Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum
Made up of more than 100 historic buildings from across the country, this open-air museum is one of Switzerland’s stand-out heritage sites. Guests can meet costumed characters, explore renovated houses and cultivated gardens, or enjoy a close encounter with farmyard animals as they learn more about traditional Swiss life at this 66-hectare museum.
Boasting a range of architectural features sourced from most Swiss cantons, Ballenberg is a great place to expand your knowledge of Switzerland’s nationwide history and culture. You’ll need at least half a day to explore the site, as there’s so much to see and do, including daily live demonstrations of traditional activities and horse-drawn carriage rides. Museum entry is included with the Swiss Travel Pass, which also includes unlimited national travel and free admission to hundreds more museums.
Things to know before you go
- Ballenberg is mostly stroller- and wheelchair-friendly; path gradients are printed on the sitemap and on-site bathrooms include accessible facilities.
- An all-terrain electric wheelchair can be rented on-site, but needs to be booked in advance.
- The museum is home to several restaurants, snack stops, and picnic areas.
- There is also an open-air theater in the museum grounds.
How to get there
Thanks to its central location, the museum is easily reached by road from all corners of the country. Parking lots can be found at both the east and west entrances. The Zentralbahn railway travels directly to Brienz Station from Interlaken and Lucerne. From Brienz, bus B151 links directly to the museum.
When to get there
The museum is best visited on a bright, sunny day, as some outdoor demonstrations and experiences do not run in wet weather. Ballenberg closes annually over winter.
More Swiss History
If you do find yourself in Brienz on a rainy day, you can still get a glimpse of a traditional Swiss heritage. Brienz has long been known as a woodworking town, and today it is home to several functioning wood workshops, as well as the Swiss Woodcarving Museum (Schweizer Holzbildhauerei Museum). Admission to the museum is included with a Swiss Travel Pass.
- Lake Brienz (Brienzersee)
- Grindelwald First
- Schynige Platte
- Harder Kulm
- Adventure Park Interlaken (Seilpark Interlaken)
- Wengen-Männlichen Aerial Cableway
- St. Beatus Caves (St. Beatus-Höhlen)
- Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory (Sphinx-Observatorium)
- Grimsel Pass
- Rhone Glacier
- Lake Thun (Thunersee)
- Aletsch Glacier