Wengen - The Good, the Bad, ...and the Facts!
Wengen Resort Alititude: 1270m.
The scenery ! Hard to beat anywhere in the world.
Beautiful traditional-style resort, almost dripping with history !
Car-free resort, good for families.
Not much on offer for really advanced skiers.
Getting to the slopes can take a while from the town centre during busy holiday periods.
Home of the world-famous Lauberhorn downhill course.
Wengen Live Streams
The live images below of Wengen : Mannlichen (2230m) are provided courtesy of Feratel Media Technologies AG
Wengen Web Cameras
A list of webcams for Wengen and the surrounding area.
Wengen Snow Record
Many people persist in maintaining that Wengen and the surrounding ski area has a bad snow record
but we've been twice now and it's always been fantastic. One of the things that can effect the village
centre in milder conditions is it's sunny position up on the ledge. If the snow's getting a
solar-hammering from the sun then the snow in the resort and the runs leading down to it can get affected.
However, they have invested in snow cannons on these runs and it's helped to improve things immensely.
We've been in April once and there was plenty of snow up on the runs from Mannlichen and Kleine Scheidegg.
Wengen is Family Friendly
Families or couples looking for somewhere traditional and pleasant will love the charm of it all,
and it seems many get seduced into returning year after year to Wengen and the surrounding area.
The pedestrianised centre is extremely good if you have kids, but do be careful of the
hotel's electric vehicles, some of them still zip around at a fair old pace and one or two of the drivers seemed to be oblivious
to the fact that there were small children around.
Wengen has Amazing Scenery
Nestling high up on a ledge above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Wengen is another glorious traffic free village which is only reachable by
a cogwheel railway. Dominating the skyline above Wengen are the snowy masses of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau whilst the scenery in
another direction is pretty impressive too, with waterfalls dropping from the hanging valleys of Murren and the peak of the Schilthorn
on the other side of the Lauterbrunnen valley. The sheers cliffs rising up from the village to the cable car station at Mannlichen
are pretty impressive too.
Any Summer Skiing at Wengen ?
Surprisingly, given the size of the mountains that are surrounding Wengen, you can't actually ski
anywhere in the summer.
The Eiger has a glacier (the Eigergletscher) and from the visitor centre at the top of the Jungfraujoch
you're right next to another one, also the largest glacier in the Alps - the Great Aletsch Glacier (Grosser Aletschgletscher)
but there are no lifts or skiing on these.
Instead, Wengen and the Jungfrau area turns its attention to a whole host of other outdoor activities during the summer months,
such as hiking, climbing, paragliding and water-sports down on the lakes near Interlaken.
You want history ? Wengen's certainly got it, ...lots of it. Descriptions of the village can be traced right back
to it's origins as a farming community in the 13th century, and continuing as one until the 19th century, when it started
to transform into what it's now best known for - being a tourist hotspot. And whilst there's a chance you might bump into
a celeb or two on the slopes nowadays, even back then it was visited by A-list celebs of the time such as Napoleon and Julius Caesar,
although they were more likely to be scouring the countryside wondering who to invade next, rather than sat in a mountain
restaurant pondering which piste to tackle.
Wengen was popularised amongst British high society by Shelley's visit to the Jungfrau region in the early 19th century,
and this era, right through to the end of the 19th century, saw an explosion of general tourism for Wengen, with hotels popping up
left right and centre. One of the key factors in it's popularity was the construction of the Wengernalpbahn, giving it a rail
link to Lauterbrunnen below and eventually over the other side of the Lauberhorn mountain and down to Grindelwald.
It was the advent of organised ski clubs and racing that made Wengen such a popular destination for wealthy, well-schooled Brits.
Given the history, it's no surprise that the village still has strong ties with British skiers and remains a popular
destination, and even home, for many British skiers.
So at the start of the 20th century the Bernese Oberland area had become increasingly popular amongst Brits, with Wengen, Adelboden,
Murren and Grindelwald all popular destinations, whilst Henry Lunn (later Sir Henry Lunn and founder of the famous Lunn-Poly travel group)
was attracting even more people to the region by organising holiday tours, combining winter sports activities with religious meetings
and health centres (you don't get Club 18-30 doing that!).
Lunn didn't stop at simple tours either, forming the Public Schools Alpine Sports Club. Now if you think some of your local clubs
can be a bit cliquey they're nothing in comparison to this - to be allowed into the club you needed an educational background
that involved either an English public school or one of the best universities. Wengen was one of the main destinations for the club.
By 1908 Henry's son Arnold Lunn (who'd also receive a knighthood - good lad !) had found a love for winter sports as great
as his fathers and formed the Alpine Ski Club (1908) and also the Kandahar Ski Club (this was formed over in Murren).
He became the organiser of some of the most historic ski races in the world, and is often referred to as the inventor of
modern day downhill ski racing. Lunn organised 'straight-down' races on the slopes above Wengen and also slalom races, using trees
in the fashion of modern-day slalom ski gates.
Wengen - Getting There
Consider travelling by train - it takes about 3 and a half hours from Geneva with changes required at Bern, Interlaken Ost
and Lauterbrunnen. This may sound like a long time and a lot of hassle changing but it's worth it.
It's a fantastic journey around Lake Geneva to start with and then the final legs as you hit the Bernese Oberland.
Getting to the Slopes at Wengen
Getting to the Mannlichen Ski Area above Wengen
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.
The Skiing at Wengen
Wengen is part of the
Wengen's all about the scenery, and we reckon we can pretty much sum up the appeal of skiing
here with this...
If you're an intermediate-level skier and want great scenery - go to Wengen.
If you're an expert skier and want great scenery - go to Zermatt.
Yep, we reckon Wengen's mainly an intermediate's resort, although fast-learning beginners
will probably enjoy it too. But the really advanced thrill-seeking experts out there will more
than likely find it too limited, although they'll love pretending to be Franz Klammer as they
ski the Lauberhorn's legendary World Cup course. And the views will simply blow them away.
"Is it really that
scenic ?" Oh yes. And more...
the panoramic skyline of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau from the Mannlichen or Lauberhorn areas is hard
to beat in any ski resort, whilst the views over the valley to Murren and the Schilthorn as you ski
back round and down to Wengen will stick long in your memory - that's guaranteed.
The Jungfrau Ski region is comprised of 3 ski areas: Grindelwald-First, Murren-Schilthorn
and Kleine Scheidegg-Mannlichen. The latter is the ski area closest to Wengen and the one
we'll discuss here.
Wengen-Mannlichen Ski Area
Below is a description of the various skiing areas at Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg:
From Mannlichen there is a blue (piste 2) or a red (number 3) to take you right down down to the
base of the Mannlichen chairlift (note - that's the chairlift, not the cable-car back down to Wengen, you wont be skiing
down that way unless you're about the same level as Candide Thovex). There are also 2 sections at the top where you can ski black
piste no. 1 and then get down via the aforementioned reds or blues.
One thing worth pointing out is that some of the higher slopes around Mannlichen can sometimes be closed
due to high winds - it's quite an exposed area. Wengen village centre sometimes get's protected from the winds from the other side
of Mannlichen but it's worth being aware that the conditions on the top run can be very different.
However, this is a problem common to many ski resorts, not just Wengen.
Also going down from Mannlichen top station is the Grindelwald Grund - Mannlichen gondola.
The gondola goes from 2230m right down to Grund at 944m. There are a variety of blues and red pistes to
navigate down to the bottom of the fantastically named Lager chairlift (not as good as it sounds!)
but to get down further to the Holenstein station of the gondola or right down to the bottom at Grund
early intermediates need to be able to get down a red run (piste number 3). Be aware that in busy
holiday periods such as half-term the routes down to Grund can get busy before lunch as lots of
people head down there (anyone skipping lunch or stopping earlier/later will find
the runs down to Grund much quieter over lunch).
There are a number of pistes between Mannlichen and Kleinne Scheidegg but the vast majority
are reds and suited to intermediates. One thing we're too keen about in this area is some of the piste
markings - which were were a bit unclear. Red pistes no. 7 at Tschuggen and no. 21 at Honegg or Kleine
Scheidegg both meet up just below the Tschuggen drag lift and then take you down to Grund.
Speaking of the Tshuggen drag lift - it's extremely long - worth bearing in mind if you've got kids
with you who have a tendency to fall off them if they need to hold on for longer than 2 minutes !!
Nervy intermediates or developing beginners can get down to Grund avoiding the reds if they want
to by using the long blue piste (no. 22) that goes right down under the north face of the Eiger
from Kleine Scheidegg, past Alpiglen and down into Grindelwald.
Lauberhorn-Kleine Scheidegg Area
There are a couple of reds up on the top of the Lauberhorn, and you can ski the World Cup run
that starts up here and winds it's way back down to Wengen. It's the oldest race on the downhill
circuit and also the longest, the pro's doing it in a staggering 2 and a half minutes !
There's a cracking bar up here called
the Start Bar, if you're there when the Lauberhorn race is on then get yourself up to it, you'll
be amazed that you can rub shoulders with the racers before they hurtle off down the course.
If you're up on the Lauberhorn
and look onto the opposite side of Kleine Scheidegg you'll see another area at a similar height
- the Eigergletscher. More advanced skiers will be pleased to hear that there are a few black runs up
here around the Fallboden lift as well as a couple of reds.
You can get back down to Wengen from either the Eigergletscher, Lauberhorn or Kleine Scheidegg areas
(with the latter having the blue option) but all 3 routes (with the exception of the black World Cup run)
eventually end up at the Wengernalp area, sweeping round the corner on a steady blue to Allmend.
If you do come down the World Cup run look out for boards detailing the different sections and jumps
of the course. If you like your Ski Sunday or Eurosport then you'll recognise the names, if not they're still
worth taking a breather at and reading.
There are a couple more black and red runs in the Allmend area, ending down at the foot of the Innerwengen
chairlift, one of the blacks is the Mannlichen World Cup slalom run, which traditionally takes place the
day after the downhill. Back up at Allmend the blue run continues back down into the village - you can then
make your way back over to the cable car and start again or if it's the end of the day head for a well-deserved drink !
So, to conclude, if the idea of being in one of the most picturesque resorts in the world, with friendly, English-speaking locals
and intermediate-friendly skiing appeals to you then Wengen should be high on your lists of resorts to visit.
Wengen Piste Maps
A list of piste-maps for Wengen and the surrounding ski areas.
Wengen The Resort Itself
Wengen Other Activities
Wengen Local Knowledge
Wengen Apres Ski
Wengen's general vibe is a relaxed one - it's all very civilised and laid back. And this atmosphere is carried over into the
bars around the resorts - it's more about grabbing a drink with family or friends after a decent day's skiing rather than
leaving the slopes early and dancing on the tables !
With this in mind, same-sex groups of 20-something's are probably not going to find the atmosphere they're looking for here
and would be better off looking elsewhere if that's high on their ski-holiday check-list.
At the end of the blue run where you come back into town is Hotel Caprice and many skiers stop to have a post-ski drink here.
There are a few other hotels which have welcoming bars that prove popular immediately after finishing on the slopes.
Wengen - Any Chance of Early Snow ?
Wengen Resort Style
Wengen Annual Events
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.
Lauberhorn 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.
Inferno Race »
Wengen Useful Links
If you want some further information on Wengen, then you might find these links to other sites useful...
Hotels + Chalets in Wengen
Wengen hotels and chalets.
The Hotel Regina is an historic, Victorian-style hotel dating back to the 19th century but now updated to
include fine dining and wellness facilities.
The hotel has a large lobby area with fireplace, two restaurants and a piano bar. It has
fantastic views of Wengen itself, as well as the Jungfrau range and the Lauterbrunnen valley.
Discover the magic of the Jungfrau-Region at its best with your friends and family or all alone
at the hotels Bernerhof and Residence. close to the famous Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountain range.
Our traditional Chalet style hotel, here in the heart of the Swiss Alps, is your best vantage point to
our amazing mountains, our huge ski area (Wengen-Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg, Grindelwald-First, Murren-Schilthorn)
and our diversified sports programs around Wengen (Paragliding, Base-Jump, Bike, Trekking).
The Hotel Jungfraublick is a family run hotel in Wengen that prides itself on it's hospitality, helpfulness and friendliness.
The hotel is situated at a quiet location in the town, and looks out towards both the Jungfrau and the Lauterbrunnen Valley,
with incredible views of the surrounding mountains from the room's balconies
The Hotel Jungfraublick is just a few minutes away from both Wengen's main street and the Mannlichen chairlift,
with the train station only a few minutes further on.
Our 3-star hotel is ideal for a relaxing holiday at the foot of the Jungfrau.
The hotel was built in 1912 as an art-nouveau hotel and enjoys one of the best,
most peaceful locations in Wengen.
Within only 5 minutes walk you reach the tennis courts, as well as the ski-school office
(and it's meeting place), along with the beginner's slopes and the ice-rink.
The Mannlichen cable car is only 5 minutes walk from the hotel, meaning that you reach
the Mannlichen mountain in just a few minutes - the perfect starting point for skiing and hiking -
and always with the incredible view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.
Our hotel is located in the centre of the village at the foot of the Jungfrau,
with Wengen's famous mountain railway station only 1 minute away.
At the hotel you will find our new spa area, the Swiss ski school,
a sports shop, a jewellery shop and our a-la carte restaurant Silberhornstube
Located besides the hotel are the tennis courts, the ski school office (and ski school meeting place)
as well as the beginner's slopes and the ice-rink.
Next to our hotel is the Mannlichen cable car which is the perfect starting point for skiing and
hiking in the Jungfrau region - and always in full view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau.
Hotel Wengener Hof
We are located at the foot of the Jungfrau and we are one of the most esteemed hotels in a quiet location.
The Wengener Hof is extremely popular with visitors as it offers a consistently high standard of service and because of
its excellent location and pleasant scale, it has for many years provided individual hospitality.
We offer a wide range of fine wines from Switzerland and other wine-growing regions around the world.
The highlight is our excellent selection of Bordeaux wines.
Wengen is the ideal starting point for various excursions and the hotel is only 5 minutes
away from both the mountain railway station and the Mannlichen cable car.
Sunstar Hotel Wengen
The traditional Sunstar Hotel Wengen**** is in a central location in this car-free resort,
just opposite the Mannlichen cable-car. The rooms, decorated with light-coloured wood,
have beautiful views either of the mountains and down the valley towards the south
or of the village and the Mannlichen.
The lounge with its open fire and the bar are inviting places to chat and relax.
The quiet, car-free resort of Wengen, with its typical wooden houses and lovingly
preserved traditional features, is situated on a sunny and sheltered mountain terrace - an
idyllic holiday paradise for all the family.
Wengen is situated on the foot of the magnificent Jungfrau on a wind sheltered, sunny terrace on an altitude of 1274 meters.
It is the perfect chocolate box Swiss chalet complete with swimming pool, mini-golf, ice skating, shops restaurants and of
course the famous Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch. The Chalet has been built on a sunny slope in the area of the Schiltwald, just
outside Wengen village close to end of Lauberhornen downhill ski race. The chalet is in a very quiet and idyllic place and
an impressive views of the mountains. The chalet has been built in a traditional style but is modern, cosy and bright and is
arranged over 3 floors with gallery area in the roof. There are two large balconies from which you enjoy the fantastic views
across and down the Lauterbrunnen Valley. We have balcony chairs and table for eating al fresco and sun loungers.
We have a sauna in the basement and outside shed for storage of skis, boots, sledges etc.