Tom Cornfield reviews an exhilarating trip down the slopes in the Swiss resorts of Grindelwald and Wengen

BATHED in the shadow of the imposing Eiger mountain, the Jungfrau ski region boasts 220km of slopes, stunning scenery and some of the prettiest resorts in the Swiss Alps.

As home to famously lavish resorts such as St Moritz and Verbier, skiing in Switzerland has a reputation for being too pricey for the cost-conscious adventurer.

Some travel companies are starting to change that perception, however, pitching the country’s share of the Alps as an affordable alternative to France or Austria.

Among them is Flexiski, which can design holiday packages from any UK airport and will sort out flights, transfers, hotels, ski passes and excursions at a discounted rate.

A four day trip to Jungfrau saw us split the trip between the car-free resort of Wengen - home of the famous Lauberhorn World cup downhill run - and picturesque Grindelwald, nestled in a valley between breathtaking mountains.

Access to Wengen is by train, which meanders up the mountain from the town of Lauterbrunnen, presenting incredible views.

We stayed in the 4* Hotel Silberhorn, 100 metres away from the station, which has handy ski in - ski out access.

The hotel is embedded in the heart of Wengen, with a cosy hotel bar providing the perfect spot to unwind with a mug of gluhwein.

It has an on-site spa area and gym to relax in after a hard day of hurtling down the slopes, refuelling its residents with five-course dinners featuring three starters, a choice of mains and a dessert or cheese course to finish.

With a price tag of around £680 for three nights in February or March, it might not suit the tightest of budgets, but there are deals to be had when booking as a package.

Wengen itself is a small resort with a few bars and restaurants on the main street - The Tanne bar became a personal favourite.

An adult ski pass for Wengen and Grindelwald costs £226 for four days and covered transport for trains and buses in the area too.

The resort was quiet during our stay just after New Year, but comes alive during the height of the season and for the famous downhill race in mid January.

There is plenty to do if the weather thwarts skiing conditions, including an ice rink just outside the hotel that offers curling lessons, which can be booked at the tourism office next door.

After two days exploring Wengen, we hopped back on the train up the mountain to Kleine Scheidegg and down to Grindelwald.

The resort is much larger than Wengen and only sees the sun for a few hours a day, such is the vastness of the surrounding mountains.

Grindelwald’s stunning scenery has provided the backdrop for several films, including James Bond blockbuster On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Star Wars Revenge of the Sith.

We stayed at the modern 4* Hotel Belvedere, which is a 200 metre walk from Grindelwald train station and boasts a restaurant that featured in the 2018 Michelin guide.

A three-night stay in February or March could set you back about £970, but it boasts one of the best views of the resort: the spacious rooms have balconies with stunning vistas across to the snow-encrusted peak of the Eiger's formidable North Face.

Belvedere’s spa area offers sports massages for sore muscles, a few different saunas varying on temperature and both an indoor and outdoor pool.

The experience of swimming in the latter, as fat snowflakes fell on the steaming water, was quite special.

Grindelwald is home to many bars and restaurants as well as souvenir shops and traditional Swiss chocolatiers.

Getting to the slopes requires a short bus ride to the gondola, which in turn takes 30 minutes to get to ski area of First, or a 40 minute train to the Kleine Sheidegg area.

The Jungfrau resort is in the process of improving access, with a new gondola set to be installed next year.

Once in First, those brave enough can dare to cross the Cliff Walk by Tissot, a bridge cut into the side of the rock face at dizzying heights.

We teetered across during heavy snowfall, when the sheer drop below us was cloaked by thick white fog.

If that is not enough of an adrenaline hit, there are ziplines and other activities included with the ski pass.

The Jungfrau railways also runs a service to the ‘Top of Europe’, the highest train station in the continent, for an extra cost.

Trains in the area are provided by the Swiss Tourism Board the Jungfrau railways, with tracks carved into the cliffs.

Though I've had cheaper ski trips in Austria and France, I found the Jungfrau region to be unrivalled in its offer of excursions, astonishing views and Swiss village charm.


Get there: Easyjet offers direct flights from Gatwick to Zurich - Gatwick's No1 Lounge offers extra comfort. The Swiss Tourism Board's trains will take you from Zurich to the resort.

Stay: The Hotel Silberhorn in Wengen and Hotel Belvedere in Grindelwald offer 4* accommodation

Do: Ski, brave First Cliff Walk and take a train to the Top of Europe. See for discounted packages