Visit The Highest Town In Western Europe For Out-Of-This-World Views

Davos, Switzerland is most commonly associated with the World Economic Forum; the prestigious conference has been held in this European city since 1971. It's also one of Europe's most tony ski resorts that's favored by an affluent crowd — including the likes of Prince William and Kate Middleton. But the World Economic Forum and "holiday spot favored by the royals" isn't the only impressive title that Davos holds. At 5,118 feet above sea level, it's also the highest town on the entire continent of Europe.  

Davos offers a combination of luxury, adventure, and cultural experiences. It's known for being a fun party town where visitors can hit the slopes for world-class skiing and après ski fun in the winter. In the quieter months of the year, Davos is still a stunning destination for outdoor adventures, with beautiful hiking trails and scenic railway lines that snake through the mountains. So if you're ready to explore this high-altitude town and take in the incredible surrounding views, here's what you should do during a visit to Davos.

Go skiing, of course

Davos is something of a winter wonderland, and the opportunity to ski there is once-in-a-lifetime. The town is home to six different skiing areas: Jakobshorn, Parsenn, Madrisa, Rinerhorn, Schatzalp, and Pischa. You'll want to decide where to ski based on your circumstances and preferences. For example, if you're on a family holiday, Madrisa and Rinerhorn are considered the best ski areas to bring children. On TripAdvisor, Rinerhorn has the strongest reviews of the two with a 4.5 average rating. Schatzalp is also considered a gentle, recreational slope suitable for families with children. It has also been a scenic filming site for Hollywood including "From the Land of the Moon" (2015) and "Youth" (2014).

Meanwhile, Jakobshorn is a freestyle mountain with lifts that bring skiers and snowboarders up to an altitude of nearly 8,530 feet — and most of the slopes are above treeline. The Parsenn ski area is known for its wide pistes and is one of the longest valley runs in the Alps. It's also home to Switzerland's oldest downhill race, the Parsenn Derby. Pischa is the best place for alternative winter sports and tends to be less crowded than the other five ski areas. So if you're looking for tranquility and beautiful scenery, this ski area is for you. You can also enjoy winter hiking, snowshoeing, and airboarding, a type of downhill sledding.

Activities for a summertime visit

Davos is also well worth visiting in the summer to enjoy outdoor activities ranging from hiking to sailing. Even if you're not an early riser, you should consider doing a sunrise hike to the Flüela Schwarzhorn. You'll be rewarded with an absolutely stunning panoramic view — but if you really hate mornings, sunset hikes are also an option. Another excellent hiking option is the Jöriseen Lakes loop track which is challenging, but highly regarded as one of the most beautiful lake hikes in the area. There are also myriad mountain biking options. Davos Klosters has over 435 miles of trails of varying difficulty, suitable for every skill level. You can also rent an e-bike if you're a little rusty on a regular bike but want the opportunity to take in the Alpine scenery from the trails.

Davos also has a mountain railway experience that takes you through stunning areas with some of the best views of the town. The Rhaetian railway's Albula and Bernina section has even become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And be sure to head to Lake Davos. You can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing, wakeboarding, and sailing in its beautiful turquoise waters. If you have a competitive spirit, form a team and try match racing on the lake against another team with an identical boat.

Enjoy the culture and unique experiences

Davos isn't just about getting your outdoor fix — it also has a rich cultural scene. Visit the Kirchner Museum, dedicated to the artwork of German Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who lived in Davos for the final decade of his life. A reviewer on TripAdvisor noted that "he painted beautifully about the place," referring to Kirchner's artwork depicting scenes of both the city and the mountains of Davos. You can also explore the city to appreciate its local architecture. For example, there's the stunning St. John's Church which dates back to the 13th century, and the Schatzalp, a historic sanatorium that has been converted into a hotel.

If you want to have a one-of-a-kind experience (isn't that what vacations are for, after all?), try staying at the Iglu-Dorf Davos Klosters. Your room will (literally) be an igloo! The hotel also features a sauna and a whirlpool for guests, and a bar and restaurant open to the public. "We loved every detail, they are very very caring! We were missing some equipment and they took care of us every time. The igloo is incredible, the fondue delicious and the jacuzzi and sauna is such a pleasure for the body!" wrote a reviewer on TripAdvisor.