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Meiringen itself is much less appealing than the countryside all around. The tourist office can supply details of the many hikes in and around the Hasli valley and Hasliberg region, but the most accessible excursion is to the dramatic Reichenbach falls. A wonderful old funicular (May–Oct; Fr.8.50 combined ticket with Sherlock Holmes Museum) runs from the south of town up to a vantage point below the roaring falls, best visited in spring laden with snowmelt from the glaciers further upstream.
Stepped paths lead up beside the falls through the mossy forests to Zwirgi village, at the foot of the deep and dramatic Reichenbach valley. Trails lead on southwest up the valley past the hamlet of Kaltenbrunnen to Rosenlaui, where a grand four-storey pile, the atmospheric Rosenlaui Hotel (Phone & fax 033/971 29 12; b, dorms Fr.38; mid-May to Oct), sits overlooking a stream. The hotel was built a hundred years ago to service tourists come to explore the Rosenlaui valley and its mighty glacier, and to bathe in the valley’s mineral springs, and its public rooms are a breath of elegance from a former age. From Rosenlaui, trails head on up to Schwarzwaldalp (beyond which private cars are forbidden) and over the GrosseScheidegg pass to Grindelwald. This route through the Reichenbach valley to Grindelwald is also served by hourly postbuses from Meiringen (June–Sept).
A couple of kilometres east of Meiringen, served by buses to Innertkirchen, is the Aareschlucht (Aare gorge; daily: July & Aug 8am–6pm; April–June & Sept–Oct 9am–5pm; Fr.6), with a path snaking for 1.4km into the deep and dramatic sheer-sided gorge, which is floodlit on summer nights (July & Aug Wed & Fri 9–11pm).
Meiringen is one of the starting points for the excellent Three- and Four-Passes tours by postbus, which run once or twice a week in the summer months (June–Sept) – you must, though, reserve a seat in advance at any bus station. The route from Meiringen crosses the Susten (2224m) to Andermatt (another possible starting point), then goes on to the Furka (2431m) and Grimsel (2165m) before returning to Meiringen in the late afternoon. Add a fourth pass (the Grosse Scheidegg, 1962m) if you start from Grindelwald. With your own transport you can add a long extra midway loop, cutting south from Andermatt over the Gotthard (2108m), then to the Nufenen (2478m), then back north over the Grimsel to Meiringen again – this way, though, you miss the Furka pass. Needless to say, riding around on the highest roads in Europe brings with it marvellous scenery from every angle. Every one of these passes has at least a restaurant on top, and most have some form of inn accommodation as well, making it easy to break your journey.
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