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Obermutten, Switzerland: A Traditional Walser Village in Albula

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Darla Uhl

The traditional Walser village of Obermutten lies in canton Graubünden’s Albula District. On a sunny terrace at 1,860 meters above sea level, it overlooks the Schin Gorge (Schynschlucht in German), a 9-kilometer gorge located between Tiefencastel, Alvaschein, and Sils im Domleschg.

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Obermutten, part of the township of Mutten, has a lovely view over the valley below. It’s a pretty village tucked away in the countryside, just beyond Thusis. Its name comes from ober meaning above and mutten meaning hill. Obermutten is a historically protected site. 

Obermutten: A Traditional Walser Village

Obermutten has the same feel as other Walser villages like Tschiertschen and Bosco Gurin. It’s still a little-known gem. Obermutten is not packed with tourists, there’s no shopping, no big hotels, and so on. The place is a refuge for those seeking peace. In contrast to the other villages in Graubünden, Obermutten looks more like one of the villages in Valais.

Walsers came from Valais and migrated to the high mountains of Graubünden and its surroundings from the 13th to 16th centuries. The Walser residents of Obermutten came from Oberwallis, going to Rheinwald through Val Schons. From Zillis, Reischen, and Samest, they made their way to Obermutten, where they stayed. After 200 years in Obermutten, they decided to move down a little to Untermutten. 

The residents work and live in both Obermutten and Mutten. Up until now, most families have one house in Untermutten and another in Obermutten. Weather dictated how locals lived and worked. They tended to live in Obermutten in summer. Women and children stayed in Mutten during winter for school.  

Their language is similar to Rheinwald, Vals, Safien, Tenna, and Avers. The Muttner dialect is slowly disappearing. 

Obermutten: A Place to Relax and Unwind

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Obermutten is a beautiful place meant for relaxation and unwinding. They don’t have big shops here. However, there is a small self-service shop called Inscha Laada im Kulturtenn. There aren’t any post offices or banks in Obermutten either. Those are all available in Thusis.

In Obermutten, there is a small guesthouse called Gasthaus Post Obermutten with 26 beds. As for the rest, it’s just a few houses built in the traditional Walser style.

Obermutten was built around the village fountain. The fountain saved the village from a fire when it was burning. During a storm on the 25th of April 1946, around 17 houses and stalls burned down. Luckily, this well held water and helped extinguish the fire. The houses south of the village fountain weren’t burned. Financial donations helped rebuild the houses to their original form.

The village museum Dorfmuseum Obermutten is right in the middle of the village. This is the oldest longhouse in the Obermutten, a private house from the 17th century. The museum is open only upon request.

The Wooden Reformed Church of Obermutten

The Reformed Church of Obermutten is the only sacred building in Switzerland made entirely of wood.

There’s a little church here made out of larch wood, simple and wooden, built during Friedrich Schucan’s time. Built back in 1718, this chapel attracts pilgrims as well. Its house organ was built by Heinrich Amman. The Reformed Church of Obermutten is the only sacred building entirely made of wood in Switzerland. This reformed church is also a protected monument. 

Muttner Höhi Viewpoint (2,000 Meters)

From Obermutten, you can hike up Muttner Höhi for a great view. Just 15 to 20 minutes away from Obermutten, you can get a spectacular view of the mountains in the canton of Graubünden. You can see Domleschg, Heinzenberg, and Filisur too. Müttner Höhi is 2,000 meters above sea level.

Activities in and around Obermutten

Hiking trails beginning from Obermutten by TouringSwitzerland.com

There’s also a ski area with a small lift in Obermutten. A small ski area with just three kilometers of slopes, it is perfect for beginners and families. Besides skiing, you can also enjoy winter activities like cross-country skiing, curling, and winter hiking. The small cross-country rink is around a kilometer.

During the summer, you can go hiking and mountain biking from Obermutten. The village is also on the hiking route called Walserweg Graubünden (Route 35).

Here are some of the hiking trails in Obermutten (summer and winter):

  • Obermutten – Boden circular trail – 1.1 kilometers
  • Obermutten -Muttner Höhi circular trail – 2 kilometers
  • Stafel – Obermutten -1 kilometer

How to Get to Obermutten

There are a lot of curves on the way to Obermutten. If you’re driving, you can park outside the village. The village itself is generally car-free as it is a protected site. Alternatively, you can also take the bus from Thusis, though it only runs a few times a day. 

By BusObermutten
By CarObermutten Parking Lot (Village entrance)
By TaxiTaxi Service Beverin, Taxi Elsa, Herbie Taxi Donat

Final Words: Obermutten, Switzerland

Image by TouringSwitzerland.com

Despite its social media campaigns, this small village of Obermutten is still relatively unknown. If you compare it to other Walser villages like Mürren, Klosters, and Arosa, it’s not really a place with a lot of hotels and restaurants. 

However, despite being a relatively unknown village, I’d still recommend visiting it. You can experience a traditional Swiss mountain village without the trappings of commercialism and tourism. That’s what it is – authentic, quiet, serene, and just a place to be. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it has a stunning view of the surrounding area. 

Resources

  • Walser, Peter. Mutten vor 50 Jahren. Aus dem Leben einer Berggemeinde. Bündner Jahrbuch 1986: Zeitschrift für Kunst, Kultur, und Geschichte Graubüdens, 28. Jahrgang, 1986. Verlag Bischofberger AG, Chur.
  • Leuthold, Werner. Ein Beitrag aus Mutten. Mundart: Forum des Vereins Schweizerdeutsch, May 1993.

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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.