Brienz in canton Bern is known as one of the most pittoresque villages in Switzerland. An emerald lake with a dramatic alpine backdrop and one of the most characteristic streets in the whole of Switzerland. Simply a place you must visit. But not only for the reasons above. Did you know that the open-air museum Ballenberg also is located in Brienz? Have a read and explore more about this place where you travel back in time.
Travel through the history of Switzerland
Ballenberg promises to take you on an explorative journey through the history of living in Switzerland. The lush park has over 100 historical buildings from regions all over Switzerland. These buildings were deconstructed and meticulously put back together in the Museum in canton Bern. Mix it all with farm animals grazing and flowers everywhere, and you know you have an amazing summer destination!
Many of the buildings, you can have a look inside to see the living conditions at the time. Staff members of the museums tell you more about life at the time, or demonstrate craftsmanship that was common in the past. Ballenberg is located in the German-speaking part of the country, but in general, the employees were able to explain in English too.
The museum in located in the Bernese Oberland region and views from the park are stunning. Big alpine peaks, some snow-capped even in the height of summer, are truly breathtaking.
Rebuilding the past in museum Ballenberg
Ballenberg is home to a big collection of traditional Swiss buildings, making it a great destination for lovers of history and architecture. Covering a vast area, the museum has over 100 buildings that have been carefully preserved and reconstructed, giving visitors the opportunity to peek into Switzerland’s rich cultural history. Each building represents a different region and time period, offering a wide range of architectural styles and different ways buildings were constructed.
Walking through Ballenberg Museum, one can explore charming wooden chalets, big farmhouses, rustic barns, and even an old watermill and sawing facility. They have furnished many of the buildings with authentic interior, allowing you to really get a feel of life at the time
it is important to note that the storytelling in Ballenberg is focussed on life in rural Switzerland. Don’t expect depiction of life in Geneva or Zürich back in the days, this museum is very much about the countryside. That doesn’t make this museum less interesting though, as the buildings in the museum are very interesting to explore both on the outside and indoors.
When the thirst and hunger kick in
Getting hungry while you are exploring the Ballenberg Freilichtmuseum? Not too worry, the mseum has several establishment where you can take a break with a drink and a meal. They are clearly marked on the foldable map of the museum and there are signs pointing towards the different areas of the park. We particularly liked the snack plate at Wirtshaus Alter Bären, close to the western entrance of the park.
Another great spot to rest and have a drink is the Osteria Novazzano. At this little restaurant in a Ticinese courtyard, you can have drinks and traditional meals from the Ticino region. Try out some polenta while you are there!
Interesting fact, the building that surrounds the courtyard was originally located in Novazzano in Ticino. It took over 200 truckloads to get all the building materials to the museum outside of Brienz!
How to get there
Getting to the museum is incredibly easy. It is only an hour drive by car from Lucerne, with you getting there from Zürich in about 80 minutes. The museum has a large parking lot right by the entrance. The museum has two entrances, on the eastern and on the western side of the park. Both sides have parking facilities, do note that you have to pay for parking your car here.
Switzerland has incredibly well-connected public transport, and Ballenberg museum is no exception.
Getting to Ballenberg is easiest by taking a train to the station of Brienz. There are direct trains from both Lucerne and Interlaken and these run approximately once an hour. From there, take bus B151 that will take you to the western entrance of the museum within approximately 10 minutes.
Prepare your visit to Ballenberg museum
The Ballenberg museum is open from April until the end of October. In the winter, weather conditions are too harsh to spend a whole day wandering outside. During the spring, summer and fall, the museum is open daily from 10.00 until 17.00. Some of the restaurants in the museum stay open slightly longer.
Entry to the parks costs CHF 32 for adults and CHF 16 for children between 6 and 16. This isn’t cheap, but luckily there is a discounted ticket for families. Parents and their children (between the age of 6 and 16) visit the park for a flat fee of CHF 72. You can buy a ticket online, or at the entrance of the museum.
If you have some time to spare before or after your visit to Ballenberg, make sure to check out the nearby town of Brienz! Lake Brienz and the lakeside are simply stunning and few Swiss towns are as charming as Brienz!
3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz