8 Top Tourist Attractions in St. Moritz & Easy Day Trips
One of the world's most famous - and among the first - winter sports resorts, St. Moritz hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948. The village of St. Moritz Dorf, with its large and palatial hotels, sits on a sunny terrace sheltered from the north wind above the St. Moritzersee (St. Moritz Lake). St Moritz Bad, on the valley floor at the southwest end of the lake, has iron-bearing springs that were already being used in the Bronze Age. The beautiful alpine scenery with 25 crystal-clear mountain lakes as well as forests and glaciers is the region's greatest attraction, drawing tourists and outdoor sports enthusiasts year-round. Summer visitors enjoy hiking, climbing, sailing, windsurfing, tennis, horseback riding, golf, and even skiing on the glaciers. The magnificent view from St. Moritz embraces the mountains from Piz Languard in the east to Piz Julier in the west. The most prominent peaks are Piz Rosatsch, with its glacier; to its right Piz Surlej and Piz Corvatsch; and in the distance, the beautiful Piz della Margna.
See also: Where to Stay in St. Moritz
1 Winter Sports
The origins of winter tourism in St. Moritz go back to the late 1800s, and from those first ski runs it has developed into a world-famous modern skiing metropolis with more than 20 lifts carrying skiers to terrain for all skill levels. The highest resort in Switzerland, it offers some of the best intermediate terrain with a number of exceptionally long runs. But skiing isn't the only winter sport here. St. Moritz offers artificial and natural ice skating rinks, curling, tobogganing, Nordic skiing, bobsledding, and kite skiing, plus a variety of spectator sports. The Olympic ski jump and slopes host frequent world ski events, and every year there are international horse races on the frozen lake as well as winter polo.
2 Corviglia Funicular
From St. Moritz Dorf, a funicular ascends 2.1 kilometers to Corviglia via an intermediate station at 2,005 meters at Chantarella. Corviglia, at 2,486 meters, has sweeping alpine views and excellent skiing as well as a restaurant. The lift carries sightseers and hikers in the summer. From here, a cabin cable car makes the 10-minute ascent up Piz Nair, with even wider views from its 3,057-meter elevation. From St. Moritz Bad the Signalbahn serves the Signalkuppe ski area, at 2,150 meters.
3 St. Moritz Lake
Just as the mountains above St. Moritz draw skiers in the winter, the lake below is the focus of attention for many summer visitors. About two kilometers from St. Moritz Dorf on the east side of the lake are hotels with restaurants and cafés, favorite stops for walkers on the path that follows the entire lake shore. From the Meierei hotel, it is another kilometer to the Staz Hotel and restaurant on the eastern shore of Lake Staz. From here, it is an hour's walk on forest paths to Celerina or the quiet alpine village of Pontresina.
From St. Moritz Bad, it's an hour-and-a-half easy walk on beautiful forest paths by way of the 1,920-meter Quellenberg or the 2,002-meter Johannisberg to the Hahnensee, where there is a restaurant with a terrace for savoring the views. Another two hours along the slopes of Piz Surlej takes you to the Fuorcla Surlej, at 2,755 meters, from where there is a breathtaking view of the Bernina peaks and the Engadine lakes. From Fuorcla Surlej, a 2.5-hour climb brings you to the 3,451-meter summit of Piz Corvatsch.
5 Engadine Museum
Set in a replica Engadine house from the early 1700s, the museum houses more than 4,000 items illustrating local life from the 13th through the 19th centuries. It is best known for its early house interiors, but along with the furnished rooms, it includes embroidery, costumes, household utensils, and farm implements related to alpine living. There are also artifacts excavated in the Engadine from Neolithic and Bronze Ages and Roman finds from the region.
Address: Via dal Bagn 39, St. Moritz
6 St. Moritz-Celerina Bobsled Run
An experience you can only have in St. Moritz is a thrilling bobsled ride down the world's only natural - and the oldest operating - bobsled run. Riding with experienced pilots, you'll get almost the same experience as Olympic and World Championship bobsledders do as you plummet down the 1722-meter course at speeds of up to 135 kilometers per hour. It's 75 seconds of solid adrenaline rush.
7 Heidi Hutte
Johanna Spyri's classic book Heidi has been a favorite of generations of children, and often their first glimpse of Switzerland. The movie that made the book even more popular was filmed here, and children will certainly want to visit the cabin of Heidi's alpine grandfather where much of it was filmed. To get there, follow Via Salastrains from St. Moritz Dorf.
8 St. Moritz Design Gallery
The passageway between a parking garage and hotel may seem an odd venue for an art gallery, but that's just what you'll find as you go between the Serletta garage and Badrutt's Palace Hotel. All along the passage are 31 large, illuminated glass showcases displaying collections of rare posters. The exhibit changes annually with a new theme each year; past exhibits have shown vintage posters advertising skiing, Engantine rail journeys, hotels, and Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz.
Where to Stay in St. Moritz for Sightseeing
We recommend these excellent hotels in St. Moritz with easy access to the charming Alpine village:
- Kulm Hotel St. Moritz: Alpine luxury, lake-view guest rooms, impeccable service, wellness spa, stylish indoor pool.
- San Gian Hotel: mid-range rates, convenient location opposite the Signalbahn, Mongolian restaurant, free entry to nearby pool and sauna complex.
- Hauser Hotel St. Moritz: affordable family-run hotel, central location, comfortable rooms, close to shops.
- Hotel Laudinella: great-value lakeside lodgings, walk to the village, excellent breakfast buffet, complimentary access to nearby pool.
Day Trips from St. Moritz
Following the River Inn southwest from St. Moritz Bad, you'll pass the Champferersee before coming to the wide Silvaplanersee and the health and winter sports resort of Silvaplana, about five kilometers away. The town, which lies along the flat land created by millennia of alluvial deposits from the Ova dal Vallun as it flows down from the mountains, has a Late Gothic parish church from 1491 and a 19th-century baronial mansion beside the lake. Cross the bridge spanning the narrow flow between the two lakes for a 15-minute walk up to the lower station of the Corvatsch cableway.
Sils and Val Fex
Between the Silvaplanersee and the Silsersee is the popular summer and winter sports resort of Sils. The town is in two sections: the larger Sils Maria, at the mouth of the Val Fex, and Sils Baselgia, at the outflow of the River Inn from the lake. In both parts, you'll find beautiful houses in the style of the Engadine. Sils Maria has a Baroque church from 1764 and a small museum devoted to Nietzsche, who spent summers here. Sils Baselgia has a church dating from 1448. Paths lead to the wooded peninsula of Chasté where there is a nature reserve and remains of an old castle. A 45-minute walk to the southeast shore of the Silsersee leads to the hamlet of Isola; behind it in the gorge of the Fedozbach is a beautiful waterfall.
From Sils Maria, a narrow lane runs south beside the river, up the Val Fex to Crasta - about three kilometers - and Curtins, with beautiful views of the mountains framing the Fex glacier. No cars are allowed on this lane, and the historic Hotel Fex brings guests from Sils Maria by horse-drawn wagon or sleigh, or transports luggage of those who prefer to walk along the scenic valley. Once there, guests can follow ancient smugglers' trails through the mountains and into nearby Italy.
The Glacier Express
Switzerland's most iconic mountain rail journey leads from St. Moritz to Zermatt, and is one of the most famous railways in the world. The Glacier Express travels for seven daylight hours through magnificent, pristine mountain landscapes, deep gorges, and remote green valleys, crossing 291 bridges - some at jaw-dropping heights. It crosses over the Oberalp Pass at an altitude of 2,033 meters and travels through other mountains in a total of 91 tunnels.