Trip report so far: Back from Europe! First Impressions and Takeaways, How We Accidentally Saw the Tour de France Live, Switzerland Part 1: Murren, Schilthorn, Allmendhubel and Paragliding
When I was in the planning phase of our Switzerland trip, I went back and forth on where we should stay for our Swiss Alps adventures. Rick Steves recommends staying in the tiny mountain town of Gimmelwald (not to be confused with the bigger nearby town of Grindelwald). However, Gimmelwald is so small and it lacks lodging options. So, I quickly scratched that off the list.
Other top considerations were Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Murren and Wengen. Once I decided we should go for a higher-up car-free village, the decision was between Murren and Wengen.
We chose an apartment rental in Wengen, and we loved it!
Why Wengen is a Great Home Base
I have no regrets with our choice to stay in Wengen. The town has many advantages:
- It’s a car-free village, so it’s very quiet
- The views!!
- Wengen has some sizable hotels as well as a lot of apartment rentals with washer/dryer (which were harder to find in Murren)
- Transportation to/from Wengen is easier than other car-free towns. From Lauterbrunnen, it’s an 11-minute train ride up the mountain. Trains run later into the evening than trains to Murren run.
- Location: Wengen’s location is the base for many popular hikes (including Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg hike), and it’s a stop on the journey to the popular Jungfrujoch: Top of Europe attraction (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Wengen has one main street with a few shops and restaurants. On the day we arrived, there was a running race in progress.
I enjoyed a nice fondue dinner my first night:
The rest of the town is more residential:
For a small town of just 1300 residents, there sure are a lot of parks in Wengen! I counted at least 4 parks.
Every small mountain town in Switzerland has tennis courts, apparently.
Several of the hotels had pet bunnies outside:
The town church:
Our Chalet Rental
I scoured airbnb, vrbo, hotels.com and booking.com for the perfect rental. I looked for something with at least 3 bedrooms, a washer/dryer and close proximity to the train station and grocery store. Chalet Hannegg Penthouse fit the bill.
We paid approximately $500 a night for this 4-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms for six people. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are definitely cheaper rentals available in Wengen and Interlaken. This was our splurge. I booked this on booking.com because it had the best price and best cancellation policy.
This view from our balcony!!
View from our apartment in Wengen
Chalet Hannegg :
Our rental included the top 2 floors. The middle floor (and maybe bottom floor) are separate rentals. We never heard our neighbors.
The living room and balcony:
Two downstairs bedrooms (yes, we got chocolate on our beds upon arrival. I love Switzerland!!!)
The upstairs office with sleeper sofa and a view:
And two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs:
The two best things about our apartment rental were the view and the location. We were steps away from the train station and grocery store. We visited both every day.
This rental had a ton of space, and the beds were very comfortable. The bathroom even had a heated towel rack.
The only downside to this rental is that you have to walk down and up steps to get to the house. This is difficult with suitcases! And with the high altitude, I huffed and puffed my way up the outside steps every day. But, I managed, and the positives of the rental more than made up for the stairs.
I’m very happy with our decision to make Wengen our home base in the Swiss Alps. When we return to Switzerland, I can’t imagine staying anywhere else in the area.
How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.