Grand Tour of Switzerland: Val Poschiavo
The canton of Graubünden is the largest in Switzerland and contains within its borders numerous natural attractions to complement the appealing lifestyle of the locals, who enjoy an amalgam of the organisation and meticulous attention to detail for which Switzerland is famous with the Mediterranean lifestyle of Italy to the south. Soaring mountain peaks and lush green valleys make for some excellent scenery, easily taken in from the comfort of a seat on the Bernina Express which links the Italian city of Tirano with the glamorous Graubünden mountain resort St Moritz.
In between the two two termini are several little-known but highly appealing places to visit. They look isolated on a map, but the Swiss Federal Railway network makes visiting them extremely easy. The setting of Alp Grüm, where the white of the glacier, the bluegreen waters of Lake Palü, and the green in summer or white in winter landscapes combine to make one of the prettiest postcard views in all of Switzerland. The Alp Grüm railway stop drops passengers off at the very best vantage point, where there is also a restaurant for enjoying the views over a lunch of Graubünden specialties such as buckwheat noodles, walnut torte, and amaro, a somewhat bitter liqueur based on Alpine herbs.
A walk through the parkland takes visitors to the Glacier Garden, a series of unusual rock formations created by the movement of glaciers across the terrain. Boarding the train at Cavaglia station and continuing to the town of Poschiavo will reveal the increasing influence of Italian culture as one nears the border. La dolce vita is alive and well in friendly Poschiavo, where the town square comes alive on summer nights as it fills with restaurant tables and patrons enjoying more of the excellent food and wine found in this part of Switzerland. The traditional Hotel Albrici is located right on the square and sets up tables too, though aficionados of beautiful architecture may well choose to dine in the very atmospheric Sybil Room.
The convenience of a Swiss Travel Pass in visiting places across Switzerland cannot be overstated. Valid on all federal railroad and bus routes, holders of the Swiss Travel Pass travel with peace of mind in knowing all their transport needs are covered with a single pass. Only the special tourism trains such as the Glacier Express and Bernina Express require reservations, otherwise passholders are able to climb on board any train they wish, allowing for spontaneity in staying a few extra hours to enjoy the scenery on a sunny day and taking the stress out of rushing to be at the station by a certain time. When in a place as beautiful and welcoming as Val Poschiavo, the last thing you want to do is rush.