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This European Country Has a Town for Every Type of Traveler

Whether you’re a luxury traveler, journeying with the kiddos, or looking to channel your inner celeb—the region of Graubünden has it all.

From historic cities like Zürich to glamorous hilltop towns like Gstaad, you can craft any type of vacation you want in Switzerland, whether it’s a glitzy ski trip or a gallery-hopping adventure. But there’s one region of Switzerland that has it all, and that is Graubünden. Big names like St. Moritz and Davos are within this Delaware-sized canton (Switzerland’s largest and easternmost), brimming with world-class spas, glamorous après ski scenes, family-friendly towns, and alpine scenery that is ripe for both summer and winter exploration. With so much on offer, you may find you never have to venture outside Graubünden at all.

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For the Luxury Traveler

WHERE: St. Moritz

Just the name St. Moritz conjures images of streets lined with designer shops, palatial hotels, and glitterati lounging with Prosecco after a ski run. Its glam snow bunny scene—dating back to the birth of winter tourism in the 1860s—has made this city the stuff of legends. And for those who want to splash out, there’s no better Swiss town to experience the rich and the famous lifestyle. Between shopping at Prada and Hermès and booking a spa appointment to soothe ski-worn muscles, take the funicular up to Muottas Muragl for indulgent views or bobsled down the Olympia Bob Run.

Where to Stay: For the ultimate luxury, stay at opulent and historic properties like Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, where a Rolls-Royce whisks you straight from the train station, or the Kulm Hotel, St. Moritz’s first hotel built in 1856. For a slightly less expensive option, stay at the Art Boutique Hotel Monopol, conveniently located in the town center.

Where to Eat: At Michelin-starred restaurants such as Ecco and Talvo, the food and the dining room are works of art. Afterward, hit the roof at Art Boutique Hotel Monopol’s St. Moritz Sky Bar to raise a glass over the town’s snow-covered rooftops.

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For the Adventure Traveler

WHERE: Arosa Lenzerheide

Lenzerheide and the neighboring town of Arosa are all about getting outdoors—especially for skiing and biking. With access to 43 ski lifts, more than 140 miles of runs, cross-country skiing trails, and world-class biking and hiking trails, Arosa is jampacked with thrills of all kinds. Summit the Parpaner Rothorn for epic panoramic views of the area, and then freeride down the mountain, or try your cross-country skiing and shooting skills at the Biathalon Arena. Real thrill-seekers can head to Pradaschier Adventure Mountain for Switzerland’s longest toboggan run (10,039 ft with 31 turns) or to zip line at 68 miles per hour. To take it slower, you can opt for a stroll across the frozen Heidsee lake or a hike in the nearby Swiss National Park. Exhausted yet? Don’t miss the popular “Light Ride,” a night of sledding down slopes under neon lights.

Where to Stay: Stay at the elegant Schweizerhof in the town’s center for convenient access to the many activities (connecting is easy with the free SportBus), or at the nearby Valbella Resort for a little R&R at its multi-story Tor da Lenn spa.

Where to Eat: All that exercising calls for cheese and carbs. At the rustic-yet-upscale Maiensasshotel restaurant, Guarda Val, eat the best truffle fondue of your life overlooking a picture-perfect mountain vista.

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For the Wellness Traveler

WHERE: Scuol

Entire books have been written about the Graubünden region’s restorative alpine air, while the region’s thermal baths have been a destination since the Romans lived here. But of the nearly endless supply of top-notch spas in Davos, Valbella, and St. Moritz, the mineral baths at Bogn Engiadina Scuol truly take the cake. Under one grand roof, six indoor and outdoor thermal pools with varying temperatures plus a sauna, steam room, solarium, and ice-plunge pool make for the ultimate spa destination. The jaw-dropper is an outdoor thermal bath with panoramic views of the mountains.

Where to Stay: Hotel Belvédère gives you direct access to the thermal baths via a covered walkway, and the grand pink-hued hotel with mountain views is also a gorgeous place to stay in its own right.

Where to Eat: If you’re staying at Hotel Belvédère, try traditional Grisons meat and cheese at Restaurant Belvédère, an atmospheric wood-paneled restaurant with mountain views. Don’t forget to sample the natural mineral waters in Bogn Engiadina and at water taps in the town’s squares.

INSIDER TIPTo access Graubünden, fly into Zürich and take a 1.5-hour private transfer or train to Chur.

 

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For the Family Traveler

WHERE: Arosa, Lenzerheide, Maienfeld

This region is extraordinarily family-friendly since it’s a big holiday town for Swiss families. Arosa is a smaller and more relaxed town that is a natural choice for families. Boasting prime skiing and sledding in the winter and a bear sanctuary known as Barenland, there’s plenty to entertain the kiddos. In the summer, it’s popular for families to rent a boat and picnic around Lake Obersee.

For a bit of nostalgia, head to the nearby town of Maienfeld, where the children’s tale Heidi was set. You can visit Heidi Village, which celebrates the Swiss character with life-size models, a hiking path, and a petting zoo. Another trail to entertain kids is Lenzerheide’s Globi Hiking Trail, which celebrates the lovable Swiss Globi, (a German-speaking Mickey Mouse) with 13 stations to teach kids about everything from technology to nature.

Where to Eat: Hotel Restaurant Heidhof near Heidi Village is a fun spot for kids and adults to try regional specialties.

Where to Stay: Valbella Resort has great children’s programming and a Lego-themed “KidsInn,” the perfect place to drop kids off while parents head to the spa at the Waldhotel Arosa.

 

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For the Cool Snowboarder

WHERE: Flims Laax

The pioneers of snowboarding made Laax their home base, and they still flock here today for relaxed vibes and great slopes. Laax’s five snow parks are home to everything from beginner runs to Olympic kickers and the biggest halfpipe in the world. There is also an indoor Freestyle Academy for skateboarding and practicing jumps on trampolines. Beyond snowboarding, Laax also has the world’s longest treetop walkway, Senda dil Dragun, and beautiful lakes. Come for the views and stay for the laidback bars and chill restaurants in the Galaaxy mountain station.

Where to Stay: Rocksresort has two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens perfect for friend groups and families.

Where to Eat: Conveniently located across from Rocksresort is Grandis Ustria da Vin, an upscale steakhouse with a library of wines. You can also opt for the casual Thai noodle place, Nooba, and bar next door, where you can sip grappa with the cool kids.

INSIDER TIPThere are four official languages in Switzerland: French, Swiss-German, Italian, and Romansh. The latter three are spoken in Graubünden.

 

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For the Train Traveler

WHERE: The Bernina Express

Take a train ride through the most beautiful alpine scenery you can imagine, from Chur down to Tirano, Italy, on the region’s famous Bernina Express. Panoramic windows in the train cars make it easy to view the scenery from anywhere on the train, and boy is it beautiful. Views of glaciers, palms, and snowy mountains crossed by aqueducts make this one of the best train journeys in Europe. No wonder it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where to Stay: When you buy tickets through the Rhaetian Railway, you can book a hotel in Chur, St. Moritz, and Lugano on a flexible three-day journey.

Where to Eat: There are snacks and bar services on board, but take the opportunity to stop in St. Moritz or Lugano for a bite.

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For the Foodie

WHERE: St. Moritz

There are more than 50 Michelin-starred restaurants in Graubünden. You can indulge in regional specialties like bündnerfleisch (dried Grisons meat) or fondue in just about every town. About 70 varieties of wine are made here, passed down from the Romans who brought grapes over long ago.

Where to Stay: Badrutt’s Palace St. Moritz is a foodie heaven, covering all the bases with Michelin-starred IGNIV, Japanese-Peruvian dishes from Nobu at Matsuhisa, and even a more casual pizzeria.

Where to Eat: It’s no surprise that many Michelin-starred restaurants are in St. Moritz, including Ecco St. Moritz, Paradiso, and Talvo, but the region also boasts fine dining in Lenzerheide (Guarda Val and La Riva) and Laax (Das Elephant, Mulania).

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For the Nature Lover

WHERE: Flims, Zernez

The entire region is a nature lover’s dream, but you’ve never seen a more beautiful lake than Caumasee. You will stare into its turquoise depths until your soul is restored. Not guaranteed, but we think Thoreau would definitely approve. Whether you come in the winter to see it blanketed in white or at summer season for a swim and hike, it’s a mesmerizing way to take in the area’s natural beauty. Nearby is also the Rhine Gorge (aka the Swiss Grand Canyon), and in Zernez, you can access the Swiss National Park.

Where to Stay: To be one with nature, you can camp year-round in a tent or van at Camping Flims (or at Camping Cul Zernez outside of Swiss National Park), or stay at Rocksresort in nearby Laax and take the complimentary shuttle over to hike in Flims.

Where to Eat: Drink in the views in addition to eating the Michelin-starred food on the terrace at Restaurant Chesa.

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For the History Buff

WHERE: Chur

Graubünden’s capital, Chur, is a good starting point for exploring the region; it’s also the oldest city in Switzerland. Soak it all in by taking a tour of its old town to learn its history. The area was settled back in 11,000 BC and again by the Romans 2,000 years ago. Spot the Hof Torturm (Citadel Gate Tower), which leads into the court of the strong bishop-princes of Chur, once hosts to Holy Roman emperors.

Where to Stay: Hotel Stern Chur has a great restaurant and is more than 300 years old, transporting you back in time.

Where to Eat: Drive 20 minutes out to the mountain town of Fürstenau for a memorable experience at Schauenstein Schloss, world-renowned chef Andreas Caminada’s tasting menu restaurant located within a charming castle.

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For the Trendsetter

WHERE: Celerina

Just a five-minute drive from St. Moritz, Celerina gives you easy access to the glam life without breaking the bank. From here, you can take the cable car to St. Moritz-Corviglia or swim in Lake Staz. Plus, it’s home to cool up-and-coming restaurants and hotels. More bragging rights: this town gets more sun than any in the region.

Where to Stay: Close to the train and cable car is the glamorous Hotel Cresta Palace, a grand dame from 1906 that’s been completely modernized. With a spa and excellent on-site restaurants, you may not get out to St. Moritz after all.

Where to Eat: Hotel Chesa Rosatsch may occupy a 300-year-old building, but its three restaurant concepts are refreshingly contemporary.

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For the Art Lover

WHERE: Guarda

Sure, there are galleries in St. Moritz, but the region’s big claim to fame is its buildings covered in sgraffito, a decorative technique made from etching into the stucco. Perhaps nowhere is the sgraffito better preserved than in Guarda, a quaint town with cobblestone streets and bright houses etched in sgraffito with flower boxes poking out.

Where to Eat and Stay: Stay in one of Hotel Meisser’s carved pine rooms to examine the sgraffito technique up close and sample local specialties at the restaurant.

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For the Traveler Who Wants It All

WHERE: Davos

Europe’s highest town ranks high on everyone’s list: skiers, romantics, wellness travelers, city lovers, you name it—and visiting is a good way to sample a little of everything the region has to offer. For starters, the town, best known as the host of the World Economic Forum, has miles of ski runs and an après ski scene to match, world-famous wellness offerings, plus an imposing Bond-like hotel whose architecture shines over the town. It’ll have you snapping photos left and right. We dare you not to take a selfie on a horse-drawn carriage ride through the Dischma Valley, at one of the many cocktail lounges, or post spa treatment in an outdoor pool with a view of the mountains beyond.

Where to Stay: AlpenGold is that iconic gold orb you can see from all over town; soak in the view from your enormous balcony, or take a glass of champagne into your tub and cheers to yourself.

Where to Eat: AlpenGold not only has its own cheese factory where you can indulge in fondue but also one of the area’s best Peruvian Japanese restaurants, La Muña. You can enjoy excellent cocktails and sushi in a sultry lounge with city views that will stay with you long after your trip.

 

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