Switzerland’s Poschiavo is one place you should visit. There is a hint of Mediterranean charm mixed with gorgeous high alpine scenery. It is located in one of the four Italian-speaking regions in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland – Val Poschiavo.
If you are thinking of visiting Poschiavo, Switzerland, here we list some of the 9 best things to do:
Overview: Poschiavo, Switzerland
Among Graubünden’s most beautiful villages, Poschiavo has also been designated as a protected site. The village is filled with beautiful houses at times reminiscent of Mediterranean architecture, churches, and narrow alleyways. Markets are held regularly in the town center. This beautiful town of Poschiavo in Switzerland is home to around 3,500 people.
Poschiavo’s affinity with Italy is evident. A lot of the place’s characteristics are strongly influenced by the Italian culture, including the food, the language, the architecture, and more. However, it is in Graubünden, Switzerland instead of Valtellina, Italy.
Poschiavo has several historic buildings worth visiting. Among these are the Collegiata di San Vittore Church in the village center, the Casa Console art museum, the Palazzo de Bassus-Mengotti local museum, the Quartiere Spagnolo Spanish Quarter, and the Cappella di San Pietro Romanesque chapel.
9 Best Things To Do In Poschiavo, Switzerland
1. Hike Near Bernina Pass
Poschiavo is located just 15 kilometers south of the Bernina Pass (Passo del Bernina). This pass connects Engadine to the Valtellina. The Bernina Pass can be reached by train or on foot from Poschiavo.
As a result of the Bernina Railway’s opening in 1908/1910, the Poschiavo Valley (also known as Val Poschiavo or Valposchiavo) was gradually liberated from its seclusion. As such, tourism became an increasingly significant economic branch of the valley.
One of the best things to do in Poschiavo is to discover the region around the Bernina Pass and Ospizio Bernina.
Various hikes lead to and from the watershed Ospizio Bernina near the Bernina Pass. If you would like to read more about hiking around Osipizio Bernina, check out our article: Why We Love Hiking Around Ospizio Bernina.
2. Experience Alp Grüm And the Palü Glacier
It’s more than just a train stop in Switzerland; Alp Grüm is a place of beauty. This place offers spectacular views from every angle. Alp Grüm should be on everyone’s bucket list; it’s one of my favorite places to visit in Poschiavo.
Views of the Palü Glacier, the Lagh da Palü Lake, and the Bernina mountains surrounding Alp Grüm are spectacular from the Alp Grüm train station. Further along is Lagh da Caralin, but the path was closed during our last visit due to the risk of falling rocks. You can also see the 3,453-meter-high Piz Varuna and the 3,111-meter-high Piz Canton.
From the Sassal Mason Viewpoint (2,355 meters), you will have amazing views of Palü Glacier and Lagh da Palü. From the Belvedere Restaurant (2,189 meters), you will enjoy the stunning sights of Val Poschiavo and Lago di Poschiavo.
If you would like to read more about Alp Grüm, check out our article Experience Alp Grüm At Least Once In Your Lifetime.
3. Enjoy The Views From Runchet da Sotsassa
It is a pleasure to discover Poschiavo from a panoramic viewpoint. If you make the 91-meter climb to Runchett da Sotsassa, you will enjoy majestic views not only of Poschiavo village but also of the surrounding mountains.
The trail to Runchet da Sotsassa is located on the terraced slopes of a valley that was used for growing vegetables. Due to it no longer being used for growing produce, it has been transformed into a forest. There is also a short wooden bridge and two wooden benches along the trail.
It is a 1.5-kilometer hike that can be completed in about half an hour. Despite its short length, the trail is a mountain hiking trail (T3). The best time to go up is in the summer when the ground is dry.
I highly recommend exploring this trail for its breathtaking views—it’s among the top things to do in Poschiavo.
4. Swim, Explore, and Sail at Lago di Poschiavo
Lago di Poschiavo is a lake in Le Prese, a village in the municipality of Poschiavo. Le Prese itself can be found along the Bernina Train Route of the Rhaetian Railways.
There are several activities to enjoy around Lago di Poschiavo, including:
- Take a refreshing swim in the lake, even though it can be a bit chilly in the height of summer.
- Enjoy a stroll along Lago di Poschiavo towards Miralago, experiencing the beautiful surroundings on this easy circular walk.
- Opt for a boat ride on the Sassalbo ship, available several days a week from mid-May through mid-October. Check sassalbo.ch for more information.
5. Learn AboutPoschiavo’s History at CasaTomé
Over 650 years of local history are on display at Casa Tomé in Poschiavo. You will be able to see life in the valley through the centuries. What was life like for the locals back then, especially during the winter? Visiting Casa Tomé is perfect for those with an interest in history and a love for learning, adding a touch of depth to your list of things to do in Poschiavo.
The original house structure dates back to 1357. Two additional rooms were added in 1450. Finally, a horse stall was integrated in 1750.
Visit museoposchiavino.ch for more information.
6. Visit Poschiavo’s Premier Residence – Palazzo de Bassus-Mengotti
On the other side of the river is the large and beautiful Palazzo de Bassus-Mengotti. It used to be the residence of Poschiavo’s most powerful family.
Nowadays, it is a local museum. You will learn about local history, culture, art, and the society of Val Poschiavo. Furthermore, you will also see Etruscan ceramics from Italy and votive artifacts from India.
Visit museoposchiavino.ch for more information.
7. Admire The Spanish Quarter (Quartiere Spagnolo)
On the southern outskirts of Poschiavo, often referred to as the Villa district or Spanish Quarter (Quartiere Spagnolo), you’ll find palazzi – grand villas constructed in the latter part of the 19th century.
Located on the north side of Via di Palazz, the Palazzi are a row of five three- to four-story gabled houses stretching for about 120 meters. The neoclassical houses all have colorful facades facing south and have gardens on the other side of the street. In 1856, Tomaso Lardelli, together with the Venetian architect Giovanni Sottovia, who happened to be present at the time, planned and built the first house with a uniform appearance.
Particularly in the 19th century, many people from Poschiavo had to emigrate for economic reasons. Their work as confectioners took them all over Europe, Russia, Australia, and North and South America. Many of these pastry makers prospered in Madrid, Barcelona, and Porto in Spain and Portugal. Frequently, they operated under the name Suisse.
After ten or twenty years, many of these confectioners came back to Poschiavo to live there. Many wealthy Poschiavo residents had magnificent villas built on the southern outskirts of the village to display their wealth at home.
8. Explore Art at Casa Console Poschiavo
Despite its small size, Casa Console is a beautiful nineteenth-century building that was owned by a pastry chef from Poschiavo.
Currently, it is an art museum, with works by Spitzweg, Koller, Lenbach, Calame, and Segantini on display.
9. Discover Nearby Lagh da Saoseo
Lagh da Saoseo (also called Lago di Saoseo) is a breathtaking alpine lake located 2,029 meters above sea level in Saoseo, in the Valposchiavo region of Switzerland.
While I consider this activity to be the best thing to do in Poschiavo, it’s not located directly inside the village. Instead, it’s approximately 14 kilometers away in Val di Campo. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most stunning lakes I’ve ever seen and is worth a visit.
Surrounded by towering mountains and dense forests, this crystal-clear, turquoise lake is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers. You can also visit the nearby Lago di Val Viola and Lago di Scispadus if you can.
If you want to learn more about how to get to Lagh da Saoseo, you can check out our article How to Get to Lagh da Saoseo: A Comprehensive Guide.
Where to Eat in Poschiavo
Near the village center, close to the Chiesa Collegiata di San Vittore Mauro church, several restaurants serve local cuisine. Hostaria del Borgo at Via da Mez 135 is a highly-rated restaurant with traditional dishes, a good ambiance, and reasonable prices. Nearby is the Ristorante Pizzeria Albrici, on Via da Mez 18, which also serves good Italian food.
In Le Prese, you can also check out Raselli Ristorante Pizzeria. They source all the bio ingredients locally from Poschiavo Valley to create the dishes. They make delicious pizza in their wood-burning ovens from scratch with local flour.
Hotels in Poschiavo, Switzerland
If you are looking for a place to stay in Poschiavo, here are some of our recommendations.
Both Historic Hotel Albrici and Cà del Borgo are located in the heart of Poschiavo, while Hotel Le Prese and Rasselli Sport Hotel are located near Lake Lago di Poschiavo.
Summary: Poschiavo, Switzerland
Poschiavo, Switzerland is Graubünden’s hidden jewel. You would think you were in a high-alpine version of Ticino but without the throngs of tourists. You can walk along the lake, near the glacier, high above with panoramic views, or in the historic village with its picturesque piazza.
It is also easy to reach from Engadine with the Rhaetian Railways, should you be based there. It is also a stop on the Bernina Express Route.
Poschiavo has the same architecture, food, language, climate, and overall feel as Italy, but not quite. Almost everything is clean and well-maintained, and the standards are high.
Poschiavo is worth a visit if you can. It might be far from the rest of Switzerland, but it is a place worth exploring and returning to again. We have been here thrice and can’t wait to come back.
* Disclosure: By clicking on our affiliate links, you may support TouringSwitzerland.com while incurring no additional costs. We appreciate your support!
- Experience Alp Grüm At Least Once In Your Lifetime
- Sassal Mason Viewpoint: See The Stunning Palü Glacier
- Why We Love Hiking Around Ospizio Bernina
- Most Beautiful Villages In Graubünden
- Bernina Express Route: Chur to Tirano Train
- Glacier Express or Bernina Express: Which is better?
- How to Get To Bernina Express From Zurich
- Best Italian Switzerland Cities and Towns
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.