Chur, the oldest town in Switzerland

by Sombatua Sihotang, April 20, 2020

The historic Swiss town of Chur charms not only with twisting alleys, a variety of restaurants and little shops, but also with its prime location. Chur is only a stone’s throw away from various Swiss mountain resorts – it’s a great hub for mountain lovers and railway enthusiasts alike.

After having traveled for 5.5 hours on the scenic Glacier Express train from Zermatt, I finally arrive in Chur. I’m very excited to visit this town! Maybe because it is the oldest city in Switzerland but nevertheless it’s so underestimated. Its name is not that famous compared to many other Swiss destinations which attract tourists from near and far. This makes me wonder about what this place has to offer. Once out of the station I am amazed at how wide the pedestrian paths are. Chur’s old town is entirely free of traffic. It is heaven for pedestrians! Red signs direct the visitor to the most beautiful sights, squares and alleys.

The history of Chur goes back over 5000 years. And this rich history of the past is still reflected in every corner – this makes Chur one of the best preserved old towns in Switzerland. Lovely old buildings in neat rows, many shops, restaurants, cozy cafes, museums and galleries create a Mediterranean ambiance in the traffic-free old town. You can also find many fountains scattered around town, all with their unique design and history.

Tracing the smalls streets in the old town is a must while in Chur – it’s like traveling back in time. Chur can easily be explored on your own. If you’re interested in getting more insights, join a guided tour. If you walk up from the Old Town along Arosastrasse, you reach Haldenhüttli where you will be treated with stunning views of Chur.

Chur is indeed a small city. But that does not mean you won’t find quality goods from local and international brands here. Chur even claims itself to be the largest shopping centre between Zurich and Milan with over 500 shops. Every Saturday morning from May through October a Farmers Market takes place in the old town, offering everything from fresh produce to artisan cheese, local honey or homemade bread. Still can´t get enough? The famous outlet village Landquart is located only about 10 minutes from Chur by train. You can discover more than 160 Swiss and international top brands there.

If you want to escape the city for a while, take the cable car to Brambrüesch, Churs house mountain. Within minutes you are surrounded by nature and may enjoy hiking, biking or just take in the panoramic views.

Chur is not only a pretty town with a lot to offer, but also the gateway and ideal starting point for your railway excursions. You can experience the Albula Valley and beautiful landscapes of the Engadine on the Rhaetian Railway or enjoy panoramic trips through the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the famous Bernina Express and Glacier Express.

For excursions within easy reach of Chur we recommend mountain resorts such as:

  • Crystal clear Lake Cauma near Flims – perfect for swimming or just relaxing
  • St. Moritz or Pontresina – located in the high valley of Engadine with its beautiful lakes
  • Davos – a city in the mountains which offers a variety of outdoor activities
  • Arosa – the Arosa Bear Sanctuary with its three inhabitants Napa, Meimo and Amelia is an unforgettable experience

Let us take care of your visit to Chur where we have been working with our great partner Romantik Hotel Stern for a long time. Please contact us so we can to put together your vacation package including some scenic train rides.