Fall in love with Switzerland when you ascend 4,180 feet to the car-free village of Wengen. A place where historic chalets line forest paths, fires crackle in wooden huts and fairytales really come to life.
We were recently welcomed into the family-friendly Sunstar Hotel and after a weekend of testing, trying and getting the inside scoop from our friends at Wengen Tourism, we’re happy to share with you the Girlfriend Guide to Wengen.
Let it Snow!
Enjoy your winter wonderland! From the town center, there’s a Gondola and Train leading to 2 different mountain top snow adventures or for families with small kids there’s plenty to do in the main village. Here’s some of our favorites…
Sled. Little ones will giggle away whizzing down the village slopes while big kids and kids at heart can board the Männlichen Gondola or Allmend Railway up, up, up & away and then sled back into the village. Special sledging day passes are best if you won’t be skiing and every Wednesday there’s an illuminated night run – how memorable would that be!
Ski. 3 ski areas combine for 206 kilometers of slopes with views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau plus there’s a free magic carpet right in the village and a beginner tow lift for those just learning.
Skate. Around you a red cable car ascends, a skier swooshes by and the sun shines. This is your backdrop for the village ice rink. Need we say more?! Well if you insist…it also has wooden chairs for beginner skaters and a 50% discount for all Overnight Guests.
Walk. The weather was nothing but cloudy when we visited but we hear the Männlichen Royal Walk is an easy 40-minute walk starting and returning to the same point near the Männlichen Gondola with breathtaking 360degree photo opportunities. Instagram envy – oh yeah!
Anti-Snow Syndrome. If you are simply not a snow bunny, head to the Victoria Hotel for a day at their spa. The 33°C saltwater spa is rejuvenating and the views from their relaxation lounge are just as magical as the mountain huts, except without all the layers of clothing.
Zuri Mom Tip: The bad news is group ski classes are not available on Saturdays for kids, BUT the good news is on Saturdays kids receive a free ski pass when an adult buys one.
Zuri Girl Tip: Equipment for skiing, skating and sledding may be easily rented in the village at one of the main sports shops including Intersport, Molitor and Central Sport. Helmets, sunscreen and sunglasses should not be forgotten and they even rent coats if you forget yours!
Cheers, Prost & En Guete!
Special Occasions. OMG, does it get more amazing than a private chalet! That’s right ladies. Grab your friends (8 -14 of them to be exact) and gather around the blazing wood-burning fire inside the Sunstar’s Raclette & BBQ Hut. It’s a cozy chalet with floor to ceiling light wood paneling, adorned with animal fur seat covers and splashes of red checked pillows and matching napkins. Yours exclusively for the evening! Fire up the BBQ or drizzle raclette over the open flames during your 3-course private party. (photo below of interior)
Dinner with Friends. Da Sina is a family-owned and operated Pizzeria and Steakhouse that after having been recommended to us several times we had to try! The lovely Vanessa showed us around the rustic candle-lit landmark and proudly shared her family’s history over the past 30 years and their role in catering to Wengen visitors. The’ve frozen time with grandmother’s Lasagna de la Mona baked in a non-traditional way by Nuno the Chef (also there 30 years!), but they are also catering to modern needs like adding a Vegan Burger at the bar and serving the trendy Moscow Mule with Ginger Beer.
Ski Break. Whether skiing or simply enjoying the view, the village gondola takes you (and about 50 of your closest friends) to the mountain stop Männlichen. As most ski piste restaurants do, the Männlichen Berghaus serves the usual Swiss suspects of rosti, brats and schnitzel so we were quite surprised to see special dishes for Vegetarians, Gluten Free and Lactose Free and eager to try the Thai Soup. Although we did stick to our roots with drinks opting for the Männlichen Coffee. Can you really pass up Kirsch & Cream when your 2,000+ meters high in the Alps??!!
A Hiker’s Indulgence. Enjoy a nice walk to the Wengernalp and be rewarded with an elegant lunch on the sun terrace at the Hotel Jungfrau Wengernalp.
Swiss Me Up: Mary’s Cafe is like a journey back in time. Nestled between streams and snow-covered trees about a 20-minute walk through a forest road from the town center, discover this gem…with a wood-burning fire, a live accordion player and white ruffled curtains, cuddle up under the hanging oil-lamps and share your deepest secrets over a cup of hot cocoa.
Zuri Girl Tip: We couldn’t stay up late enough but hear Tanne Bar and Hasenstall are the places to party into the night.
Zuri Mom Tip: The waiter at Residence & Bernerhof went above & beyond at making the kids feel happy. Besides bringing goodie bags with pads & papers, colorful drinking cups, special menus and toddler chairs, he didn’t look at us like we had 5 heads or blink when the kids giggled and galloped about. He was patient, fun and made it really feel like a vacation where kids were welcomed.
Where to Shop
All good things eventually end, but not before filling up your shopping cart. Christmas Gifts, Hostess Gifts and Rainy Day Cupboard Treats are lining the village streets just waiting for you to take them home.
For Chocolate Lovers. A must-try speciality of the area…the Eigerspitzli are made at the Eigergletscher railway station, Europe’s highest altitude confectionary while the Jungfrauspitzli are made in-house at the village Bakery, Confiserie Vincenz. Give into temptations and request a box to bring home and one to enjoy on the train ride!
For Cheese Lovers. The Chaes-Gruebi produces fresh, local cheeses. With help from the mountain cows and an in-house cellar, cheeses are produced, aged and sold right there. Try the 2-year aged Lauterbrunnen Mutschli (semi-hard Swiss cheese) or indulge at your next dinner party by sharing with friends the Lauberhorn Fondue named after mountain above Wengen.
For the Sentimental. Ok, you can’t bring the whole village home with you but that miniature version with white snow rooftops and poinsettia terraces surely could help you remember and look oh so adorable on your dresser. There’s a cute assortment available at the Swiss Made souvenir shop along with Wengen photo frames and Christmas ornaments (2 of our favorite take-homes!).
For all the things you really don’t need but love to have. And will have no problems dropping a humble brag about at your next dinner party. Trüffelsäuli and it’s sister shop Moorhüttli from the Swiss Designer Marco Dianisio. It’s mountain chic at it’s finest. Whether it’s a pair of sunshades you crave or splashing some mountain vibe to your city digs with posh pillows, the boutique is exquisite, sophisticated and worth the splurge.
For die hard skiers. Awe over the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau Ski Collection at Moliter. Made by the Swiss Company Aldo Kuonen, their sturdy, fast and first-class. Plus, look super cool!
Zuri Girl Tip: Every Monday, there’s a Culinary Walk. It’s Franc Savvy Free and includes a tour & tasting with the local gourmets educating you about the village.
Zuri Mom Tip: Most shops are pretty small with oh so many breakables. Toddlers are definitely safer (as is your wallet) if you have them in a hiking backpack or rent a red-chaired sled to journey from shop to shop as a bit of bribery for being good once inside.
Know Before you Go
Arrival. The car to train isn’t as scary as it sounds. If staying a week, pre-reserve parking at the parking lot directly next to the train station. Otherwise parking is available a few blocks away and does not need to be pre-booked. In this case, it’s better to drop bags and family members at the train station before parking – there’s a heated station to keep warm. Many hotels offer an electric taxi service once arriving in Wengen and there’s carts at both train stations for rent for CHF 2. In a few years you will be able to roll your cart on board – woohoo!
Momma Deserves a Break! The Children’s Playhouse is fabulous. It’s clean, friendly and flexible. Open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm, drop off babies, toddlers & kids up to age 8. Lunch should be pre-booked but otherwise the team is flexible on bookings and happy to speak English if needed.
Bring the 4-Legged Friends. Dogs are all over Wengen! Tons of walking trails and the restaurants & hotels are overly welcoming. We saw dogs on the gondola, at the Eiger Restaurant, Sunstar Hotel, the Residence & Bernerhof and Da Sina Pizzeria & Steakhouse.
Zuri Girl Tip: If you’re renting a chalet that’s not super close to town, chat with Dorflade Wengen about delivering your groceries.
Zuri Mom Tip: Family photo for the Christmas card? The views from the village church make an awesome setting.
Experience sponsored by Switzerland Tourism