Brienz is located in the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland. It is a small village with approx 3000 inhabitants. Brienz is famous as the Swiss centre for woodcarving.
Brienz can be reached by a 20 minute rail journey from Interlaken Ost- all the Luzern trains stop at Brienz. Or you can take a 1.5 hour boat journey from Interlaken- the boat leaves frequently behind Interlaken Ost railway station.
Brienz has one main street Hauptestrasse, so getting around on foot is fine. To walk the full length of the street will take approx 20 minutes.
There is beautiful Swiss scenery to see- the lake is a beautiful blue colour and the surrounding mountains spectacular.
Walking, sightseeing and looking in the Woodcarving Shops.
The main Street- Hauptestrasse has approx 7+ Woodcarving Souvenir Shops.
The largest is Jobin, 111 Hauptestrasse. Jobin opens its workshops to the public and tour groups, so you can see the woodcarvers at work. Generally all the shops are open daily 9am-6pm. Another good woodcarving shop is Huggler, 64 Hauptestrasse. You could find that Huggler has more choice of woodcarvings and you may find them less expensive. For example, a woodcarving of a brown bear will cost (2005) 650 swiss francs in Jobin, but you could buy a Huggler brown bear carving, very similar in size for 418 swiss francs. Some tourists think the huggler carvings are more detailed and nicer painted- but I think it comes down to personal opinion. Both these businesses have web sites- www.jobin.ch and www.hugglerwoodcarvings.ch. Both Jobin and Huggler will safely pack and box all woodcarvings etc for transoprting home in your suitcase. Furthermore, they will gift wrap, usually free.
All woodcarvings are one off pieces- thus they could be collectors items in years to come- who knows.
Here is a list of the items available to purchase in Brienz's Woodcarving Souvenir Shops- brown bears, eagles, elephants, cows, steinbeck, marmot, Swiss people, cuckoo clocks, and music boxes. Most shops in Brienz also stock Swiss Army Knives and leather wallets and purses- These make excellent gifts for family/friends/oneself.
In approximately the middle of the main street is a nice bakers/coffee shop. There is also a Hotel straight in front of the train station.
Please see eat category.