Ballenberg - Bernese Oberland

Step into Switzerland's history

 
About Ballenberg

Available: mid April-late October

Costs

Bernese Oberland Regional Pass: FREE travel

Swiss Travel Pass: FREE travel 

Half Fare Card: 10 Sfr from Interlaken

Entrance payable locally: 24 Sfr per adult and 12 Sfr per child (6-16 years). FREE entry with the Swiss Travel Pass.

At the Ballenberg Open Air Museum, Switzerland is just as it once was. One hundred original, century-old buildings from all over Switzerland, original gardens and fields, demonstrations of traditional handicrafts, lots of special events, and 250 farmyard animals recreate a vivid impression of the past in rural Ballenberg.

Ballenberg is living testimony to Switzerland’s rich cultural heritage. The clock is turned back as visitors are given a vivid glimpse of what it was like to live and work in the countryside in the old days. Farm animals grazing in rich pastures, well-tended fields and vegetable gardens in and around the farmhouses, and demonstrations of traditional crafts help make Ballenberg come alive. Some visitors choose to join the guided tours, others prefer to stroll around on their own.

The Ballenberg museum is open 10.00 - 17.00.


Highlights

Buildings

Have a look round the kitchens, bedrooms and parlours of houses and farm buildings from the 14th to 19th centuries reconstructed in their natural state. In the extensive grounds (a total area of 660,000m2),  you can see typical houses and settlements from almost every canton in Switzerland.

Restaurants

You soon work up an appetite in an open air museum. Luckily there are three welcoming restaurants catering for both your hunger and thirst. There is the old inn 'Alter Bären' at the west entrance (Hofstetten), the attractive restaurant 'Degen' in the heart of the museum grounds and a chalet style building, the restaurant 'Wilerhorn' situated at the easily accessible east entrance (Brienzwiler) on the Brünig Pass route. 

Farm animals

In the grounds of the museum – unique in Switzerland – 250 native farm animals are represented: bees, pigeons, birds, hens, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, cattle and oxen, horses and donkeys. At Ballenberg you’ll be amazed to find some farmyard animals that were in danger of becoming extinct. You and your children can see examples of all the different kinds of farm animals which are found in Switzerland. You can even pet some of them! 

Handcrafts

Craftsmen demonstrate traditional crafts and trades: baking bread, fine crochet work, wood carving, hat making, cheese making, lime burning, bobbin-lace making, cooking, basket weaving, bonemeal grinding, oil pressing, silk ribbon weaving, sawmill, saddlery, shingle making, forging, chocolate production, spinning, embroidery, hand-knitted lacework, pottery, weaving and barrel making. There are daily craft demonstrations.

Regular exhibits and numerous publications help visitors to better understand rural life in the past. 


Directions

The Ballenberg Open Air Museum lies at the heart of Switzerland between Meiringen and Interlaken.

Take the train to the towns of Brienz or Brünig and from there the regular bus from the stations Ballenberg West or Ballenberg East.

More excursions in the region

There are so many wonderful days out to enjoy in this beautiful area. There are incomparable mountain vistas to enjoy, leisurely cruises on a nostalgic paddle steamer, walks through stunning scenery and a whole host of fabulous journeys on mountain railways, cable cars and funiculars.

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Your choice of resorts

Dominated by the Jungfrau mountains and the lakes of Thun and Brienz, this region offers everything you could wish for on a classic Swiss holiday. You can choose to stay in a mountain village, a lakeside resort - or try Interlaken at the heart of it all.

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