St. Moritz - Silvaplana -Switzerland
St. Moritz is more than just a holiday resort. It was also the birthplace of Alpine winter tourism (in 1864) and has twice hosted the Winter Olympics. Nevertheless, St. Moritz first became famous thanks to its mineral springs, which were discovered 3,000 years ago and established the town as a summer spa resort early on.
St. Moritz, which is in the Upper Engadine, at an elevation of 1,856 m, boasts plenty of sunny days. It was exactly this sun that was legally protected as the emblem of St. Moritz in 1930. St. Moritz was often ahead of the times - for example, the first electric light went on at Christmastime in 1878, the first golf tournament in the Alps took place here, in 1889 and one of the first ski lifts in Switzerland began running in 1935.
Guests from all over the world appreciate the modern Alpine lifestyle, characterised by top-class restaurants that can satisfy gourmet demands even by the side of the slopes, hotels that set standards in every category, and events of international calibre. The Via Serlas guarantees great shopping in a small space, though you can also find local specialities like the famous Engadine nut tart just around the corner.
Sights such as the leaning tower, a remnant of the Mauritius Church from around 1500, or the Segantini Museum, offer a change from the life of luxury and the jet set.
154 years ago, the hotelier Johannes Badrutt made a bold bet with his English summer guests, promising them mild Engadine sunshine in mid-winter. Badrutt won the bet and St. Moritz went on to become one of the world's most exceptional winter sports resorts.
For winter sports enthusiasts there are 350 kilometres of pistes with a state-of-the-art infrastructure in the surrounding area. St. Moritz's 'house mountain', the Corviglia, boasts the steepest start slope in Switzerland with the Piz Nair Wall's 100 per cent vertiginous drop. Toboggan riders plunge down the icy run which is one of the oldest natural ice bob runs in the world. For winter hikers there are 150 km of winter walking trails and for cross-country skiers there is a track network of about 200 km. The snowboard fun park, curling and altitude training are just some of the other winter sports facilities.
As well as traditional hiking and mountain biking, guests can also try their hand at sailing, rowing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, tennis, minigolf or horse riding. The Ludains Ice Arena is also open to skaters throughout the summer, while golfers will find an Alpine paradise with four courses in the surrounding area. Romantic carriage rides around the lake, through the Staz forest or the grand town itself are among the highlights of a stay in St. Moritz. Mountaineers also have plenty of options in Upper Engadine and there are 17 climbing gardens of various difficulty levels to complete the facilities.