At 5,116 feet, this highest "city" (stretching the definition) in Europe is good for cold-weather sports even in the soggiest of winters. Davos is famous for its ice sports and skiing, and almost more celebrated for hosting the annual World Economic Forum every January. The town and its lake lie in the Landwasser Valley, which runs parallel to the Upper Engadine, though they're separated by the vast Albula chain, reaching to more than 9,840 feet. On the opposite side of the valley stands the Strela chain, dominated by the Weissfluhgipfel.

This is a capital for action-oriented sports enthusiasts and not necessarily for anyone seeking a peaceful, rustic mountain retreat (especially at the end of December, when there's an invasion of ice-hockey fans for the international Spengler Cup).

Davos is divided into Platz and Dorf (village), which together are one noisier-than-average urban strip, though Dorf is the calmer of the two. The town's first visitors came to take cures for lung disease in the bracing mountain air. Now, except for a few token historic structures and brightly painted buildings, the town is modern and architecturally undistinguished, and its center sometimes fills with the exhaust of city traffic. But no matter how densely populated and fast paced the town becomes, the slopes are still spectacular, and the regulars return.

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