Davos Travel Guide

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Davos is a busy resort in a beautiful alpine playground. The town extends for several kilometers along the broad Landwasser River Valley, between two giant mountain ranges. The area is part of the southeastern canton of Graubünden, "the holiday corner of Switzerland" and home to some of the best developed winter sports centers in the world: Arosa, Klosters, Flims, St. Moritz and Pontrèsina. Apart from these tourist centers, the canton is relatively unspoiled, boasting beautiful alpine lakes and exquisite mountain settings.

Davos was once hugely popular with Brits, but has fallen out of favor and is now dominated by the Swiss themselves and Germans. Few resorts in the world have more extensive slopes, or offer more for all standards. But the area has one small drawback: it is split into several unlinked sectors. Those prepared to accept this minor drawback normally do so as the price of staying in a captivating Alpine village.

During the mid-19th century, the area became known for its health benefits. The clean, dry air and high altitudes provided the perfect environment to recover from tuberculosis and other lung ailments so prevalent at this time.

The setting of Nobel laureate Thomas Mann's "Magic Mountain" is a hospital in Davos. By now, many of the old sanitariums have been converted to present-day hotels. The medical importance has continued, as several highly specialized practices still provide therapies and research for allergies, respiratory illnesses, and dermatological problems. It is also a world renowned medical conference center, and many top-tier international meetings are held at the convention center.

In 1877 a natural ice rink was built, which became the first step towards the development of a world-class winter sports destination. Flanked on both sides by stunning mountain views, this setting provided a natural attraction. The high Landwasser Valley is wind protected by forested mountain slopes. It was, and remains, a perfect environment to enjoy nature at its finest throughout the year.

Skiing and boarding in Davos is excellent. Seven distinct ski areas have been developed in the immediate area, so snow sports enthusiasts can spend a week and ski a different resort every day. From west to east along the northern face are the resorts of Schatzalp/Strela, Parsenn, Gotschna, and Madrisa. On the opposite side of the valley, you can ski or board at Pischa, Jakobshorn, or the Rinerhorn. The Parsenn is the largest and most familiar of the group. A wide selection of terrain offers satisfying skiing for all ability levels. The area is renowned for its off-piste skiing and long cruisers.

Although the mountain setting is spectacular, much of Davos’ architecture is undistinguished. The area has the hustle and bustle of a busy town, with only two major roads to handle the flow of traffic. The ski areas are widely spread along the mountain faces and are easily accessible from town, but only some are connected by lifts. Many lift and cable car systems have been renovated in the course of the last decade. This together with the completely new 'Parsenn' tram means that the long queues during peak times have become a thing of the past. Furthermore, the transit system between ski areas is excellent.

Après-ski options are abundant. The dining is exceptional, the nightlife can hop, and cultural activities regularly poke through the snow. Note especially the Kirchner Museum, the world's largest collection of works by the German Expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

Contributors

April 28, 2005 change by giorgio

April 27, 2007 change by virchow

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