WINTER IN ST. MORITZ AND ENGADINE VALLEY – TRAVEL GUIDE
St. Moritz is one of the premium travel destinations in Switzerland – and it is said that winter sports holidays were actually invented here. And let me tell you, winter sports in St. Moritz is still big. After Zermatt, it is probably one of the most famous ski resorts in the world. But even if you are not into winter sports, St. Moritz in winter is an amazing place to visit.
First of all, St. Moritz and the Engadin Valley are extremely picturesque – really, really picturesque. Second, there is quite a lot to do in St. Moritz in the winter. So whether you are into winter sports like skiing and snowboarding or not, St. Moritz will make a perfect winter destination.
Today, I will share my tips with you about the best things to do in St. Moritz – where to go and what to do, plus some travel tips, so keep reading if you want to find out more.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR ST. MORITZ IN THE WINTER
- St. Moritz is the capital of the Engadine Valley located in Graubünden (Grison), which is the biggest canton (state) in Switzerland.
- It is located at about 1800 meters above sea level – which makes it a perfect winter destination as it is one of the first valleys to see snow.
- St. Moritz lies on the southern slopes of the Albula Alps, below Piz Nair Mountain.
- Due to its elevated location, you have beautiful views of the Upper Engadine and Lake St. Moritz.
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WINTER TOURISM IN ST. MORITZ
In 1865, winter tourism was born. And the birthplace was…you guessed it, St. Moritz! After sports like ice skating, curling, and sledding, skiing soon came to the Engadine – the Chantarella cable car was built from St. Moritz up the mountain in 1913. In 1928, the first Olympic Games were held in St. Moritz. At the same time, the Corvigliabahn opened – a lift that was exclusively for skiing, which was a first for its time. This was followed by the founding of the first Swiss Ski School Association in the village. Today, Engadin is one of the top ski destinations in the world.
Spoiler: I am neither into skiing nor snowboarding and am in love with Engadin in winter!
WINTER SEASON IN ST. MORITZ
The winter season in St. Moritz is long. Due to its high elevation, heavy snowfalls can occur in early November but most ski lifts operate from the end of November until the end of April.
To avoid crowds, I would avoid the holiday season in St.Moritz (from mid/end of December until early January) as well as the end of February and early March because many cantons have school holidays then.
SKI PASSES IN ST. MORITZ
If you want to do winter sports, you actually have several options for getting your ski pass.
St. Moritz is known as one of the, if not THE, most expensive ski resorts in Switzerland, so ski passes start from 60 CHF for a day if you book very early, which is a bargain. Prices can go up to 100 CHF and more. The cheapest ticket I have seen was about 45 CHF but everything under 60 CHF is very rare. In St. Moritz, the prices for ski passes depend on several factors. The Snow-Deals means that you have dynamic prices that are based on:
- When you buy your pass
Sleep & Ski
If you stay overnight in accommodation in St. Moritz, you can book the Sleep + Ski and get a pass for 45 CHF a day. You have to buy tickets for the entirety of your stay though if you opt for this pass (e.g. if you stay 3 nights, you will need 3-day tickets for 45CHF each).
With this pass, you can also get on mountain peaks even if you do not ski and use public transportation in the area of St. Moritz. I took advantage of this deal and looooved it. Since not all hotels sell it, I will recommend some hotels later on where you can book the passes (you can buy them once you are at the reception desk and do not need to buy them in advance).
Flexible Day Pass / Family Tickets
The above-mentioned tickets are probably the best for visitors who just stay for a couple of days in St.Moritz but then there are a few more tickets that include the Flexible Day Pass for 10 days which is about 690 CHF or the Family Tickets.
HOW TO GET TO ST. MORITZ
Even though St. Moritz is a high-altitude village at almost 1800 meters above sea level, it is easily accessible via train or car.
- A fantastic way to get to St. Moritz is via train. On your way, you will get an idea of what all the fuss is about when you see this winter wonderland.
- 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. Instead of regular taxis, which you normally see all over Switzerland, black Mercedes are lined up, waiting for customers.
- The village of St.Moritz is located further uphill, so if you have heavy luggage, you might want to take a taxi or bus.
- There are also hotels in the lower part of the village – check out where exactly you are staying beforehand.
- 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.
- Also, if you get to St. Moritz, make sure to book a hotel with available parking.
- While I have not spent much time in the village center of St. Moritz, I have seen the police several times fining people for illegal parking.
HOW TO GET AROUND
St. Moritz village is quite small so you can walk to many places. But if you want to visit the lower part of St.Moritz (St.Moritz Bad) or venture out to some of the mountain peaks, I recommend using public transportation.
- There are buses traveling 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.
- 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 can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price, and if you follow my tips, you will need it twice).
- 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 to St. Moritz. All of them offer Ski&Sleep Passes for an additional 45 CHF a day (after your booking, just email them or ask upon arrival for the passes).
- LUXURY: This luxury hotel has everything you are looking for when booking a 5-star hotel in St.Moritz. From an extensive spa area, a lounge and bar area, luxurious hotel rooms and suites, and more. Shuttle service to the Corviglia Cable Car Station is perfect if you want to spend days on the slopes. Check out prices for the stunning Battrud´s Palace Hotel in St.Moritz.
- 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. Find out more here.
- 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 better prices in all of St.Moritz. Here are the prices and availabilities for the hostel.
THINGS TO DO IN ST.MORITZ IN WINTER
So, here are the best things to do in St. Moritz in winter – activities you can enjoy as a winter sports enthusiast or not because there is something for everyone.
ST. MORITZ TOWN CENTER
Okay, St. Moritz is surely NOT the prettiest town in Switzerland. Actually, I would not even say that it is pretty at all. However, it is interesting to stroll this town of rich people at least for half an hour or so.
Also, St. Moritz is known as a luxury resort (which actually was the main reason why I avoided it for the longest time), and it’s all about fancy shops. You will find many luxury shops lined up – and those shops are often also the prettiest buildings in the town center.
Unlike other places, such as Zermatt, I did not see many cozy cafes or restaurants. But regardless, plan a short trip to the town center.
What a view! For the best panorama, make sure to go to the top of Piz Corvatsch Mountain. Piz Corvatsch is a mountain in the Bernina Range of the Alps, overlooking Lake Sils and Lake Silvaplana in Engadine.
The Corvatsch is the highest peak – at about 3300 meters above sea level – and what should I say? The views are AMAZING. In all honesty, this was my favorite view in all of St. Moritz and Engadin (and there is quite a bit of competition).
There is also a panorama restaurant, and in winter, there are, of course, a lot of options for skiing or snowboarding but also snowshoe hiking. If you are not into winter sports, you can take some walks around the area, have a drink with a view, or just soak in the scenery! Or visit a whisky distillery.
TIP: ORMA Whisky in a rather unique attraction in St.Moritz – at the Corvatsch top station you will find the highest whisky distillery in the world. Here they are producing a single malt whistle called ORMA.
- HOW TO GET THERE: You need to get to Corvatsch Talstation Surlej (1870 meters) by bus. Then take the gondola to Corvatsch Mittelstation Murtel (2702 meters) before getting on another gondola that will bring you up to Corvatsch Bergstation, located at 3303 meters above sea level.
MUOTTAS MURAGL MOUNTAIN
Another popular mountain excursion is the Muottas Muragl at 2455 meters above sea level.
It is a location on the southern slopes of the Blais da Muottas, a summit at the western end of the range descending from Piz Vadret.
It is a beautiful and shortish ride up in a funicular, and from the top, you have wonderful views of the Engadin Valley – between the towns of Samedan, St. Moritz, and Pontresina.
These views are said to be the most beautiful in Engadine. The panorama is indeed great, though I am not sure it is the best. This, however, is one of the best spots to watch the sunset. Besides a mountain restaurant, you will also find options for sledding – actually, this is probably the most popular winter sport here on Muottas Muragl. Also, this is the perfect place for winter hikes. Thus, Muottas Muragl is a great place to spend a couple of hours.
- HOW TO GET THERE: Just take the no. 1 bus from St. Moritz train station to Punt Muragl station, and from there, hop on the funicular.
SKIING IN ST. MORITZ
Of course, most people visit St. Moritz and Engadin for one reason: to enjoy some days on the slopes. Altogether, the region boasts 87 pistes that all conform to World Cup quality standards – so your choices are endless. There are 7 ski lifts in the town of St. Moritz, and a total of 24 ski lifts in the 3 ski zones mentioned above.
It is great for expert skiers, but also very well-known for having the best skiing for intermediate-level skiers but also beginners will be pleased to know there are also easy slopes, too.
Corviglia is the most popular area and the biggest one with 36 slopes and a total length of 155 km and an altitude of 1,800 meters that rises up to Piz Nair at 3,057 meters.
EXTRA TIP: On Fridays, you will find the longest floodlit piste (about 4,2 km) on Corvatsch – open from 7 pm until after midnight. That is probably a really unique skiing & snowboarding experience.
APRES SKI IN ST. MORITZ
After all the skiing and snowboarding (and chilling), it might be time to end your day with a drink at one of the many après-ski venues in St. Moritz. I admit: This is not something I am interested in, so here are some popular ones for you to check out.
- Roo Bar is a casual bar for folks of all ages. It is located right in the heart of St. Moritz, with a variety of music, and a wide selection of alcohol and mulled wines!
- Alto Bar is right by the Chantarella Funicular.This is about eating and drinking with views of St. Moritz from above!
- Devil’s Place is located by St. Moritz Lake and holds the Guinness World Record for having the biggest whiskey collection.
- Bobby’s Pub is popular among locals and a great place to play pool or darts, and even put a song or two on the jukebox.
St. Moritz is surely no cheap destination. There are, however, some great free winter activities in St. Moritz. Make sure to bring your ice skates and enjoy some rounds on Lake St. Moritz. Once the lake is frozen, the snow is cleared so people can do their rounds.
This activity in such a stunning environment is just next-level awesome. You might miss the music (which is often played at ice rinks), so bring your headphones and a playlist on your phone!
- If you do not travel with ice skates (understandable), then you can rent them at one of the ski rentals.
This area is all about great views of snow-capped mountains – so another great mountain excursion (whether you are into winter sports or not) is heading up Corviglia at 2489 meters above sea level.
Corviglia is a location on the eastern slopes of Piz Nair, overlooking St. Moritz. It lies on the watershed between the rivers Schlattain and the Ovel da la Resgia, at an elevation of 2,486 meters. The south-facing Corviglia and the many sunny days in the Engadine make the climate quite pleasant, even in winter – just an additional reason to visit Corviglia.
The view of the Upper Engadine lakes and the glaciated Bernina Massif is simply drop-dead gorgeous. In winter, the lakes are covered in snow and are not really recognizable, but they still look great. Actually, this is probably the best view you can get from St. Moritz itself – and it is probably the easiest mountain trip since the station is just in the center of St. Moritz.
As mentioned before, Corviglia is also one of the most renowned ski areas in the world!
From there, you can continue your trip to Piz Nair. Just hop on the next gondola.
- HOW TO GET THERE: From St. Moritz, take a funicular that takes you to Corviglia. The funicular station is located in the village center of St. Moritz. Get off at the bus stop marked “Schulplatz” and walk for 2 minutes – you cannot miss it.
For one of the highest viewpoints (easily accessible via cable car/gondola) in Engadine, head to Piz Nair, which is 3057 meters in elevation.
At the top of Piz Nair, you will also find a stately ibex, head bowed, overlooking the Upper Engadin at its feet. You can enjoy wonderful views of Muottas Muragl, the Piz Palü, the Bernina region, Corvatsch, and more.
This mountain excursion is one of the most expensive – if you are on a budget or want to focus on only one mountain excursion, I would not pick Piz Nair. The views are splendid, but there are even better views elsewhere.
- HOW TO GET THERE: On Corviglia, hop on a gondola to get all the way up to Piz Nair.
Another top mountain excursion is Diavolezza which is a col and ski resort above the Val Bernina. The col has an altitude of 2,958 meters and is located between Munt Pers and Piz Trovat.
Why is Diavolezzo different from the other vantage points? Well, because you can see the 4000-meter Piz Bernina and the impressive Piz Palü rise up before you, as well as the Pers Glacier and Morteratsch Glacier beneath your feet.
Oh wow! As a full disclaimer, I visited here at the end of October (and again in summer) and not in winter. It was not all covered in snow but was already pretty amazing, and I heard it is even more amazing in the winter season.
It is also a free ride paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. From the Diavolezza Mountain station, 10 kilometers of marked but unprepared terrain take you all the way to the sun terrace of the Morteratsch Hotel.
Perfect for intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
- HOW TO GET THERE: Diavolezza is located a bit further from St. Moritz, and yet, is so worth it. Take a local train to Tirano and get out at Bernina Diavolezza (about 45 minutes). You will pass the Morteratsch Glacier and enjoy some amazing window views along the way.
A lesser-popular wintersports in St. Moritz is bobsledding. In St. Moritz, you can find the oldest bobsled track in the world (opened in 1904). It´s the world’s only natural ice-bobsled run and also the oldest one still in operation.
You will find annual national and international bobsled championships, but the run also hosts skeleton and toboggan championships at the national, and even international, levels. Since the end of the 1930s, the Olympia Bob Run offers guest rides. You will be safely nestled between the pilot and brakeman and get to experience the thrilling ride. With a speed of up to 135 km/h, it will take about 75 seconds to get to the finish.
- However, this activity does not come cheap – the ride costs 269 CHF per person.
WINTER WALKS IN ST. MORITZ – LAKE ST. MORITZ AND LAKE SILSER
Beautiful Engadin is made for long or short winter walks. It’s perfect for easy, intermediate, or challenging winter walks or hikes. You can choose some walks/hikes up in the mountains or just walk along (or oftentimes even on) the 4 lakes in St. Morit which are all next to each other.
Walking around one of the lakes – either St. Moritz Lake, Silser Lake, or Silvaplana Lake – is one of the easier walks, with basically no incline/decline. Proper hiking boots are enough – no need to wear spikes or snowshoes. Routes for pedestrians and cross-country-skiing are marked– so it is very safe for children and everyone else.
Walking around Silser Lake was probably my favorite walk (especially when the sun sets, it looks even more spectacular).
Another beautiful, half-day trip to take from St. Moritz in winter could be Maloja. Maloja lies at the western end of Lake Silvaplana and connects the Upper Engadine Lake District and the Graubünden’s southern valley of Bergell.
The village at the border of Italian-speaking Switzerland is known as a family-friendly holiday destination, but you can also do some easier hikes and enjoy some great views.
The bus (or car) ride from St. Moritz alone is worth it – you will pass all four lakes (St. Moritz, Ley da Champfer, Silvaplana, and Sils) with the Alps in the background. What a fantastic view! Get out at Maloja Post station and walk towards the viewpoint. It is an easy walk, and from there, you have an amazing panorama! Really!
If you enjoy sledding, then Muragl is the best place to go. As mentioned before, in a place like Engadin, there is no shortage of winter activities and you can sled in many spots.
But sledding down from the Muottas Muragl viewing mountain to Punt Muragl is one of the highlights. This toboggan run has 20 curves, is 4.2 kilometers long, and covers 718 meters of altitude difference. And it is the perfect activity for young and old – you do not need much experience for this!
Want to do some snowshoe hiking high above Engadine Valley? While there are several options, one of the most popular is at Corvatsch Mountain.
Then rent some snowshoes and walk the marked trail on Corvatsch which takes about 1,5/2 hours (about 4 kilometers) with an elevation gain of about 217 meters.
The Morteratsch Glacier is the third largest, and by volume, the most massive glacier in the eastern Alps. But most of all, it just looks amazing. Absolutely amazing!
Best of all: You can easily spot it. Whether you are in a car or on a train, the Morteratsch Glacier is so impressive that you will be able to see it even from a distance.
However, you can also get close to it and combine it with a beautiful winter walk. It is just 50 minutes on foot from the railway station of Morteratsch – the milky glacial lake as well as the glacier’s giant ice tongue. In winter, it melds with all the snow and might not be distinguishable, but it is really a must-see in Engadine.
On your way, 16 posts give you information about the receding glacier and the mystical lifeforms left in its wake.
- HOW TO GET THERE: Morteratsch Glacier is not directly in St. Moritz. So hop on a local train and get off at Morteratsch train station. The train ride is scenic – if you want to enjoy the glacier from the train, then stay on the train and ride for one more stop. Sit on the right side and choose a compartment where you can open the windows. You want to enjoy the views without any window reflections.
The Bernina Express is a train connecting Chur in Switzerland to Poschiavo in Switzerland and Tirano in Italy by crossing the Swiss Engadin Alps. For most of its journey, the train also runs along the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina landscapes.
You can start the trip easily from St. Moritz. If you can tear yourself away from the slopes, this is the train ride to take. And what should I say? Oh my, oh my. I have done this ride probably 10 times – at all times of the year – and oh my. This is beyond awesome. You will pass so many amazing places along the journey – from Lago Blanco and Bernina Ospizio, to Alp Grüm, Poschiavo, and the Morteratsch Glacier.
There is no shortage of amazing views to see while you are sitting in the warmth of the train. You do not have to take the official “Bernina Express” but can take the local trains that have the exact same route. You do not have the huge panorama windows, but for the local trains, you do not need to have a fee-based reservation and you can get off at any station, which is why I actually prefer the local trains over the Bernina Express.
TIP: From St.Moritz get to Tiefencastel (one of the most amazing parts of the train ride, where you also cross the Landwasser Viaduct Bridge) and then change trains. Head back to Pontresina and continue your journey toward Tirano. If you do not want to spend much time on the train, I suggest getting to Alp Grüm before returning “home”.
- This ride is free with a Swiss Travel Pass – with the Sleep & Ski Pass, you can get to Alp Grüm without any extra costs.
SNOWKITING NEAR ST. MORITZ
DIGITAL TRAVEL PLANNER FOR SWITZERLAND
FINAL THOUGHTS ON WINTER ACTIVITIES IN ST. MORITZ
St. Moritz is without a doubt a top winter destination in Switzerland. It has everything a ski resort needs for a ski trip. And it has so much more – as a non-winter sports fan, I truly enjoyed my trip to St. Moritz and Engadine. I cannot wait to go back and spend more winter days there.
Hopefully, this post has helped you to find out more about things to do in St. Moritz in the winter months. Stay safe!