Apres Ski in Davos
Davos isn’t pretty, but the mountain scenery around it certainly is and the sprawling town (in fact the highest “City” in Europe) does include some elegant old hotels. Klosters on the other hand is a typically attractive chalet-style Swiss mountain village.
The City of Davos
With two centres, Platz and Dorf, the sprawling town of Davos isn’t pretty, but it’s an interesting mix of modern offices, apartment blocks, elegant old sanatorium-style hotels, cows and milking parlours. The backdrop is quintessentially beautiful Swiss mountain scenery with the characteristic red trains running through it.
Part of the canton of Graubunden, Davos’ transformation from a remote farming community into an international resort began in 1860 when Dr Spengler opened the first tuberculosis clinic. Davos soon became the leading health resort in Switzerland and was popular with the British, including well-known personalities such as author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.
With the decline of tuberculosis after the Second World War and growth in tourism many of the elegant sanatoriums were turned into hotels. Today the town still has clinics offering specialised treatment for allergies, respiratory illnesses and dermatological conditions. There is also the High Altitude Training Centre, used by many professional and amateur athletes, which claims the 1,560m altitude provides ideal training conditions, particularly for endurance.
Although Davos’ town and ski areas are spread out there is a good bus and train network. Parking can be difficult and you’ll be charged a flat rate fee of SFR5 a day in most of the ski areas, more if you want to park centrally for the shops and again in the supermarket car parks.
The Village of Klosters
Klosters is much more in the mould of what you’d expect from a typically attractive chalet-style Swiss mountain village. It benefited greatly from a new by-pass in 2005 which diverted traffic between Davos and the Vereina tunnel. Of the two, Klosters Platz is the bigger, and accesses the Gotschnagrat and the main Davos ski area at Parsenn. Klosters Dorf is at the base of Madrisa
Apres Ski Bars & Nightlife in Davos Klosters
Apres ski in Davos begins on the slopes, notably the ‘Schwendis’ on the way down from Parsenn, sometimes involving torchlit descents as night falls. While Davos may seem best suited to an older clientele, with fine dining (at fine prices) and early nights, Davos has been voted the best resort with winter nightlife in the whole of Switzerland.
As with any other good ski resort, in Davos the partying begins on the slopes, notably the ‘Schwendis’ in the woods on the way down from Parsenn, including the possibility to make torchlit descents as night falls. For those preferring an earlier end to the day’s skiing, Café Schneider and Kaffee Klatsch in Platz and Café Weber in Dorf are popular for afternoon tea and cakes. And there are plenty of expensive clothes shops to spend your money in.
In Davos Platz, Scala’s outside sun terrace is a popular spot for après ski, but liveliest of the lot are Chämi, popular with locals and very atmospheric later in the evening, and Ex-Bar, which attracts a smarter mixed age group. At the other end of town in Davos Dorf, many ski instructors congregate at the Montana bar while Bar-Senn, near the entrance to the Parsennbahn, is a squeeze but has good atmosphere after skiing.
The partying in Klosters begins with a riotous time at Gaudy’s Graströchni, one of those rotunda shaped see-through bars so popular on the slopes in Austria. Later on Klosters’ nightlife revolves mainly around its hotels, particularly the Chesa Grischuna, with its stylish piano bar, and the Hotel Pardenn. The main disco (visited by Prince Harry) is on the ground floor of the Casa Antica in the Silveretta Parkhotel. In Klosters-Dorf the in-places include Rufinis and the Madrisa Pub.
Restaurants in Davos Klosters
The local Gastroführer guide features a wide choice of restaurants, including fine gourmet restaurants in some of the ritzier hotels, and narrow the choice to your palate and your pocket.
Scala is a modern restaurant with innovative cuisine, La Caretta serves Swiss and Italian food in rustic surroundings and Extrablatt offers specialties straight from the grill. Al Ponte has the best pizzas in town and if you want Chinese food you should try Zauberberg or Goldener Drachen. For gourmet dining in Davos, Mann & Co (15 Points Gault Millau) at Waldhotel Davos is highly recommended and Restaurant Hänggi’s at Davos Platz offers excellent food at reasonable prices and good service even though it cannot yet claim to have won any special awards.
As with any other resort the guest demographics vary throughout the season. Off the slopes Davos once seemed better suited to an older clientele, but things have obviously changed. These days its numerous bars, discos, nightclubs and casino are reportedly buzzing late at night, even though it may be a bit quieter (Sunday – Wednesday) as some guests prefer to spend a quiet night in the comfort of their hotel or apartment, particularly those staying towards the outer limits of the town, from Thursday – Saturday the nightlife is first rate.
Davos is partnered with Aspen in Colorado and Chamonix in France, and it seems it’s no longer the odd one out in terms of lively après ski. According to the Sonntagszweitung (the main Sunday newspaper) Davos now has the best winter nightlife in the whole of Switzerland. The most popular nightclubs in Davos are Cabanna, Rotliechtli and the Postli, which is “the” place to be on Friday and Saturday nights in winter.
Klosters also has a few lively bars and more than its fair share of fine dining. In Klosters, the liveliest bars are the Rossli, with its giant TV sports screen, the Cresta Hotel Bar which announces proudly “you may even be smoked” – translation “where you may smoke” and the Gotschnabar by the cable car base station. Good restaurants in Klosters include the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Hotel Walserhof (The Prince of Wales’ favourite hotel, with 17 Gault-Millau points) and the traditionally rustic restaurant at the Chesa Grischuna.
Other Activities in Davos Klosters
Davos offers plenty of other activities besides skiing. Ice hockey, ice skating, speed skating and curling are all popular, both to play and to watch, with a choice of ice rinks including Europe’s largest natural ice rink.
Davos, a sprawling town, offers a wide range of activities and entertainments for skiers and non-skiers alike. As well as Alpine skiing and boarding, the choice of winter-sports includes ice skating, curling, corss-country skiing, tobogganing and winter walking. Other sports available in Davos include paragliding, hang-gliding, indoor tennis, swimming and a climbing wall. Davos also offers a wide range of shops and a plenty of exhibitions and events.
Ice Skating and Curling in Davos
Ice skating, curling, ice hockey and speed skating are all popular with a choice of Europe’s largest natural ice rink, an outdoor artificial ice rink, a large ice stadium and a smaller rink at the base of Parsenn. There’s also an ice rink at the leisure centre in Klosters.
Ice Hockey and Speed Skating in Davos
There’s often a chance to watch high profile events too; Davos hosts the International Speed Skating Championships and the renowned pro ice hockey Spengler Cup and from September – March each winter ice hockey matches are an almost weekly occurrence. As well as hosting the Spengler Cup and numerous other matches, Davos’ ice hockey team HC Davos were the Swiss Champions for the 30th time in 2010/11 and Davos is the only ski resort in Switzerland offering Swiss premier league ice hockey – great fun to watch live!
Winter Walking in Davos
For those who enjoy walking there are over 84km of well prepared winter walking paths, popular routes are around the Davos Lake, along the river from Platz towards Frauenkirch and the Hohenweg, which runs parallel to main street from Dorf to Platz but higher up. Klosters also has some excellent walking.
Cross-Country Skiing in Davos
Davos is one the most important centres in Switzerland for cross-country skiing. The Swiss Cross-country ski team home and training camp is based in Davos (most athletes live here) and there are no fees to use the cross-country tracks in Davos Klosters! 75km of Nordic track stretch from Glaris to beyond Wolfgang with branches into the side valleys of Sertig, Dischma and Flüela. A 2.5 km floodlit loop at the entrance to Dischma is also open from 18.00 to 21.30. Each year the Flüela runs challenge the world’s best skiers during the Nordic FIS World Cup Races. Klosters also has good cross-country skiing on 35km of freshly groomed tracks for skating and classic with options to meet the needs of beginners and advanced cross-country skiers.
Tobogganing in Davos
At Rinerhorn there is sledge run, which is seriously steep in sections and is often manic with children belting down out of control. Floodlit until 9pm, goggles are essential! There is also a sledge run down from the hotel at Schatzalp accessed by the mountain railway from Davos Platz. There’s also a five mile toboggan run in Klosters from Madrisa to Saas.
Wintersports and Art Museums in Davos
There is also a wintersports museum tracing the development of equipment and clothing through the years, as well as a museum dedicated to the expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who lived in Davos between 1917 and 1938. A folk museum, a doll museum, a mining museum and a museum of medicine complete the list.
Davos Tourist Office
For more information contact the Tourist Offices in Davos: