After the year 2021 without visiting my sister Florence in Zug in Switzerland, I finally returned to the Confoederatio Helvetica in March 2022. I stayed over a week. More than a family visit, I organised an excursion to French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandy, to visit Maxime and the vineyards of Lavaux in the canton of Vaud, near Lausanne. I also booked a journey on the world-famous Glacier Express from Sankt Moritz to Brig. Furthermore, I looked for a nice way in and out. The ÖBB Nightjet night train from Amsterdam to Zurich and the voyage home via Lyon in France.
As I took the Glacier Express from Sankt Moritz to Brig I first headed from Zug to Sankt Moritz in Grisons (Graubünden) via Zurich, Landquart and Klosters. I had three different train operators:
- The golden Südostbahn ‘Traverso‘.
- An SBB-CFF-FFS operated Deutsche Bahn ICE.
- The Rhätische Bahn or Rhaetian Railway.
I made an Instagram reel about that journey.
Sankt Moritz, St. Moritz, San Murezzan (Romansh), San Maurizio (Italian) or Saint-Moritz (French) is a high Alpine resort town in the Engadine in Switzerland, at an elevation of about 1,800 metres (5,910 ft) above sea level. It is Upper Engadine‘s major town and a municipality in the district of Maloja in the canton of Grisons (Graubünden).
St. Moritz lies on the southern slopes of the Albula Alps below the Piz Nair (3,056 m or 10,026 ft) overlooking the flat and wide glaciated valley of the Upper Engadine and eponymous lake: Lake Sankt Moritz. It hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948.
St. Moritz is first mentioned around 1137–39 as ad sanctum Mauricium. The village was named after Saint Maurice, an early Christian saint from southern Egypt said to have been martyred in 3rd century Roman Switzerland while serving as leader of the Theban Legion.
Fast forward to the 19th century. The origins of the winter resort only date back to September 1864, when Sankt Moritz hotel pioneer Caspar Badrutt made a wager with four British summer guests: they should return in winter and, if the village was not to their liking, then he would reimburse their travel costs. If they were to find SanktMoritz attractive in winter, then he would invite them to stay as his guests for as long as they wished.
This marked not only the start of winter tourism in St. Moritz but also the start of winter tourism in the whole of the Alps. The first tourist office in Switzerland was established the same year in the village.
St. Moritz developed rapidly in the late nineteenth century; the first electric light in Switzerland was installed in 1878 at the Kulm Hotel, and the first curling tournament on the continent was held in 1880.
The first European Ice-Skating Championships were held at Sankt Moritz in 1882 and first golf tournament in the Alps held in 1889. The first bob run and bob race was held in 1890.
By 1896, Sankt Moritz became the first village in the Alps to install electric trams and opened the Palace Hotel. A horse race was held on snow in 1906, and on the frozen lake the following year. The first ski school in Switzerland was established in Sankt Moritz in 1929.
The town hosted the 1928 Winter Olympics and again in 1948. The small stadium still exists. Even today, Sankt Moritz is popular for sports in winter and in summer.
Since the early 1980s St. Moritz is also promoted and known as Top of the World. The expression was registered as a trademark by the tourist office in 1987.
I was in Sankt Moritz at the end of March. There was some snow left, but there wasn’t much activity. Sankt Moritz is a posh ski and other things resort and it shows. I found many high-end stores of high-end brands such as Hermès, Bally, Lamm and Julius Bär. There is an Ares Modena garage. But I only found one small city-size convenience store: the Coop at Piazza da Scuola.
Two top tips
- There is an escalator from the railway station to Sankt Moritz Dorf (Village). It is located left when you exit the station. Go towards the flags of Australia and Belgium, walk on the bridge, through the parking. You can’t miss the escalator. There’s also an inclinator or inclined lift.
- If you can’t understand or utter a word of Schwyzerdütsch, try Italian. I heard so many Italian. It’s also the lingua franca on Grindr.
I stayed in Sankt Moritz to take the Glacier Express. If you’re into winter sports or spa resorts and if you have the money, the Sankt Moritz is a great place. If not, it’s meh.
- Zandvoort, home of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix.
- REVIEW | ÖBB Nightjet Amsterdam – Zurich night train.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Thun and Thun Castle.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | The Lausanne Métro.
- REVIEW | Hotel du Raisin in Lausanne.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | The Vineyard Terraces of Lavaux in Vaud.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Two days in Lausanne.