Grisons (Graubünden in German) is the largest canton of Switzerland covering 17.2% of the land area. In spite of it being the largest canton in terms of land area, it is the least densely populated canton. Graubünden, translated literally as “Gray Union”, is a well-known tourist destination in the country. It is surrounded by the Alps.
Graubünden contains many beautiful places to visit: sunny valleys, awesome viewpoints, and clear alpine lakes. In February 2020, Graubünden Ferien released a list containing the 10 most beautiful villages in Graubünden. We will go through the ten winners provided in more detail. I have also added several villages that I personally find also beautiful in addition to the 10 winners above.
Voted in 2020 as the most beautiful village in Graubünden, Tschiertschen lies close to the alpine city of Chur. It is an original Walser village, meaning people from Valais came here to live. This manifests in the architecture of the homes. The wooden houses show typical characteristics that you can also see in other Walser villages. Well-kept wooden houses contain sayings on them traditionally taken from the bible.
Tschiertschen is a beautiful village worth visiting and an attractive starting point for hikes. It is located in the middle of the mountains, yet has a beautiful vantage point of the valley. Tschiertschen contains 70 kilometers of hiking trails. From it, you can hike further to Lenzerheide, Arosa, or Churwalden. As an example, you can also do the high mountain trail from Tschiertschen to Arosa, and enjoy the majestic panorama of the Schanfigg valley through Ochsenalp.
For more information regarding Tschiertschen, visit our article The Charming Tschiertschen Village.
Breil/Brigels (Breil in Romansh, Brigels in German) is a beautiful, relaxed tourism region in the Surselva region. This beautiful village in Graubünden has a late gothic church Mariä Himmelfahrt, the St. Martin Chapel, and the Casa Fausta Capaul.
There are lots of pleasing walks in the area, for example leading to the Chapel of St. Eusebius. The Senda Historica Survitg begins near the S. Giacun Chapel in Brigels. The path leads from Tschégn until Artugl, then Survitg – Rumasal – Muliniala – S. Sievi with the Chapel of St. Eusebius. The Senda Historica Survitg trail leads then back to Brigels village.
Mountain railways provide access to 150 kilometers worth of trails in Breil/Brigels. It has a good ski area on Miret (2,418m). The ski area encompasses 75 kilometers of prepared slopes. For cross-country skiers, 15 kilometers of cross-country slopes are available.
For those looking to visit one of the last three primeval or old-growth forests of Switzerland, you can visit Scatlè. An old-growth forest means that mankind left it for centuries by itself. Humans did not disturb the forest with their activities, thereby leaving a unique ecosystem.
Scatlè is a 150- to 300-meter wide forest strip that stretches between 1850 m and 2015 m above sea level. The approximately 5.5-hectare reserve is the highest-lying primeval spruce forest in Europe. Its high spruce trees are up to 600 years old and can go as tall as 30 meters.
On a side note, there are two other primeval forests in Switzerland – Derborence in Canton Valais and Bödmeren in Canton Schwyz.
Frisal Valley (Val Frisal) is also worth visiting with its waters. Filled with special fauna and flora, the valley is three kilometers long. Val Frisal lies at 1,900 meters above sea level. Those who hike along the valley on the right northern side will come to the glacier near Durschin. Views of Kistenstöckli (Muot da Rubi in Romansch) and Pèz d’Artgas can also be enjoyed when hiking here.
Perched on a sunny terrace 1,090 meters high is the village Soglio. Located in Bergell (Val Bregaglia), Soglio offers fantastic views over the Maira River.
The Bergell Valley in Graubünden is on the border with Italy, particularly Chiavenna Valley (Val Chiavenna in Italian). It is surrounded by the Masino-Disgrazia-Bregaglia group with the famous peaks of Piz Badile, Cengalo, and Sciora.
There are houses in the village of Soglio from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the middle of the village is Hotel Palazzo Salis, with its more than 140-year history. The Salis Palace still maintains the interiors of the past ages and offers its guests luxurious rooms. The Evangelical Church of San Lorenzo is also worth visiting.
Surrounding the village of Soglio are well-tended trails and fantastic views of the various mountain peaks with volcanic origins.
Dotted with beautiful Engadin houses, Bergün (or Bravuogn in Romansh), is a beautiful village in the Albula valley.
In Bergün, you can visit the Bahnmuseum Albula located near the train station. This museum is located along the Albula line of the Rhaetian Railway (Rhätischen Bahn in German). In it, you can learn about the locomotives, the railways, the tunnels, and the viaducts. It is open from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. It is closed in November.
2008 saw the accolade for the two railway lines: The route between Thusis and Tirano, around 122 kilometres long and more than 100 years old, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List under the title “Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscape”.– Graubünden Tourism
From Bergün, you can hike to Val Tuors. Val Tuors is a side valley of the Albula Valley and consists of seven larger and smaller settlements. It is not inhabited all year round. The well-maintained access road to Chants is released in the spring once the conditions are deemed good after the snow melts. It remains open until the onset of winter towards late autumn.
If you would like to learn more about Bergün, you can check out our article The Scenic Village of Bergün, Switzerland.
In one of the side valleys of Graubünden lies the beautiful village of Vals. Located in Surselva, the Vals Valley consists of a village with old Walser houses. Its wild surroundings can be attributed largely to water.
Water has shaped the way the village developed. Vals is famous for its 30-degree warm thermal waters. It is unique in the Canton of Graubünden.
Famous Architect Peter Zumthor is responsible for the Thermal Bath in Vals. Known as elegant and relaxing, the thermal bath comes from St. Peter’s Source. Visitors have been flocking to this warm water for more than a hundred years.
Guarda is a sunny, beautiful village famous also because of the book Schellen-Ursli. It is a small charming village with houses showcasing sgraffiti. They also adorn their windowsills with flowers, which adds to the prettiness factor.
Schellen-Ursli is one of the most famous children’s books in Switzerland. Written by Selina Chönz and illustrated by Alois Carigiet, it is set in Guarda. It talks about the bell that Ursli received for Chalandamarz. Chalandamarz is an annual tradition on the first of March wherein the young children try to drive out winter using their bells.
In 1975, Guarda received the Wakker Prize. The Wakker Prize is a yearly award for a specific city, town, village, or group by the Swiss Heritage Society. It honors efforts to preserve and develop the architectural heritage of a location.
If you would like to learn more about Guarda, check out our article Guarda: Explore This Fairytale Village in Engadine, Switzerland.
Viano is a pretty little village located in Brusio, Graubünden. It lies 1,281 Meters above sea level in an area called Puschlav (Val Poschiavo in Italian).
Val Poschiavo is an Italian-speaking valley in Graubünden. It begins from the Bernina Pass and ends in Tirano. This long valley with its blue waters is known for its mild climate.
Viano is a sunny area near the Italian border south of San Romerio and Predasc. From the train station in Brusio, you can go by small bus to Viano. It is a well-known stop for tourists hiking from Poschiavo and San Romerio to Tirano in Italy. This path was the old smuggler’s way over the Sass dal Gal and Baruffini.
8. Sertig Dörfli
Sertig Dörfli is a Walser village similar to Tschiertschen. Located 1,861 meters above sea level, it is a beautiful side valley of Davos. The harsh way of life in this valley led to a hard life for its inhabitants. In 1699, they built a small church that has been included in the list of protected monuments since 1942.
Zuoz is said to have the most well-maintained village in Upper Engadin. Considered one of the most beautiful in the region, it has a beautiful historical center. The magnificent patrician Engadin houses have high artistic worth.
Zuoz, the former main place in the Engadin region, is a sunny village with around 1,200 residents. It has hotels and restaurants. Zuoz is also a popular skiing and hiking destination. It is also known for its whole grain bread – Zuozerbrot.
The main place of Val Poschiavo, Poschiavo (Puschlav in German) lies 1,014 meters above sea level. It is a village with tiny alleys and a rose garden. It does have a Mediterranean feel.
In the village, they hold a market each Wednesday. The museum in Palazzo Mengotti called Museo Poschiavino depicts farm culture. It also informs about the history of emigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Furthermore, it has a town hall, an old monastery, and a church named San Vittore. Near it is a Sant’Anna Beinhaus and an Art Museum in Casa Console.
The San Vittore Church, which was built back in 1503, has a beautiful roman tower. The other baroque church Santa Maria Assunta built in the early 18th century is also worth visiting.
If you would like to learn more about Poschiavo, check out our article 9 Best Things To Do In Poschiavo, Switzerland.
That was it for the 10 villages officially voted the most beautiful. The list continues below with villages that I personally find beautiful.
Maienfeld is a beautiful little town in the principality of Landquart in Canton Graubünden. It lies on the key route through the Rhine Valley and is surrounded by vineyards, charming little houses, trees, and mountains. It is surrounded by Jenins, Malans, and the Rätikon range of the Alps.
The mountains Glegghorn and Vilan overlook Maienfeld. Across the Rhine River is another tourist destination famous for its natural spring and spa centers – Bad Ragaz.
Maienfeld is also known for being the inspiration for the book Heidi by Johanna Spyri. You can read our article about Maienfeld and Heidi here – Stunning Location of Heidi in Maienfeld, Switzerland.
Just like Tschiertschen and Bosco Gurin, Splügen is a Walser village. It was an important trading location in Splügen and Bernardino Pass. After Splügenstrasse was built in 1823, tourism in Splügen increased only to decrease again after the Gotthard Tunnel opened. The tunnel, which opened in 1882, meant easier access from the northern German part of Switzerland down to the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Fortunately, tourism was brought back again upon the opening of the San Bernardino Tunnel in 1967.
The village has beautiful wooden Walser houses. Nearby are also the three Suretta lakes at the foot of Surrettahorn. Some 12 minutes away by car, you can also drop by Andeer and the Roffla Gorge (Rofflaschlucht in German).
This neighboring village to St. Moritz is also well worth visiting. It is in the middle of the Corviglia/Marguns ski area. Marguns is 2,280 meters above sea level.
Celerina has lots of beautiful Engadin houses in its village center. It also has a charming church called San Gian a few minutes’ walk away from the village on top of a little hill. The San Gian Church has fresco paintings from the 12th until the 15th century.
If you want to learn more about Celerina, we have written about it in detail here: Discovering Celerina, an Engadin Gem.
Sils (or Segl in Romansh) is so picturesque that it has attracted lots of artists, novelists, and musicians. It is surrounded by a huge expanse of flat land stretching between Lake Silvaplana and Lake Sils.
The village is divided into Sils-Maria (Maioria meaning feudal estate) and Sils-Baselgia (Basilica). In the village, you can visit the Nietzsche House, the Engadiner Library, and the Church of San Lorenzo in Sils-Beseglia. It also has beautiful houses (Andreoli and Salis houses).
Beyond the village, you can walk to Fex Valley (Fextal in German) or take a horse-drawn carriage. On Furtschellas, the mountain nearby, there are also numerous hiking routes.
If you want to learn more about Fex Valley and Sils, we have written about it in detail here:
Similar to Bergün, Filisur also has several beautiful Engadin houses. It is a good starting point to observe the Landwasser Viaduct (Landwasserviadukt in German). Filisur is a tiny village of fewer than 500 residents and can be visited really quickly.
The Landwasser Viaduct is a single-track six-arched curved limestone railway viaduct reaching 65 meters high. It lies in the canton Graubünden, starting from Schmitten to Filisur. The Landwasser Viaduct has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since mid-July 2008.
If you would like to read more about Filisur, you can check out our article Exploring The Beautiful Village Of Filisur.
Scuol is a sunny and beautiful village in Lower Engadin. It has thermal baths from 25 mineral sources. Even the spring water from the village’s faucet churns mineral water. For those who want to go to the mountains, Motta Naluns is a fantastic place for hiking, biking, paragliding, skiing, and snowboarding.
If you would like to read more about the beautiful villages in Lower Engadine, check out our article 6 Best Villages in Lower Engadine, Switzerland.
- Baedeker Reiseführer Schweiz
- Perego, Giuseppe. Ausflugsparadies Engadin: Wanderungen. Kultur. Wissenswertes.
- 6 Best Villages in Lower Engadine, Switzerland
- The Charming Tschiertschen Village
- 9 Best Things To Do In Poschiavo, Switzerland
- Discovering Celerina, an Engadin Gem
- Guarda: Explore This Fairytale Village in Engadine, Switzerland
- Obermutten, Switzerland: A Traditional Walser Village in Albula
- Swiss Alps – The Ultimate Guide
- Stunning Location of Heidi in Maienfeld, Switzerland
- History of Bosco Gurin And Why It’s Worth A Visit
- Val Fex – One of Engadin’s Most Beautiful Valleys
- The Scenic Village of Bergün, Switzerland
- Exploring The Beautiful Village Of Filisur