Its reputation precedes it, resounding like the echo of the mountains: St. Moritz’s legendary ‘champagne climate’. This exquisite high-altitude climate gives the winter snow its very special consistency and delivers crisp fresh air, the famous Maloja wind and countless days of sunshine in spring and summer. So it’s not surprising that this exclusive Engadin destination is unrivalled when it comes to leisure and relaxation. St. Moritz’s epithet ‘top of the world’ not only refers to the luxury hotels, boutiques, starred restaurants and galleries that bring it global renown. It’s also a byword for the invigorating Alpine climate that stimulates the production of red blood cells, the sprawling valley that opens towards the south-west, and the countless attractions that turn St. Moritz into an open-air spa during the warmer months of the year.
Cleopatra bathed in donkey milk, but in St. Moritz it’s the local natural spring water that promises beauty and vitality. The first scientific papers to describe the Alpine village’s healing springs were written in the 16th century. After visiting and seeing their effects for himself, the naturopath Paracelsus praised the springs in one of his works. Once luxury hotels began to be built in St. Moritz, it developed a reputation as a glamorous wellness destination. Word spread beyond Swiss borders, too. International stars such as Roger Moore, Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo were among the Alpine village’s regular guests. The Heilbad mineral bathhouse was built in 1976 and it continues to offer guests rejuvenation for the body and soul. Its services also include a range of medical wellness treatments. The iron-rich thermal water promotes good health and originates from a spring beneath Lake St. Moritz. There is another mineral bathhouse and spa in Samedan, which has its own mineral spring and likewise offers a variety of therapeutic treatments. The building was designed by the renowned architects and bathhouse builders Miller & Maranta from Basel.
The spas in St. Moritz’s award-winning grand hotels are similarly inspired by the power of nature. For instance, the Alpine Skin Renewal treatment offered at Badrutt’s Palace involves special floral blends, salt crystals and essential oils. At the Kulm Hotel, birch and junipers are used to detox the body, while the Summer Energising Scrub at the Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski washes away the winter grey with bitter oranges and rosehip. Kronenhof Spa hits that sweet spot with its honey body scrub enriched with rock crystals. And it all takes place at 1,800 metres above sea level with breathtaking views of Engadin’s forests, lakes and Alpine peaks.
Yet it’s not just the healing mineral springs or the Alpine herbs that make summer in St. Moritz such a unique experience. Countless other activities invite visitors and locals to unwind and get fit in equal measure. Celebrity guests may stroll the streets of St. Moritz, but in summer the true VIP is nature itself. From ‘forest bathing’ in pine forests and yoga with goats to stand-up paddleboarding on Lake St. Moritz – there are so many ways to take advantage of the region’s extraordinary climate which boasts over 320 days of sunshine each year. And of course, the most gorgeous open-air spa in Switzerland is blessed with views of the Alpine peaks, as far as the eye can see.
Said Goethe, describing the blissful serenity he found among the trees. The latest wellness trend is no ordinary walk in the woods – forest bathing is much more than that. In Japan, where the movement began, Shinrin-yoku is considered a type of medicine. Several Japanese universities even offer ‘forest medicine’ as a specialist discipline. Consciously appreciating ferns, moss and trees is considered ‘outward’ meditation. Instead of occupying themselves with their inner thoughts, forest bathers instead focus on and draw energy from their surroundings. Spending time in the forest has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone cortisol. This effect is caused by terpenes, the aromatic substances secreted by trees. Breathing in the fragrant forest air, observing the way the treetops sway in the breeze and feeling the texture of the bark under our fingers helps us to reconnect with nature. The desire to do this is growing ever stronger in the era of smartphones and social media. The larch and mountain pine forests of St. Moritz offer the perfect environment for forest bathing. In God Plazzers, just above the village, you will find some of the oldest Swiss stone pine trees in the canton of Grisons. Some of the trees there are over 1,000 years old, taking forest bathing to a whole new level.
Stars like Kate Beckinsale, Khloe Kardashian and Michael Sheen have already tried it and now St. Moritz is giving yoga lovers the opportunity to share their yoga mats with a group of friendly and inquisitive goats. ‘Caprine Vinyasa’ is now available at various stunning natural locations around the village. This form of animal-assisted relaxation was invented by Lainey Morse from Oregon. She launched yoga with goats in summer 2016 at her ‘No Regrets’ farm. Petting the goats has a calming effect that can reduce stress and help participants find inner peace. Morse, who suffers from an autoimmune disease, swears by the therapeutic benefits of Caprine Vinyasa. According to a medical study, interaction with animals lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels and relieves anxiety. Goats are ideal therapeutic animals, because they are naturally inquisitive and capable of immediately interacting with new people. In St. Moritz, the qualified yoga instructor Diana welcomes anyone interested in this new (and growing) yoga trend to try it out alongside the goats Sämi, Buess, Zottel, Gibo and Paolino.
The fashion photographer Michel Comte once used it as a backdrop for a photo shoot – although there was no clothing involved. The models posed at Lake Staz, just as nature made them. And the natural environment around St. Moritz couldn’t be more beautiful. Lake Staz is ideal for swimming in summer and is located just a few kilometres outside the village. Unlike the somewhat chilly Lake St. Moritz, it is warmed to a pleasant 20 degrees by the surrounding moorlands that are fed exclusively by rain water. Ringed by gently swaying reeds and blessed with a lakeside beach, Lake Staz is the perfect place for summer dip. Locals and tourists also enjoy relaxing under the shade of the trees along the shores of the wind-protected Lej Marsch. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more secluded, head to Lej Nair. Water from the moor makes the lake look black and its surface reflects the majestic Piz Corvatsch mountain peak. It can only be reached on foot, so you have no choice but to take things slow and let your mind wander. All lakes have one thing in common: the peaty soil is wonderfully soft, as the plant matter at the bottom of the lake is not fully decomposed, so it feels like walking on feather pillows.
Windsurfing legend Björn Dunkerbeck moved permanently to Lake Silvaplana – and for good reason. The old faithful Maloja wind creates the ideal conditions for sports like windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing all year round. When the wind picks up at around midday, Lake Silvaplana is practically the best place in the world to set sail. St. Moritz is one of the highest altitude locations for sailing and attracts water sports enthusiasts from around the world. Sailing and kite surfing have a long tradition here: every year, the European and World Championships are held on Lake St. Moritz and Lake Silvaplana. Back in 1939, the Zurich Sailing Club discovered that St. Moritz was an ideal alternative location for their events and began hosting regattas in the Alps. Among the competitors were sailors who had competed in the America’s Cup. The 1,600-metre-long Lake St. Moritz is only 600 metres wide, which means sailors must have excellent technical and tactical skills and execute their manoeuvres with extreme precision. The lake’s compact size allows regatta audiences in St. Moritz to enjoy an excellent view of the races.
Gliding over the water while enjoying stunning views of Switzerland’s most famous Alpine village: stand-up paddleboarding is like taking a walk across Lake St. Moritz that not only gives you a fresh perspective of the majestic Alpine scenery, but is also a workout for your whole body. It comes as no surprise that fans of paddleboarding include big-name stars such as actors and fitness fanatics Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson. Maintaining your balance on the board activates and strengthens your shoulder, back and core muscles. The standing position also makes it the perfect contrast for anyone who spends hours sitting at a desk in the office – including stressed-out execs. For centuries, Polynesian fishermen have been standing up on their canoes in the seas around Tahiti, and in the 1950s and 1960s, surfers in Hawaii began to adopt their technique to reach the reefs faster. Speed no longer plays a role in stand-up paddleboarding. On the contrary: the appeal of this sport in St. Moritz is that it provides an opportunity to soak up the surrounding landscape in peace, observe how the sun and the Alpine panorama are reflected in the lake and find peace of mind.
Sie werden liebevoll Champagnerbäder genannt – und wo könnte man besser im Prickelwasser baden als im glamourösen Nobelort St. Moritz, dem Treffpunkt der High Society? Früher wurde das mineralreiche Wasser aufgrund seines hohen Eisengehalts getrunken, heute wird in dem besonderen Nass gebadet. Die Kohlensäure wird durch die Haut aufgenommen, was dazu führt, dass sich die Gefässe erweitern. Dadurch wird die Durchblutung angeregt und ein erhöhter Blutdruck gesenkt. Aber auch wer keine arteriellen oder venösen Probleme hat, wird das aussergewöhnliche Bad zu schätzen wissen. Das Prickeln auf der Haut trägt zum Wohlbefinden bei und steigert nebenbei die Laune – fast so sehr wie ein Cüpli.
St. Moritz is home to more grand hotels than virtually anywhere else in Switzerland. The list of legendary hotels that host stars from around the world is as long as the hiking trails and mountain bike trails that surround this pearl of the Engadin region. St. Moritz is essentially an open-air spa, where every wellness treatment can be followed by some downtime in relaxing surrounds. Enjoy the serenity and pure mountain air on one of the five-star hotels’ many sunny terraces. Relax under the umbrellas on the wooden veranda of the Kulm Hotel, recline on a deck chair by the pool at Badrutt’s Palace, soak up some rays in the grounds of the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, or take in the lake views from the panoramic terrace of the Carlton Hotel. All the grand hotels are designed to provide quality rest and relaxation with breathtaking views.