A Visual Travel Guide to Wengen, Switzerland
Wengen, Switzerland is part of the Bernese Oberland region and is the epitome of all things Swiss. Chalet-style houses, green rolling hills, snow-capped mountains and lots of cow bell. I arrived with plans to stay a day but ended up changing my itinerary to stay for a second.
Wengen is a great place for outdoor activities, no matter the season. But when the weather is nicer it’s a particularly great jumping off point for some breathtaking hikes. It’s also a close village to Jungfraujoch, a station and plateau with beautiful views of the Jungfrau mountain range.
In this travel guide I’ll share my favourite things to do in Wengen along with travel tips to help you plan your visit.
GO IF YOU LIKE:
MOUNTAINS | COW BELL | GREEN ROLLING HILLS | FONDUE | FLUFFY CATS
Itinerary for visiting Wengen
Early morning: Take the train to visit Jungfraujoch
Lunch: Enjoy a fondue back in Wengen
Early Evening: Explore the town of Wengen, watch the mountains change colour at sunset
Dinner: Enjoy some fine dining at Hotel Schönegg
Morning: Visit the grocery store and pick up lunch
Hike: Hike to Kleine Scheidegg (2.5 hours one way) and from there you can hike back to Wengen or take the train.
Pro Tip: If you only have one day in Wengen, consider hiking to Kleine Scheidegg and then taking the train to Jungfraujoch in the afternoon.
The Best Things to do in Wengen
The most popular activity to do in the Jungfrau region is visiting Jungfraujoch - The Top of Europe. This is a Plateau in the Jungfrau mountain range, that is accessible by train. Because of this there are a lot of people who visit the lookout.
The Downside of Jungfraujoch
The trains are packed, and I mean packed. This means that you’re likely going to wait in line for a while to board the train, and once you’re at the top it will be crowded. The heavy crowds, coupled with the effects of the high altitude make for a dizzying experience.
I highly suggest planning a visit first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. I believe that 10am (which is when I went) is also when many tour groups visit. I ended up waiting in line for the train for over 2 hours in total. Not fun.
I don’t want to discourage a visit though because the views really do make you feel like you’re on the “top of Europe”. But if you’re debating it check out my article on my experience at Jungfraujoch. The photography and tips should help you decide and plan accordingly.
Related Blog Post: Is Jungfraujoch Worth it?
Explore the Village of Wengen
Wengen is a small village, making it easily walkable. After enjoying a nice meal I suggest wandering through the streets and taking in the views from all angles.
You'll passed by houses and smile at some friendly locals. If you’ve got the energy (which I didn’t) walk up to Hunnenflue which is an observation deck about a 30-minute walk from the center of Wengen. It’s high enough to give you views of Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Follow the Cow Bells
Stick your head outside your window and listen for the cow bells. If you hear them then that means the cows are grazing in a nearby field. I found them in a field in the middle of the village.
They were busy eating and basking in the sun. I couldn’t leave Switzerland without seeing Swiss cows so it was a big deal for me.
Find to the majestic cats of Wengen
I don't really like cats. I know it sounds harsh but I’ve always been more of a dog person. I have to say the cats in Wengen are beautiful. Just by walking through town I saw so many of them and they all had thick lush fur — like the supermodels of cats.
They came in all different colours but were all regal in their own way. So if you’re a cat person, or even if you’re not, you’ll want to keep your eyes open and say hi to these beautiful kitties.
Watch sunset colour the mountains
Because Wengen is surrounded by mountains the sun will set on the village before disappearing behind the mountains. This doesn’t mean that Wengen is without a phenomenal sunset though.
In fact the Eastern mountain range gets a beautiful orange glow around sunset time and the sky turns pink. Get a hotel with a terrace facing this direction and time your day so that you can watch this colourful display of nature. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of wine for the show. The best part about this - it’s absolutely free.
Enjoy a Fondue, Raclette or Both!
Like most of Switzerland, Wengen has great fondue. We ate at the Restaurant Tavern at Hotel Bernerhof.
Even though I had already eaten several fondues throughout the week I still craved it. Our waiter was really friendly and suggested we try one of the fondues that was made with Swiss Mountain single malt whiskey. This was delicious, especially when paired with a glass of the whiskey.
If you’re in the mood for a different cheesy delight, try a raclette. Raclette is a type of cheese that is put under a broiler on the table. Once the cheese starts to bubble and brown you use your knife and scoop it onto potatoes, or bread or meat (whatever you prefer).
Pair the fondue and raclette with a side of pickles. And if you’re all to familiar with these foods, our waiter brought out a raclette spice (which I had never heard of). It added a nice kick to the cheese, so ask for that too.
Hike to Kleine Scheidegg from Wengen
My hiking day in Wengen was probably my favorite experience in the region. I mean, what’s the point of visiting Switzerland if you’re not going to be outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature.
The day before my hike, I had taken the train to Jungfraujoch and as mentioned above, it was packed and stuffy - the polar opposite of what I wanted on a trip to Switzerland. While I was in the train I noticed hikers following a path that ran almost parallel to the tracks. So I went out the following day in search of this path.
What I found was a two and a half hour hike that took me to Kleine Scheidegg. As with most Swiss trails, it was well maintained with good signage. The added benefit was that most people were preoccupied with taking the train to Jungfraujoch so there weren't a lot of people on the trail.
Related Blog Post: Hiking from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg
It was such a fun experience and exactly what I needed on my last day in Switzerland. Read about my experience on the trail (including hiking tips and difficulty level).
Where to stay in Wengen
Some links below are an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a booking. As always, I only recommend products and services I trust.
I stayed at hotel Schönegg in Wengen and really loved my experience. When I first walking out of my back doors onto the balcony I was blown away by the view. I could see the whole mountain range lit up with the setting sun.
The hotel is a chalet style so it’s very cosy. There’s a wonderful lounge area filled with board games, which was a great place to decompress with a drink after a busy day.
The restaurant serviced delicious food and I particularly loved the breakfasts at the hotel. The spread was large and filled with complex carbs like muesli and grains which is great for fighting altitude sickness.
Pro Tip: Book an upper level room at Hotel Schönegg
Try to reserve a room on the top floor. Your balcony will have a great view for sunset colours on the mountains.
Where to Eat in Wengen
Restaurant Tavern at Hotel Bernerhof
Swiss Fare | $$
As mentioned above, if you’re looking for a cheesy meal head to the Restaurant Tavern at Hotel Bernerhof. Here you can get the traditional Swiss meals like soups, rösti (hash potatoes with different toppings/sides), steak, fondue and raclettte.
Find their hours of operation here.
Restaurant 1903: Hotel Schönegg
Fine Dining | $$$
For a more elevated dining experience, check out the restaurant in Hotel Schönegg. They have more of an international menu with local and seasonal ingredients. There is also a bar area if you just want to go enjoy drinks and a snack.
Find their hours of operation here.
When to visit Wengen
Summer is a great time to enjoy the hiking near Wengen but it’s also a busy period. You can expect to pay more for accommodation and have packed trains going to Jungfraujoch.
Wengen transforms into a ski village in the winter. Because of this, it’s packed with lots of families out on ski trips. Accommodation is higher too.
Shoulder Season - Autumn
September and into October are great times to visit. The temperatures start to get cooler; you can expect highs in the low teens and single digits. There is still a good amount of sunshine and the summer crowds have gone so it makes for a less stressful visit.
Shoulder Season - Spring
May and June are one of the busiest periods to visit Wengen. The temperatures are in the mid teens and the snow has started to melt so the hiking trails are opening up around this time.
I visited the first week of June and was thrilled with the weather. Not too hot, or too cold. The freshness made for a great climate whilst hiking. I was told by locals that only a few weeks later the village would become packed with summer tourists.
Pro Tip: Snow-capped mountains
Both the Spring and Autumn will have more snow on the mountain peaks, making for better photos.
Transportation in Wengen
From Zurich it takes about 2 hours and 50 minutes to get to Wengen by train. Once you’re in Wengen you can easily walk everywhere. Wengen is a more remote village, so you’ll have to make changes in places like Lauterbrunnen to visit other destinations.
Pro Tip: Download the SBB Mobile App
Download the free SBB Mobile app. This app outlines all the train schedules and lets you purchase your tickets with ease. It can also apply discounted rates, like the half fare. It was the most useful app I had in Switzerland.
Wengen is a car-free zone so driving isn’t the best way to get there. Driving from Zurich takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes and you will have to park in the parking garage next to the Lauterbrunnen train station then take the train to Wengen.
Wengen Photography TIPS
The beauty of Wengen is that you get all types of Swiss landscapes. If you hike and ascent in altitude you’ll leave the lush green pastures and move into alpine scenery. Jungfraujoch gives close up views of mountains with snow peaks. All of these different environments are fun for photographers.
Consider a polarizer to help fight the glare from the snow on the mountains
Consider bringing a telephoto lens to simplify some of the large landscape scenes
Keep batteries in your pockets, close to your body for warmth
Consider a camera clip for ease of hiking with your camera
Packing for the Weather
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Like most mountain regions, the Alps have unpredictable weather. It can be sunny and warm one minute then freezing with a blizzard the next. Here are a few packing tips.
Layer your Clothing
It’s best to think of your outfits in layers. Breathable underwear, t-shirts, light sweaters, thick sweaters, down jackets and rainproof shells. All of these items can be layered on and taken off when needed.
Don’t forget your Waterproof Layers
Pack a waterproof jacket and pants. This way if it’s raining or you get caught in the rain you can cover up and avoid being wet and miserable. I personally love my Patagonia rain jacket and pants but if you’re looking for a cheaper option Columbia has some outer shells.
Bring proper hiking boots
Hiking in high elevations during shoulder season means there’s a chance of snowy patches on the trails. Plus if you plan on venturing out in Jungfraujoch, you’ll want some shoes with traction that are water resistant.
Bring the warm Accessories for Jungfraujoch
Jungfraujoch can be cold and windy so bring gloves and a scarf. Especially if you’re not visiting in the summer.
Being at higher altitudes means that you’ll have more exposure to the sun. So don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat to protect your head. I love the sunscreen mineral powder which I find easy to re-apply over my makeup.
Safety In Wengen
I had no issues in Wengen but once I was at Jungfraujoch I quickly felt the effects of the altitude. I was short of breath and dizzy, especially when I was doing the indoor activities where there were so many crowds.
Once I was outside with fresh air it was a bit better but physical activity was still challenging. Here are some things you can do to help with the altitude sickness:
Stay hydrated - drink lots of water
Eat carbs (muesli and oatmeal for breakfast is great, avoid meats and fats)
If you feel really sick, come down to a lower elevation
The trails are well indicated in Wengen and if you stay on them there is little chance of getting lost. Make sure you bring lots of water with you and wear proper hiking boots, especially in the shoulder season when you may encounter some snowy areas on the trail.