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12 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in St. Moritz

Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers
Dec 23, 2019

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. Discover the best places to visit with this list of the top attractions and things to do in St. Moritz.

See also: Where to Stay in St. Moritz

1. Skiing and Winter Sports

Winter Sports | Chris Schaer / photo modified

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 ski terrain, with a number of exceptionally long runs. Riders get their thrills on the 30 obstacles at the Corviglia Snow Park, one of Europe's finest, and beginning riders will find gentler terrain at Paradiso.

Skiing and snowboarding aren't the only winter sports 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

Corviglia Funicular | taver / photo modified

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. The Glacier Express

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The Glacier Express

Switzerland's most iconic mountain rail journey leads from St. Moritz to Zermatt, on 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.

As you might expect, the scenery is spectacular, and the train's large windows are designed for sightseeing and photography. A day on the Glacier Express is one of Europe's bucket-list experiences.

Official site: http://www.glacierexpress.ch

4. St. Moritz Lake

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.

5. Hahnensee

Hahnensee

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 you can stop at 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.

6. 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.

The examples of Alpine woodcarving are exceptional, and an e-guide gives you a chance to hear the local Romansh language. 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

Official site: www.engadiner-museum.ch

7. 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 bobsled run, which is also the oldest bobsled run in the world. 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 times, you'll reach speeds of up to 135 kilometers per hour (nearly 84 miles per hour). It's 75 seconds of solid adrenaline rush.

Official site: http://www.olympia-bobrun.ch

8. Silvaplana

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Silvaplana

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.

9. Day Trip to Sils and Val Fex

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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 you'll find a nature reserve and the 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 here, guests can follow ancient smugglers' trails through the mountains and into nearby Italy.

10. Segantini Museum

Segantini Museum

In the late 19th century, artist Giovanni Segantini (1858-1899) revived the traditions of Alpine painting with his renditions of scenery around the Engadin and became an important artist in the Realistic Symbolism movement. The museum was built in 1908 on a mountainside overlooking the Schafberg, where Segantini died while completing his most famous series, Alpine Triptych, Life - Nature - Death.

These three paintings are displayed in a domed gallery; the rest of the building was designed based on plans the artist had drawn to house his Engadin Panorama at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. The setting of this memorial museum, which after years of acquisitions contains the world's most comprehensive collection of his art, is appropriate, amid the scenery he captured in his paintings.

Official site: https://www.segantini-museum.ch/en

11. Heidi Hutte and Blumenweg (Wildflower Trail)

Close-up of Edelweiss flowers

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 here, follow Via Salastrains from St. Moritz Dorf.

The kilometer-long Blumenweg is an easy, wide walking trail bordered by 200 different species of Alpine wildflowers. These change with the seasons, and the trail is especially beautiful in June when most of them are in full bloom.

In August you'll find Switzerland's iconic edelweiss in flower. You can find a free brochure about the wildflowers at the Tourist Information office in St. Moritz Dorf.

Children will also enjoy following the Schellen Ursili Path, a trail that tells the story of Schellenursli (A Bell for Ursli) in four different languages. This favorite Swiss children's story unfolds as you walk down the trail (be sure to begin at the top so it is in order) and is illustrated by woodcarvings of the characters.

12. St. Moritz Design Gallery

Vintage St. Moritz Poster | Richard Mortel / photo modified

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, Eglantine rail journeys, hotels, and Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz.

Where to Stay in St. Moritz for Sightseeing

As Switzerland's most glamorous and posh ski resort, St. Moritz is also known for its high prices. You'll notice this especially in hotel rates, and there's no question that luxury is paramount here. So expect the entire range of price categories to run on the high side. Because of the excellent local transportation, all these hotels in St. Moritz have easy access to the charming Alpine village:

  • Luxury Hotels: The elegantly appointed guest rooms have views of the lake, and the service is impeccable at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz. Service and amenities in this grand hotel have an old-school polish, with details like walk-in closets, spacious corridors, fine art, and antique furnishings. The hotel has a modern 2,000-square-meter spa, a stylish indoor pool, even a dedicated kids' club. Also a historic icon, Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski adds an enviable location at the foot of the cable car with direct access to ski slopes and hiking trails. A mountain spring provides the spacious spa with water for its health and beauty treatments, and the hotel has a kids' club and in-house ski school.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: In a convenient location opposite the Signalbahn, San Gian Hotel has luxuries such as concierge and room service, and includes breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking in the rates. Admission to a neighboring spa and swimming pool is complimentary, as well. In the town center, the family-run Hauser Hotel St. Moritz has smart and minimalist contemporary rooms with mountain views. There's a restaurant and patisserie in the hotel. Constructed in traditional mountain architecture with lovely woodwork, Hotel Laudinella has a lakeside setting in St. Moritz-Bad with free parking and shuttle bus service. The breakfast buffet is included, as is admission to the nearby pool. Conrad's Mountain Lodge in Silvaplana is good value for families, with the use of Alpine or cross country skis, a snowboard, or a bicycle included in the room rate.
  • Budget Hotels: Contemporary hostels are a money-saving option near most ski areas, offering basic rooms, often without en-suite baths and in locations farther from the center. Hostel by Randolins offers free pickup from the St. Moritz Train Station and, in the summer, the use of all regional buses and cable cars are included in the price of a two-night stay. Winter packages can include ski lift tickets. Room rates at Hostel Pitsch, about 15 minutes from the center, also include free access to cable cars and public transport. There is warm hospitality here and a good breakfast, but no elevator.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

More Places to Go in Switzerland: You can find more ideas to help plan your trip with our list of the tourist attractions in Switzerland. For more information on things to see an do, have a read through pages for the cities of Basel, Bern, and Lausanne. You will find more Alpine adventures by following suggestions from our page on the Top Tourist Attractions in Zermatt.

More Places to Ski: St. Moritz is one of many top-rated ski resorts in Switzerland, and to ski elsewhere in the Alps, refer to our articles on the Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Italy, Austria, and France. You may decide to extend your trip and include several countries.

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