One sunny day, I finished up my research at the Swiss National Library in Bern early. I could not wait to start planning the rest of my day: Should I head back to Neuchâtel, where part of my family lives? Should I head across the Jura to visit my parents? Or should I optimize my day pass by railing across Switzerland?
I chose the latter and soon hopped on a train to Interlaken.
From the Interlaken Ost station, tourists can easily head up to the places that make the Bernese Oberland famous: Lauterbrunnen and its dramatic falls, the picturesque village of Grindelwald, Kleine Scheidegg or the mighty Jungfraujoch with the highest train station in Europe.
I knew that my one-day pass was not going to cover the last portion up to Jungfraujoch without paying an extra fare. But this did not stop me from getting as close as possible before having to rush back to Bern in time for dinner.
And this is how I discovered the lovely resort town of Wengen.
After a dramatic climb up on the small narrow-gauge train, I got off at sunny Wengen. The first striking element is that the town is car-free, with the exception of a few service vehicles.
Along with the sun, the abundance of snow in the winter, and the regular train connections, Wengen gives you a good idea of what heaven might look like.
Clearly, Wengen is not an undiscovered resort. You will hear numerous languages, meet plenty of American families, British students, or Asian tourists. Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald have welcomed tourists for more than 200 years, a fact I had read about earlier at the Swiss National Library. But Wengen is a refreshing alternative to these hotspots, offering everything you may expect from an Alpine resort.
What I like about Wengen is that it comes with an extra dash of quietness. For an entire week, a weekend or simply a day out in the mountains, I can recommend Wengen – hands down!
(Photograph copyright Wikipedia)