Travel

Unwinding in Wengen

This Swiss Alpine village offers a quiet and picturesque refuge from the frenzied pace of city life

Being city dwellers, we are often over-stimulated by the hustle of traffic and peak hour rush. For this reason, I find travelling to small, quaint villages and towns very appealing, and I would choose to stay in such a place whenever possible.

Wengen is exactly that and so much more.

A Swiss Alpine village in the heart of Switzerland's Bernese Oberland, Wengen lies right below three majestic mountains; Eiger, Mönch and the famous Jungfrau.

The unique thing about Wengen is that there is no road leading to it, only a mountain railway, so everyone arrives in this car-free village by train. That alone was enough to lure me to fly thousands of kilometres to see it.

To get to Wengen, you need to take a train to Grindelwald on the Jungfraubahn, the most famous railway in the world. From here, you need to change to a cogwheel train that will take you to this car-free village.

The train ride is nothing short of spectacular. The ride in the cogwheel train is an experience in itself. The lack in sophistication is what appeals to city folk like myself.

In those few minutes, I was transported to a Hollywood movie set in the 50s. The view was more spectacular than expected. As much as I have read about how amazing train journeys in Switzerland are, nothing prepared me for how absolutely sensational they were.

From Wengen, you can also get to the world-famous Jungfraujoch. Known as the "Top of Europe", Jungfraujoch stands guard at 3,454m with snow and ice guaranteed all-year round.

Nearby villages like Murren and Grindelwald are also just a train ride away, making Wengen the perfect base to explore the entire Jungfrau and Interlaken region.

A small lake between Eiger and Kleine Scheidegg, seen from the train ride to Wengen. PHOTOS:ASNAH AHMAD

Starting from Kleine Scheidegg station, the Jungfraubahn line connects all the mountain villages in the Alpine railway.

Located at an altitude of 1,300m and 400m above Lauterbrunnen, or The Valley of 72 Waterfalls, Wengen enjoys a wonderfully refreshing climate; with long periods of sunshine and crisp, fresh air. Key excursion destinations within the Jungfrau region are all within easy reach too.

IDEAL

Wengen's location is incredibly ideal for hikers and mountain climbers.

The walking route between Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg is one of the most panoramic, offering unique views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Along the way, you may find yourself walking through pine forests, distracted by visually stunning sights of the evergreen fields and cows grazing, and greeted by locals who live in little rustic houses on the hills.

For a more mind-blowing view, you should walk the Eiger Trail. Just head to the tourist office for a map and they will show you the various walking trails available.

In the summer, those who prefer more adrenaline-pumping action might like to have a go at paragliding or river rafting.

Visitors who prefer not to hike can easily get to most of the scenic viewpoints in the area by one of the 15 cable cars. It is more like a gondola that takes you up 2,225m to panoramic white fields of snow in an area called Männlichen.

In the winter, Wengen turns into a wonderland for skiers.

At 3,940m, the three mountain peaks and their dramatic glacial features earned the region its Unesco natural heritage status.

MOUNTAIN AIR

For non-skiers like myself, the ski resort offers the ultimate relaxation in pure mountain air and guaranteed many hours of sunshine, yes even in winter.

A peaceful, family-friendly holiday resort, old timber houses are dispersed along the car-free lanes and hills, giving the whole village a nostalgic and rustic feel.

The holiday resort has all the characteristics of a picture-postcard mountain village. Most of the accommodations come with magnificent views of the mountains and valleys.

With no traffic, it is easy to spend the day meandering through the pathways of vivid green fields and colourful flower-filled meadows.

While Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald have long been tourists' first choice when visiting the Jungfrau region, Wengen provides a refreshing alternative to these busy, touristy spots. For this reason, the peacefulness and laid-back feel you get there is hard to match.

Overall, the time spent in Wengen was magical, and this gorgeous alpine village will always have a special place in my heart.

Between the white, glistening peaks and rocky façade of the mountains, it is easy to have that strong desire to come back to this stunning place.

 

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