The Reichenbach Falls

The Reichenbach Falls are a waterfall cascade of seven steps on the stream called Rychenbach in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. They drop over a total change of altitude of about 250 meters. The falls are located in the lower part of the Reichenbachtal, some 1.5 km away from the town of Meiringen.

The town and the falls are known worldwide for the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. The tourism in Meringen revolves around Sherlock Holmes.

Who was Sherlock Holmes?

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. After years of successfully churning out many Sherlock Holmes mysteries, he get tired of his own creation and decided to kill him off. In 1893 Conan Doyle visited Reichenbach Falls in the northern Swiss Alps. After seeing the magnificent falls he decided the place would make a perfect end for his character Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave the Reichenbach Fall as the location of the final physical altercation between his hero Sherlock Holmes and his greatest foe, the criminal Professor Moriarty in “The Final Problem”. Though Sherlock Holmes’s appalling death proved temporary. Conan Doyle later revived him under pressure from his readers. A plaque fixed at the Reichenbach falls claims in three different languages that “at this fearful place, Sherlock Holmes vanquished Professor Moriarty”. This plaque is another side of the waterfall from the funicular station and very few visitors actually go there to see the plaque as it is on a hard to reach ledge. For Sherlock Holmes fans, apart from the waterfalls, there is a Sherlock Holmes Museum in the center of Meiringen.

Sherlock Holmes statue in town
Sherlock Holmes statue in town

How to get to Reichenbach falls?

The entrance to the fall is a 20 minute walk from the center of Meiringen from where a funicular will takes you up to a viewing area. These funicular is a 24-seater wooden carriages. From the upper funicular station there are few hiking trails through the valley. One of them is a strenuous series of stairs followed by a small bridge from which you can reach the Zwirgi Hotel. From the hotel it is possible to hike down the mountain or take “Monster Scooters” down to the valley floor.

We have done exactly opposite of this. First we take a post bust from Meiringen station to Zwirgi and then from zwirgi hotel we started to follow the marked trail. After a few minute’s walk there was a small bridge directly above the roaring River and water flow through the bridge was magnificent.

Reichenbach Fall from top
Reichenbach Fall from top

There was rain fall some time before which make this fall really impressive. From this place you will get a great view of the water fall downhill. Then we walk all the way down to the funicular station through the hiking trails. There was a lot of spray from the falls during the hike and while we are near the funicular station. Difficult to pose with the dummy or take pictures.

We take the funicular one way ticket and get back to the base station. From there we then continued to walk back down to Meringen. It was a long walk back to the railway station through the mostly deserted town, but well worth it.

Reichenbach falls funicular
Reichenbach falls funicular

If you are going after heavy rain, the falls will be more impressive. There is a hydroelectric power company upstream of the fall which harnesses the flow of the Reichenbach Falls, reducing its flow. So you may or may not see the waterfall in its full flow.

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