About this Switzerland walking region
Gaubünden is Switzerland’s most popular holiday region, renowned above all for its wide range of outdoor pursuits, supremely clean air, a sunny climate and some of the country’s most stunning scenery. Comprising no less than 150 valleys, 615 lakes and 937 mountain peaks, with glacial waters which launch the famous Rhine and Inn rivers, the canton of Gaubünden, which occupies the entire south eastern corner of Switzerland, is the country’s largest yet least densely populated region. The landscape of undulating valleys, verdant pine forests, towering mountain peaks and rushing rivers can make the region difficult to get around – but fortunately not for hikers, who are really spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring this wild and dramatic land.
Bordering Austria to the north and Italy to the south and east, Graubünden, a former Roman province, has three native languages – German, Italian and Romansch, a derivative of Latin, which is spoken in some remote mountain areas. You may therefore hear the canton referred to as Graubünden, Grigioni or Grischun.
Graubünden is home to some of the most famous, high-end resorts in the Alps, such as St. Moritz, Davos, Klosters and Arosa, which all make great bases for a walking holiday. Then there is the gorgeous Engadin valley, the epicentre of Romansh culture, which runs for almost 100km (62mi) along a southern terrace of the Alps, enjoying almost year-round blue skies and bright sunshine, which help to create that postcard-perfect image of the Alps at their finest. Heading south towards the Italian border, the stunning valleys of Bregaglia and Poschiavo are, as their names suggest, Italian speaking – and the vibe here is so wholly Mediterranean that you would be forgiven for thinking you were, in fact, in Italy.
Walking in Graubünden
Graubünden is a mecca for both walkers and mountaineers, with hiking trails totalling over 10,000km (6,214mi), which meander through the most incredible Alpine scenery. An extensive network of mountain trains, cable cars and post buses means that even the highest and most remote peaks are easily accessed.
No matter what your ability and experience level, you will find plenty of walking routes to suit you, from gentle rambles and day hikes to high-octane mountain climbing and via ferratas.