A DAY TRIP TO ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND
One day in St. Moritz, one of the premium destinations in Switzerland, is not enough to explore what this amazing place has to offer, but it is better than nothing.
For years, I totally underestimated St. Moritz without ever paying it a visit, or better, I just passed it! But when I finally got the chance to linger around this amazing place and soak in its breathtaking valley views, my prejudices quickly melted away – leaving me with an even deeper love for Switzerland than before.
It’s now become a ritual of mine to enjoy different seasons; getting glimpses into what truly makes this place sparkle during each season is priceless!
If you’ve been feeling hesitant about visiting here too, don’t be – there are so many wonderful ways to experience all that Engadine Valley has to offer…and trust me—once you go here once…you’ll want more. But since most of us just have a limited amount of time to travel, here is how I would spend a day in St.Moritz!
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TIPS FOR A DAY TRIP TO ST. MORITZ
St. Moritz and the Engadine Valley are blessed with gorgeous lakes, impressive glaciers, stunning mountain views, and more. So, with one day in St. Moritz, the question remains: What to see with so little time, and how to plan your St. Moritz itinerary? Do not worry, I have you covered – here you will find out, but first, a few travel tips.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
If you are a winter sports enthusiast, then a visit from December to early April would be the best time. If you come here for some gorgeous hikes or some relaxing time, then late June to early October is the best time to visit St. Moritz. This is also what I would recommend, as the cable cars operate during these months. If you visit in late April, May, or early June, you might not be able to follow this itinerary rigorously, but its beauty will still enchant you.
ARRIVE IN ST. MORITZ
Even though St. Moritz is a high-altitude village, it is easily accessible via train or car. I recommend getting here by train, but since some of you travel by car, it is good to know that it is also quite easily accessible by car.
- St. Moritz is the starting/endpoint on the Glacier Express, and can also be added to the Bernina Express train route – so you can combine a trip with a train ride.
- The train station is very small and located next to St. Moritz Lake.
- There are also buses just next to the train station that will get you to the first stop of your itinerary.
- You can also get to St. Moritz by car. Just be aware that, depending on where you are from exactly, you may have to drive through some mountain passes. If the mountain passes are open in the winter, they are cleared. However, not everyone is confident driving in Switzerland in winter – especially not in the mountains.
- There is paid parking just at the train station, but you can also go to the first stop straight away by car and have free parking there.
HOW TO GET AROUND
I recommend using public transportation for your day trip to St.Moritz.
- There are buses between St. Moritz Village, St. Moritz Bad, and all other villages in the area. You also have trains that get you comfortably to several attractions in the area. So, you will be fine with getting around just via public transportation.
- Driving is another alternative. The roads and streets are in a good condition and cleared. Keep in mind that parking can be tricky in some busy areas, though.
- Getting around via taxi or helicopter is also quite popular, though way more expensive – especially the latter.
A Swiss Travel Pass might be the perfect choice if you do not want to stay for 2 nights in St.Moritz or travel around Switzerland for longer. This pass has been my favorite option for most of my travels in Switzerland. What is a Swiss Travel Pass?
- A Swiss Travel Pass allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs – this includes the Bernina Express as well. While the St.Moritz guest card only gets you to the Alp Grüm station, this pass gets you all the way to Tirano. There is only a reservation fee for several panorama trains (though you can avoid it by taking local trains).
- You can also do most boat cruises without additional costs – great, if you also plan to visit places like Interlaken and Lake Thun or Lake Lucerne for example.
- It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you will not get a discount on cable car rides in Engadine Valley though).
- Some museums, including the famous St. Abbey, are free to visit with the Swiss Travel Pass.
- The initial prices for a Swiss Travel Pass are quite high – but it pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you.
- For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/mountain rides often (even if I road trip Switzerland).
- Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.
WHERE TO STAY IN ST. MORITZ
There is no shortage of luxury hotels in St. Moritz but I have also listed some more affordable accommodations for your trip. All three of the hotels offer the “Bergbahnen Inklusive” ticket, which means free train and bus rides in the area, plus free usage of cable cars/funiculars.
- LUXURY: This luxury hotel has everything you are looking for when booking a 5-star hotel in St. Moritz. From an extensive spa area to a lounge and bar area, luxurious hotel rooms and suites, and more. Check out prices here.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Corvatsch is a 3-star hotel located in the lower part of St. Moritz. and only a 3-minute walk from the lake and the Signal Cable Car. Here are prices and availabilities.
- BUDGET: The St. Moritz Youth Hostel is situated at the edge of the forest in the lower part of St. Moritz. During the day, there is a bus that gets you to the St. Moritz train station. The rooms all have shared bathrooms, and breakfast is always included – you cannot find a better deal in all of St. Moritz. Check out rates here.
ITINERARY FOR ST. MORITZ IN A DAY
Okay, here is how to spend a day in St. Moritz.
MORNING: VISIT PIZ CORVATSCH
A must-do – in my opinion – is getting up Piz Corvatsch. Why? I will let you know, but first of all, how do you get there from St. Moritz train station?
HOW TO GET TO PIZ CORVATSCH
From St. Moritz train/bus station, get to Corvatsch Talstation Surlej by bus. Bus line 4 takes you to the station “Kreisel Mitte.” There, you just change buses (take bus no 1 or 6) and go to Corvatsch Talstation Surlej. Buses run more or less frequently, but at least 2-3 times an hour, normally much more often.
This whole bus trip takes about 20 minutes. The window views are great as you will drive along Lake St. Moritz and Lake Champfèr, two top Swiss lakes.
There are display boards at the bus station that will show you exactly when the next bus leaves. If it happens you have to wait a few minutes, then you can just enjoy the views of Lake St. Moritz or go to the small supermarket, which is just at the bus station, and get some snacks.
You just need to buy a ticket for the cable car/gondola at Corvatsch Talstation Surlej.
Then take the gondola to Corvatsch Mittelstation Murtel (at 2,702 meters above sea level). There you have to change and get on another gondola that will bring you up to Corvatsch Bergstation (at 3,303 meters above sea level). This might sound complicated, but it is not. Really, it is not. Everything is perfectly organized – I mean it is Switzerland after all!
If you get there by car, just drive there and park your car near the station. In the winter, parking might be tricky as it is on Sundays during the summer months. So, if you get there by car, the earlier you arrive the better.
GET UP PIZ CORVATSCH MOUNTAIN
Piz Corvatsch is a mountain peak in the Bernina Range of the Alps and offers some incredible views. At about 3,300 meters above sea level, it is easily accessible via cable car/funicular. You could also hike up, but I suggest opting for the easy way – the gondola – to get up.
On the one side, you have a fantastic panorama of Lake Sils, Lake Silvaplana, and Lake Cahmpfer with the mountains in the background. You will also be spoiled with this view from your gondola – but the higher up you get, the better the panorama becomes.
Then, you climb a few stairs and also have stunning views of the other side. Both views are extremely gorgeous, though completely different – here, you have the mighty glaciers.
So, this alone makes it a perfect mountain excursion. But this is also the perfect starting point for certain hikes that I will talk about in a bit. But even if you are not into hiking…the views…the views! If you enjoy great views, this is the place to visit.
Up there, you can enjoy some time at the restaurant with Swiss food and drinks. So, like everything, it is up to you what you enjoy doing – and thus, which of my recommendations you take is totally up to you.
Once you have enjoyed the views, I have a couple of recommendations for you.
If you enjoy hiking and are more or less fit, I have two hikes from here. If you do not want to do both hikes, I highly recommend doing at least one shorter hike.
HIKE TO MURTEL AND FUORCLA SURLEJ
If you enjoy some downhill hiking, get down to Corvatsch Mittelstation Murtel. Alternatively, you can also take the gondola (if you have the correct ticket) – but not all the way down, just get to Mittelstation Murtel.
Whether you get to Mittelstation Murtel by hike or by gondola from Corvatsch, it is time for one of the most scenic – and rather easy – hikes in Switzerland: the hike from Murtel to Fuorcla Surlej.
This is a hike for the books – you have one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland, the mighty Roseg Glacier, and more. However, first, you have to do a bit of uphill hiking. Nothing too serious, just from 2,698 meters to 2,753 meters above sea level – this should take about 30-50 minutes. There you have the stunning Fuorcla Surlej. What a lake!
I admit I experienced this place on a sunny and rather clear day, but I imagine it is also stunning on cloudy days. The view of the famous ice giants Piz Bernina (4,049 meters) and Piz Roseg (3,937 meters) are just a few highlights. This must be one of the most beautiful spots in the Engadine Valley, or actually, in all of Switzerland.
I highly recommend bringing your own snacks and drinks and enjoying some time at the lake.
The hike is not challenging, but it is a bit uphill – the hike downhill is thus super easy and not too steep, so I would recommend it even to those who – due to knee problems – often avoid downhill hikes.
You have two options: hike to Murtel Mittelstation, or hike down all the way to Corvatsch Talstation Surlej.
It takes about 30-60 minutes to get back to Murtel Mittelstation, and about 2-3 hours in total (without many long breaks).
Once you reach the cable car station “Corvatsch Talstation Surlej” – from where you started your mountain excursion – you can then decide what to do next. No worries, I of course have a few suggestions for you again. It all depends on how much time you have left in St. Moritz and, of course, on your personal preferences.
AFTERNOON (OPTION 1) – SILVAPLANA LAKE AND LEJ DA CHAMPFER
My favorite options if you have 1-3 hours left would be a) Spend time at one of the stunning lakes in St. Moritz – Silvaplana Lake or Lake Sils are particularly pretty, or b) Head to St.Moritz and stroll the infamous small village center.
These are amongst the top lakes in Switzerland – as an uncertified Swiss lake expert, I can vouch for both of them.
Lake Silvaplana’s name comes from the village of Silvaplana and is probably the most beautiful because of its striking color.
Lake Silvaplana is popular for water sports, and even if you are not into doing water sports, this is the place to watch them. Due to the unique location of Lake Silvalplana – where a brisk thermal wind blows daily – it is especially popular amongst windsurfers,
Almost as pretty is the Lej da Champfèr, which is between Champfèr and Silvaplana. This small lake is easy to walk around (it takes about 75 minutes).
Whenever you have to go back to the train station, you can just hop on one of the buses – there are several stops along the shores of both lakes.
Further below you have Lake Sils, also a beauty, but let’s focus on these lakes that are just below “your feet” once you get from Piz Corvatsch.
AFTERNOON (OPTION 2) – ST.MORITZ VILLAGE CENTER
Okay, St. Moritz is surely NOT the prettiest town in Switzerland. Though it has the reputation of being a top-notch destination – for the pretty and rich – I might say the village center is kind of… disappointing. Do not get me wrong, there are some beautiful buildings. But if you are looking for a traditional Swiss village, like Zermatt, you might be in for a disappointment.
However, it is interesting to stroll the “town of the rich” with all the fancy shops lined up. Those shops are often also the prettiest buildings in the town center. You will not need much time to walk around the village center – 30-60 minutes should be enough if you just do window shopping.
This might also be a good place to have a nice dinner or a coffee before you end your day trip to St. Moritz.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON A DAY IN ST. MORITZ
St. Moritz, and especially the Engadine Valley, is one of the most beautiful destinations in Switzerland (and even in Europe). There is an abundance of activities, so you could spend weeks here without getting bored. I can say that full of confidence.
However, since most of us have just a limited amount of time to spend on traveling, your day trip to St. Moritz should be well thought about, so you do experience the best it has to offer. I hope my post has helped you figure out how to spend a day there.