Car free and charming traditional ski resort in the heart of the stunning Jungfrau region
Wengen resort guide - a general overview
Wengen, which is set on a high shelf above the Lauterbrunnen valley, is a pretty, traditional, traffic free alpine village. The local scenery is some of the most beautiful in the entire Alps (the famous Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch mountains) and much of the skiing can only be reached by cog railway which although slow by modern ski lift standards does lend the area enormous charm. Its extensive slopes are ideal for intermediates but there is nothing particularly challenging for experts unless they tackle the off-piste terrain.
With its unhurried atmosphere the resort is very popular with British families, many of whom come back year after year for their family ski holidays in Wengen (until their 18 year old children complain about the lack of trendy bars and insist the family then go to Val d'Isere!). There are some charming hotels in Wengen which are perfect for a family ski holiday.
The resort's one problem is its snow reliability at the beginning and end of the season. There are many sunny slopes below 2,000 metres and the snowmaking facilities, although much improved in latter years, are not totally up to protecting them during a dry winter. However, Wengen is more of a Winter resort than a ski resort and the stunning scenery and 'old world' charm make it a great resort for those just wanting a relaxed holiday, with some fun excursions, good walking and mountain based activities.
Pros and Cons
- Some of the most superb Alpine scenery that you can find
- Traditional nearly traffic free village (reached only by cog railway up from the valley)
- Lots of long easy runs ideal for children and intermediate skiers and boarders
- Very good nursery slopes right in the heart of the village
- Relaxed, unhurried atmosphere
- Limited challenging pistes for experts (some good off-piste though)
- Snow conditions can be unreliable at the beginning and end of the season on the sunny home run
- Although there are cable cars accessing the skiing the trains (traditional cog style) are slow
- The nightlife is a little quiet for those looking for exciting evening entertainment
Wengen Resort Restaurants
Most restaurants, as is common in Swiss resorts, are found in the hotels and they offer good food and service. The Eiger, the Hirschen and the Bernerhof are all good. There is no shortage of fondue options in Wengen but some of the bars provide more casual fayre. The Sina for example does good value pizzas and Cafe Gruebi has been noted for its wonderful cakes! The Jungfrau hotel up at Wengernalp has a great restaurant but the only way back down to the village after dinner is either on skis or a toboggan!
Wengen Mountain Restaurants
As with most traditional resorts the mountain eating is good with a wide range of restaurants to choose from. At Wengernalp the Jungfrau hotel serves excellent Rosti. At over 2,000 metres the restaurant at Eigergletscher offers superb glacier and Jungfrau views on a sunny day (get there early to get an outside table). The station buffet at Kleine Scheidegg is very popular and very busy so it might be worth the short uphill trudge to the Grindelwaldblick which might be less busy and gives you fantastic views of the Eiger Mountain. Other good places include the Allmend and Mary's Cafe, situated at the end of the World Cup runs.
Wengen Apres Ski
If you are looking for a wild time then you will probably be disappointed - Wengen is no Kitzbuhel, Verbier or St Anton. However, it is far from 'dead' and there are a few bars that are popular either straight after skiing or later into the night. The bar at the Bumps section of the home run is a popular stop off point at the end of the day before one heads on down to the village centre. Both the stube and the small welcoming bar at the Eiger Hotel are popular too.
The traditional Tanne and the Funky Chilli's almost opposite each other on the main street are quite lively. Sina's, out near Club Med, usually has live music and the Caprice bar is also recommended. There are discos (and live music) in some of the hotels but do not confuse these venues with Pascha, Space or Manu Mission!