It’s always nice to visit somewhere you haven’t been before. Meiringen and the Alpen Tower are two places I’ve never been to on previous holidays to the Bernese Oberland. The travel pass we bought to get around during our holiday to Switzerland included travel to both places so it made sense to go and take a look.
We were hoping to get a glimpse of some more marmots on the mountain slopes. Their absence from many of the cable car journeys earlier in the holiday was a bit of a disappointment. We’d told the kids about the many times we’d seem marmots when we had been to Switzerland previously.
I knew Meiringen had something to do with Sherlock Holmes but I didn’t know much more about it than that. The nearby Reichenbach Falls is where he fights to his death with arch nemesis Professor Moriarty. You can take the funicular up to the Falls from Meiringen. There’s also a Sherlock Holmes museum in the town.
Meiringen’s other claim to fame is the birthplace of meringues. There are several places you can eat them in the town if you want to try them out. We didn’t stay long in the town though and decided to head up to find the cable car station to get to the Alpen Tower on the Planplatten.
Getting To The Alpen Tower
It’s 15 minutes walk from the train station to the cable car to Hasliberg Reuti. That’s the first stage of getting to the Alpen Tower. It’s one of the larger cable cars and it was pretty busy and crammed with people on our way up. Alternatively you can get a train up to the Brünig Pass and then postbus to Hasliberg Reuti. That would be quite a long way round though.
Once you get to Hasliberg Reuti you then transfer to the smaller gondola cable cars. These only fit a few people in them and if there’s a group of four of you, you’ll probably get a gondola to yourselves. I seem to remember they fit six people in them and we had a couple of extra passengers on the way up. It does feel a little bit weird travelling up in such a small cable car with strangers.
You change gondolas part way up the journey to the Alpen Tower and luckily our extra passengers got out as they were going hiking. That meant we had the gondola to ourselves for the remainder of the journey. It meant we could do do our marmot-spotting in peace. The marmots didn’t disappoint either. On the slopes higher up where there were less people about, there were an abundance of the little critters.
The Alpen Tower
When you get to the Alpen Tower, there’s a panoramic restaurant with spectacular views all around. On the day we went up there was no snow but plenty of low cloud. The views came and went as the clouds passed by. We had a snack in the restaurant and then ventured out to marvel at the views.
We took a walk out along the Planplatten ridge to a view point. From there we were lucky enough to watch several paragliders getting ready to start their journey down to Meiringen. Their gear looked very heavy to carry up but once unpacked it looked worth it.
Walking Back To Meiringen Station
On our way back down from the Alpen Tower we walked back a different way through Meiringen to get to the train station. We came across an unusual church tower.
By that stage the kids were tired after a long day and wanted to get back to Grindelwald. We had planned to go back by boat via Brienz but decided the leisurely route back wasn’t the wise thing to do. By train it takes just over half an hour but the boat journey would take another hour on top!
I’d definitely go back to visit Meiringen and the Alpen Tower again. The weather wasn’t conducive to particularly great views from the top on the day we visited.
Have you ever been to Meiringen or visited the Alpen Tower? Is there anything else in the area you’d recommend as somewhere for families to visit?