Around St. Moritz
The canton of Graubunden, at the eastern end of Switzerland, bordering Austria and Italy, is the
country's largest and, some would say, the most quintessentially Swiss. On the one hand everything works like
clockwork, but on the other hand rules are rules and heaven help anyone - local or visitor - who thinks they can
St Moritz is one of the most famous locations in Graubunden, but the whole area is worth
Even its greatest fans could not claim that Davos is a pretty ski resort but, frankly, Davos is
not so much a ski resort as a town which happens to have access to an enormous amount of very good skiing. It
offers all the advantages and disadvantages you would expect of a town: on the one hand there is a huge choice of
hotels, lots of shops, cinemas and a wide variety of restaurants; on the other hand there is lots of through
traffic and conference delegates.
With a total of 55 lifts and 197 miles of pistes in the combined Davos/Klosters ski area covered
by the Rega pass, there is plenty of skiing for skiers of all abilities, but it is split between five or six
different sectors which are unlinked except by road or rail. However each area justifies a day's exploration.
The best-known and largest area is the Parsenn, which is linked both to Davos and to
neighbouring Klosters. The highest point is the Weissfluh (9,333ft) from where, if snow conditions are good, you
can take one of the longest runs in Europe to the tiny village of Kublis in the valley beyond Klosters.
Despite the fame it has achieved in recent years as a winter holiday destination for members of
the British royal family, Klosters is actually a rather sleepy, unassuming little alpine village that makes a much
quieter base than Davos. Farming is still the main occupation here in summer. There is only a handful of hotels and
most smart British visitors stay in private chalets.
The canton's capital and largest city, Chur may be described as a centre of alpine culture.
The cobbled streets of Chur's old town are perfectly suited to an aimless wander, as are the
paths beside the River Plessur, which burbles between steep banks on its way to the Rhine. The surrounding heights
provide a stunning new backdrop at every street corner.
Right in the centre of town is the gothic St Martin's Church, on a picturesque square surrounded
by pedestrian-friendly streets full of cafes and restaurants.
A steep hill rises behind St Martin's to Chur's onion-domed cathedral, seemingly on the very
edge of the city.
On the other side of the road, walking paths lead through vineyards to forested slopes beyond, with access to the
mountains and fine views back over Chur and across the spectacular Rhine valley to the mountains.
Back on the valley floor, Chur also has a diverting art gallery in the middle of its main
shopping district that features offbeat temporary exhibitions - such as the importance of snow to the local economy
- as well as landscapes, portraits and other works by local painters.