It is easy with so many ski resorts within a 30 minute reach of Lucerne to forget that there are some great places requiring a little bit more travel but so worth it. Last weekend, we were lucky enough to spend 3 days enjoying the region around Wengen and Mürren. We not only skied but also hiked, snow showshoed and discovered the Jungfraujoch, all of which completely blew our minds and made us think that we could easily spend a whole week, on holiday, based in Wengen and skiing around the region.
Friday – Wengen – Männlichen:
I took the train to Lauterbrunnen (via Interlaken) which was so pleasant it felt like being on holiday. Rolf and Isabelle drove there and were able to park within easy reach of the train station before catching the train to Wengen; as this is the only way to this quaint village in winter.
I checked us in to the Hotel Regina, which is very old world and full of charm. The rooms are spacious and clean and the star of the place is the adorable Caramel, a cocker spaniel you can walk for charity. There are 3 restaurants and a spa area and it is situated right near the centre of village.
I had been invited by the Jungfrau Tourism office to come and discover the area and they made the most of my time there to share a myriad of experiences. The first one was lunch up on the Männlichen, where we ate in the Berghaus Männlichen which offers 3 distinct areas, self service, café and stübli.
Having fortified ourselves it was time to work the calories off with a hike up the Royal Walk; this takes you to the Männlichen Summit from where you have an amazing panoramic view taking in the whole resort as well as down towards the lake of Thun. The hike was easy and I was able to do it in my normal hiking boots.
Then it was a cable car ride back down to the village and a lovely walk, taking in some of the culinary specialities (the local cheeses and chocolates) as well as an impromptu Alphorn concert by some villagers. Being car-free adds an old world feel to Wengen; it wasn’t overbuilt in the 70s too so it really doesn’t feel too modern, which gives it part its charm.
In the evening we got to relax in the hotel. Isabelle declared that she loved the hotel, and that it felt like a home away from home. We got to sit by the big fireplace and she could play with Caramel. Dinner was lovely and we all went to bed early because Saturday was an early start.
Saturday: Mürren – Wengen
Early Saturday morning we had a train to catch to get to Mürren. This village is on the other side of the valley and you can either get to it from Lauterbrunnen by bus or train according to your preference.
The day was spent skiing in the company of our guide Sam, who took into consideration my very average skiing level. Mürren offered some great skiing, and as a no car village it really has a lovely alpine ski atmosphere to it. We skied most of the ski resort, even saving a hapless Englishman who had found himself separated from his ski group and only knew that he was staying in room 14 in a hotel somewhere but definitely not in this ski resort! (He was and we got him reunited with his group).
The slopes are wide and there are enough to keep the more advanced skiers happy (Rolf and Isabelle) and nice wide slopes for the less confident skier (me).
After a tasty burger we went up the Schilthorn to the James Bond museum as “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was partially filmed there. This is a very interactive exhibition which is a lot of fun, even the Bond Girls toilet have been given special touches.
Rolf skied down the steepest slope from the Schilthorn, it is a 75° slope, which he liked a lot. Isabelle and I took the cable car down.
Once we returned to Wengen, we had time to take Caramel for a walk through the village or rather Caramel took us for a walk. Isabelle loved trying out her French commands (Caramel is bilingual French/German) and then it was time to done our snowshoes for some nighttime snowshoeing.
I have to admit that this has become my favourite sport, and I loved being able to walk through the forest, the moonlight reflecting off the snow on the trees and slowly but surely make my way up the hill to a small chalet run by Tino, who specialises in a delicious fondue. There is no electricity nor running water in this hut which makes for an ever cosier atmosphere. Even Isabelle would not be deterred and had a wonderful time snow-shoeing and trying to work out, with our guide Pierre, who had made the tracks were which had been left in the snow.
Afterwards it was a wonderful trip back down the mountain to a welcome bed.
We went to the Jungfraujoch in the morning (a wonderful experience which deserves its own post) and then had an amazing day skiing . Wengen offers so many skiing opportunities with Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg being the two main hubs that even with Rolf leading the way we couldn’t try out all the slopes in one day. If we had stayed longer we would have definitely gone over to First on the other side of Grindenwald. The day ended with the easy long ski back to the hotel with the obligatory stop halfway for a Kaffe Lutz. Advanced skier can enjoy the thrill of skiing down the Lauberhorn Weltcup Slope.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye but as we drove home, we all reflected that our heads were filled with amazing impressions and a vow to definitely come back for a holiday in this beautiful region!