Beautiful Alpine lake scenery, fantastic restaurants, a vibrant culture – what more could you want from a holiday destination? The dry, sparkling “champagne” climate of St Moritz is legendary, and the sun shines for 322 days a year on average.
St Moritz was originally a spa town. Its therapeutic waters have been attracting visitors for thousands of years, but the stunning natural surroundings – and later on, the development of world-class skiing and snowboarding facilities – kept people coming back. The region is also blessed with a favourable climate, enjoying more than 300 days of sunshine a year.
Over 150 years ago in 1864, St Moritz became the world's first destination for winter tourism when an enterprising hotelier challenged his summer guests to return later in the year, promising to reimburse their travel costs if they did not find the town just as enchanting in the winter. Not long afterward, the first Swiss tourist office opened in St Moritz, and a whole new industry was born.
In 1884, the Cresta Run was developed in the town by Major Bulpett, the man who would eventually found the St Moritz Tobogganing Club, which helped establish the idea of winter sports for the first time. Before the century was out, St Moritz had electric trams – unique in the Swiss Alps – and some of the country's most prestigious hotels.
As St Moritz's fame grew, it was selected as the venue for the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948, and over the years it has hosted a number of international skiing and bobsled championships. Even in summer, the St Moritz area's glorious scenery, gastronomic pedigree and reputation for excellence continues to attract holidaymakers, and there's hiking, mountain biking and windsurfing aplenty on the region's trails and lakes.
However, winter is when St Moritz truly comes to life. Downhill and Nordic skiing, bobsleigh runs, the historic Cresta Run and curling tournaments are just a few of the sports celebrated here – even golf, cricket and horse racing are not unknown! Add to this regular music festivals and some of the finest restaurants in Switzerland, and it's easy to understand why St Moritz has been synonymous with high-quality leisure for generations.