Saint Moritz Things to Do

  • Lunch along the trail
    Lunch along the trail
    by BillIW
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Most Recent Things to Do in Saint Moritz

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    Samedan Ref. parish church

    by german_eagle Written Jan 11, 2015

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    This Baroque church right in the centre of Samedan is not to mix up with the older ref. church St. Peter higher up. With its tall steeple it is *the* landmark in the old town of Samedan. The church was built after 1682 on a trapezoid ground plan, the steeple dates from 1770-73, designed by Antonio Carlo Ribordi from Milan. The interior is quite ornate for a reformed church with balconies all around. On one of the balconies is the organ from 1772 in rococo style, the pulpit is also in the same style. The late Baroque communion table is from 1700.

    Open Mon-Sun 9 am - 11.30 am/13.30 - 17 am (according to website of the tourist office, but from my experience you must get the key from either the nearby tourist office or flower shop Malgiaritta vis-a-vis the church.)

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    Ref. parish church Bel Taimpel Celerina

    by german_eagle Written Jan 11, 2015

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    This nice Baroque church, located right in the centre of Celerina, was built 1667-69. The interior is rather simple - pillars at the walls, a barrel-shaped vault, a late-Gothic baptismal font from a former church. All white, the wood-carved pews and originally preserved pulpit make a nice contrast.

    The remarkable thing here is the cock-shaped weather vane on top of the steeple. It can beat the wings - and you can see (and hear) it three times a day: 8 am/12 pm/4 pm in winter, 6 am/12 pm/6 pm in summer. A wire runs from the top down to the church door, in past times you could pull it and beat the wings, but the mechanics don't work anymore.

    The church is open during the day. Free.

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    San Gian

    by german_eagle Written Jan 11, 2015

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    This church is not to overlook. It stands on a hill right in the middle of the valley, at the widest part, between Celerina, Samedan and Pontresina. This Romanesque hall-type church has a choir and steeple originally preserved from the 11th/12th century. The nave was enlarged in 1478 and has a painted wooden ceiling. The campanile (separately standing bell tower) was built in the same year, but damaged by a lightning in 1682.

    Most remarkable is the medieval fresco, depicting St. Mauritius, in the choir. Ditto those at the other walls in the choir and in the nave, created in the late 15th century by the same master as those in Sta. Maria church in nearby Pontresina. Depicted are the life of St. John Baptist, some Saints and an Annunciation.

    A walk around the church is highly recommended. The churchyard is also a cemetery with some interesting old gravestones.

    The church is open Mon, Wed 2 pm - 4 pm, Fri 10.30 am - 12 pm. Free. No photography inside.

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    Zuoz

    by german_eagle Updated Feb 1, 2014

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    Zuoz, the old 'capital' of the Upper Engadine, is the best preserved and most beautiful village in the Upper Engadine. It is set on a hillside, slightly above the valley floor. Noble families like the Plantas built their family houses in Zuoz - in typical local style but larger than usual and with some more decoration as usual. See picture 5 e.g. Stroll along the narrow streets, enjoy the typical sgraffiti decorated houses. See the small market square with the Planta house, the fountain, the inn "Crusch Alva" with the coat-of-arms decoration.

    Zuoz is famous for its boarding school. Quite a number of famous people attended this "Lyzeum Alpinum". The complex is located on the upper end of the village, not accessible.

    Quite interesting are the churches. San Luzi, the protestant parish church was built in Gothic style. Outstanding are the stained glass windows - two in the choir are works of Augusto Giacometti, two others are by local artists.

    The tiny post-Romanesque chapel San Bastiaun has stunning frescos (pic 3). Keys for the churches available at the tourist information.

    Please see my Zuoz page here on Virtualtourist.com for more info.

    Zuoz, main square with Parish church Zuoz, Planta tower Zuoz, chapel San Bastiaun Zuoz, Parish church San Luzi Zuoz, Planta house
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    Mountain hiking in St Moritz

    by BillIW Updated Jun 3, 2013

    Just ask at your hotel desk and they will show you the various trails on a map and how to reach the trailhead. There are fantastic trails, some that do not require strenuous activity, but a nice, pleasant walk in some of the most fantastic scenery in the world. We spent a day, including lunch along the trail, and had a great time. You can take a bus to the Punt Muragl cable car (funicular) station, take the cable car up, walk across on the Muottas Muragl Trail, stopping at the restaurant for lunch, and take a ski lift down at the Alp Langard ski lift station. You arrive in Pontresina and must get transportation back to either where the bus dropped you off at the cable car lift or back to your hotel. You can take a bus..I found this a little difficult to figure out on my own, but just ask a local business and they will tell you where to catch the bus. I highly recommend it. Moderate trail and easy to do. With lunch it does take most of the day.

    Lunch along the trail Muottas Muragi Trail. (c) FAVAustinTX

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    Mountain railway -video tour

    by StuartDutchman Updated Nov 14, 2011

    Enjoy the views travelling by funicular between the summit Corviglia (2486m) and St. Moritz-Dorf (1856m).

    A funicular, also known as a funicular railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope, the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalancing each other.

    VIDEO of my visit:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5n0RZyUU5I

    Mountain railway (video) Mountain railway Mountain railway Mountain railway

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    Piz Nair mountain -video tour

    by StuartDutchman Updated Nov 14, 2011

    Piz Nair (3057m) is the highest skiable mountain in the region. It is located above St. Moritz in the Albula Range, accessible by aerial cable car from Corviglia.

    The Piz Nair Wall was the start of the men's downhill in the 2003 World Championship with a 100% drop results in an acceleration from 0 to 130km/h in 7 seconds.

    VIDEO of my visit:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf7WwoksLlg

    Piz Nair (video) Piz Nair Piz Nair Piz Nair
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    Corviglia summit -video tour

    by StuartDutchman Updated Nov 14, 2011

    Enjoy the mountain views, going by aerial cable car to Signal (2130m) and then by foot to Corviglia (2486m).

    Corviglia is a minor summit situated above St. Moritz. It is also the name of the ski area directly above the town of St. Moritz.

    This area, together with the fully integrated Marguns area which is centered above the neighboring town of Celerina, is the largest skiing area in the Engadine.

    It has been the scene of several large tournaments, including the Olympic games twice, and the FIS alpine ski world championships several times.

    From here you can go by aerial cable car to the Piz Nair (3057m), the highest skiable mountain in the region.

    VIDEO of my visit:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfgBR0754UQ

    Corviglia (video) Corviglia Corviglia Corviglia
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    Lake St. Moritz -video tour

    by StuartDutchman Updated Nov 14, 2011

    Lake St. Moritz measures approx. 1.6 km long and 0.6 km wide and depending on how fast a walker you are, it may take 1 to 1-1/2 hours to walk around it.

    Lake St. Moritz = Lej da San Murezzan, in Romansh.

    VIDEO of my walk around the lake:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGdoL2Bd9sU

    Lake St. Moritz (video) Lake St. Moritz Lake St. Moritz Lake St. Moritz
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    Town walk -video tour

    by StuartDutchman Updated Nov 14, 2011

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    Also known as "Top of the World", St. Moritz is considered the oldest and one of the most famous winter resorts in the world.

    Due to its favorable location residents enjoy over 300 days of sunshine a year.

    In summer on can enjoy horse riding golf, walking, climbing and biking.

    St. Moritz is extremely popular in the summer months as an altitude training base for distance athletes, particularly cyclists, runners, and race walkers.

    St. Moritz basically consists of two villages, St. Moritz-Bad and St. Moritz-Dorf, respectively on the lake and on the hillside.

    It has been the host city for the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics. It also hosted the 1934, 1974 and 2003 Alpine Skiing World Championships. It is one of three cities that have hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice.

    St. Moritz was mentioned in the 1964 James Bond film "Goldfinger" and in the 1981 James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only".

    VIDEO of my visit:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpAO1KXFwa4

    St. Moritz (video) St. Moritz St. Moritz St. Moritz

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    Sils - the sights

    by german_eagle Updated Jun 17, 2011

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    Sils' main attraction is the surrounding landscape. That won't ever change (hopefully). But it has to offer some more things to do and see, some of them often overlooked. The Nietzsche house is probably the best known of them. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spent the summers 1881-87 in this house. He was sick with headache (probably light allergy), retired from the University Basel and had discovered that he felt better in the cool and dry climate in the Upper Engadine. He praised Sils as "loveliest place of the world", did long walks in the sun along the lakes and wrote - e.g. the famous "Thus spoke Zarathustra", "East of Good and Evil", "Ecce Homo". At the end of the beautiful peninsula Chaste is a monument for him, a stone with a poem engraved:

    Sils-Maria
    Hier saß ich, wartend, - doch auf Nichts,
    Jenseits von Gut und Böse, bald des Lichts
    Genießend, bald des Schattens, ganz nur Spiel,
    Ganz See, ganz Mittag, ganz Zeit ohne Ziel.

    Da, plötzlich, Freundin! wurde Eins zu Zwei -
    - und Zarathustra ging an mir vorbei ...

    The interior of the Nietzsche house is well preserved. You can see the basic room where he lived e.g. It is also home for the Nietzsche Association which researches his works and hosts conferences/seminars. Check the website for opening hours and admission fee.

    Each part of Sils has a Parish church - Sils-Baselgia's is very picturesque from outside, in the most beautiful setting, a late-Romanesque church without any works of art worth to see, though. The Parish church of Sils-Maria was built in the early 17th century and renovated 1009/10. Again, the interior is nothing special but at least the woodcarved pulpit (Swiss pine) is beautiful and there is a decoration around the apse with an interesting pattern.

    Another place to see is the small Robbi museum next to the Parish church in Sils-Maria. Andrea Robbi (1864-1945) grew up in Italy as son of a family from the Engadine. He studied in Munich (together with Giovanni Giacometti), Milan, Rome, Paris and Dresden before returning to the Engadine. His paintings were only recently discovered as excellent art. Now many of them are on display in this small museum which also shows temporary exhibits on contemporary local art.
    Open Tue-Sun 4-6 pm.

    Last but not least I'd like to recommend the botanical garden in Sils, right in the centre of the village on the small hill Muot Marias. Open always and free. You can see about 150 species of Alpine flowers plus enjoy the panoramic views of the landscape.

    Nietzsche house inside Nietzsche house Protestant parish church concert in the protestant parish church Turk's-cap lily in the botanical garden
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    Sils

    by german_eagle Updated Jun 17, 2011

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    Sils is my favourite village in the Upper Engadine. It has the most beautiful location between two lakes, right on the entrance of the marvellous Fex valley. Sils is probably the "cultural centre" of the Engadine. Famous writers, musicians, artists etc. used to stay there (Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Marcel Proust to name a few). Every year many cultural events take place in Sils to keep this spirit alive.

    While the main road runs along the northern edge of the Engadine Sils stretches to the southern side - no traffic passing through, which makes it fun to stroll along the 'main' street marvelling at some houses in typical local style with sgraffito decoration, but also at some grand old hotels.

    Sils is actually split into two different parts - the smaller Sils-Baselgia, which is located close to the main road, more of an authentic farmers village, and the larger (whatever that means here!) Sils-Maria at the entrance to the Fex valley, where the most hotels, shops and restaurants are located. Inbetween is the so called Sils plain, good for leisure walks toward the lakes (benches) offering the best panoramic views.

    The tourist office is located in the small town hall right on the main square. The post office and bus stop are a three minutes walk down the main street (all in Sils-Maria, another bus stop in Sils-Baselgia).

    Sils is also an excellent base for both cross-country skiing and downhill skiing (Furtschellas-Corvatsch) in winter and hiking through all seasons. Buses frequently connect Sils with St. Moritz and hourly with the Bregaglia valley.

    Please see my next tips on special attractions.

    Sils, main square Sils, main street (weather station right) Lake Silvaplana with Sils and P. da la Margna Sils, Lake Sils and peninsula Chaste from Marmore Sils in winter
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    Bregaglia valley

    by german_eagle Updated Apr 26, 2011

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    Only about one hour by bus away from St. Moritz is one of the most romantic places in the Alps: the Bregaglia valley with picturesque villages, Italian ambience and unspoilt landscape.

    My advice is to take the bus from St. Moritz to Stampa (994 m) and hike to Soglio. The path leads you though the nice hamlet Coltura. A steep part follows (I call it "staircase to heaven":-)) and then at once the gorgeous mountains on the other side of the valley appear - and the quaint village Soglio (1097 m) is in front of you (pic 5).

    Stroll along the narrow cobbled streets, feel the atmosphere of past times and don't miss the cemetery. Have lunch or at least a coffee in the beautiful garden of Palazzo Salis (Hotel and restaurant).

    While everyone concentrates on Soglio - which has of course the most spectacular location - don't miss the other villages in the valley. Vicosoprano, Promontogno and Bondo are all worth a stroll and offer interesting architecture, not to mention the views of the mountains! Stampa has a museum on the Giacometti family (they are from this village), the Palazzo Castelmur is worth to see from inside, too, the churches are interesting as well. More on this valley in a separate page that I plan to build at some time.

    Soglio with view of the Bregaglia mountains Bregaglia valley church in Borgonovo Palazzo Castelmur Soglio
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    Sils - Fex valley

    by german_eagle Written Apr 26, 2011

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    Fex valley is a side valley of the Upper Engadine, stretching from Sils-Maria south to the Swiss-Italian border. The valley is car-free, only the very few inhabitants plus hand full of hotels have permission to drive their cars in the valley. Visitors take horse-drawn carriages (starting at the main square and bus stop in Sils-Maria), walk or bike into the valley.

    From Sils take either the small street (as mentioned, almost no traffic) passing Hotel Waldhaus or the trail through the gorge of the Fex creek. Both take you up to the first of the hamlets in the Fex valley - Platta, spread over a wide plain with beautiful views. The views get even better after you reach the next hamlet, Crasta, which is located about 100 m higher. Attractions here are the Hotel Sonne and B&B Crasta with their excellent food, but even more so the cute Romanesque chapel with stunning frescos from 1511 (always open).

    The valley floor becomes quite flat from here on, the walk via the hamlet Curtins to Hotel Fex is easy. The location of Hotel Fex is spectacular - at the end of the valley, view of the mountains and glaciers. P. Tremoggia is the highest with 3441 m. There's nothing better than lounging on their terrace on a sunny day and enjoying a meal, believe me!

    The valley is famous for the vegetation - rare Alpine flowers bloom on the south facing hillsides. I personally love to hike to the Fex valley starting at the top station of the Furtschellas cable car: The hike via Marmore offers gorgeous views and leads down to Hotel Fex, crossing through these areas with the blooming flowers, sometimes you even get to see marmots.

    View of the Fex Valley from Marmore Hotel Fex Fex Crasta with the chapel frescos in the chapel winter in the Fex valley
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    Pontresina: church Sta. Maria

    by german_eagle Updated Apr 25, 2011

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    The small church Sta. Maria, located in the woods above Pontresina, is a real gem. Tower and western wall are all what is left of the Romanesque church from the 12th century. The other structures are from about 1450. Remarkable are the frescos inside. The late Romanesque frescos (1230) on the western wall show the Epiphany, Jesus's baptism and Last Supper. The style is post-Byzantine, the quality excellent.

    Absolutely stunning are the other frescos inside from 1495, fantastic works of the so called "Master of Pontresina", probably from an upper Italian workshop. Scenes depict the Last Judgement, the legends of Mary Magdalene and Lazarus and Vita Christi e.g. The quality is fantastic, preservation is also very good.

    The church is open in the afternoons Mon-Fri (Summer) and Mon, Wed, Fri (winter).

    Gothic frescos from 1495 Church Sta. Maria Church Sta. Maria
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