interesting houses.

Like the curtains. Such a neat and orderly house.

I have been asked why the water is this color.

If I remember correctly, it's due to the suspended particles in the water coming from glacial melt.

It also has to do with the mineral content of the melt-water that runs down off the mountains that feed the lakes. Lake Brienz which is fed by the Lutchine River that drains the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald valleys is exceptionally blue/green.

Part of glacier sediments is composed of extremely fine powder that remains suspended in lakes for a relatively long time - and sun reflection is turning it into that intense special gray-blue.

Some of those lakes - Lake Brienz especially are deep, cold and very clean. The suspended fine powder is partially blocking sunlight that underwater vegetation needs to grow.

Here is another more technical explanation:

"Switzerland’s lakes are equally as renowned as its air when it comes to purity and restorative power, and the source of their properties can be found both above and deep below the ground. While much of Swiss lake water comes from melting snow and glacial runoff, allowing it an unrivaled purity, it was discovered in 2015 that many of them have their source in craters below the surface, causing the waters to be imbued with a complex and precious minerality. The largest of these subterranean craters was discovered in Lake Neuchâtel, where it was noted that volcanic spring water had been filtered through no less than sixty meters of bedrock, before rushing upwards into the lake from beneath the fissure.

Alongside their notable cleanliness and purity, the other distinctive attribute of Swiss lake water is its color. Many of the most renowned Swiss lakes exhibit turquoise and emerald hues, providing evidence of both their mineral-richness and chemical composition. These colorful tones are the result of rock flour, microscopic mineral deposits carried by glacial melt water, which reflect the blue-green sector of the light spectrum and which demonstrate the uninterrupted flow of the lakes’ natural sources. Geologists, hydrologists, and a wealth of other scientists have been researching the chemical composition of Swiss lakes for well over a century, and their findings go some way towards explaining why Swiss lake water has always been held in such high regard. It has been found that the lakes contain several major mineral salts, as well as a varied wealth of precious trace elements, all of which are highly beneficial to well being. When this elemental richness and complexity is matched by the cleanliness that arises from a pristine alpine environment, it is perhaps unsurprising that Swiss lake water is considered among the purest in the world, and possessing a standard of excellence worthy of both pride and protection."

Lake Brienz has a length of about 14 kilometers (8.7 mi), a width of 2.8 kilometers (1.7 mi) and a maximum depth of 260 meters (850 ft).

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