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Davos Travel Guide

Davos © Robert J Heath

Davos was one of the first ski resorts to be created and is the largest in Switzerland, an alpine city with major thoroughfares and hotel blocks lining the streets. Despite its lack of character, Davos is a premier European holiday resort, offering not only accommodation with a reputation for excellence, an endless array of winter and summer recreational activities, crisp mountain air and health spas. The five separate ski areas ensure a superb variety of skiing and snowboarding for all abilities. Nearby is the little sister resort of Klosters, a small traditional village with a quiet and unobtrusive atmosphere that shares the large Parsenn ski area. Davos is a two-hour transfer from Zurich.

The best-known and largest area in Davos is the Parsenn, offering intermediates and beginners miles of wide slopes that are ideal for smooth cruising. There are also advanced runs, steep drops and moguls that appeal to experienced skiers. Opposite the Parsenn, Jakobshorn, or the 'Fun Mountain', is the second largest area in Davos and has become one of the top snowboarding destinations in the world. Davos also boasts the second largest cross-country ski area in Switzerland, with miles of groomed trails available. The Davos-Klosters ski area also offers some of the best off-piste skiing in the world.

Being a huge resort in comparison to the usual village-centred ski destinations in the Alps, Davos offers unrivalled shopping opportunities, with more than 100 shops, art galleries and boutiques ready and waiting to swipe eager visitors' credit cards in exchange for a plethora of goods, from tinkling cow bells to designer clothing. It takes hours to explore all the shops clustered mainly along the two main streets around the Davos Platz.

There are scores of restaurants in the greater Davos/Klosters area offering a vast selection to suit every taste and pocket. When it comes to haute cuisine the best are located in the major hotels, and 24 of the finest hotels offer a "dine around" where guests on half board can sample menus in other hotel restaurants. Around the Davos Platz there is an international selection of restaurants from simple cafes to gourmet restaurants offering everything from French and Italian menus, to Indian, Chinese and Thai. For cosy après ski evenings and spectacular views, use the funiculars and cableways to head up to a mountain restaurant and sample homegrown local delights. The more upmarket restaurants require advance booking, and many Davos establishments close their kitchens early, around 10pm.

Davos offers evening entertainment to suit most tastes. Popular après ski bars can be found at the foot of the Jakobshorn and Parsenn ski lifts and after dark there is a wide selection of bars and clubs in the town centre, centred around Davos Platz. Many clubs stay open until the early hours, including the Ex-Bar and Bolgenschanze in the centre of the Platz, and the Pöstli Club at the Morosani Posthotel. Davos also has a casino and cinema.

If you can do it on the snow or ice, you can do it in Davos, particularly skiing of course, but also tobogganing, sledding, sleigh rides and skating - Davos has the largest open-air ice rink in Europe. Ice-climbing, hang-gliding and paragliding are on also on offer, and there are miles of stunning winter hiking routes as well. Indoor family activities include bowling and swimming. Some worthwhile excursions include a trip through the high Alps to the famous spa of Scuol, or a visit to St Moritz (90 minutes away). Summer activities include cycling, golf, sailing, hiking and climbing.

Davos and Klosters are not suited for those on a budget.