Tucked away in the mountains of Switzerland - accessed only by mountain railway - no road leads you there - is my idea of winter paradise - the "picture perfect" mountain village of Wengen.
Wengen is in central Switzerland at 1274m above sea level. This can be reached by train from Lauterbrunnen or Grunewald. Wengen is located beneath the imposing Eiger - Mönch - Jungfrau mountain range in the heart of the Bernese Oberland.
Equally magnificent in both winter and summer, we chose winter (Christmas in fact) for our holiday.
For our family, we opted to hire a chalet, situated in the lower region, of the actual village street which comprises picturesque shops, restaurants and hotels. We ensured we wore comfortable solid boots in the snow. The walking paths can be fairly steep and a certain level of fitness is required. Of course the Swiss themselves are normally very fit and used to lots of walking and climbing in icy and snow-covered terrain.
Wengen is regarded as a family-friendly region, with 110km of easy to medium difficulty pistes. (In fact there is a World Cup piste on the Lauberhorn). With the sparkling clean air, lengthy hours of sunshine, it is a truly wonderful place to visit.
There are many amazing places to stay in Switzerland, but the fact there are no motor cars evokes pure joy to one, especially when there are young children in the family.
If one opts to stay in an hotel, there are truly beautiful hotels, which even date from the belle epoque period.
The chalet where we stayed, was really well appointed and the surroundings absolutely breath-taking, with 3-bedrooms, 1 bathroom with a separate toilet. In our bedroom the owners had left extra blankets, which is not so unusual but in addition to that even extra jerseys. In the lounge there was a cosy fireplace and a bookcase with interesting books for us to read. Being Christmas we chose to acquire and decorate a beautiful Christmas tree which we placed near our lounge window.
At the centre of the village there is the ski school, which is not only fun for the children, but after a week of classes, they hold a competition. Should they finish first, second or third, they have to take their appropriate place on the podium, to receive a medal - an early taste of the Olympics!
Mum and dad, should ski-ing not be a skill already learned, can also join the ski school, whilst the children are otherwise engaged.
The village also boasts a curling or skating rink.
The picturesque shops have most of the amenities one would require, and one can spend hours at the village, visiting a bistro, or perhaps an hotel, to enjoy coffee or a hot chocolate, or even lunch, whilst outside enjoying the sunshine. The village is equally alive in the evening, where you can enjoy the many venues for food and music, in congenial company.
The large ski lift operates from the centre of the village and accommodates quite a number of people at a time. It is a very beautiful journey and extremely user friendly.
A must visit is a trip to the Top of Europe, accessed by train - the Jungfraujoch.
Written and contributed by Janet Gallagher