Hiking up the Männlichen from Wengen and then walking the epic Männlichen panorama trail is an incredible experience and doesn’t have to cost much money if you do it right! I’m lucky enough to ‘own’ (ok, it’s my family’s, but shhh, let me feel fancy!) a chalet in Wengen. I’ve spent literally every summer here as a child and this is by far my favorite walk! The first part of it is surprisingly unknown by tourists and you might not encounter a single hiker until you’re on top of Männlichen – there it can get a bit crowdy (by Swiss standards) but the views are also breath-taking. You can see Wengen and the Lauterbrunnen valley on one side and Grindelwald and the Eiger North face on the other and you’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains of the Swiss alps, including the iconic Jungfrau and Silberhorn. The “panorama trail” leads from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg and is just beautiful! I think it’s the perfect reward after hiking up the Männlichen.
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Getting to Wengen
By train from Lauterbrunnen
Wengen is a car-free village (with some exceptions, such as tractors or transportation services), meaning it is not accessible by car at all. The easiest way to get there is by train from Lauterbrunnen. The train takes 14 minutes (not 15. This is Switzerland, everything is ON TIME) and goes every half hour during peak times, and every hour outside of peak times. The first train leaves Lauterbrunnen at 04:50 AM – that’s really early!
You can check train connection on sbb.ch, the official website of the Swiss railway system. Definitely check your train connection in advance, as you can also see delays on the website or how full the trains are expected to be. You can also get your tickets from there at exactly the same price as getting them at a ticket office/ machine. The current price of a single adult ticket is CHF 6.80 and CHF 13.60 for a return ticket.
Lauterbrunnen itself can easily be reached by train, car or bus. If you’re in Lauterbrunnen, it’s a great idea to also check out the waterfall (Trümmelbachfälle)!
Walking up from Lauterbrunnen
If you want to save the ticket money or you just really love hiking up steep mountains, you can also walk up from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen. We’ve done this a few times and let me tell you – it is very exhausting! I don’t particularly recommend this if you are planning on hiking up to Männlichen the same day, but it can definitely be done.
When leaving Wengen, I usually hike down but I don’t particularly like doing it – it’s very steep and my legs always ache by the time I get to the bottom (don’t ask me why I do it then, I don’t understand myself either).
Getting up the Männlichen
Once you arrive in Wengen, the real journey starts. Once again you have two options here. You could either take the cable car up from Wengen to the top of the Männlichen or you could enjoy a wonderful, yet strenuous hike up the mountain.
Taking the cable car
Operating times of the cable car depend on the season. There are different types of tickets you can purchase, some include just the cable car ride from Wengen to Männlichen, others also include a ticket to get back to Wengen from Kleine Scheidegg (the end of the Männlichen panorama trail). You can check operating times and prices on maennlichen.ch,on jungfrau.ch or in Wengen at the cable car station or tourist information. Currently a single ticket from Wengen to Männlichen is CHF 22, while a return is CHF 44. The cable car station is about a 2 minute walk from the train station (just follow the main road up until you see it).
Hiking up the Männlichen
I highly recomend hiking up the Männlichen instead of taking the cable car. Your wallet will definitely thank you for this as the cable car is a bit pricey. Finding your way up to Männlichen is fairly straight forward, as you pretty much just walk up from Wengen train station. You should also be able to see signs. There are different routes to getting to the actual hiking trail from the station.
My favorite route is to follow the main road (you can’t miss it. Wengen is tiny and it will be very obvious which one the main road is! Coming from the station, turn left) to the edge of the village. You’ll get to a little forest where you have to turn right, keep walking for a few minutes and then turn right again. It’s easy to find the way as there will be a sign at the turn. There’s also a big rock which I used to climb up when I was a kid, it’s really hard to miss!
Anyway, from there you turn right and follow the road until you get to the hiking trail (which is part of the Eiger Ultra Trail). Again, lots of signs, so don’t worry about getting lost! It will take you about 20-25 minutes to get to the trail from the station and then another 1-2 hours to the top of the Männlichen.
As you’re walking up the trail you’ll come across some breath-taking views. Luckily there’s some benches (which have been kind donations, check out the inscriptions!) so you can take a break and enjoy the scenery.
The Männlichen Panorama Trail
Once you reach the top of the Männlichen you’ll see lots of tourists! There’s some restaurants on top, a view point, playground and adorable wooden statues. It’s also very likely that you’ll come across a cow or two up there in summer. There’s a self-service restaurant which had plain Rösti (it’s like a giant hashbrown) for I think CHF 12 as the only vegan option the time we went there. Rösti is actually great food when hiking, as it’s really filling (and yummy).
Kleine Scheidegg & Back to Wengen
The Männlichen Panorama Trail ends at Kleine Scheidegg. There’s lots of restaurants, shops and even hotels here. We ate some more Rösti (don’t judge, I like food) here, which only cost us CHF 8! We ate at a little outside stall. Again, I believe Rösti is pretty much the only vegan option, although you might be able to find something like pasta or french fries somewhere (we didn’t check out all the restaurants). Most places were quite expensive which is why we opted for the little food stall. Kleine Scheidegg is also where the train to the top of the Jungfrau (the highest train station in Europe) goes, but that would be a bit much for just a day! You have two options for getting back to Wengen from here: walk or take the train.
Taking the train back to Wengen
If you don’t have much time, I’d recommend taking the train back to Wengen from here. The walk down is nice, but nothing spectacular. The last bit is also quite steep and not the most enjoyable. You can check times and prices directly at the station or online. The train goes through Wengen directly to Lauterbrunnen, so you can get out in either station depending on where you’re staying. Tickets are rather expensive as it is a special train and a single ticket to Wengen is CHF 23, a single ticket to Lauterbrunnen is CHF 29.30. Note that you need a ticket even if you already have a Swiss pass/ Interrail Pass (you’ll get a discount) as this is not part of the normal rail network!
Walking back to Wengen
If you choose to walk back to Wengen, there’s signs everywhere and you literally just walk down until you’re in Wengen. There’s two stations in between Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg, so you can also just walk a part of it. The first part from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengernalp is really nice and not too steep.
Advice and cost breakdown
When to go
Hiking up to Männlichen and doing the Männlichen Panorama trail is best done in summer as that’s when you get the best weather. If you go in summer and decide to hike up the Männlichen rather than take the cable car, I’d recomend going early in the morning as there isn’t much shade when walking up and it can get pretty hot!
You can also go in spring or autumn. Sometimes you can get really lucky and get amazing weather! There’s also less tourists then, as it is generally considered off-season. If you do go in autumn or spring, just be prepared for cold weather on top of Männlichen. We went in spring once and while it was quite warm in Wengen, there was snow when we got to the top!
You cannot do this in winter (from December) as there will be snow and it thus turns into a skiing piste (Skiing here is great also).
Where to eat and where to stay
As mentioned before, there’s places to get Rösti on top of the Männlichen as well as on Kleine Scheidegg. There’s also lots of restaurants in Wengen, many will be able to cater to vegans. In Lauterbrunnen, there’s actually a café that serves VEGAN CAKE! It’s called air time café and is near the train station.
There’s hotels at pretty much every stop of this trip. We stayed in Wengen as we had free accommodation there. Hotels on Kleine Scheidegg are really expensive. It gets slightly cheaper if you stay in Wengen. Cheaper options can be found in Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken. Most people choose to stay in Interlaken and do this as a day trip. Alternatively you could do chouchsurfing in Lauterbrunnen (I checked, there are hosts in Lauterbrunnen!) as this would be the most affordable option.
Instead of walking up to Männlichen from Wengen, you can also get there from Grindelwald. Grindelwald can be reached by car or public transport and you can also find accommodation there. The walk up from Grindelwald is slightly less steep, but there’s also more people. Personally I prefer walking up there from Wengen because you’re usually the only one the trail up (which is crazy considering how many tourists visit the region!).
Fun fact: Swiss mountains (and ski lifts) have strange names, especially in the Jungfrau region. Männlichen pretty much just means “manly” in German, Jungfrau means virgin, Mönch means monk and then there’s ski lifts called “Gummi” (Rubber or colloqialism for condom), “Wix” (ehem…masturbate) and “Bumps” (let’s just say intercourse). Don’t ask me who came up with these names!
Ok, you technically you can do this completely for free if you walk EVERYWHERE. But I don’t really recomend that. My preferred route is this:
Taking the train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen: CHF 6.80 single/ CHF 13.60 return (free if you have a Swiss Pass or Interrail Pass)
Walking up to Männlichen: Free
Walking the Männlichen Panorama Trail: Free
Walking back to Wengen: Free
Taking the train back to Lauterbrunnen from Wengen: CHF 6.80 single/ CHF 13.60 return (free if you have a Swiss Pass or Interrail Pass)
Food: Depends on what you eat! You can get Rösti for CHF 8-12 or you can bring your own food. I brought home-made sandwiches! Bread’s very cheap, you can probably get a loaf of bread for around CHF 1-2. I like putting grilled tofu on mine (around CHF 5 for a big block, which will make about 4 sandwiches) or you can put chocolate inside (starting from CHF 0.65 in Coop for a bar of dark chocolate), it’s what Swiss people do!
As you can see, you can probably get away with spending CHF 10-20 on food for the day and CHF 13.60 for a return ticket Lauterbrunnen-Wengen. It’s possible to do it for less if you walk up to Wengen and bring your own, cheaper food. It’s also possible to spend much more if you take more trains and go up to Männlichen by cable car!
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