Apres Ski in Wengen
Wengen is a traditional, family oriented Swiss ski resort located at an altitude of 1,274m on a wide-open sunny terrace at the foot of the Jungfrau and with spectacular views. The heart of the village is a short main street, lined with shops and hotels.
The Village of Wengen
The charming Alpine village of Wengen is mostly traffic free and fairly quiet at night. It’s all pretty sedate, even idyllic and less than one kilometer from end to end so nowhere is very far from anywhere else, but parts of the village are quite hilly.
The main square, with its ice-rink and nursery slopes, is dotted with some quite grand old hotels. It’s an easy to walk to everywhere along the side-streets and footpaths. But some have quite steep inclines and might make you huff and puff when retracing your steps from a local bar to your hotel, depending on where it is, or if you over indulge in apres ski.
The first recorded mention of Wengen as “Dorf auf de Wange”, the village on the slopes, was in 1268. Then a small hamlet at the foot of the Jungfrau, it remained a poor mountain village until the late 19th Centrury when the first licenses for Inns on the pass at Klein Scheidegg were granted to Wengneralp in 1834 and Klein Scheidegg in 1835.
Travellers were accommodated in private houses until increasing numbers of guests led to the building of four small guest houses. Then in 1880 the Pension Wengen was built with a capacity of 100 beds. The building of the Bernese Oberland Railway in 1890 and the Wengneralp Railway in 1893 brought further growth in tourism in summer.
The opening of the Wengen-Wengneralp-Kleine Scheidegg mountain railway in 1909/10 was the foundation of the growth of winter sports in Wengen. Still a relatively small mountain village, today Wengen is a flourishing summer and winter resort with over 2,000 beds in 21 hotels and a further 2,300 beds in 400 apartments.
There’s an adequate selection of shops in Wengen including four sports shops, a few grocery stores, a bakery, a Swiss Made souvenir shop, a book shop, a Stationer’s, a pharmacy, a florist and a newsagents kiosk at the railway station, but there’s not much else in the way of retail therapy.
Apres Ski Bars & Nightlife in Wengen
Apres ski in Wengen is relatively quiet and takes place mostly in half a dozen of bars and hotel lounge bars. It’s definitely not a place for dancing in ski-boots or partying hard and late. Wengen has around 20 restaurants mostly in hotels and serving a wide range of cuisine from seasonal Swiss specialities to international gourmet dishes.
For apres ski on the mountain, the Tipirama wigwam at Kleine Scheidegg is vibrant and fun immediately after skiing and the Lauberhorn Startbar at the start of the World-Cup downhill-course is normally pretty lively, especially during the World Cup races in January.
The Hotel Brunner (the only ski-in, ski-out accommodation Wengen) has an outdoor snowbar and is a big favourite with British skiers. There’s also a snowbar near the Figeler nursery slopes in the centre of the village and the small bar at the Hotel Eiger is a fun place to end up after skiing.
The Tanne bar in Dorfstrasse is a small traditional bar with Swiss, Norwegian and Union Jack flags flying outside. Open daily from 4pm Tanne is a friedly place to relax and enjoy a homemade gluhwein after skiing or for cocktails and champagne later in the evening.
There’s another nice bar in Dorfstrasse, look for a wine bar with dark wood facia, wooden door and two big feature windows which offer an inviting view of the interior, but it’s quite new and there was no name outside when last visited.
Rocks Bar has plasma screens showing Sky Sports live and serves draught Guiness as well as beer, wine and cocktails. Also, Rocks has a Happy Hour from 9-10pm to entice people out of their hotels after dinner.
Sina’s Pub also has a big screen TV, live music, karaoke and quiz nights but it’s further out (near Club Med) and mention of karaoke and quiz nights will likely deter rather than attract the vast majority of Wengen’s visitors.
For those who like dancing, there’s the Blue Monkey nightclub and a “welcome to the party” at Hasenstall in the basement of the Hotel Silberhorn in the centre of Wengen.
Restaurants in Wengen
Many of the best restaurants in Wengen are in hotels and a number of these restaurants have been awarded 13 or 15 points by Gault Millau. Most restaurants in Wengen, including hotel restaurants, open for lunch from 11:30am until 2pm and open again for dinner between 6pm or 7pm and 9:30pm. Compared to some ski resorts, 9:30pm is quite an early finish, but that seems not to bother the majority of Wengen’s guests – mostly families and couples rather than die hard apres skiers.
For fine dining, Chez Meyer’s Le Grand restaurant at the Hotel Regina is Wengen’s is probably best restaurant with 15/20 Gault Millau points for excellent French cuisine complemented by first-rate Swiss and Italian wines, and outstanding service. Caprice at the stylish Caprice Hotel (a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World) is highly regarded for Swiss, European and international gourmet dishes (13/20 Gault Millau points) and has some of the best views in Switzerland.
The Baren at the Hotel Baren gets good reviews especially if staying and eating here on half board terms. Don’t be put off by the hotel’s 2-star rating, the restaurant is listed in Guide Michelin and Guide Bleu for good food and good service, and is full for two sittings most nights. The Schonegg restaurant at the Romantik Hotel Schonegg also has 13/20 points by Gault Millau.
Pizzeria Da Sina has a family friendly menu and now gets good reviews for its fillet mignon and salmon steaks as well as for pizza and pasta dishes, but is too often criticised for poor service and for being somewhat overpriced. Pasta & More, another mid-prices Italian restaurant, is part of the Victorial Lauberhorn hotel and serves good food but loses points for being awkward about serving tap water or for charging for it.
If you’re hungry and in a hurry or looking to eat at the lower end of the scale, Santos “fine food” in the main street is a fast food establishment for burgers, nuggets, hot dogs and french fries. Likewise, Crystal Bar offers a choice of sandwiches, hot dogs, currywurst, cheese toasts and goulash soup, but has been criticised by some for being unfriendly and for poor service.
Other Activities in Wengen
Wengen has plenty of other activities for skiers and non-skiers alike. There’s winter walking, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice-skating, curling, wellness facilities, as well as a cinema and special excursions.
In the whole Jungfrau region there are 100km of winter footpaths, 20km of showshoeing trails, 95km of toboggan runs, 34km of cross-country skiing (though none in Wengen itself), natural and artificial ice rinks, curling, glacier ski tours, ice climbing, heli-skiing, paragliding and snowtubing
Winter walking in Wengen
There are 100km of winter walking paths in the Jungfrau resorts including 70km of winter walking paths in and around Wengen. For more information and maps contact the tourist office in Wengen and for guided tours contact Kaderli Tours; Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 36 81.
Tobogganing in Wengen
There are numerous toboggan runs totalling 95km throughout the Jungfrau region including two toboggan runs in Wengen, namely the 4,500 m long toboggan run from Wengernalp via Almend to Wengen and the 5,000 m long Rita’s Speedway toboggan run from Mannlichen to Holenstein.
Cross-Country skiing in Wengen
Wengen is too hilly for cross-country skiing so there are no cross-country trails in or around the village, but there’s a 12km long cross-country ski trail nearby at Lauterbrunnen, which is just 17 minutes by rail from Wengen.
Ice-Skating and Curling in Wengen
Wengen has a natural ice-rink (1200 m²) and a partially covered artificial ice-rink (2,700 m²) with a wide range of facilities and perfect conditions for ice-skating surrounded by spectacular mountain views. Open daily in winter from 9:30am until 6pm every day except Thursday (10pm closing) with skates available for hire for ½ a day or a full day at low cost. The ice-rink in Wengen has 11 curling lanes in winter and 3 covered lanes in summer. Book a curling lane for one hour at a time with or without instruction. Curling shoes are also available for hire. Tel: +41 (0) 33 855 25 65.
Wellness in Wengen
The Beausite Park, Regina, Wegener Hof, Victoria Lauberhorn and Edelweiss hotels have wellness facilities which are available to non-residents, subject to an entry fee. The best facilities are at the Beausite Park Hotel (Tel: +41 (0) 33 856 51 61) and include a swimming pool, steam bath, showers with aroma therapy, waterfall and massages on request. Open daily from 10amm until 4pm and on Thursday evenings from 7:30pm until 10:30pm.
Day Trips to Interlaken, Jungfrau and Other Excursions
Located between the lakes of Thun and Brienz at an altitude of 567 m, Interlaken is a popular tourist destination with many things to do in winter and summer and is easy to get to using the Jungfraubahn mountain railways. The train journey from Wengen to Interlaken via Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken Ost takes about one hour.
Visit the Jungfrau Park’s five themes of the Mysteries of the Worlds and a multi-media show about the Swiss Alps and UNESCO world natural heritage site of the Aletsch glacier – the biggest glacier in Europe and the source of the river Rhone. Located in Interlaken, the park is open daily from 10am until 6pm. Tel: +41 (0) 33 827 57 57. Web: www.jungfraupark.ch.
Enjoy some of Jungfrau regions most popular excursions including a train journey from Wilderswill (584 m) to Schynige Platte (2,076 m) or travel from Interlaken Ost by train or paddleboat steamer to Brienz then on Switzerland’s only steam cog mountain railway to Brienzer Rothorn (2,350 m).
Wengen Tourist Information