DAVOS | Davos is a town in the Swiss Alps, located in the canton of Graubünden, in the east of Switzerland. The town is home to one of Switzerland’s biggest ski resorts and, as you can imagine with it being located in the Alps, it’s a very popular place for those looking to partake in winter sports. You might also have heard of Davos because of the World Economic Forum, an annual meeting of global political and business elites held in January each year.
Peak tourism season for Davos is during winter, however there’s different side to the city and surrounds that’s waiting to be discovered by those who visit during the summer. I visited Davos in June, at the start of summer, to check it out for myself, and discovered breathtaking scenery, a relaxed atmosphere, great food, and friendly people. There are plenty of things to do in Davos during the summer, and you can plan quite a nice weekend away in the town. Here’s a few of my highlights of things to do in Davos during the summer (of course you can do plenty of these during the winter too).
Go Hiking & Cycling
While the snow might have mostly melted from the mountains by the time summer comes along, that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy them. There’s an abundance of hiking and cycling trails in the area (153 of them to be precise), taking you through rolling green hills, across lakes and around mountains. Whether you want to spend a few days hopping between villages or just go for a small walk, there’s something that’s suitable for you.
The Davos Frauenkirch Sculpture Trail takes you from Davos Frauenkirch to the Stafelalp, and was created to mark the 5th International Sculpture Symposium in Davos. There are 12 sculptures to discover along the trail, which takes about an hour to walk. For something longer, the Jöriseen Rundtour is about five hours to walk and takes you through spectacular light-green lakes set in the heart of a barren mountain landscape.
Take A Train Ride
Public transportation in Switzerland is fantastic. Trains, busses, ferries, and cable cars are clean, modern, and efficient, and connect almost everywhere you could want to go in Switzerland. The Swiss Travel Pass is available to international visitors and provides access to rail, road and waterways throughout the whole of Switzerland. A combination of day options means that you can pay for the one that fits your trip.
Getting one of these means that you can visit some of the small towns and villages in the region, and explore more of what the Graubünden region has to offer. The pass also gets you price reductions on most mountain excursions and free admission to over 500 museums.
Visit A Museum
If you want to learn more about the history of Davos, there are several museums in town that deal with an assortment of topics. The Kirchner Museum Davos boasts the largest collection of his works by German expressionist painter and printmaker Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 – 1938), Kirchner lived in Davos from 1918 until his untimely death and is considered one of the pioneers of German Expressionism. The museum is open all year round from Tuesday to Sunday.
Those interested in winter sports, meanwhile, would do well to visit the Winter Sports Museum. Open every Tuesday and Thursday, the museum covers the early days of winter sports and its development through to the present. There are several exhibitions featuring things like sledges, bob sleighs, skis, skates, and curling equipment.
For those who enjoy history, the Heimatmuseum Davos, located inside an old patrician house, endeavours to convey a living image of history, early everyday life, traditions and crafts from Davos. It’s open Sunday through Wednesday.
Visit Europe’s Second Highest Brewery
When it opened in 2001, BierVision Monstein was the highest altitude brewery in Europe. While that’s no longer the case, that doesn’t change the spectacular views afforded to those who visit Monstein, the village in which the brewery is located. The focus is on traditional German beers made under the supervision of head brewer Basti Degen using the highest quality and, where possible, local ingredients around.
The Monsteiner Wätterguoge Bier, a dunkel (dark German lager), is made with smoked malt and is particularly tasty with notes of caramel, toast, smoke, nuts, milk, fruit, and shortbread.
Guided tours of the brewery, which include a beer tasting, can be arranged on request for groups of 10 or more, and if you visit between 4:00pm and 7:00pm on a Friday, you can enjoy some free beers. If you aren’t able to visit the brewery, you can find the brewery’s beers locally, including at the Coop and Migros grocery stores in Davos. The village of Monstein itself is also still well worth visiting for the view and architecture, and also for a meal.
Try One Of The World’s Best Blueberry Pies
Just up the road from BierVision Monstein is Restaurant Veltlinerstübli. This charming restaurant has been serving guests since 1717, and has been in the hands of the family of current owners Corinna and Georg Flury since 1850. From the low ceiling to the tiled stove and wooden beams, this mountain retreat feels homely and welcoming. Combined with Corinna and Georg’s lovely and passionate service, dining here is a great experience.
The menu focuses on traditional regional dishes made using local, seasonal produce. Think rösti with onions, bacon and cheese, cheese spätzli with onions, leeks and baked Clavadeler alp cheese, and regional cheese and dried meat boards. Georg is a passionate hunter, and much of the game on the menu comes from animals that he has hunted. It’s all very tasty, but the one reason to visit here more than any is Georg’s blueberry pie. It’s made using local wild blueberries and is truly something else. Not too sweet, not too heavy, fresh, and full of flavour. I tried it with a few food lovers from around the world and we all agreed that it was one of the best pies we’d ever tasted.
I tried to get a copy of the recipe to share with you, but it’s a well guarded family secret. If you want to try, you’ll have to visit Veltlinerstübli yourself. It’s worth it.
Eat Büdner/Engadine Nusstorte
Büdner Nusstorte (Nut Tart), also known as Engadine Nusstorte (Engadine is where it was historically produced) is a speciality of Graubünden. It’s a sweet walnut and soft caramel tart with a rich, flaky, buttery shortbread crust and is utterly delicious.
One of the best places to try it is at Schneider’s, a bakery and chocolatier that’s been operating since 1915. While you’re there, make sure you try some of their fantastic chocolates and other baked goods too.
Visit A Farm
Just a 15 minute drive from the centre of Davos is the side valley of Sertig, where you’ll find wonderful natural views and an abundance of farmland. Monika and Nik Konrad own a farm here, the Konrad Family Farm, where they raise livestock and produce a variety of traditional Graubünden delicacies. There’s a small shop on site where you can purchase much of what Monika and Nik produce. Think dried soup mixes, liqueurs, baked goods, dried meat products and preserves.
The Konrads are extremely proud of what they make, and of the quality of their produce, and are happy to give you samples to try before you buy. The apple cider, made with apples from their daughter’s orchard, is particularly delicious.
Go To The Butcher
Fleischzentrum Klosters Davos was founded in 2014 and is the only end-to-end meat processing facility in the region. Local farmers and families bring in animals which are humanely put down before being transformed into an assortment of end products. The sausages and dried meat products here are excellent, with the care taken at all steps of meat processing evident in the flavour and quality of the product.
Executive Director Samuel Helbling and Production Manager Florian Rudin are passionate about what they do, and run a sustainable operation that considers the environment, welfare of the animals, and the needs of the community. They currently don’t have a retail outlet, but if you make advance arrangements you can visit the facility itself, in Klosters, and sample some of the quality products that are made here, as well as learn more from the personable Helbling.