There are two reasons why I love the town of Meiringen in Switzerland – 1) my absolute all time favourite sugary treat the meringue originated from here and 2) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose Meiringen and its famous Reichenbach falls as the setting for Sherlock Holmes final case. The whole town is Meringue and Sherlock mad and you can’t turn a corner without seeing something which relates to both – you have to love it though, it’s such a quaint little town which is proud of it’s heritage. Here’s a guide of what you can get up to in Meiringen.
The town is located half way between Luzern and Interlaken in the Berner Oberland Region of Switzerland. You can get the train here or drive past the beautiful Brienz lake, through to the Haslital valley.
The Meringue Story
Meiringen has a solid claim to creating the meringue in Switzerland in the middle of the 19th century, although this has been contested by the French who supposedly wrote about them earlier. Either way, this doesn’t deter the town from shouting about it. You can buy one of their tasty famous meringues from the Backerei in the town centre, you’ll know you’ve arrived by the massive statue outside. If only it was real (sigh)!!
The Sherlock Holmes Story
Meiringen may not have 221b Bakers Street but it does have a Conan Doyle Place! Here, you can visit the famous Sherlock Holmes statue and read about his last case with Watson. The story goes that on the chase to find Moriarty through Europe, they finally track him down in Meiringen. Watson and Holmes take a walk to the Riechenbach Falls and Watson is called away to look after a patient. Later, Watson realises he has been deceived and returns to the falls to find a letter from Sherlock telling him he knew the letter was a hoax and he is going to fight Moriarty. Holmes and Moriarty have fallen to their deaths in the gorge, leaving Sherlock’s legacy as ‘the best man’ Watson had ever known.
“The Final Problem” was meant to be the last in the Holmes series in 1893 however, there was an outcry by the public at Sherlock’s death and so three years later he makes a heroic return by miraculously surviving the falls to take on a new case.
If you would like to learn more about it, there is a little museum which is open for a visit and has a recreation of Sherlocks’ lodgings inside. It’s worth a peek if you’re a fan!
The powerful but beautiful waterfall through the gorge is what Meirengen is famous for and you can take a short walk or drive just outside the town to visit. You approach the falls by Funicular and it is a picturesque journey giving you amazing views of the town and your surroundings. When you reach the top, you can get a closer look at the waterfall on their platform and it is truly spectacular! It does get a bit wet due to the force of the water, so make sure you bring a rain jacket. From here, you can walk up through the forest to get to the top of the falls or you can walk all the way round to the point where Sherlock and Moriarty fought (marked by a star). The walks give some incredible views of the valley and if you’re lucky on a sunny day, you will see a colourful rainbow.
There is more Sherlock memorabilia available to have a look at in the station and a Sherlock cut out for some more fun!
What to Eat
Meringues of course! There are so many different types to choose from, I chose a super touristy Sherlock Holmes meringue but I did also sample the Bailey’s coffee ones which were super tasty too!
Around the area
Once you’ve explored Meiringen and the falls, there are some more attractions in the surrounding area to keep you occupied if you have some time spare. One of these wonderful attractions is the Aareschlucht or the Aare Gorge. The powerful river in the Haslital eroded through the rock over thousands of years to reveal what it is today – a 1,400 metre gorge which is 200 metres deep! You can walk the whole thing from start to finish and it is definitely worth seeing. Attractions, include waterfalls, caves and you will get some beautiful views of the valley when you emerge on the other side.
Make sure you add the cute little town of Meiringen on your Swiss Itinerary, it is definitely a gem to remember!
Over to you! Would you like to visit?