About this Switzerland walking region
Gaubünden is Switzerland’s most popular holiday region, renowned above all for its wide range of outdoor pursuits, supremely clean air, a sunny climate and some of the country’s most stunning scenery. Comprising no less than 150 valleys, 615 lakes and 937 mountain peaks, with glacial waters which launch the famous Rhine and Inn rivers, the canton of Gaubünden, which occupies the entire south eastern corner of Switzerland, is the country’s largest yet least densely populated region. The landscape of undulating valleys, verdant pine forests, towering mountain peaks and rushing rivers can make the region difficult to get around – but fortunately not for hikers, who are really spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring this wild and dramatic land.
Bordering Austria to the north and Italy to the south and east, Graubünden, a former Roman province, has three native languages – German, Italian and Romansch, a derivative of Latin, which is spoken in some remote mountain areas. You may therefore hear the canton referred to as Graubünden, Grigioni or Grischun.
Graubünden is home to some of the most famous, high-end resorts in the Alps, such as St. Moritz, Davos, Klosters and Arosa, which all make great bases for a walking holiday. Then there is the gorgeous Engadin valley, the epicentre of Romansh culture, which runs for almost 100km (62mi) along a southern terrace of the Alps, enjoying almost year-round blue skies and bright sunshine, which help to create that postcard-perfect image of the Alps at their finest. Heading south towards the Italian border, the stunning valleys of Bregaglia and Poschiavo are, as their names suggest, Italian speaking – and the vibe here is so wholly Mediterranean that you would be forgiven for thinking you were, in fact, in Italy.
Walking in Graubünden
Graubünden is a mecca for both walkers and mountaineers, with hiking trails totalling over 10,000km (6,214mi), which meander through the most incredible Alpine scenery. An extensive network of mountain trains, cable cars and post buses means that even the highest and most remote peaks are easily accessed.
No matter what your ability and experience level, you will find plenty of walking routes to suit you, from gentle rambles and day hikes to high-octane mountain climbing and via ferratas.
Remote but legendary – one of Switzerland’s most-loved resorts ● Discover this famous winter destination in summer ● 200km (124mi) of top walking and hiking trails ● Outstanding location at the end of a wild mountain valley ● Mt. Weisshorn (2,653m/8,704ft) ● Get inspired: the 10-Lakes-Hike and many other themed routes.
Seven hamlets and mountain villages tucked-away between the Flüela and Albula pass ● On a ‘UNESCO World Heritage’ railway section: Preda to Bergün ● Walking highlight of the region - the ‘Kesch Trek’: four superlative days in the Bündner Alps ● Don’t miss Lake ‘Lai da Palpuogna’, voted the most beautiful spot in Switzerland!
Chur and around
Graubünden’s lively capital, dating back to 11,000 BC ● Beautiful ‘Old Town’, full of medieval charm ● Brambrüesch hiking area: accessible directly from the city centre ● Mt. Dreibündenstein (2,174m/7,133ft) has loads of walking paths ● Cable cars, mountain railways and post buses ● ‘Park & ride’ for the well-known Arosa Express.
Two authentic villages in the upper region of the Surselva, idyllically hidden away between Chur and Andermatt ● Romansh is the everyday language here ● Over 350km (217mi) of walking paths ● Special highlights: Lai da Tuma, the source of the Rhine and the monastery in Disentis ● Easy access via the famous Glacier Express.
Engadine - Samnaun
Former smuggler’s paradise in the “Swiss Austrian Italian triangle” ● Now a haven for walkers and mountain bikers ● Over 250km (155mi) of hiking trails and 150km (93mi) of mountain bike trails ● Explore the Swiss National Park ● First double-decker cable car in the world - capacity of 180 ● 5 lovely villages and a tax-free area!
Engadine - Scuol
13 enchanting villages and hamlets in the Lower Engadine ● Easy access to Swiss National Park ● Scuol: lovely old town with 300 days of sunshine a year and a spa used by the Romans ● The hamlet of Guarda – preserved in perfection ● Not to be missed: the fairytale castle ‘Tarasp’, built in 1040 ● Popular centre for river rafting.
Engadine - St. Moritz
St. Moritz, the crown of the Upper Engadine, plus a handful of attractive villages ● More than 580km (361mi) of hiking paths ● Glamorous St. Moritz is all you expect and more ● Zernez is a good starting point for exploring the Swiss National Park ● Cable cars, mountain railways and the magnificent Piz Bernina (4,049m/13,284ft).
Engadine - Val Bregaglia
Val Bregaglia (Bergell in German) a stunningly beautiful valley in the very south, almost at the Italian border ● Serene and a paradise for walkers and mountaineers ● 180km (112mi) marked hiking trails for all levels ● Here you’ll find peaks such as Monte Disgrazia (3,678m/1,2067ft) and many more of similarly lofty heights.
Engadine - Val Müstair (Müstair Valley)
UNESCO Biosphere Val Müstair, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful Alpine valleys ● Chain of six authentic villages - quiet, secluded, Romansh-speaking ● Off-the-beaten-path, only accessible via a high-alpine mountain pass (Fuorn Pass/Ofenpass) ● Borders on Swiss National Park ● Place to go: the convent of St. John the Baptist.
Flims Laax Falera
Just 90 minutes from Zurich, but still a Swiss secret that isn’t shared by many international travellers ● Three fine villages, fantastic Alpine panoramas, majestic forests and crystal clear lakes ● Network of 250km (155mi) signposted hiking trails and 330km (205mi) cycling routes ● Welcoming and great for families too.
Borders Liechtenstein ● Follow in Heidi’s footsteps and re-live the stories by Johanna Spyri ● Marvel at beautiful Lake Walensee ● Visit Quinten; the tiny, pretty hamlet that can only be reached on foot or by boat ● Beneath the mighty '7 Churfirsten' mountains, rising up to 2,844m (9,330ft) ● Try the healing waters of Bad Ragaz.
Lenzerheide & Valbella
Two mountain resorts, beautifully set on either side of Lake Heidsee ● 350km (217mi) of graded hiking trails and a variety of themed rambles ● Also, Lenzerheide is simply one big natural mountain bike fest, with 305km (190mi) of trails and a great skills park ● Plenty of soaring peaks, including Mt. Parpaner Rothorn (2,865m/9,400ft).
Prättigau (incl. Davos & Klosters)
One of Switzerland’s top walking, mountaineering and mountain bike destinations ● 1,000 (621mi) of marked footpaths, themed routes and stunning panorama trails ● 500km (311mi) of mountain bike trails ● Trendy Davos is one of Switzerland’s oldest resort towns ● Picturesque Klosters offers a more quiet, Alpine village experience.
Savognin Bivio Albula
If you are looking for unspoiled nature and spectacular mountains, then this is your place ● Parc Ela, the largest nature park in Switzerland, takes its name from the Piz Ela peak (3,338m/10,951ft) ● Authentic villages, pretty hamlets and even mighty fortresses ● The area is criss-crossed by 1,000km (621mi) of marked hiking paths.
Known in Romansh as the ‘High Forest’ ● A handful of tranquil villages and small towns in a big, broad wooded valley ● Within an hour’s drive from Chur ● 1,200km (746mi) of marked walking paths ● Wild off-the-beaten-track side valleys ● The Rhine Gorge, Switzerland’s “Grand Canyon” ● The Mt. Tödi range (3,614m/11,857ft).
The Moesano Region
The official language spoken here is Italian ● Two hours from Zurich, two hours from Milan ● Explore the wild, untouched beauty of the Mesolcina and Calanca Valleys ● One of the most famous mountain passes in Europe: the San Bernardino ● 800km (497mi) of clearly-marked hiking trails ● San Bernardino – historic mountain village.
Sunny valley in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking south-east ● Mt. Piz Palü (3,905m/12,812ft) in the Bernina Alps ● 250km (155mi) of hiking trails, from walks with a pram to classic high mountain routes crossing glaciers ● Poschiavo town spreads its generous charm ● The historic UNESCO World Heritage Rhaetian Railway.
Limestone cliffs rising to a height of 300m (984ft) - the foaming torrent below: the legendary Viamala Gorge ● This high valley was referred to in 1844 as one of the “wildest and loneliest in the Alps” ● And today this is exactly the reason why one travels to the Viamala ● Several high-altitude pastoral villages, rich in history.
More great places to go walking in Switzerland:
Bernese Oberland, Walking in Valais and Zermatt, Bern and hiking near Bern, Eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Lake Geneva Region (Vaud), Lake Lucerne Region, Ticino, Jura & Three-Lakes Region, Jura, Pays de Fribourg, Alpes Vaudoises, From Schwyz to Zurich