Panormaic view of Wengen. - (c) Jungfrau Tourism
Set on a ledge about 500m above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, the Bernese Oberland village of Wengen is one of the grand old alpine resorts, full of history, character, chocolate-box-style buildings and home to some of the most spectacular views in Europe. One thing it's not full of though is cars, you may see some of the hotel's electric vehicles bombing around like in Zermatt and Murren but as there's no public road up to the village there are no other cars. Because of this, visitors have to catch the train up from Lauterbrunnen on the Wengernalpbahn, or come down to the village from the other side of the mountain by the same train line (or cable car !). Despite being best known as a ski resort, Wengen shouldn't be underestimated as a summer destination for those who like hiking, climbing, extreme sports (such as paragliding) or just general sightseeing in a glorious setting.
The live images below of Wengen : Mannlichen (2230m) are provided courtesy of Feratel Media Technologies AG
A list of webcams for Wengen and the surrounding area.
Given Wengen's location on the shelf above the valley, and with the sheer face of Mannlichen dominating over the village centre, it's no real surprise that to ski in Wengen you need to get yourself up and out of the village to get access to the main areas of slopes up at Mannlichen and Kleine Scheidegg.
There are pistes that come back down to the village, following a route close to the world-famous Lauberhorn World Cup downhill course (don't panic timid skiers, there are alternative blue pistes alongside the world cup run). However, there's no real variation for the ski home, as this is the only route, but it's an extremely scenic home run and a lovely way to end the day.
So apart from that route home and a small nursery slope area in the village centre, the main thing to realise about Wengen is that you need to get out of the resort centre to either Mannlichen or Kleine Scheidegg. Mannlichen is the mountain (height 2343m) that hangs directly over Wengen, there's a cable car station in the centre of the village called the Luftseilbahn Wengen-Mannlichen and it takes about 5 mins to travel up there. Be warned though that at peak times this can act as a bottle neck because it's the only direct way up to Mannlichen, so it obviously gets busy. So here's the trick - if you can get yourself out of the hotel and to the cable car before 9.15 you won't have to queue, even during the busy high-season periods, and can be skiing less than 10 minutes later.
The other way to get out of town and onto the higher slopes is to take the train up to Kleine Scheidegg. This is the same line that carries everyone up to Wengen from Lauterbrunnen - it carries on up to Kleine Scheidegg and then further on to the Jungfraujoch (no pistes up there, so don't try it !). The train takes longer than the Mannlichen cable-car (about half an hour as opposed to 5 minutes), and it can also get very busy (it will also have passengers on the train already as its coming from Lauterbrunnen below) but it's a decent alternative if it's windy or if anyone's nervous of long cable-car rides !
Once you've got yourself up to either Mannlichen or Kleine Scheidegg, the first thing that's going to hit you is the view, be prepared for it. Whilst Wengen may not have the most extensive range of pistes, it does have something very special - scenery to die for... the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau hanging over you, the Wetterhorn over Grindelwald and the Schilthorn over Murren. It's breathtaking stuff.
Information on the Swiss ski area Jungfrau Region, including links to the surrounding resorts, webcams, slope information and lift details.
A list of piste-maps for Wengen and the surrounding ski areas.
Piste-map of the Mannlichen and Kleine Scheidegg ski areas above Wengen.
Annual Events in this and neighbouring resorts...
The word 'classic' is often over-used, but not in the case of this race.
Set on the slopes of the Lauberhorn above the Swiss resort of Wengen, this is a race that has the lot - history, drama and the best scenery on the World Cup calendar.
The 2016 year's event will be the 86th running of the races, making it the longest running of all the FIS World Cup races. It's traditionally run the weekend before the Hahnenkamm races at Kitzbuhel, making back-to-back classic downhill races.
This spectacular ski race was started back in 1928 by 5 Brits from Murren's Kandahar Club and now has an important place on the annual ski calendar as one of the biggest and most popular amateur ski races in the world. The course is just under 15km long, starting just under the Schilthorn (think James Bond On Her Majesty's Secret Service at 2790m and finishing right down in the valley at Lauterbrunnen 2000m vertically below. The winner hurtles down in about 15 minutes but there's plenty of competition - with up to 1800 skiers taking part. The event has become big business for the village of Murren, with other events in the lead up and a massive Swiss party afterwards.
The 2016 race will be the 73rd running of the event.
If you want some further information on Wengen, then you might find these links to other sites useful...
Wengen hotels and chalets.