Aliens and medieval myths: Why this off-the-radar Swiss metropolis is ideal for a winter journey

Chur is Switzerland’s greatest saved secret mendacity in plain sight. Practice travellers searching for unbeatable Alpine views typically use this pint-sized metropolis as a switch level for the world-famous Glacier Specific and Bernina Specific into Italy.

After visiting a lot of Switzerland’s massive hitters over time, I lastly found that this off-the-radar spot is a vacation spot in itself. Now the capital of the trilingual (German, Italian and Romansch) canton of Graubünden, Chur has a protracted and interesting historical past.

This is why this dinky 34,000-person Swiss metropolis ought to be in your journey want record.

Genuine Swiss dwelling meets aliens in Chur

A vibrant, atmospheric little metropolis, Chur feels way more genuine than its higher identified, posh Graubünden cousins, Davos and St. Moritz.

On heat, sunny afternoons, residents socialise on outdated city patios, chugging frothy beers and sipping native wines. Since Chur is a hub for the Rhaetian Railway, there are after all vacationers round, nevertheless it’s clear that life right here doesn’t revolve round them – and it by no means feels overcrowded.

Quaint as this will sound, Chur has an unexpectedly edgy facet. The streets are licked in vibrant 3D illusions by native city artist Fabian ‘Bane’ Florin. Head to the backyard of the putting Graubünden Artwork Museum and also you’ll be confronted with the unique ‘Aliens’ sculpture from the 1979 Hollywood blockbuster. Its creator, Swiss artist H.R. Giger, was a Chur native.

Amazingly for such a miniature metropolis, there are two artwork museums, two performing arts venues and 6 artwork galleries. With the whole lot from trend boutiques and shops to patisseries and gourmand eating places, there isn’t a scarcity of issues to bust your vacation price range on.

Medieval myths encompass Chur’s car-free outdated city

Tracing again 5,000 years, picturesque Chur – pronounced ‘Kooor’ by the locals – is the oldest metropolis in Switzerland.

Within the car-free medieval outdated city, tall skinny buildings are wrapped in curlicued script and eccentric frescoes. For a major instance, take a look at the embellished facade of Café Zschale on Ober Gasse road.

Up a steep staircase above Museumplatz, the cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, with its three naves and Romanesque stone carvings, has presided over the city for greater than 800 years.

Over on the Bischöfliches Schloss – bishop’s fortress – Austrian Baroque prevails. The present construction was erected for Bishop Joseph Benedict von Rost, who was in workplace between 1728 and 1754. Von Rost was initially from South Tyrol in northern Italy and introduced his commune’s architectural type with him.

A five-minute stroll away, the Bärenloch, or ‘Bear Gap’, is steeped in myths from the Center Ages. Consisting of two intimate inside courtyards between Arcas Platz and Kirchgasse, this curious web site is alleged by some to have held bears utilized in bear baiting. Regardless of the origin of its title, the Bärenloch stays a very good instance of the cramped dwelling quarters of late-medieval Chur.

Simply down the road, Martinsplatz is dwelling to a novel 1:500-scale bronze mannequin of Chur’s historic centre. Situated between the Gothic church of St. Martin’s and an elaborate fountain splashed in zodiac indicators, the tactile mannequin permits blind and visually impaired folks to get a greater sense of the outdated metropolis by way of contact. The names of crucial buildings are written in each braille and Roman alphabet, making the mannequin a great tool for metropolis excursions.

Unearth Roman ruins amid the Swiss Alps

Identified in Roman instances as Curia Raetorum, Chur was the centre of the Roman province of  Raetia. Within the outdated city, you may scope out ruins from this period, together with the stays of a Roman street station. Ornate shelters designed to mirror Roman edifices defend the ruins and archaeological websites whereas doubling as a museum.

To enter, head to the Chur Tourism info centre on the prepare station, the place you may choose up a key to the museum for CHF 5 (€5).

Winter snowshoeing and summer time mountain climbing within the Alps

Billing itself ‘the Alpenstadt’, the Alpine Metropolis, Chur is the one metropolis in Switzerland with its personal winter and summer time sports activities area. And with its handy cableway to Brambrüesch Mountain, attending to the guts of the motion couldn’t be simpler.

In winter, locals hop on the gondola to take pleasure in snowboarding, snowboarding and snowshoeing adventures. In spring and summer time, it takes riders to the beginning level for mountain climbing, mountain biking, and an opportunity to take pleasure in Alpine meadows blooming with wildflowers.

Hike Chur’s wine path then refill on Swiss delicacies

Extra into ingesting than sports activities? Chur’s received you lined on that entrance too. Because of beneficial climatic and geological situations, Chur and the scenic Graubünden Rhine Valley are perfect for producing wine. One of the simplest ways to pattern it’s on a tour of the 27km wine mountain climbing path, which connects Chur with the wine-growing communities within the Bündner Herrschaft.

Navigable by foot or bike, the path gives three round walks by way of the vineyards of Trimmis/Zizers (about 4km), Malans/Jenins (just below 10km) and Maienfeld/Fläsch (about 10km), with relaxation breaks at torkels, or wine cellars, and eating places alongside the way in which.

Residence to the very best focus of eating places and bars in Switzerland,

Graubünden’s capital can also be a best choice for foodies. For native, seasonal Graubünden gastronomy and the area’s largest choice of wines, head to the cosy, wood-panelled Veltliner und Bündner Stuben zum Stern – an establishment in Chur for over 300 years.

When you’ve had your fill of barley soup, homegrown asparagus and veal washed down with selfmade churer röteli (cherry liqueur), you may discover Chur’s Brazilian, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican and Spanish eating places.

Chur is the best compact metropolis

Clear and pleasant, Chur has a little bit of the whole lot. Roman ruins and a splendidly preserved medieval city cater to historical past buffs. An abundance of eating places, cafes and humanities venues have the foodies and tradition vultures lined. Winery hikes simply outdoors the historic centre and quick access to nature and outside sports activities imply you may keep lively throughout your journey.

All in all, that is the best compact metropolis and it’s definitely worthy of consideration. However maybe not an excessive amount of.