Wengen is a magical car-free village with some of the most magnificent mountain views in the Alps. Located within Switzerland's Jungfrau region, this picturesque setting retains its historic roots; with the Wengernalpbahn cog railway trains remaining one of the principal forms of uphill transport within the region. To reach Wengen, you take the mountain railway which runs up from Lauterbrunnen on the valley floor before climbing upwards via the Kleine Scheidegg summit at 2,060m.
Although Wengen is certainly much livelier than its neighbour Mürren on the other side of the Lauterbrunnen valley, it is still a compact and traditional feeling village which offers plenty of Alpine charm. Most of the action is centred around one long main street, which offers stupendous views looking out to the surrounding Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains. The calm, unhurried atmosphere of the village alongside an abundance of gentle, leisurely pistes makes for the ideal environment for families and groups which include non-skiers.
Resort Altitude: 1,275m
Resort Skiing: 2,970m
Total Ski Area: 224km
Blue Runs: 86km
Red Runs: 107km
Black Runs: 31km
Cross Country: 12km
Wengen shares the Jungfrau ski area with its neighbouring resort Grindelwald. Vast and varied in its terrain, Jungfrau skiing offers nearly 230km of pristine slopes as well as some outstanding off-piste skiing. The full area Jungfrau Top Ski Region pass covers this whole region, which will be sure to provide something for everyone from the testing runs down the Kleine Scheidegg mountain to the nursery slopes around Grindelwald.
Wengen is famous in ski racing for its intimidating Lauberhorn Men’s Downhill World Cup race which is held every January. Experts can try out this challenging descent for themselves, or head to the fearsome Black Rock run which starts at the base of the Eiger and the almost vertical Kanonenrohr in Mürren. The runs in the Wengen/Grindelwald sector are mostly blues or gentle reds. These are perfect for intermediate skiers and the dramatic mountain scenery that surrounds them is an important additional pleasure.
Kleine Sheidegg offers plenty of wide-open red runs which are excellent territory for boarders looking to build up technique and practice their carving. Beginners should be aware of the flat and narrow sections between pistes which may prove a challenge without having experience of negotiating such terrain on a board. In Wengen, there is a beginner's snowpark, whilst Grindelwald offers a much larger park with 850m of kickers, four rails, seven boxes and much more.
Wengen offers the choice of several ski schools which provide instruction in skiing and snowboarding across the combined Wengen-Grindelwald ski area. Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Wengen offers morning and afternoon group lessons from Sunday through to Friday as well as private lessons. Altitude is a well-known chain which typically will offer native-English instructors who can provide additional teaching in areas such as off-piste, bumps, racing and freestyle.
Off-mountain childcare is available at the Playhouse in the Sports Pavillion for children aged above 18 months from Sunday to Friday in winter; whilst the Sunshine Creche at the top of the Mannlichen lift station will look after children aged one month to eight years old from 8.30 until 5pm daily from Christmas through to Easter.
The Kleine Scheidegg ski area offers a good selection of dining options, such as the Crewe Junction of the Alps, which has a giant Tipi tent serving barbecue food. The Spycher hut is another great novelty dining experience, with an accompanying ice bar from which you can enjoy a refreshing drink in the late afternoon sunshine. Down in the town, most of the restaurants are in Wengen's hotels. The Hotel Regina's Chez Meyer offers fine dining with panoramic views of the surrounding valley.
Après-ski begins on the slopes in Wengen and most people stop off for a beer, a schnapps or an alcoholic coffee on their way home at places such as Mary’s Café and the Schnee Bar outside the Hotel Brunner. Pickel Bar is a cosy stop off in the basement of the Hotel Eiger, whilst the hotel bar of the Sunstar has a good ambience and is popular with non-residents. The Tanne is a lively cocktail bar appealing to a younger set, while later at night the party continues at Hasenstall bar until 5.00am.
There are plenty of off-slope activities in Wengen for non-skiers. The town's cinema shows English films and there are plenty of interesting shops and dining experiences to enjoy. The resort also has a multitude of alternative sports activities on offer, such as heli-skiing, curling, hiking, hang-gliding, bowling and indoor tennis. Those on the pursuit of some rest and relaxation will enjoy use of the resort's spa facilities, sauna and indoor swimming pool.