Nestled on the southern shore of Lake Brienz and just a short drive away from Interlaken, the quaint little village of Iseltwald is no secret and is well accessible. Due to all of these factors combined, it can sometimes feel quite crowded, making the incredible views a tad bit less enjoyable. However, there is a way to enjoy this beauty from a distance – the scenic loop hike above Iseltwald. What’s better – it includes a little detour to a lookout point with the most magnificent views. Let me show you the way!
Iseltwald And How to Get There
With a population of just over 400 people, Iseltwald really is a tiny village. It is best known for the Seeburg Castle (Schloss Seeburg) sitting on a little peninsula on the turquoise-coloured waters of Lake Brienz. It’s impressive to see it in photos, but even more breathtaking to experience it up close. The castle is privately owned and not open to public.
As in any fishing village, Iseltwald’s restaurants offer fresh fish (I am yet to try myself!), but all water lovers will have a selection of water-based activities, including paddle boarding and rowing or the recently introduced HotTog. What is a HotTug, you’ll ask? It’s basically a hot tub boat that you can take on a ride on Lake Brienz.
There are several modes of transport that will take you to Iseltwald. You can travel by car (either via A8 motorway or a smaller windy road along the lake), but keep in mind that the parking is limited, especially on busy summer days. If you arrive early, though, you will find a spot, and it will cost you CHF 0.50 per hour (bring change or set up the SEPP parking app).
There are hourly PostBus buses running between Interlaken and Iseltwald, but if you’re in for a more fancy ride, you can also reach it by BLS ships operating in Lake Brienz (only in summer). My favourite way to visit Iseltwald, though, is on my bike – it’s quite the uphill climb, but totally worth it and more enjoyable than public transport.
Scenic Loop Hike Above Iseltwald
The starting point of the hike is at the car park right after you enter the village (there is another, smaller car park in the village center down by the lake). Once you’re all parked up and parking is paid, turn left on the street and continue until you cross a little stream (Mülibach).
Right after it, marked with a sign post, a hiking path will lead up the hill to your right. Follow the path until you cross the field (make sure you close both gates on your way) and reach the motorway junction. Here, again, follow the yellow Wanderweg signs to cross the junction. Please use the marked crossing points as you make your way to the other side and be mindful of the traffic.
Once you’re on the other side of the motorway, you’ll notice a few trailheads. Look out for the yellow sign to Isch, and continue parallel to the motorway up a paved road which will soon turn into an ever-steeper gravel road. This is where you take off any excess clothing layers, as you’ll be sweating it up for a while.
As you keep going up the gravel road, you’ll notice trail signs on almost every corner as this trail intersects with others. Keep following signs to Isch until you reach Tierhof Louberli (marked by a wooden sign above the road).
For the next little bit, you’ll be walking through an actual animal farm. Keep your eyes open and you might spot donkeys, llamas, peacocks, goats and pigs among others. You’ll also find a little shop with some snacks, ice cream, drinks, and even goat cheese! When you look back, you’ll be rewarded with great views, but best is yet to come!
As you leave the farm, you’ll start to see more of Lake Brienz to your left and Schloss Seeburg through the trees. Keep heading up the path until the next sign-posted intersection. The main trail will continue straight (direction Isch), but first – make a little detour to the outlook point for some epic lake views.
To reach the outlook point, take the path to the left towards Giessbach / Brienz as signposted. The gravel path will take you past a couple of farm buildings until you’ll reach a forest trail. Through the trees you’ll be able to see the turquoise-coloured waters down below. You have reached the lookout point!
Be extra careful around here! You’ll be standing on a cliff edge with a steep drop down below, and there is no fencing or anything else to stop your fall. You can still take amazing photos a meter or two away from the edge.
This, by far, is one of my very favourite places near Interlaken. I love coming up here for a moment of solitude and stillness, as the trail usually is quite empty. Even on busy days, you can always find a quiet corner to enjoy this incredible view. Being high up somewhere has always helped me reset my mind, and this place is great for it.
Plus, I always take a ton of photos, because it’s just THAT beautiful! It can be quite entertaining observing the little boat traffic down below and trying to time your shots for the ship’s arrival or departure. Makes for some really good photographs.
When you’re done with taking in all of the beauty and snapping photos, it’s time to carry on with the hike. Retrace your steps to the last intersection and head left up the hill (towards Isch). The gravel path will take you through a big field up on a hill and you’ll reach the first houses of Isch, one of the few hamlets within the Iseltwald municipality.
Having been to Iseltwald many times before, I actually had no idea there were people living as high as Isch. It felt like a lovely little settlement I wouldn’t mind living in. Great views and away from the crowds – the perfect combination.
At the end of this gravel path, you’ll reach a paved road. The panoramic trail continues right, however, if you’re as impressed by Isch as we were, I would recommend you wander left for a bit to see more of this lovely place. If you’re running low on water, you’ll find a fountain a few hundred meters up the road (on your left).
But back to the trail!
The trail will continue through Isch past some chalets and farm houses. It’ll be easy walking for quite a bit as the trail is a paved road.
As you continue down the road, you might spot some goats and even llamas grazing to your right. I believe these animals belong to the Louberli animal farm. On this stretch you’ll get less lake views, but you can see the Brienzer Rothorn peak and Brienzergrat ridgeline as you look back.
As you’re walking along this road, you’ll notice multiple trails leading back down to Iseltwald, and you are free to head down one of those if you like (they will be steeper and harder on your knees!). We followed this specific FATMAP route ending up at the same motorway junction and then heading back down to the car park.
Preparing for This Hike
This is not a particularly long or difficult hike, therefore treat it like a regular hike. Pack plenty of water (you might struggle finding a refill point) and some snacks, dress for the weather and wear sturdy and reliable shoes. This hike won’t also require perfect weather conditions, but make sure you’re staying safe at all times, especially on the exposed lookout point.
Information & Statistics
Hiking Trail: Iseltwald – Tierhof Louberli – Lookout Point – Isch – Iseltwald
Distance: 5.3 km total (for the above described route, see here on FATMAP; more if you add a detour in Isch)
Duration: 1 – 2 hrs (for this specific route variation)
Elevation: + 251 hm / – 251 hm
Grade: Easy to medium
When to go: I would recommend this route between spring and autumn. It can possibly be done in winter too, however, I have never tried and am not sure about the conditions of the trail.