When I want to have fun in the winter sun, I book a few days on the frozen Lake Saint Moritz in the Swiss Alps and enjoy skiing, horse racing, bobsledding and other winter sports!
St. Moritz is the original Winter Playground!
The resort town of just under 6,000 permanent residents is named after Saint Maurice, a Christian Martyr of the 3rd Century who was the leader of the all-Christian Theban Legion which was attacked and wiped out in the region. St. Moritz was first mentioned in 1137 – 1139 AD as a monastery “Ad Sanctum Mauricium”, famed for its healing spring waters.
St. Moritz is “old-school cool”! It was the very first alpine winter resort. It hosted the Winter Olympics twice in 1928 and again in 1948. The first ski school in Switzerland was founded in St. Moritz in 1929. It’s been featured in James Bond films with nearby Piz Gloria being the mountain lair of archvillain Blofeld. And, my favourite winter activity, St. Moritz is the après-ski capital of the world!
St. Moritz is Picture-Postcard Perfect!
It is fun all year-round but St. Moritz is the liveliest during the long winter months. The challenging slopes offer a fantastic natural-ice bobsledding run that is world renown. It also has the exciting but frightening Cresta Run, a natural ice track dedicated to the risky sport of skeleton racing toboggans. For three weeks during late February, the White Turf Racing Association offers incredible horse racing on the snow with the rich and famous betting on the outcome of each race. My favourite sport is the exciting skijoring; skiing while attached to a racing horse! Of course, St. Moritz also offers fantastic alpine skiing. During the short summer months, St. Moritz enjoys boat racing on the lake, relaxed garden parties, hiking and bracing mountain breezes.
Skijoring is wild and completely crazy, but undeniably cool!
Given its 1800m altitude (5,910 feet) and its rugged mountainous location, St. Moritz is not the easiest place to reach. The nearest large airports are either Zurich or Milan Malpensa. From Zurich, there is a train ride of more than four hours and from Milan, the bus ride is longer than five hours. The nearest airport is actually Lugano but that airport is quite small and sometimes inaccessible during bad weather and it is still a four-hour drive from Lugano to St. Moritz. The most iconic way to reach St. Moritz is on the Bernina Express which follows the shore of Lago Bianco. It is beautiful but also commands a premium price. Of course, the journey from any of these locations is spectacular and a great part of the trip. It is not easy to reach this winter wonderland but it is well-worth the effort!
Once you are in the resort area, the hotels are fabulous and there are options to fit any taste and most budgets. Also, apartment stays are becoming even more popular since the introduction of apps to support shopping and booking of private properties.
Lake Saint Moritz is romantically lit at night!
Food features hearty Swiss and Italian favourites. Chesa Veglia is perhaps the best known. It is in Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, which features three restaurants and two bars! Trutz is an Alpine Hut right on the slopes. You’ll enjoy the clean and rustic Swiss menu on the patio while celebrity watching. Finally, Dal Mulin offers a very authentic Italian cuisine menu, enjoys a Michelin star and has a BIG wine list. All restaurants in St. Moritz offer friendly and precise Swiss service.
St. Moritz is wonderful all year-round! Here it is in Summer!
Visit St. Moritz makes you feel like a multi-millionaire. I hope you have a chance to play in this winter wonderland!