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St Moritz, Switzerland

St. Moritz: the diamond among the resorts

Nestling in the inspiring high-lying valley of the Engadin, St. Moritz celebrates summer days with style, charm and cosmopolitan flair amidst delightful picture-book surroundings. In St. Moritz, happiness is invariably within easy reach – you just need to stretch out your hand and grasp it. Beneath the deep-blue sky, the lake plateau glistens in the afternoon sunlight and the fragrant aroma of the Swiss stone pine forests hangs in the air. Just like the passers-by who gaze admiringly at the exquisitely decorated shop windows in the pedestrian zone, time does not seem to be in any particular hurry in this legendary sunny summer weather that lights up St. Moritz like some huge, spot-lit stage.

Down below on the lake, the boats set their sails into the Maloja wind, which – as precisely as a Swiss watch – blows up around midday. Up above on the Corviglia and Corvatsch mountains, hikers are lured by spectacular trails ascending to dizzying heights of up to 3,000 metres above sea level. Meanwhile, mountain bikers go their own ways: the bike trails around St. Moritz are among the best in the world and take you on delightful tours of varying degrees of difficulty up the surrounding peaks in the Eastern Alps. Those trails can also be explored by e-bike. With an environmentally-friendly electric motor to power-assist your pedalling and with the mountain bike transport service on our mountain railways, these vehicles take you further than you might think – far into the Engadin nature, which is so stunningly beautiful that it could have been sculpted by an artist’s hand.

Discovering such gems is particularly pleasurable in summer, when holiday guests staying for at least two nights can travel free of charge on the mountain railways and cableways. Thanks to such attractive offers as the «Mountainbike Special», the «Family Summer Special» and the «Holiday Apartment Summer Special», there is something for everyone who wants to make the most of their stay in St. Moritz, but not at any price.

In addition to international top events – such as the legendary Festival da Jazz, the nostalgic British Classic Car Meeting, the new equestrian show jumping event CSI St. Moritz, and the cultural highlight, the Art Masters – and despite its first-class infrastructure, luxurious hotels and exclusive service, in many of its corners St. Moritz has retained its original authentic charm.

History

 Mineral springs: bubbling with energy for 3,000 years

In the beginning was water: visitors have been enjoying the benefits of the mineral springs in St. Moritz since the Bronze Age. Yet the experience has never had a greater therapeutic effect than today. They offer the ultimate natural high: St. Moritz’s mineral springs are the highest-lying in Switzerland. They are especially effective, too; the combination of the therapeutic benefits of the alpine moor mud and the intense, invigorating mountain climate results in healing energy that quite literally bubbles out of the ground. It is no surprise, then, that these springs contributed to establishing St. Moritz’s legendary reputation. Even celebrated natural healers such as Paracelsus praised their wonderful therapeutic properties. For many years, the Church of St. Maurice was one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Europe; entire households of princes and kings travelled to the Engadin to take the waters. And this is still possible today – although now in much greater comfort as part of a holistic wellness programme.

The wager: how St. Moritz became a legend

About a hundred and fifty years ago, hotelier Johannes Badrutt made a daring bet with some of his summer guests: he promised them heaven on earth – including in winter.

Summer tourism was already flourishing in St. Moritz when, in autumn 1864, Johannes Badrutt made a bet with four English guests that even in winter they would be able to enjoy the mild Engadin sunshine on his terrace in their shortsleeved shirts; if not, he would reimburse their travel costs – both ways. The English guests came back to the Engadin at Christmas and returned home at Easter – tanned, relaxed and happy. Thus winter tourism in the Alps was born. The British flocked to the Engadin and left their mark in the form of polo and cricket tournaments, the Cresta Run, and skeleton and bobsleigh races.

Lifestyle

Shopping: big brands within a small area

Needless to say, all the top fashion labels are to be found in St. Moritz. But the resort also shows its excellent taste with its local specialities.

Europe’s highest-lying shopping street, Via Serlas, offers a unique shopping experience. Prestigious fashion labels can be found in elegant boutiques within the smallest of areas. But ordinary sports outlets, delightful souvenir and gift shops, and exclusive delicatessens also belong to the wide range of shopping facilities in this chic alpine destination. And the resort also shows its good taste with a range of delicious local specialities. Take Hatecke’s salsiz, an «haute couture» version of the classic Engadin air-dried sausage: this meat-curing facility celebrates chic alpine style and could almost pass as an art gallery. Nowhere can you find leaner sausages or more tender cured meat. Giorgio Misani’s is the place to go for Brut St. Moritz Champagne, the tourist office for legendary old posters of St. Moritz, and Bucherer for the greatest choice of Swiss quality watches. The best tactic is simply to stroll around – and let yourself be surprised.

Gastronomy:

the top address for gourmets

GaultMillau points in total make the entire Engadin St. Moritz region an absolute paradise for food connoisseurs. However, more simple establishments show that they, too, have great taste – and serve up specialities that are a treat for the eye as well as the palate. The sheer density of gastronomic hotspots here is remarkable: every tenth restaurant carries a gourmet certificate, and many more are of a compatible standard. St. Moritz is synonymous with fine cuisine. It therefore comes as no surprise that St. Moritz’s culinary scene is characterised by a spirit of innovation. Two of the region’s six Michelin stars shine out here in summer, too – namely the Vivanda in Brail (Hotel Cadonau) and the Restaurant Talvò by Dalsass with one apiece. At Mulo’s Restaurant and Bar (opened summer 2015) local chef Daniel Müller has implemented his trendy young concept, proof positive that simplicity also enjoys a cult following. Likewise with the small yet delightful alpine-themed Restaurant Dal Mulin (opened winter 2015), and of course the many stylish Hütten, or alpine huts, dotted about this hiking and mountain biking paradise.

Wellness: pampering at the highest level

You would expect to find a steam bath or sauna at many of St. Moritz’s accommodation facilities. For the ultimate wellness experience, however, you need to head to one of the five-star hotels. Fortunately, most open their day spas to non-residents too.

Exclusive Temples of Wellness

After a full day of hiking, your muscles ache, your body craves relaxation, your mind seeks inspiration. And your spirit longs for somewhere soothing yet varied, a place that pleases the eye – such as the St. Moritz High Alpine Spa at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains. Here, local materials have been used simply and stylishly to good effect – whether in the chalet-style herbal sauna, the hot-stone sauna or the sensual ladies’ spa. The spa at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, too, is the epitome of elegance and meets the highest requirements throughout. Meanwhile, the spa at the modern Carlton Hotel whisks guests away to a completely different realm, spread over 1,200 square metres on three storeys – albeit only in winter. The lavish facilities at the Badrutt’s Palace and the Suvretta House, on the other hand, also boast a superlative offer.

More than 300 different wellness treatments can be booked at St. Moritz hotels.

Art: all the world at home in the mountains

You are almost tempted to wish for a few rainy days – otherwise quite a rarity here – as an excuse to stay indoors, for the galleries and museums of St. Moritz are too well-stocked to be missed.

That is the downside of an exceptionally sunny climate: you might have to «sacrifice» a day of fantastic weather in order to check out the latest art acquisitions. However, you can easily combine a tour of the galleries in St. Moritz Bad and the village centre with a stroll along the lake – where you are likely to come across many of the motifs that you will later encounter in one of the galleries. With St. Moritz framed and viewed in the right light, it soon becomes clear how just how much the world feels at home here. Famous artists have found inspiration, while lesser-known names have excelled themselves in their particular field. As a result, a stroll through the galleries and museums of St. Moritz often prompts the viewer to take a fresh look at the familiar.

Sport

Hiking: strolling amidst a five-star panorama

On St. Moritz’s very own mountain, the Corviglia, mountain bikers will find spectacular trails, gourmets, exquisite restaurants, and hikers, magnificent paths leading through picture-book scenery.

St. Moritz’s hiking paradise is considered to be the Corvatsch, for from the top station (3,303 metres), fabulous routes lead, for example, over the glacier and the Fuorcla Surlej into the Val Roseg, and from the Furtschellas into the sleepy Val Fex. However, the wide-open expanse of the valley also offers an array of delightful hiking paths – such as through the larch forests to the romantic Lej da Staz lake or towards the sun along the three picturesque lakes. Moreover, St. Moritz’s mountain, the Corviglia, is also full of surprises. The peak of Corviglia, the Piz Nair (3,057m/10,030ft), is famous for its attractive mountain bike trails, idyllic hiking paths and outstanding restaurants. Here, elegant alpine style is celebrated like nowhere else.

Mountain biking: dream trails for nature lovers

St. Moritz is the ideal departure point for those who feel at home in the (bike) saddle; from here, more than 400 kilometres of spectacular singletrails and marked routes criss-cross through spectacular scenery, guaranteeing the ultimate biking experience.

Now mountain-bikers no longer have to be super-sporty to set their sights high – just shrewd. This summer, mountain bikers can effortlessly storm the peaks around St. Moritz, particularly the local mountain, the Corviglia. Bikes can easily go up the mountain too; with the cable car in St. Moritz Bad and Piz Nair, the funicular from St. Moritz Dorf to Chantarella and up to the Corviglia, and the gondola from Celerina to Marguns. Consequently, occasional riders can now easily access the fabulous network of panoramic mountain-bike routes above 2,000 metres while serious bike fanatics find their radius of action extending considerably, with whole new horizons opening up. With electric mountain bikes, now even mountainous terrain can be tackled with ease; thanks to a power-assisted electric motor, less athletic biking enthusiasts can enjoy tours that until now were reserved for the cracks. Where necessary, the trail network has been divided into separate routes to ensure that mountain bikers and hikers do not get in each other’s way. In addition, the Mountain Biker’s Code of Conduct promotes responsible and considerate conduct vis-a-vis both other users and the environment (www.engadin.stmoritz/bike).

Sailing: interacting with the Maloja wind

The Engadin boasts optimal wind conditions in high summer, too – when other locations are experiencing a lull. With speeds of between 3 and 6 Beaufort, the reliable Maloja wind guarantees a steady wind on Lake St. Moritz.

As reliably as a Swiss watch, the legendary Maloja wind blows up just after midday and keeps up its strength until sunset, providing sailors with fantastic wind conditions. The first port of call for water-sport enthusiasts is the St. Moritz Sailing Club, founded in 1941, offering a sailing school, children’s sailing courses, boat hire and, of course, a restaurant set in spectacular surroundings

Top Events: in the spotlight

Europe’s highest club jazz festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in summer 2017; in fact, over the past few years, it has become something of a gem among jazz festivals. Once again the Festival da Jazz will be attracting international jazz stars to St. Moritz, transforming the legendary Dracula Club into a jazz club. Concurrently, the Engadin becomes the venue for Swiss and international art during the St. Moritz Art Masters. From 25 August to 3 September 2017 art lovers gather in the Engadin for the anniversary Art Masters. The continent at the focal point this year is Africa as the event looks back at the past nine years. Other top events include the British Classic Car Meeting, which regularly attracts more than 400 vintage car enthusiasts to St Moritz in their sports cars and luxury limousines. And since summer 2015 there are exciting equestrian fixtures to enjoy, featuring Switzerland’s elite riders competing in Longines CSI***** St. Moritz events.

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