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Graubünden

Travel Guide Europe Switzerland Graubünden

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Introduction

Graubünden (or Grisons) is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. The canton shares borders with the cantons of Ticino, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen and international borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. The name Graubünden translates as the "Grey Leagues," referring to the canton's origin in three local alliances, the League of God's House, the Grey League, and the League of Ten Jurisdictions. Grisons is also home to three of Switzerland's ethnic groups and the subsequent languages of Swiss German, Italian and Romansh are all native to the state. It is the only officially trilingual canton and the only canton where the Romansh language has official status.

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Geography

Area-wise Grisons is Switzerland's largest canton at 7,105.2 square kilometres, 19.2% larger than the Canton of Bern. Only about a third of this is commonly regarded as productive land of which forests cover about a fifth of the total area. The canton is entirely mountainous, comprising the highlands of the Rhine and Inn river valleys. In its southeastern part lies the only official Swiss National Park. In its northern part the mountains were formed as part of the thrust fault that was declared a geologic UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the name Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona, in 2008. Another Biosphere Reserve is the Biosfera Val Müstair adjacent to the Swiss National Park whereas Ela Nature Park is one of the regionally supported parks.

There are many significant elevations in the Grison Alps, including the Tödi at 3,614 metres and the highest peak Piz Bernina at 4,049 metres. Many of the mountain ranges feature extensive glaciers, such as at the Adula, the Albula, the Silvretta, the Bernina, the Bregaglia and the Rätikon ranges. The mountain ranges in the central area are very deep, some of which are considered the deepest valleys in Europe. These valleys were originally settled by the Raetians (Rhaeti).

Grisons borders on the cantons of St. Gallen to the northwest, Glarus, Uri to the west, and Ticino to the southwest. It also shares international borders with Italy (South Tyrol and Lombardy), Austria (Tyrol and Vorarlberg) and Liechtenstein. The capital city is Chur. The world-famous resorts of St. Moritz and Davos-Klosters are located in the canton, completed by the larger all year round tourism destinations of Arosa, Flims, Lenzerheide, Scuol-Sammnaun and more.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Glacier Express

Glacier Express

Glacier Express

© All Rights Reserved jenniesue

The Glacier Express is one of the best trainrides in Europe and in fact anywhere on this planet. The route runs between St. Moritz in the southeast of the country and Zermatt more to the southwest of Switzerland. There are several stops on the way, including Davos, Chur, Brig and Visp. The total trip takes you through 91 tunnels, across 291 tunnels and over the 2,033-metre-high Oberalp Pass. It's a narrow gauge railway and is often considered to be one of the slowest express trains in the world, as the total trip takes around 7.5 hours for less than 300 kilometres in total. You can travel either 1st or 2nd class and there are several panorama cars and a restaurant car. The trip is very beautiful in winter, which, together with the summer high season, is a popular time. It's just as nice though in spring and fall, so if you want it to be a bit quieter, go during that time. There is just one daily train in winter and up to 4 in summer, one of which runs directly to Davos.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:39 on Jul 15, 16 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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