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 valleys in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland – Val Poschiavo.
Among Graubünden’s most beautiful villages, Poschiavo has also been designated as a protected site. The village is filled with beautiful houses, 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 Italy, including the food, the language, the architecture, and more. However, it is in Graubünden, Switzerland instead of Valtellina, Italy.
If you are thinking of visiting Poschiavo, Switzerland, here we list some of the 9 best things to do:
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 was gradually liberated from its seclusion. As such, tourism became an increasingly significant economic branch of the valley.
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 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.
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. You can also see the 3,453-meter-high Piz Varuna and the 3,111-meter-high Piz Canton.
From the restaurant Belvedere, you will have amazing views 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.
4. Cruise or Stroll Around Lago di Poschiavo
Lago di Poschiavo is a lake in La Prese, a village in the municipality of Poschiavo. La Prese itself can be found along the Bernina Train Route of the Rhaetian Railways.
Enjoy a stroll along Lago di Poschiavo in the direction of Miralago. It is an easy circular walk around the lake, lasting approximately 7.3 kilometers. You can complete it in about two hours.
Alternatively, you can take the Sassalbo ship. Several days a week, from mid-May through mid-October, you can take a ship ride. For more information, visit sassalbo.ch.
5. Learn About Poschiavo’s History at Casa Tomé
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?
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 Poschiav. 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 former southern outskirts of Poschiavo, Canton of Graubünden, which is sometimes called the Spanish Quarter, there are palazzi. These are stately villas built in the second half 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, North and South America. Many of them 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
In spite of 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. Dine and Enjoy the Local Cuisine
Near the village center, there are several restaurants that 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 a delicious pizza in their wood-burning ovens from scratch with local flour.
Summary: Poschiavo, Switzerland
Poschiavo, Switzerland is a fascinating place to visit. 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.
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 definitely 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.