Years ago I decided to hike down the famous Lauberhorn downhill course. Last July I had my chance and it was a great experience. I jumped off the train in Wengernalp, had some refreshments in local hotel's terrace and climbed uphill. Greatest moment was to stand on the top of Hundschopf but it was impossible to capture the steepness in any picture. I walked through Canadian Corner, Kernen-S, Wasserstation -all those famous corners and jumps. Weather was nice but it was not crowded at all, like it was up in Mannlichen.
There are plenty of well maintained trails that you can access from Wengen and the cable car station on Mannlichen quite easily.
Hiking trails are well marked with large yellow signs that indicate the destination and the time required that it will take for you to travel to that point. You’ll see them as soon as you get off the train at the station in Wengen in the small square that sits just off the property from the station. They are scattered in many areas throughout the region and to find one that is suitable for you shouldn’t be an issue.
We used the cable car from Wengen to Mannlichen to access one trail in particular, called the “Panoramaweg” that takes you from the cable car station on Mannlichen to the train station at Kleine Scheidegg.
The Panoramaweg is an easy hike that is mostly flat and in some places takes you downhill , you’ll pass beside some INCREDIBLE scenery with some really beautiful vistas of snow capped mountains and green pastures. The Mannlichen station is at an elevation of 2222 meters and the elevation of Kleine Scheidegg is in fact at 2061 meters.
The trail will take along a mountain peak called the Tschuggen as well as the Lauberhorn and if you are visiting during the “right” time of year you will be able to see a variety of Alpine flowers in bloom.
Before starting the walk to Klenie Scheidegge we also took the short trail up to the peak of Mannlichen itself where we had an incredible view for miles and miles all around. At the peak you will find placards that indicate mountain names that you see all around you as well as a Geodetic Station that is a part of a network in Switzerland that measures earth movement. This short trail that climbs only 100 meters or so to the Mannlichen peak is referred to as the “UNESCOweg”.
I visited in July and had the good luck to hike at these elevations on a beautiful blue sky sunny day when some flowers were in bloom, a real treat that really made my experience that much more enjoyable.
There are many other trails that you can access from Mannlichen but to go into too much detail here is probably more confusing than anything else. The link I’ll attach gives you a good overview of what trails are available easily from Wengen.
This is really a ONE of a KIND experience that one MUST do when spending time in Wengen or ANYWHERE in the Lauterbrunnen Valley for that matter. Its maybe a little on the “touristy” side of things but I guarantee you…it’s a truly unique experience and you wont do this anywhere else in the World.
This was my prime reason for visiting Wengen, to use the Jaunfraubahn to get to the “Top of Europe”. Jaungfraubahn is the train service that will take you through a tunneled train track that actually is bored through the Monch and Eiger mountains and brings you to a train station inside of the Jaungfrau Mountain. Opened in 1912 even the construction of the tunnel and train line was an engineering marvel for the time. It took 300 men 16 years to construct at a cost of 15 million CHF (Swiss Francs). A modern and clean electric cogwheel type train services the run that starts at Kleine Scheiddeg and brings you in about 45 minutes to the Jaungfrau station at an altitude of 3454 meters.
Along the way the train makes two short stops at smaller stations within the mountain. The Eismeer in particular offers a quick view of a portion of the Lower Grindenwald Glacier. The stops are only 5 minutes long and offer only enough time to have a quick look out of sealed windows.
Once you reach the top (Jaunfraujoch) you have the opportunity to spend some time in a few different ways.
You can take yourself through a short tunnel system called the “Ice Palace” that’s carved completely out of the Aletsch Glacier I think it is. There are small pockets carved out of the ice along the tunnel where you will see displays of ice carvings of various animals and objects. The Ice Palace is maintained regularly by the “Ice Master” who lives in the Interlaken area and its arches, tunnels and vaulted ceilings must often be altered because of the gradual movement of the glacier. I took a short walk through here and a short video is attached to this page. I was visiting during the National Day of France and created out of ice there was a tribute to France especially for that day, the French flag even flew at the mast on the Sphynx Observatory with the Swiss flag.
You will also find the “Ice Gateway” that acts as a link between the Ice Palace and the glacier plateau where you can venture outdoors. Outside you can walk on the glacier, take a dog sled ride, or use the snow board and ski area during the summer months only. If you want to you can rent ski hear or snowboard gear at the top. We saw people here playing with snow, enjoying it like a candy, obviously never having seen it before.
There is also a post office here at the top where you can have a postcard stamped and mailed from the “Top of Europe”.
In addition to these attractions on Jaungfraujoch you can visit the “Sphynx”..a peak where there is located a permanently manned weather station, the highest on Europe.
A high speed elevator will take you up to an observation deck where you can venture outdoors in good weather and if you are lucky enough to have clear skies, you will have the most amazing views of the Jaungfrau peak and the surrounding mountains.
The day that I visited it was clear and beautiful blue skies at the lower elevations but a different story at the top where we were fogged in, winds would blow away the cloud just teasingingly offering only brief glimpses of the Jaunfrau peak! Not to be disappointed though because I felt totally lucky to be here at all and really, the whole experience was just amazing.
In addition to these attractions here at the “Top” there are restaurants and a gift store that at a quick glance offered some pricing that seemed to go hand in hand with the high altitude of the destination. I did NO shopping here.
Two pieces of advise for you for when you travel here…be sure to bring some warm clothing, I managed with a pair of shorts and a light weight winter jacket but if you are not used to cooler weather than for sure its likely better for you to have pants and maybe even gloves to wear here. I traveled with pants in a daypack but I didn’t find it cold enough to use them.
Secondly..as you are such a HIGH elevation please heed the cautions and reminders of MOVING SLOWLY while here at the top. Elevation illness symptoms include nausea, light headedness, and extreme fatigue…all of which I experienced to some degree during my three hours here at the “Top”.
A special train ticket for the Jaungfraubahn needs to be purchased to get yourself up here..and the start point of your last phase of your journey will be Kleine Scheidegg .Any Swiss Rail Passes are NOT valid here but will provide you with a discounted rate for Jaungfraubahn and include access to all of the attractions here at the top.
Tobogganing is available and free of charge with a small deposit of 5 CHF during the summer season only.
The ski and snowboard park here at the top will cost you 33 CHF including rental and use of the park, again only during the summer season.
You can zip line over a glacier at a cost of 20 CHF.
I will attach a link for the pricing schedule for the Jaunfrabahn as I think it would be simply confusing to include prices here. Like everywhere else prices change from year to year so you can check this website for current information about pricing depending what your needs are.
Have fun here at the “Top of Europe”…and prepare yourself for a truly unique experience.
You really should take some time if you can to stroll around town and visit the backstreets of Wengen.
What you'll find is a mix older traditional homes and buildings that are typical of this region of Switzerland as well as modern buildings that have been built more recently.The designs of most new buildings are not overwhelming but seem to have received careful consideration in "fitting' with the older structures.
Starting on the main street at the train station make your way towards the commercial center of the village,you'll pass by a few "sporting good's stores, souvenir shops and restaurants and hotels.
You'll walk by the cable car station and there are side streets that you can explore and see many wonderfully maintained homes.
Make your way uphill to the Protestant Church to enjoy the terrific views of the surrounding mountain peaks and enjoy some relaxing moments in the small park that occupies a parcel of land just beside it.
You can visit the English Church that you'll find along the roadway that takes you in the direction of Mendelssohn's Memorial.
Stop for a bite to eat along the main street, or just grab a coffee and soak up some peace and quiet..if you take a little walk off the main roads and into the Village you can soak up some of the feeling of a Swiss Alpine Village..a pretty good way to relax a little and enjoy life!
This is the terminus for the Jaunfrabahn line that will take you up to the “Top of Europe”.
Sitting at an altitude of 6762 feet or 2061 meters the panoramas that can be seen here are stunning. The Eiger, The Monch, and the Jaungfrau are easily visible here, in fact, this area offers some of the best views of the trio.
The trains from the Wengernalp line converge here, arriving from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. From here if you’re continuing up to Jaungraujoch you move to the other side of the station and you change trains.
It is in fact more than a small train station; it can be the jump off spot for some great hiking and exploring and there are a few places here to indulge in a snack and a drink if you like. If you’re here to start a hike then you’ll find the usual yellow signs that will direct you to the destinations you are looking for. You can even book a hotel here if you choose to, the Belleview des Alps is just a short walk from the train station if you’re really looking to stay somewhere a little different. I didn’t take the time to investigate it but it has great reviews and has been an established hotel since about 1840 when it was built. This is where portions of the Clint Eastwood film “The Eiger Sanction” were filmed.
A short hike up the “Panoramaweg” towards the Mannlichen you can also visit a great terrace and restaurant, a spot called the “Grindelwaldblick”, that has TERRFICI views of the Eiger, an outdoor terrace, and dorm style rooms where you can rent a bed.
We stopped here for a cold drink after the walk from Mannlichen and enjoyed some of the views and a really good glass of cold iced tea!
In fact we didn’t spend too much time here at Kleine Scheidegg at all but sat and enjoyed a snack and a cold drink at a picnic table while we waited for the train down to Wengen.
It’s a pretty good spot to relax a little after the high elevations of the top and offers some great scenery both natural and of the two legged variety.
I was lucky enough to be in Wengen when a free performance of violin music was being offered in the Protestant Church.
For the summer season Professor Michael Grube of Vienna is performing a variety of music on a weekly basis. If you are visiting during the summer season of 2010 than please do yourself a favor and see and hear this violinist play. If you're not visiting this summer you can still find free musical performances from time time to time and they're advertised around town.
Under the bridge of the rail tracks close to the train station on the roadway that leads down into the lower village you will find postings or a bulletin board that will tell you of music and theatrical events that are happening in Wengen..
During the summer tourist season there is a bevy of free music and events that are not free but here you will find out some otherwise lesser known events that are going on in the village during your visit..
This ‘Wow Cool” attraction is not in Wengen itself but makes for a great way to spend a part of the day if you have some extra time while you’re in the area.
You would need to use the train to get yourself down to the town of Lauterbrunnen and then take a short bus ride if you don’t have a car parked somewhere in Lauterbrunnen.
We visited before we made the trip up to Wengen, and found it to be a pretty interesting “natural” phenomenon..
Trummelbach Falls are a series of ten different tiered waterfalls that descend a total of 459 feet or about 140 meters. The unique feature about this attraction is that the falls are contained within the rock of the mountain itself and the water that POUNDS through here is drainage water from the glaciers of the Monch, The Jaungfrau, and the Eiger Mountains. The water has over time found its way into the mountain instead of forcing its way over cliff sides. The volumes of water that roars through the well worn rock surfaces is about 20 000 liters a second. The interior is illuminated with colored light and the shapes of the eroded rock are really incredible. For thousands of years water has been pummeling through the rock cavity and the result is really quite something.
In 1877 the falls were first made accessible by a man named von Almen…and in time the attraction was gradually developed. There is now a series of walkways, stairways, and an elevator built within the rock to take you up and enable you to descend alongside the various waterfalls here.
Is it really worth the trip to see this? I would say a definite YES..only because I think that this cant really exist in too many places in the World and its right at your doorstep if you’re visiting Wengen.
Parking is free here and there’s a good sized parking lot for you to leave your car.
Access to the site is 11 CHF for adults and 4 CHF for children and you can visit here between April 1st and the end of October from 0900- 1700 hrs July and August access to the site is available from 0830- 1800 hrs.. Obviously during the winter season the falls are mostly frozen and not open to the public.
There’s a small restaurant here just beside the car park and a gift shop if you’re interested in shopping while you’re here or want perhaps a beverage.
WORDS of WARNING for you though…in May of 2009 there was a tragic death here at Trummelbach…a twelve year old boy fell through or climbed over the protective fencing, its thought he was retrieving a lost shoe. His body was recovered but not until June the following month. PLEASE keep well back of the protective barriers. The surface of the rock and stairs are slippery because they’re wet all of the time and it would be so unnecessary if there was another tragic loss of life here.
Check this out of you’re staying in Wengen..its a pretty unique experience.
High above the town of Wengen you can visit a memorial to the great German composer Felix Mendelssohn at a quiet and pretty spot that overlooks the village. It is here during a visit by Mendelssohn that it is thought that he sketched a “scene’ of Wengen and a portion of the Lauterbrunnen Valley in August of 1842, just a few years before he died at the young age of 38.
You reach this Memorial by way of a road that is party paved and partly a gravel trail that winds its way up a hillside overlooking the town. At times the hike can be a little steep but it is definitely worth pacing yourself to visit this spot. It is a peaceful and serene location in a small park like setting cleared out of the forest, there are benches for you to sit and relax or reflect on the beautiful scenery that surrounds you.
The streets are not named in Wengen but if you walk the main road that brings you to the Mannlichen cable car from the train station in a few short minutes you will see a brown sign on the right that will indicate the direction to the Memorial.
Do take some time and visit and relax a little at this lovely spot in the village that honors this great man. ENJOY the view!
Every summer in AUGUST Wengen celebrates the life and music of Felix Mendelssohn with a week long series of performances featuring his greatest works. The exact dates change from year to year but if you are a fan of classical music and you might be in the area at the time do yourself a favor and check out some wonderful music!
If you are planning a visit to Wengen during the month of January you may want to consider taking in some incredible World Cup skiing that happens every year here on the hills above the village of Wengen.
This past January marked the 80th anniversary of the race and the upcoming race will be run over the course of three days from January 14th until January 16th, 2011.
Every year since the establishment of the race in 1929 the Lauberhorn has been a thrilling event to watch given the remarkable terrain that the course covers. The course provides skiers and viewers with the FASTEST course speeds and the LONGEST course length of the entire World Cup circuit and the finish line itself is located in Wengen.
This race attracts crowds of up to 20 000 people daily and accommodations in the area are strained to provide beds for everyone that would like one.
It’s a good idea to book your room well in advance of this event…or if this totally isn’t your thing or you don’t like huge crowds than this would be a good time to avoid the area.
Tickets to the three days events are available for single day to multiple days and will cost anywhere in the range of 35 -40 CHF for a day access to 90 CHF for a three day pass. For further ticket information Ive provided a link to the “Official” web site for the Lauberhorn Race.
With the purchase of the entrance ticket this will entitle you to a reduction of train transport in the Jaungfrau Region.
I haven’t been to this event personally but because its such a major vent connected with Wengen I thought it was appropriate to provide a little information here for you.
Wengen is amazing. It's got pretty much everything under the sun that most high-end ski areas have, in addition to the amazing summer-time activities... as well as being a world-class BASE-jumping mecca.
It's not cheap, coming from the US... but it's not completely out of hand. There's spectacular scenery, amazing hut-touring up high, and it's in the shadow of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch.
On the opposite side of the valley, the Schilthorn area offers more spectacular scenery with even more options, should you think you've exhausted the ones on the opposite side.
Usually one of the tour companies will organise a curling evening, so get your tickets early as places are limited.
Head for the ice rink and you will be given the basic rules and a quick demo, then you are given your brush and its time to curl.
I found it difficult to aim the stone without sliding along full length on the ice, but it was great fun. Afterwards, a glass of steaming gluhwien chased the chills away
Your hotel will get you tickets for the weekly evening toboggan run. Gather at the train station, pick up your bright plastic toboggan and board the train up to Wengenalp.
This trip is timed to use the last hour of daylight as the slopes empty of skiers. The guide gives you no-nonsense instructions on how to stop and guide your toboggan then you are off. Everyone falls off now and then, but otherwise its a rapid descent all the way back to Wengen. The lights were on in Wengen as we came over the nursery slope and screamed our way down to the main road.
Wengen is a cute little alpine village in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. All trains that go up to the mighty Jungfraujocj pass by this village. It is also car-free and a wonderful place to ski in the winter. In the center of town, you can also ride the cable car to Mannlichen and hike to Kleine Scheidegg. Or if you don't feel like hiking, you can ride another cable car to Grindelwald. Wengen has many chalet-style hotels, bed and breakfasts as well as holiday homes, most of which have a majestic views of the mountains.
Before you go, check the route is open from Mannlichen to Kleinescheidig at the Wengen tourist center as it will be closed if its snowing.
Take the cable car up to Mannlichen, and follow the walking route round the mountain to Kleinescheidig. This is a fantastic route, with wonderful views of the mountains all the way.
Take care when crossing the ski-routes as they come down the slopes like rockets. At the end, you can either toil uphill to KS or cheat as I did and take the ski lift - then head off for a well deserved plate of spaghetti at the station restaurant - yummy
Its a good idea to buy crampons which grip the snow and make life easier and safer. One part of the route takes you down a toboggan run and we found it safest to sit on the snow and slide down!
This was one of the highlights of my trip, an amazing gondola ride down from Gimmewald and we saw Trummelbach. I must warn you, wear a rain jacket, this waterfall has carved it's way through a mountain, it's made accessible by a tunnel-lift and man made walk ways bring you up along the waterfall.