Chur is the capital of the Graubuenden region in Eastern Switzerland. It is also the country’s oldest city and one which generations of tourists have passed through on their way to popular alpine resort villages, such as Lenzerheide, Arosa, Flims Laax – or even Davos or St Moritz, easily reachable by train.
If you are planning to visit Chur, here a few ideas where to stay and what to do.
Why visit Chur?
Because it is a compact, small city which you can easily explore by foot and bike. You have charming cafés, old town flair and at the same time are right in the middle of alpine action – for example you can take the cable car right from the city center up to Brambruesch mountain, a recreational area which is popular among locals for its hiking routes and all sorts of snow activities in winter.
And: Chur isn’t as well known (and crowded) as Zurich or Lucerne, so you’ll be more likely to meet locals and less distracted by bus loads of tourists visiting at the same time.
Swiss German is the main language spoken in Chur, but you’ll also hear a lot of Italian and a bit of Rhaeto-Romanic.
Where to stay in Chur
Switzerland can be an expensive destination to visit, so you’ll want to make sure your money is well spent, for example by staying at the following hotels in Chur. They aren’t necessarily leaders in sustainability but quirky and authentic, and highly recommended by locals:
Zunfthaus zur Rebleuten
Not fancy in terms of room decoration, but smack in the middle of old town and in a history-rich building. It’s run by a young couple who have made themselves a name for their hospitality and innovative cuisine.
Zunfthaus zur Rebleuten was recommended to us by Marie Eckert of Chur CoWorking Space, and also by Chur Tourism.
Romantik Hotel Stern
Romantic Hotel Stern is your place to stay if you are looking for a quality mid-range four star hotel for a special occasion, or if you want to spoil yourself.
Recently the Romantik Hotel Stern added a dedicated arts space near the entrance, where you can indulge in a good glass of wine and a bite while enjoying arts exhibitions from local artists.
Ambiente Hotel Freieck
The comfortable ***hotel Freieck invites you for a lovely stay in the heart of the old town. With its 41 guest rooms Hotel Freieck accommodates you in a quiet and traffic free area of old-town Chur.
Tip: one of Chur’s best restaurants, the exquisite Da Noi with superb Italian cuisine, is right next door!
ABC Swiss Quality Hotel
The very centrally situated 4-star Hotel ABC in Chur is furnished with simple but elegant materials and stylish art. 48 rooms, 1 suite and 9 studios – all modern, light, with every convenience and free wi-fi. A stylish breakfast room, hotel bar, spa lounge (steam bath, sauna, fun shower, relaxation room), gym, parking spaces (adjacent to the hotel) and garages with e-car charging station are available to guests staying at ABC.
Central Hotel Post
The theme of the Central Hotel Post is “Post”, the reception is like a post switch, a post horn serves as a number plate for every room, the dress of the employees is post-yellow. In every of the 39 3 * – comfort and 3 * – superior rooms is a picture of a original Swiss stamp!
Hotel Post is very close to the main train station and right in the middle of old town.
A real treat nearby, in the small alpine village of Tschiertschen (15 minutes by car or bus from Chur):
Romantik Hotel The Alpina Mountain Resort & Spa
In December 2015 the legendary hotel The Alpina Mountain Resort & Spa in Tschiertschen, a picturesque mountain village 10 km from Chur – reopened its doors after an extensive renovation. The hotel, built in 1897, offers 27 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a stylish cocktail bar and an exclusive spa zone.
This being a Romantic hotel, special care and attention is given to making sure you will have a great time with your loved one(s).
What to do in Chur
Soak in the sun at Fontana park
It is very beautiful, small and hidden from the busy parts of the city. There are different plants and trees with benches and chairs. On one of the benches, there is even a free library setup. You simply pick a book and start reading.
Being in that park recharges my battery and is just great for a picknick with friends for lunch. Fontana park is our favorite place for lunch.
Explore old town
The old town is worth a stroll. Being the oldest city of Switzerland, Chur has a lot of charming, small passages with beautiful buildings to discover. Also the fountains are worth a visit – there are about 100 of them in the vicinity.
Chur prides itself for having the largest shopping mall (street) between Zurich and Milan – worth checking out.
Or: enjoy Swiss-style by having an apéro (after work drink) in one of the many bars. Punctum is one of our favourites.
Take the cableway up to Brambruesch
Visiting Chur without taking the cableway up to Brambruesch would be an opportunity missed! Brambruesch is hugely popular among locals who love the great views. There is a circular hike up to Dreibuendenstein which not too difficult and perfect for a half day hiking adventure (taking the cableway up and down).
Here impressions of Brambruesch in summer and winter.
Fürstenwald and Mittenberg
For hiking or biking: the Fürstenwald forest. Those who like to do some vertical meters, the Mittenberg provides for a 2h hike with a gravel road for those who like it easy, as well as many little hiking paths for discoverers. Not only is there a wonderful view from the mountain top, the City of Chur also provides for a fire place and a fountain up there. You only need to take your food, some fire acceleration and a lighter to have the greatest BBQ/pick-nick with a view.
Another good spot to look onto the city is the Rote Platte. The hike is short, but quite steep – not recommended to people who are afraid of heights (this probably also applies to taking the cableway up to Brambruesch…).
Around Chur: Bernina Express
A must-see is a trip with the Rhaetian Railway. It well deserves its classification as a UNESCO world heritage. The tunnels and viaducts are one of a kind. There are a couple of nice routes and offers – also interesting to those, who are not exactly train fanatics. The landscapes are more than beautiful.
Our preferred one is the Bernina tour to Tirano. Have you ever passed a glacier by train? Well, here you can. For a day trip, stop for lunch break in Tirano (Italy) and have the “Apéro”, the typical Swiss after-work drink and snack, in the train on the way back to Chur.
Flims with Caumasee
30 minutes from Chur by bus or car is Flims with its majestic lake Cauma. Hugely popular in summer and to be avoided during weekend, any other time this is a real gem and place of tranquility. Flims is great for hiking and nearby Laax has one of Switzerland’s best snowboarding and skiing areas.
Where to eat in Chur
Restaurant Rosenhügel. Not only is the food terrific, but also their winter garden provides a beautiful view over the city and the surrounding mountains. The sunsets there are magnificent.
A few other highlights and favourite eateries in Chur are:
- B12 caffè & bar for healthy dishes in a relaxed environment
- Evviva Plankis: great ice cream, cakes and much more served by a social project employing persons with disabilities
- Emma, a collaboratively-run café-bar in Chur’s Old Town with exclusively Swiss products, be they food and drink or furniture and decorations.
- Valentinos Lebanese food – where we like to get our lunch falafel (best enjoyed sitting in the sun in Fontana Park)
With thanks to Brambruesch Bergbahnen and Michael Christ of Chur Tourismus for recommendations and facilitating our stay in Chur!
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