Nestled deep in the Swiss Alps, the Engadine Valley is regarded as one of Europe’s best-known luxury vacation spots and a renowned playground for the rich and famous. The area welcomed over 162,000 visitors in the 2022-23 season.
At over 6,000 feet above sea level, Engadine benefits from frigid, fresh alpine air, excellent seasonal snowfall, and a surprisingly high number of sunny days.
It is no wonder that the Engadine Valley, with its epicenter at the glamorous St. Moritz, is also considered the spiritual home and birthplace of winter holidays if such a title is ascertainable. The beautiful surroundings, the excellent skiing opportunities, and the high price tags that come with exclusivity and inaccessibility have made St. Moritz one of the best, if not the best, luxury winter holiday spots in all of Europe.
Marijana Jakic, CEO of St. Moritz Tourismus AG, says, “St. Moritz has always been famous for firsts, a beautiful arena for the bold to enjoy themselves in the least conventional ways. Its unique blend of unspoiled nature, world-class culture, exhilarating sports, and elevated living continues to inspire and draw a discerning international crowd all year around.”
Besides the mountains and the skiing, what else is there to see in St. Moritz this winter? Because of the area’s reputation as a top skiing destination in Europe that brings in wealthy patrons from around the world, the local scene is abuzz with activity. Luxurious hotels such as Badrutt’s Palace and the Kulm have become hotspots for those in the know, and a packed winter calendar featuring many events and experiences keeps people coming back year after year.
The Birthplace of Winter Holidays
St. Moritz is often considered the birthplace of winter holidays. The story begins when hotelier Johannes Badrutt bought the 12-bed Pension Faller in St. Moritz and upgraded it into a hotel named Engadiner Kulm. This hotel, still in existence and fully operational, is now known as the Kulm Hotel.
One evening in 1864, Badrutt was sitting by the fire with four English holiday guests and made what has now become an infamous bet. He spoke about the snow-covered winter idyll of Engadine and how it has so much to offer the discerning luxury traveler. He encouraged his guests to return in December and promised that he would reimburse their travel expenses if they did not enjoy their winter holiday in Engadine.
Not only did his guests take him up on this offer, but they stayed until Easter and returned to London to spread the word about their wonderful winter holiday in Engadine. Thus, the concept of winter holidays was born.
Fast forward to today, and St. Moritz winters are still very much in demand, and the 2023-24 winter season promises more of the same.
Lake St. Moritz
Although the mountains are a key attraction in any skiing town, the lake should not be overlooked. The frigid temperatures freeze the lake for most of the winter, allowing visitors to enjoy skating, hockey, and other events from mid-January to mid-February.
The lake will host the Snow Polo World Cup from January 26 to 28, 2024, and a series of White Turf horse races every Sunday throughout February 2024. The lake will also host Snow Golf Days from February 7 to 9, 2024. The International Concours d’Elegance meets at the lake on February 23-24, 2024.
Cresta and Bob Museum
St. Moritz is the birthplace of bobsleighing, with the world’s first bobsleigh club founded at the Kulm in 1897. To commemorate the significance of the sport to St. Moritz, the Cresta Run and the Bob Museum open on December 21, 2023, ahead of a rostrum of bobsleigh events, including the BMW IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup from January 7 to 17, 2024 and the IBSF Para Sport World Cup and European Championships from February 26 through March 1, 2024.
St. Moritz also hosts several seasonal culinary experiences.
- Cirgiet Fondue Stübli. Based in Chesa Veglia with three tables and seating for 12 guests, this restaurant is the smallest in St. Moritz.
- Badrutt’s Palace. The famed hotel will host the acclaimed two-Michelin star Danish maestro Eric Kragh Vildgaard from the Jordnær Restaurant in Copenhagen as guest chef-in-residence for the first half of the winter season.
- Amaru at The Kulm. The Kulm already has a pedigree for serving delectable Peruvian dishes, so the collaboration between Claudia Canessa and British designer and artist Luke Edward Hall will delight guests.
- Kulm Country Club. Three Michelin-starred Mauro Colagreco will be the chef in residence at the prestigious Kulm Country Club, while young chef Tom Booton from The Grill at Dorchester in London will take over at the Sunny Bar.
- St. Moritz Cocktail Week. February 15-18, 2024, will see the return of the lauded St. Moritz Cocktail Week, with pop-ups, limited edition creations, and special menus and events.
The NOMAD traveling art fair returns to St. Moritz on February 22 to 25, 2024, with its artists, gallery owners, and buyers in tow, settling into a new location at the former Hotel Eden.
An exhibition on the relationship between famed German landscape artist Gerhard Richter and the Engadine Valley will be held through April 13, 2024. The exhibition is curated by Dieter Schwarz and presented by the Segantini Museum, Nietzsche House, and Galerie Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz.
To cap off the winter season, the hotel Salstrains in St. Moritz will host the Suncle Festival from April 4 to 8, 2024. This electronic dance music and techno festival has become popular with young travelers and will play host to top international DJs.
Another event enjoying a cult following is the Surfover event in April 2024, which merges surfing and 90s music, all in the 2,550-meter above-sea-level Alpina hut.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.