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 bend them.
St Moritz is one of the most famous locations in Graubunden, but the whole area is worth exploring.
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.
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.