ABOVE: An evening view of St. Moritz Bad (left) and Dorf (right), with the frozen lake between.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz (San Murezzan to the Romansh-speaking natives) has been an international resort for as long as anyone can remember. In the Middle Ages, it was known for the healing powers of its mineral springs; later, toward the end of the 19th Century, it became a sunny winter refuge for bedrizzled English aristocrats.
The sporting life has been a part of St. Moritz since the first British visitors staged toboggan races on the steep village streets a hundred years ago. Two Winter Olympic games have taken place here (in 1928 and 1948), and today's winter sports include alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, hockey, curling, bobsledding, skeleton tobogganing on the Cresta Run, ski paragliding, a golf tournament on the frozen lake, polo, greyhound racing, and horse racing.
The resort is made up of two areas that are separated by a mile of lake shore:
St. Moritz Dorf, the main village, is built on hills that rise from the northern side of Lej San Murezzan. This is where you'll find most of the grand hotels, upscale shops, remnants of Engadine architecture, and urban amenities. The railroad station is at the base of the hill, and both the bobsled run and the Cresta Run plunge toward neighboring Celerina from the east end of the village.
St. Moritz Bad sprawls in the valley floor at the lake's southwest corner. It's mostly modern, with a scattering of 19th Century buildings amid the apartment blocks and villas. The cross-country ski center, public swimming pool, and ice stadium are located in Bad, making it a practical base for those who rate sports above atmosphere.
(Note: Frequent shuttle buses connect the two half-villages, and it's easy to walk from one to the other along the main road or lakeside paths.)
Hotels and rentals
Although it's possible to rent apartments and villas (a list is available from the tourist office), the quintessential St. Moritz experience is in the resort's traditional hotels. These range from the Suvretta House, Carlton, Kulm, and Badrutt's Palace at the upper end of the scale to cozy rural inns like the Landgasthof Meierei (an easy walk from town along the lake's northern shore, and a great place for dinner).
Next page: Practical information for St. Moritz
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