If you’re visiting Grisons (Graubünden in German), one of Switzerland’s most touristy regions, you might wonder which is better: Davos or St. Moritz?
Davos and St. Moritz are two of the most popular mountain resorts in Graubünden. It’s important to know which place is right for you because each has its own advantages and characteristics. Here’s a guide to help you decide between two.
Overview: Davos vs. St. Moritz
You can’t go wrong with Davos or St. Moritz. There’s plenty to do, shops, and restaurants in both Davos and St. Moritz.
Hotel options are aplenty in Davos and St. Moritz. Nevertheless, St. Moritz offers luxury hotels and a more sophisticated experience. Davos, on the other hand, is a busier alpine resort that attracts tourists of all kinds.
From a geographical perspective, they are also quite similar. They are both high alpine towns with easy access to many mountains and good skiing possibilities. Davos and St. Moritz are also both easy to reach by train from Chur and Zurich.
Key Differences: Davos vs. St. Moritz
The key differences between Davos and St. Moritz are as follows:
|Population: approx. 10,898
|Population: approx. 5,200
|Total Area: 284 km²
|Total Area: 28.69 km²
|Elevation: 1,560 meters
|Elevation: 1,822 meters
|Well-known mountain health resort known for hosting the World Economic Forum
|Luxury alpine resort town in Engadine Valley
|Highlights: Jakobshorn, Pischa, Parsenn, Rinerhorn, Schatzalp, Davos Sertig, Davos Monstein, Flüelapass
|Highlights: Diavolezza, Morteratsch Glacier, Piz Corvatsch, Bobsled Run, Segantini Museum
|Lakes: Lake Davos
|Lake: Lake St. Moritz, Lake Staz
Skiing: Davos vs. St. Moritz
There are five skiing areas near Davos – Parsenn/Gotschna, Jakobshorn, Pischa, Rinerhorn, and Schatzalp/Strela, or six if you add Madrisa in Klosters. It is one huge winter arena with more than 300 kilometers of slopes, 100 kilometers of cross-country ski tracks, 58 ski lifts, two ice skating rinks, and curling fields.
The ski resort of St. Moritz has three locations – Corviglia, Corvatsch – Furtschellas, and Diavolezza – Lagalb. Corvatsch is the highest in Graubünden. Whereas Diavolezza-Lagalb has the most freestyle slopes and is ideal for night skiing.
Below we have two tables comparing the slopes of ski resorts in Davos and St. Moritz.
|Pistes (in km)
|Davos Klosters Parsenn
|Davos Schatzalp – Strela
|mid-November to mid-April
|mid-December to the end of March
|early December to mid-April
|end of December to mid-March
|mid-December to early April
|Pistes (in km)
|end of November to
|end of November to
Both regions have beginner and advanced cross-country ski tracks, so cross-country skiers will have a blast. There are 100 kilometers of cross-country skiing tracks in Davos and 240 kilometers in St. Moritz.
Which is Better: Davos or St. Moritz?
St. Moritz is indeed prettier than Davos due to its better town center, beautiful scenery, and charming Engadin villages nearby. Davos is a practical town more than anything; it’s also close to lots of ski resorts and has a lot of block-style buildings.
My suggestion: As long as you are just skiing (or hiking), then either one is a good choice since both have great ski resorts. You’d be better off going to St. Moritz if you wanted to do some sightseeing, walking around, or shopping since Davos isn’t exactly a pretty place.
Davos is famous for hosting the world’s top leaders every year during the World Economic Forum. But not only that. It is also a popular ski resort and one of the highest towns in Switzerland at 1,560 meters above sea level. There are tons of ski resorts in the town, each with its advantages.
For those who want something quieter, Davos has side valleys to visit such as Sertig Valley. In summer, Davos Lake has swimming areas, as well as possibilities to sail and surf.
You’ll find plenty to do in Davos if you spend a day or two there. You can visit the following in Davos:
- Jakobshorn – Winter in Jakobshorn means freestyle, crazy events, and après-ski parties. In the summer, Jakobshorn is ideal for biking and hiking. From Jakobshorn, you can get to Sertig via Jatzhorn.
- Pischa – Pischa does not have any prepared slopes. A quiet and sunny mountain, Pischa has natural snow and is perfect for alternative winter sports.
- Parsenn – The biggest ski resort in Davos Klosters, Parsenn is the perfect ski area for ski fans. It also has one of the longest downhills in Europe. It’s also worth doing the panorama trail on Parsenn in the summer.
- Rinerhorn – The perfect ski resort for beginners, families, and those who want to take it slow and easy. Two nights a week they do night skiing and tobogganing. In summer, they have a petting zoo, a playground, and downhill scooters.
- Schatzalp – A small and easy mountain that is perfect for those who want to take it slow as well as families with smaller children.
- Davos Monstein – Davos Monstein is a charming little village perched above the Landwasser Valley. In addition, it’s home to the highest brewery in Switzerland.
- Davos Sertig – Davos Sertig or Sertig-Dörfli is a small and idyllic village away from the hustle and bustle of Davos town. It is incredibly picturesque and is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Graubüden.
- Flüelapass – This high mountain pass near Davos crosses the divide between the Rhine and Danube basins.
- Klosters – An alpine resort village with wooden chalets and ski areas. It is connected to Davos by the Gotschnabahn cable car.
St. Moritz has always stood for beauty and luxury. The town has five grand hotels and big buildings instead of the small wooden chalets present in Zermatt. It is also renowned for its skiing resorts. St. Moritz is a more upscale vacation destination. It offers modern amenities and architecture. St. Moritz is world-famous and among the first winter sports resorts in the world. It sits above Lake St. Moritz (St. Moritzersee in German) which turns frozen during winter.
In the village, there are many things you can do. You can visit the following:
- Leaning Tower – was part of the St. Mauritius Church
- Via Serlas – for shopping
- Kulm Park Eispavillon – used during the Olympic Winter Games in 1928 and 1948
- Chesa Veglia – a farmhouse from back in 1658
- Segantini Museum – houses the largest and most important collection of artist Giovanni Segantini
- Badrutt’s Palace – an iconic grand hotel in St. Moritz
- Olympia Bob Run – also still used regularly for Bobsleigh, Skeleton Championships, and other events
St. Moritz has 25 crystal clear mountain lakes adding to the beautiful Alpine scenery. Some of the nearest ones are Lake Staz, Lake St. Moritz, Lake Champfèr, and Lake Silvaplana. There are forests and glaciers to enjoy. Hiking, climbing, sailing, windsurfing, horseback riding, golf, tennis, and skiing are also possible here.
Places to Visit: Davos vs. St. Moritz
Places to Visit near Davos
There are many places to visit near Davos. The town of Davos is perfectly located with excellent train and bus connections to many beautiful tourist attractions in Graubünden. Some places to visit near Davos are the following:
- Zernez – Zernez is located in the Val Müstair Region in Lower Engadine. Zernez is the base for those who wish to visit the Swiss National Park. You can also visit the National Park Center here.
- Lenzerheide – Lenzerheide is a mountain biking paradise in Graubünden. With the Bike Kingdom, it’s got many flow trails that go over roots, gravels, and jumps. The ski area of Lenzerheide is connected to the one of Arosa.
- Guarda – One of the most beautiful villages in Graubünden, Guarda is a small, incredibly picturesque village made famous by the children’s storybook Bell for Ursli (Schellen-Ursli). The charming houses showcase an art called sgraffiti.
- Chur – The capital of Graubünden, this alpine city has an old town dating more than 10,000 years. It has several museums and is the starting point of the Bernina Express train.
- Scuol – A beautiful and sunny village in Lower Engadine, Scuol has thermal baths and mineral water. Nearby is a famous landmark called the Tarasp Castle.
- Flims Laax Falera – One of the largest mountain resorts in Switzerland, Flims Laax Falera is a mecca for those who love snowboarding. Snow parks, the largest half-pipe in the world make it a popular destination. Its size and variety provide ample room for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers, snowboarders, and freeskiers.
Places to Visit near St. Moritz
There are many places to visit near St. Moritz. There are many beautiful tourist attractions in the Engadine Valley. Some places to visit near St. Moritz are the following:
- Pontresina – a beautiful alpine village with Engadine houses and Belle Epoque hotels
- Guarda – a fairytale village famous for Schellen-Ursli, a children’s book by Selina Chönz
- Celerina – sunny village next to St. Moritz with excellent tourist infrastructure.
- Chastè Peninsula – a wooded peninsula surrounded by mountains, nature, and a lake
- Alp Grüm – offers a fantastic view of the Palü Glacier, the Lagh da Palü Lake, and the Bernina mountains surrounding it. From Alp Grüm, you will see Piz Varuna east of Piz Palü, a 3,453-meter-high mountain located on the border between Val Malenco, Italy, and Val Poschiavo, Switzerland.
- Fuorcla Surlej – amazing views of the following mountain peaks: Piz Boval, Piz Morteratsch, Bernina Massif, Piz Roseg, Dschimels, Piz la Sella, Piz Scerscen, and more.
- Muottas Muragl – a panoramic mountain in Pontresina with fantastic views of the lakes of Engadin Valley
- Corvatsch – the highest mountain station in the region at 3,303 meters provides an impressive Alpine panorama
- Diavolezza – fantastic views of the highest peaks of Eastern Alps – Piz Bernina, Piz Palü, and Piz Morteratsch
- Val Roseg – a beautiful side valley accessible by foot or carriage from Pontresina
- Val Fex – a protected side valley accessible by foot or carriage from Sils
- Val Trupchun – the most protected park in the country – Swiss National Park
- Morteratsch – the place to see the third longest glacier in the Eastern Alps – Morteratsch Glacier
Hotels: Davos vs. St. Moritz
Our recommendations for hotels in Switzerland are based on our personal experiences or user reviews. I highly recommend using Booking.com. It is a fantastic way to find hotels in Switzerland.
Hotels in Davos
- Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere (5-star) – The 5-star Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere, located in the heart of Davos, is just a 3-minute walk from the convention center. Originally opened in 1875 as the Grand Hotel Davos, it has a fantastic wellness area, fitness facilities, saunas, and a steam bath. It also offers guests the choice of enjoying international and local specialties. Additionally, a free shuttle service from the train station is available.
- Precise Tale Seehof Davos (5-star) – Located adjacent to the Parsenn Cable Car, the Precise Tale Seehof is a luxurious 5-star hotel that provides direct access to skiing and hiking trails in Davos. With a choice of several restaurants, a rich breakfast buffet, and spa facilities, it’s an elegant yet practical choice for a stay in the area.
- AlpenGold Hotel Davos (5-star) – The AlpenGold Hotel Davos, formerly known as Hotel Intercontinental, offers an array of amenities that make it the ideal family hotel in Davos. Guests can take advantage of both indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and wellness center, ski storage, and an on-site ski school. With three a-la-carte restaurants to choose from and a kid’s and teenager club, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
- AMERON Davos Swiss Mountain Resort (4-star) – The AMERON Davos Swiss Mountain Resort is an excellent value-for-money hotel with an indoor pool, fitness facilities, and a large spa center. Rooms feature furnished balconies with mountain views, while dining options include on-site restaurants and nearby venues in Davos. Families can take advantage of the free kids club and small playground, and the hotel offers tour and luggage storage, as well as ski storage facilities. Overall, it’s a top pick and my personal favorite for its amenities and affordability.
- Grischa – Das Hotel Davos (4-star*) – The 4-star superior Hotel Grischa in Davos boasts the best location for both skiing and exploring the city, with the Jakobshorn Cable Car just 100 meters away and the center of Davos just 200 meters away. The hotel offers five restaurants, and the Davos-Platz Train Station is conveniently located across the street. Guests will find everything they need within walking distance, including ski rentals and a small grocery store. The hotel staff is friendly and welcoming, and the rooms feature a small balcony and offer great value for the price.
- ALPINE INN Davos (3-star) – ALPINE INN Davos is ideally located in the heart of the city with easy access to ski lifts and other attractions. The ski room was excellent, equipped with proper ventilation and boot dryers to keep ski gear in top condition, while the breakfast was outstanding with a wide variety of high-quality products.
Hotels in St. Moritz
- Kulm Hotel St. Moritz (5-star) – Due to the pioneering efforts of hotel founder Johannes Badrutt, St. Moritz became a winter sports mecca. This makes the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz a special part of the city’s history. This elegant hotel has 5 restaurants, a spa with a pool, a whirlpool, a children’s pool, an open-air pool, and more. Also nearby, the hotel has its 9-hole golf course with pitching, chipping, and putting areas. During the winter months, guests can skate and curl at the hotel.
- Badrutt’s Palace (5-star) – There are six restaurants, an indoor pool, a spa, and fitness center, valet parking, a tennis court or ice skating rink (depending on the season), and a free shuttle service to the train station at this elegant 5-star hotel in St.Moritz. Badrutt’s Palace is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, Swiss Deluxe Hotels, and Swiss Historic Hotels.
- Suvretta House (5-star) – Skiers will love this exclusive ski-in/ski-out hotel in Suvretta-Corviglia. There’s a regular shuttle service that takes you to other ski resorts and St. Moritz. They have a huge indoor pool, a fully-equipped gym, a sauna, gourmet specialties, and a kids’ restaurant.
- Hotel Steffani (4-star) – This well-priced hotel has 3 restaurants, 3 bars, a nightclub, and a spa area with an indoor pool. Just 300 meters from Corviglia ski area, it’s in the heart of St. Moritz.
- Hotel Waldhaus am See (3-star) – The Waldhaus am See is one of the leading 3-star hotels in Switzerland. A few steps from the train station, it features a breathtaking view of the Engadin Valley and is situated on the banks of St. Moritz Lake. With over 2,500 different kinds of whiskey, the hotel has the largest whiskey bar in the world.
- St. Moritz Youth Hostel (Hostel) – An affordable option is to stay at a hostel in St. Moritz where you’ll get everything you need – free breakfast, linen, security lockers, hot showers, microwave, a play area, and free wifi.
Summary: Davos vs. St. Moritz
In my opinion, if you’re thinking of skiing in the mountains, then you can choose either of those and be happy. There are excellent ski resorts and cross-country ski tracks around both of them. They also have beautiful mountains and lakes.
You should choose St. Moritz if you enjoy shopping, sightseeing, swimming, visiting museums, or any combination of these things. I also just think St. Moritz (the town) is prettier than Davos.
While Davos is a practical town where you can eat and sleep, St. Moritz offers better views and a more memorable experience. In addition, it’s a pleasure to get to St. Moritz via train.
Here is a summary of the advantages of visiting either Davos or St. Moritz.
Advantages of Visiting Davos
- Davos is closer to Chur, Zurich, and Zurich Airport than St. Moritz.
- Davos has more hotels with different prices.
- Although I cannot guarantee it, Davos is likely to cost less than St. Moritz.
- Davos has high-street shops like H&M and Benetton, plus a lot of sports stores. Choose it if you prefer high-street shops over high-end shops.
Advantages of Visiting St. Moritz
- St. Moritz is generally more beautiful when it comes to architecture and the town itself.
- St. Moritz has more five-star hotels available. You can also find an array of 3-star and 4-star hotels.
- St. Moritz has a lot of high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler, Cartier, Gucci, and Dior. Choose it over Davos if you prefer high-end shops.
- The cross-country ski track area at St. Moritz is bigger than Davos.
- You’ll find a longer winter ski season at Diavolezza than anywhere else in Davos.
- St. Moritz is surrounded by many lakes. In addition to St. Moritz’s lake, there are plenty of other bathing lakes nearby. Lake Silvaplana is popular for water sports and Lake Sils is the largest and most scenic in the valley.
Thanks for checking out our comparison between St. Moritz and Davos. No matter where you go, have fun!
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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.