Wengen is a magical car-free village with views of some of the most magnificent mountains in the alps.
It was the British who first brought the attractions of this pretty village in Switzerland’s Jungfrau region to the attention of the rest of the world as a summer alpine destination. And it was the British who first helped to develop the place as a ski resort almost a century ago by persuading the local authorities to run their mountain railways in winter as well as summer so that they could serve as some of the world’s first ski lifts.
Still today the Wengernalpbahn cog railway trains are one of the principal forms of uphill transport in the Wengen region. Wengen itself is a car-free village that can only be reached by the mountain railway which runs up from Lauterbrunnen on the valley floor to Wengen itself and on up via a few intermediate stations to the Kleine Scheidegg summit (2,060m), which is also served by a mountain railway running up from Grindelwald.
Although Wengen is certainly much livelier than its neighbour Murren on the other side of the Lauterbrunnen valley, it is still a fairly sleepy car-free alpine village where most of the action is centred around one long main street. The views out from the village to the surrounding mountains of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau are tremendous.
The British are still an important presence in Wengen in the winter and the resort appeals particularly to the middle-aged and families with young children, although groups of skiers in their twenties will probably find the nightlife scene here a lot livelier than they might expect.