This is a 'centre based' self-guided walking holiday. Getting around in Switzerland is so easy that based in a good centre like Meiringen you can fill a week with excellent day walks at any time of the year. This Alpine town is a natural transport hub situated at the convergence of three of Switzerland’s major passes. Meiringen is on the main railway line from Luzern to Interlaken and trains run to and from those towns on an hourly timetable. Interlaken is a 30-minute journey and Luzern is 1 hour 10 mins. Transfers from Zürich airport are a pleasure with the last leg of the journey into the mountains possible on the spectacular narrow gauge. Brünig line. (Departures will vary however as the Interlaken route is more direct).Meiringen is also the centre for Post Bus routes in the Eastern Oberland. From the town it is possible to set out each day in a different direction using the incredible network of cablecars, postbuses and mountain railways. You can reach the high places quickly and easily without the necessity of long uphill climbs out of the valley. Meiringen is the perfect centre for walking holidays for all grades. There are over 300km of well-marked footpaths, which range from gentle strolls to high ridges and even glacier exploring. In spring you can follow the melting snows into meadows of glorious Alpine flowers. In summer the high ridges and rugged glacial scenery become accessible. In autumn the landscape is painted with a riot of colour as the first frosts come. The potential for walking is limitless. We are still finding wonderful new walks here! Meiringen has none of the trappings of mass tourism. It is a small market town with excellent shops, banks and facilities. Thankfully, it remains unspoiled and very Swiss. The local people are welcoming, kind and hospitable.
We grade the tour as 'Moderate' (Grade 3), but in practice any day can be as easy or (up to a point) as hard as you care to make it. Day Stages: Anything from 2 to 8 hours or more - depending on your preference.
Make your own way to Meiringen your base for the next eight days. The Haslital, one of the large valleys in the central alps, stretches from the Grimsel Pass to the Lake of Brienz. Along this valley you will find Meiringen, a pleasant little town for a centre based walking tour, being central to a lot of fine walks in the Bernese region. The town suffered a disastrous fire in 1875 and there remains little except for the old church with archaeological remains lying underneath it and a mediaeval watch tower in the 'upper' part of the town.
Meiringen is also the home of the Meringue. There are a couple of bakeries along the 'high street' where these are much in evidence in all shapes and sizes. Meiringen is also known for the spectacular Reichenbach Falls into which Sherlock Holmes and his foe Moriarty, the master criminal, fell locked in each other’s arms. A funicular railway may be used to take you to the top of the falls; otherwise it is 30 minutes’ walk out of town. You can visit the 'Sherlock Holmes Museum' which is housed in the old Anglican church in the 'open area' by the Park Hotel which is itself a national monument.
Accommodation: Hotel Alpbach - this 4 star hotel has warmly furnished rooms with with free Wi-Fi and TVs and room service. Other amenities include a spa area with a sauna and a steam room, in addition to an upscale restaurant featuring 4 cozy, wood-paneled dining rooms, a bar and a terrace.
Over six days there are many walks that you can undertake. The area offers walks of varying difficulty and length.
Below are just a sample of the possible walks you can undertake. Your exact
programme will vary according to weather conditions, and your own preference. You will receive a set of route notes detailing numerous walks in the area. The excellent local transport system enables you to shorten or lengthen your walks if you wish.
A) Hasliberg (Panorama Way). 12 km /7.5 miles. You start with a 10 minute train ride. Take the train from Meiringen (600m) up to Brünig Pass (1100m) where the walk starts through forest before traversing the open alpine meadows above Meiringen. Views stretch to the Bernese Oberland peaks and glaciers. This is an ideal introduction to the area in almost any weather. There is no need to carry a picnic for lunch if you want to try the “Rosti House” at Wasserwendi. After lunch, continue on the Panorama way to Reuti (1045m) and either take the cablecar or walk down to Meiringen through the forest.
B) Reichenbech Valley Circular Walk. Take the bus up to the little hamlet of Gschwantenmad. There is no rush to cover the first 5 km along the Reichenbech River to Schwarzwaldalp where you can have lunch in the cosy mountain restaurant. The standard fare is a cauldron of delicious goulash soup served with fresh crusty bread or a vegetarian alternative. Thus fortified, walk the circular route via Rosenlaui finishing at Kaltenbrunnen from where you take a bus or taxi back to Meiringen. This is a fabulous walk right in the heart of the mountains. The Wetterhorn north face dominates the skyline and the beautiful blue Rosenlaui Glacier towers above you.
C) Hasliberg Heights. To gain initial height take the cable car to Käserstatt (1524m above Meiringen). Set out on the magnificent high-level walk across the Hasliberg. There is an option for lunch at Bidmi before completing the walk across the alpine meadows and descending through the forest to Meiringen.
Across the Brünig Pass. Once more by train but this time over the Brünig Pass to the village of Lungern with its beautiful lake. The route takes you up a steady gradual incline to the pass where there is the option of a restaurant lunch. There is a little more ascent through the forest after lunch before descending to Meiringen.
D) Wengen to Kliene Scheidegg. Travel to the chic resort of Wengen by train and then walk up through the forest and pastures to the pass at Kleine Scheidegg. Return by trains either to Wengen or Grindelwald. You can always opt to walk down rather than up or for a longer day walk up and down. There are great views towards the Eiger and Jungfrau from the Kleine Scheidegg.
E) Have an easy day. Take a short local walk or travel further afield. Visit the city of Luzern or Bern by train or head up to the Jungfraujoch, or to the Piz Gloria of James Bond fame.
F) Other possibilities near Meiringen include the Ballenberg open-air museum at Brienzwiler where you can see a variety of traditional farm buildings from all over Switzerland and the beautiful old lakeshore town of Brienz, where you can sit at a waterside cafe and admire the view across the lake to the mountains of the Oberland.
G) The Romantic Way. Take the postbus from Meiringen to climb on spectacular twisting roads to Grosse Scheidegg (2000m) at the heart of the mountains with the 12,000' peak of the Wetterhorn towering above and views of the north-face of the Eiger. During the walk there are spectacular views of the Rosenlaui Glacier. This is a gentle contouring walk, not at all strenuous. A visit to the Reichenbach Falls can be incorporated into the itinerary during the afternoon.
H) Paradise Way. Head northeast on the bus to the picturesque mountain lake of Engstlenalp beneath the pass. From here walk all day through meadows of wonderful flowers and beneath rugged limestone crags where eagles nest. The grand panorama ahead is the Bernese Oberland Massif with literally hundreds of peaks and glaciers in view. The walk ends at the cablecar station above Meiringen.
Depart Meiringen by train for your onward journey.
The walking tours provide a very different experience of a country from a bus or driving tour. We were able to see farm life, mountaineers, other walkers and lots of wild animals such as marmots, ibex, eagles, etc. On most days there were alternative routes to cater for different levels of fitness.
B&R Cook., NSW, Australia.
If you like the Swiss Alps and want to see them at your own pace and from places far from the madding crowd, this is the holiday for you! With wonderful weather, good maps and a certain level of fitness, you can see the snow capped peaks from quiet fields and villages. Even when the clouds come down, you have great places like Luzern and Thun to explore.
S. Parker., Carcoar, NSW. Australia
We opted for the easier choices in the route notes, and sometimes created our own walking routes, but still really enjoyed the holiday. The scenery is breathtaking, as were some of the climbs. Meiringen is a good choice for a base, as so many walks are easily accessible from there. All the walks are well marked, and it is a delight to round a corner and see snow capped mountains, or a cute village.
R. Lea., Caringbah, NSW. Australia
Per Person, Twin Share