This Mountainous City In Europe Is Authentic, Romantic, And Loaded With History

Say hello to cheese, chocolate, and the Swiss Alps! As the oldest city in Switzerland and the capital of Graubünden, Chur is the epitome of a picturesque mountaintop getaway. Romantic in every way, it's known for its winding cobblestone streets, Romanesque architecture, antique fountains, and historic town squares. As one of the best-preserved towns in Switzerland, its dilapidated structures have been renovated in recent years, while still retaining the vintage styles that make it a favored picturesque alpine city. Red signs dapple the street corners, directing travelers around the city (they also double as ornamental structures that add an aesthetic touch to the town).

Just over an hour from Zurich, Chur is a common boarding station for passengers of the Bernina Express and Glacier Express, two of the most coveted scenic train rides in the world! Visitors to Chur can say goodbye to traffic, as this eastern alpine city is car-free, making it the perfect destination for wayfarers who prefer to see the sights of a city on foot. Wondering what the best time of the year to visit this alpine hamlet is? Visitors should note that, like many Swiss towns, Chur is a chilly city by nature, with temperatures hovering in the mid to high 60s, even in the summer months. June through September promises the most favorable climate conditions, with clear, sunny skies and warmer temperatures. If you're looking for a springtime getaway spot, there's no denying Chur should be at the top of your travel bucket list.

Embark on a scenic train ride through the Swiss Alps

Is there anything more romantic than a winding train ride through the Swiss Alps? Probably not. Fortunately, two of the world's best train routes happen to pass right through the Swiss town of Chur. The Bernina Express line runs along the Rhaetian Railway — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — with routes beginning in the alpine city of Chur, linking north to south. The Rhaetian Railway extends from Chur to the Italian settlement of Tirano and the famous mountaintop chalet, St. Moritz. This is the oldest ski station in the world, cradled atop the Swiss Alps. Located in the Engadine region, it's been the hosting site for the Winter Olympic games twice.

Passing through this small chalet, the Bernina Express and Glacier Express offer travelers a scenic train ride through the mountains as well as access to world-class ski facilities. Vineyards, mountains, and glacier lakes create a captivating canvas along the entire journey of this train route. Alternatively, the Glacier Express also has a boarding station in the heart of Chur and connects the two Swiss towns, Brig and Zermatt, as well as the two popular ski resorts, St. Moritz and Zermatt. The slow-moving train weaves through a total of 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges, showcasing the best of this Swiss region. With an exclusive bar and world-class cuisine, the Bernina and Glacier Express trains offer a slice of luxury and leisure in the heart of the Swiss Alps.

Peruse Chur's quintessential small-town streets

Chur's ancient architecture is part of what marks it as an essential heritage site in Swiss culture. Everything, from the decorative monuments to cathedrals holds a symbolic memory of the city's past. Standing as a remnant of early modern Christianity, Chur's underground churches date back to the 5th century. The Churches of St. Stephen and St. Luzi are situated below the Halde cantonal school playground and were excavated in the mid-1950s. Guided tours reveal encrypted confessions and burial sites for the Bishops of Chur. While they're now more of an aesthetic than anything else, Chur's ancient fountains were once an integral part of daily life. Walking the streets of Chur, you can spot the 20 fountains scattered around the street plazas, adding an extra romantic touch to the town's ambiance.

If you've ever googled pictures of Chur, chances are you've most likely come across a photo taken from the hilltop view of Haldenhüttli. This stunning overlook spot offers panoramic views of the canton's flourishing vineyards and rooftops of Chur, all framed by the gorgeous mountain skyline. Travelers can reach the top of Haldenhüttli by heading out of Old Town into Arosastrasse.

An essential springtime outing, Chur's seasonal markets are a necessity when exploring this alpine town. When the weather warms up, spring farmers' markets are in bloom. Every Saturday morning from May to October, vibrant markets spring up along the streets of Chur, adding a pop of color to the town's neutral backdrop.