Europe

Graubünden, Switzerland: 8 Unmissable Things to See & Do

In this post, Anna Timbrook of Expert World Travel runs through the highlights that you can expect on a trip to the Swiss canton of Graubünden.

Heading to Graubünden and not sure what you can do once you’re there? The options are endless, and if you’re into the outdoorsy lifestyle, it’s the best Swiss region for you!

Graubünden (also known as The Grisons) is the largest Canton in Switzerland and it’s home to some of the country’s most spectacular sights. With unspoiled nature, hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails and even ancient castles, Graubünden is the place to be for everyone who prefers the countryside.  

This post was written by Anna Timbrook of Expert World Travel.

Anna was born to travel the world, having studied languages throughout her life. She now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel. You can follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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The top 8 things to do in Graubünden, Switzerland

From thrilling toboggan runs to hikes in Switzerland’s only national park – here are the top nine things to do in Graubünden!

The Bernina Express connects Chur and Poschiavo in Switzerland with Tirano in ItalyPin
The Bernina Express connects Chur and Poschiavo in Switzerland with Tirano in Italy

Ride The Bernina Express

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The Bernina Express is the highest railway in the Alps at an altitude of 2253 metres (7391 feet). It crosses 196 bridges and passes through 55 tunnels, covering 144 kilometres (89 miles) in about four hours. There’s no dining car on the train, but you can buy food and drinks. However, the service is slow and very expensive, so it’s probably better if you bring your own snacks for the four-hour ride. 

The ride is spectacular! You get to enjoy views of glaciers, lakes, tall mountain peaks, and captivating landscapes. Start the ride in Chur and follow through to the end of the line in Italy for the full experience on the Bernina Express. 

Tobogganing is a national pastime in Switzerland with runs criss-crossing the entire countryPin
Tobogganing is a national pastime in Switzerland with runs criss-crossing the entire country

Go Tobogganing 

Switzerland is known for exciting adventures in nature and its toboggan rides are at the top of that list. And since Graubünden Canton is home to Switzerland’s longest toboggan run, it’s the perfect place to enjoy it! Head to Mount Pradaschier for a thrilling experience that runs for 3,060 metres (1.9 miles), at times reaching speeds of 40km/h (25mph).

The best thing about the run is that it is perfectly safe, and you can even enjoy it with children. It’s a 7-10 minute ride from the top of the ride to the valley, and it will be your best 10 minutes in Graubünden. Not only is it an adrenaline rush, but you also get to enjoy some spectacular views, and feel weightless while you’re rushing down the toboggan. 

The Rhine Gorge is a geological marvelPin
The Rhine Gorge is a geological marvel

Hike To II Spir Observation Deck

Address: 7017 Flims, Switzerland
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The II Spir observation deck towers over Rhine Gorge, offering breathtaking 180-degree views of the Little Swiss Canyon. This is almost the beginning of the actual Rhine River that forms the border with Germany and runs all the way to the Netherlands. It’s actually hard to imagine such a small river becomes such a wide beast of a river by the time it comes to an end.

You can get to the observation deck from Flims Waldhaus in about an hour if you follow one of the hiking trails through the Flims forest. 

The short hike is not very difficult, but it is exceptionally rewarding. Once you’re done enjoying the gorgeous panoramic views, you can grab a drink or a meal at the nearby restaurant. The views here aren’t quite as compelling as those from the observation deck, but they pair perfectly with the Swiss cheeses and wines. 

The town of St Moritz is home to around 5000 people and located around 1,800 metres (5,910 ft) above sea levelPin
The town of St Moritz is home to around 5000 people and located around 1,800 metres (5,910 ft) above sea level

Head To St. Moritz 

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St. Moritz is a world-renowned resort village on the Lake of St. Moritz. Everything about St. Moritz is luxurious, from the high fashion stores to the high-class visitors that can be seen sipping champagne in the decadent restaurants.

A trip to this village is definitely not for those who want to experience Graubünden on a budget. But if you’re looking to get a taste of the opulent lifestyle of the Swiss, St. Moritz is the place to be.

Of course, St Moritz alone may not be worth the visit for you, but the lakes in the valley around it are. In summer you can go stand up paddle boarding, swimming or even kite surfing. Or, you can hike in the surrounding mountains using the cablecars to make life easier. In winter, there is skiing of course, as well as ski touring, and snowshoeing. The choice is yours.

Lake Silvaplana takes its name from the nearby village of SilvaplanaPin
Lake Silvaplana takes its name from the nearby village of Silvaplana

Camping At Lake Silvaplana

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The Lake Silvaplana campsite is the complete opposite of the St. Moritz luxe hotels. But just like the luxurious resort village, the campsite is surrounded by picturesque Swiss nature. Camping Silvaplana offers all the amenities you need for a comfortable camping trip, whether you’re arriving in a motorhome or just bringing a tent. 

The idyllic landscape is mesmerizing and inspiring – so much so that it’s the exact place where Nietzsche conceived the idea of Eternal Recurrence. In addition to that, the area is quite popular for various water sports. In the summer it’s kitesurfing and windsurfing, and in the colder months, once the lake freezes, it’s part of a cross-country skiing trail. 

Founded in August 1914, Swiss National Park is Switzerland only national parkPin
Founded in August 1914, Swiss National Park is Switzerland only national park

Swiss National Park 

Address: 7530 Zernez, Switzerland
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Switzerland has one national park and it’s in Graubünden. If you enjoy the beautiful nature in the rest of Switzerland, you’ll be astounded by what awaits in the park. Stunning views, unique wildlife, and even a park museum are all there to keep you entertained during your visit. 

The national park is most popular with hikers, thanks to the abundance of hiking trails. From easy hikes anyone can do to demanding, multi-day expeditions to nearby peaks, the Swiss National Park leaves no hiker wanting more. 

And even if you are not into hiking, driving through the park at any time of year is an experience also. You can base yourself at either end, as the park is quite small, and spend multiple days here if you want.

A suspended footbridge above the Viamala GorgePin
A suspended footbridge above the Viamala Gorge. (Source / Licence / Cropped)

Visit The Viamala Gorge 

Address: 7430 Thusis, Switzerland
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Go visit the Viamala Gorge if you want to be awed by nature. Glacier ice and Hinterheim waters carved a gorge into the massive cliffs millennia ago, making this an exceptional testament to the power of nature. There are observation decks, hanging footbridges, scenic spots, and challenging hikes in the area, so it’s not like you’re visiting just to spend half an hour looking at the gorge. 

If you like trying new things, you’ll have an amazing time canyoning in the Viamala Gorge. It’s an entirely different way of experiencing this natural phenomenon, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon for everyone over the age of 14. 

The unspilt beauty of Parc ElaPin
The unspilt beauty of Parc Ela. (Source / Licence / Cropped)

Parc Ela

Address: 7460 Tiefencastel, Switzerland
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If you enjoy being in unspoiled nature, then you have to head to Parc Ella. It is the largest nature park in the country, and like most Swiss locations it features deep blue lakes, mountainous valleys, authentic Swiss villages, and more hiking trails than you can count.

The area is also very popular with mountain bikers, and there’s an abundance of trails offering some very scenic rides. Whether you’re into fun and short hikes or long-distance trails, you’ll find plenty of options in Parc Ella. Its location is perfect for exploring mountains, green pastures, and even lakes. Also, this nature park is a great fit for bird lovers, thanks to ample bird watching opportunities. 

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