5 Must-Do Activities in Davos, Switzerland during Winter 2023 - Olliechinny
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5 Must-Do Activities in Davos, Switzerland during Winter 2023

Davos, a Swiss winter destination that will quickly capture your heart. For our first trip in 2023, we spent 3 nights and 4 days in Davos-Klosters region and it was one of the loveliest little getaways I’ve ever had.

I’ve devised the perfect winter holiday in Davos that will make you want to pack your bags and head somewhere cooler for a change.

So step inside the snow globe of happiness and see what you can experience in Davos, Switzerland!

About Davos

Destination Davos Klosters, Switzerland

Credits: Destination Davos Klosters/Marcel Giger

Lying in the heart of eastern canton Graubünden and nestled in the Landwasser valley, Davos is the highest city in Europe standing at a cool altitude of 1,560m. It has a pre-dominantly German speaking population of 11,200 people as of 2022.

When we first arrived in Davos, the whole city was buzzing with preparations for the World Economic Forum! Corporate Davos with its grey buildings might lack the characteristic alpine charm of other Swiss ski resorts like Gstaad or Zermatt. However, once you shift away from city centre, Davos’ beauty starts shining right through, as it comes to life with extensive ski tracks, hiking trails and sledging runs.

About Klosters

Destination Davos Klosters, Switzerland
Credits: Destination Davos Klosters/Andrea Badrutt

Klosters is the opposite of Davos. A small, understated chalet-style alpine resort, it retains the charming feel of a Swiss mountain village that looks straight out from a children’s picture book! This is in part due to the traditional architecture and rustic wooden cabins dotted throughout the town.

King Charles ski resort Klosters
Credits: The Telegraph

With its pristine, snow-sure altitude and accompanying privacy (a rarity on busy ski slopes!), did you know…? Reigning King Charles and the british Royal Family are regular guests at this modest ski resort. Don’t be surprised if you ever catch a glimpse of Kate and William with the children on the slopes of Klosters!

Sports Unlimited

Credits: Destination Davos Klosters/Matthias Painter

The official tagline for Davos Klosters is #SportsUnlimited, and it certainly lives up to its slogan. Whether you are considering coming here ski-ing, snowboarding, go on a winter hike, or just want to bask in the marvellous winter wonderland skating on ice, name any sport and there is something for everyone!

The World Economic Forum in Davos

World Economic Forum 2023 Davos

Davos is most renowned for hosting the annual World Economic Forum. For over half a century, Davos has served as a global platform where business, government, academia, civil society and other stakeholders converge to address and discuss critical global issues.

Why is this Forum held in Davos though? Well, the choice originated from Professor Klaus Schwab, an engineer and economist, who first founded the Forum in 1971. With its high altitudes, fresh mountain air and secluded environment, it occurred to him that this change in scenery could serve as an escape from the everyday life, and an excellent environment for leaders to focus their thoughts on higher-order intellectual conversations.

Getting to Davos

Davos, Switzerland

Davos is connected by two railway stations – Davos Dorf and Davos Platz serving at both ends of the city. Trains also run from Zurich at every hour. The city itself is well connected by buses that come in regular frequencies from 5 to 10 minutes.

As we came from the western side of Switzerland nearer to Geneva, our door-to-door journey to Davos took us about 5 hours.

If you are mapping out your itinerary, I’d suggest considering coming to Davos if your other planned destinations are within the eastern region of Switzerland such as Chur or St Moritz.

If you are coming by car, Davos is also just a few hours’ drive from various major cities:

  • From Zurich: 1.75 hours
  • From Bern: 3 hours
  • From Milan: 3.5 hours
  • From Munich or Stuttgart: 4 hours

If you are travelling to Switzerland and deciding on which train pass to get, you can refer to my detailed Swiss Travel Passes guide here. To buy a Swiss Half fare card, you can purchase it from KKDay here. For the Swiss Travel Pass, you can get it here.

Best time to visit Davos

Being primarily a ski resort and situated so high up in the Alps, December to early March during winter would be your best time to visit Davos. However, given that these would also be the busiest time, coming by during summer could be a nice alternative and might help with keeping costs down a little.

Where to Stay in Davos

Our accommodation for the week was at Alpine Inn. This hotel had used the time during pandemic to good use and underwent a complete renovation.The result is a modern interior with cosy wooden touches, true to its name!

The hotel is a short two bus stop distance away from Parsenn and a further 10 minutes away to Jakobshorn, making it well-connected to the two local mountains for your winter activities.

All rooms are designed with modern furniture creating an intimate atmosphere. Depending on your needs you can choose to stay ranging from a Standard double Room to Deluxe Suites. Entry-level rooms are a little on the small side but will have everything you need for a comfortable break. Deluxe Suites can fit up to 6, and comes with a spacious kitchenette and living room, luxurious bath tubs and an outdoor balcony that offer great views over the mountains.

The hotel also has great eco-measures too toiletries in big bottles (no wasteful miniature toiletries in sight!) and little reminders everywhere to consider your impact on the environment from saving water to re-using your bath towels.

Breakfast is served in European continental style, and comprises cheese, hams, fruits, freshly scrambled eggs and omelettes, muesli and the perfect daily cuppa. I definitely had my stomach’s fill before heading for my full day out on the slopes!

Davos-Klosters Premium Guest Card

Anyone who spends at least one night in a commercially rented establishment such as a hotel, holiday apartment or group accommodation in Davos Klosters will receive the Davos Klosters Premium Card.

This card offers great benefits including free local public transport, complimentary access to cross-country skiing tracks Davos and Klosters and the Ice rink in Arena Klosters. It also provides numerous attractive discounts to activities listed in the Winter Guest Programme.

You can refer to the factsheet of the Davos Klosters Premium Card here

Winter Guest Programme

During winter, guests can benefit from the Davos Kloster Winter Guest Programme, where local guides provide highly discounted and exclusive winter adventures on a daily basis. There are over 40 thoughtfully curated winter experiences, each under the theme of Sport & Adventure, Kids & Family, Visits & Excursions as well as Art & Culture.

Read on further below as I share more in detail on some of the activities I tried under the Winter Guest Programme!

What to do in Davos

1. Hit the slopes and go skiing

Davos Klosters his a vast winter sports arena made up of six ski areas: Parsenn, Jakobshorn, Pischa, Madrisa, Rinerhorn and Schatzalp/Strela. We had only two days of skiing so we headed to the first two ski resorts.

Skiing in Bolgen, beginner's slope at Jakobshorn base, Davos Switzerland


Since I was a beginner, I hanged around on my first day at the nursery slopes beneath the Jakobshorn at Bolgen. There were plenty of kids learning to skiing alongside me, sometimes I feel like they are little ducklings tagging behind the instructor, its a adorable sight to see. Anyway hey, NO SHAME being an adult learner!

I came during what was considered low season, after the end of school holidays in Switzerland and before the peak of the WEF event, so there was not too much tourists. However, since this is a large ski resort, you can expect quite a bit of crowds and daytrippers from Zurich especially during the weekends.

Swiss Ski School Davos, next to Parsennbahn

There are two main ski schools to choose from: The Davos Ski School and Top Secret Davos. It costs 260CHF for half a day with a private instructor, and the price is the same for 1 or 2 persons.

For our ski equipment, I recommend renting it from Parsenn Sports. We got ours from there and it was so convenient having it right next to the ski station, that way we could deposit our gears right there after coming down from the slopes and head back to collect it the next day, without having to lug them back to our hotel.

If you are a beginner as well, starting with private lessons right from the start would be the most ideal. That way you get your foundations right. Personally, I felt safer on the slopes with great one-on-one instruction and undivided attention from my instructor. I doubt that I would have learnt at such a fast pace had I been in a larger group setting.

I really liked my ski instructor Hans from my first day: I learnt so much from him in a single day: I mastered how to turn and brake safely. However, I didn’t feel the same with the second instructor I had the next day. I didn’t feel like he was as patient and instructive, and he ended the lessons quite abruptly at 11.30am when it should have ended at 12pm. Overall I really feel that having a good instructor makes a big load of difference and if you do find a good one, just stick to him or her!

On the second day I felt more confident and headed to Parsenn, considered the classic mountain of Davos. What I like about skiing in Parsenn is that it has a good range of wide and long blue and red slopes at high altitudes. Having being stuck at beginner slopes all this while, It was a dream come true for me to be skiing so high up in the mountains with majestic views of the Alps! I spent the remainder of my second day practising my turns here.

Overall, I would recommend Parsenn more for advanced beginners and above.

As we visited during the weekdays, the upside is that you have the slopes virtually to yourself with no dreaded lift queuses. However, I was a little sad as as we didn’t get to experience the après-ski highlight after a full day on the slopes. Even a soak in the jacuzzi at the mountain top was not possible since it was closed.

Apparently the après-ski only comes to life on weekends when the German and Swiss hit town. Be sure to head to the locals’ favourite haunt at Bolgen Plaza or JatzHutte for some good music, partying and dancing after sunset!

Prices of Ski Pass in Davos Klosters

As of 2022, a day ski pass at Parsenn costs CHF 82 adult, CHF 57 youth (13-17), CHF 33 child (6-12). At Jakobshorn, a day ski pass costs CHF 79, CHF 55 youth (13-17), CHF 32 child (6-12).

A slight disadvantage to the ski resorts in Davos Klosters area are that they are separated by trains/buses and you aren’t able to ski from one place to another (with the exception from Parsenns to Klosters). For instance, we skied at Jakobshorn on the first day and then had to separately head to Parsenn on the other day.

It would not be feasible to ski at the different resorts in a single day since you will be wasting more time in between travels. However, if you intend to stay in the region for a full weekend or even a week, getting a multi-day regional ski pass would be the best choice.

You can check the full prices of the multi-day regional ski pass here.

2. Go on a winter snow-shoe hike

Snowshoe hike in Davos, Switzerland

The Davos Klosters region is one of the best places to ski in Switzerland…but what few people know is that it is also a fantastic spot to practice snowshoeing!

Tramping through unspoiled landscape on your snowshoes is a unique way to experience nature. You can enjoy the silence of the forest and the sound of your snowshoes in soft powder snow.

If you are wondering if snowshoe is difficult…not to worry. If you can walk, you CAN snowshoe! All it takes is to strap under your winter boots. Simply strap the snowshoes under your winter boots, grab a pair of hiking pokes and you’ll be ready to set off on your winter adventure. Wearing the snowshoes is important to prevent your shoes from sinking in to the snow, and allows you to easily walk over the fresh snow cover.

We did a 1.5 hour hike cutting through the forest, providing an astonishing view of the trees. We finally reached our end point with a stunning blanket of white as far as the eye can see. This is the sort of nature retreat that everyone should go for at least once in their lifetime!

3. Try out the oldest winter sport in the world

Head to the Davos World of Ice, Switzerland’s largest artificial ice rink (with 4,500 m2 of ice surface) and enjoy an evening of Bavarian curling!

Bavarian curling, oldest winter sport in the world. Davos Switzerland

Also known as Eisstockschießen, Bavarian curling is recognised as the world’s oldest sport. Its origins dates all the way back to the 16th century, when farmers and craftsmen would pass the long winter days sliding stones on ice.

A quick summary of Bavarian curling: The teams attempt to play the ice stock as close as possible to the “house” in 6, 8 or 10 rounds. This might sound relatively simple…but after a few rounds we quickly realised that it actually requires alot of concentration, fine motor skills and team coordination!

We teamed up with 3 Japanese girls and played against a group from Malaysia. While we lost, it was a fun evening and we ended off the day with steaming hot gluwhein!

What to do in Klosters

4. Hop on a romantic evening horse-carriage ride

evening horse carriage ride in Klosters, Switzerland

 A horse drawn carriage ride is one of winter’s favourite pastimes, and will make you feel as though you stepped inside of a glistening winter snow globe!

We headed to Klosters for this magical activity. The meeting point is right outside the Klosters train station. Hop on the carriage as the horses take you around for a 1 hour ride around the village.

This was “dashing through the snow” in the most literal sense! With the click-klacking sounds of the horses hooves, and soft jingle bells in the air, we glided past beautiful scenes of alpine wooden houses, pine trees and the snow-white fields. As dusk started to fall, it began snowing and it got really cold. So be sure to wear warm clothes and gloves so that you can stay comfortable while snuggling with your close friends during this winter adventure.

5. Go trekking with llamas

Arvenhof llama trekking in Serneus-Klosters, Switzerland

There’s nothing we love more than coming across something we didn’t know we needed. This time, it’s hiking with Llamas at Arvenhof, an organic mountain farm run by couple Larissa and Rico in the village of Serneus, Klosters.

Less stubborn than donkeys but cuter than horses, llamas are calm, friendly and extremely intelligent animals. They are instinctively attentive and gentle with the weak, and we learnt from the caretakers that they are used in therapy work with high stress patients, children with anxiety, or the handicapped. I find it so amazing how animals have the natural ability to heal.

Male llamas are used for outdoor trekking and they make for excellent trail companions: I’m a dog owner myself so I know how hyper dogs can be sniffing and running about…but with the llamas boys, they walked alongside us in such a serene and easy-going manner!

We did a slow and beautiful 1 hour trek around the village of Serneus. This was the least physically-intensive activity that we did in a week and it was so relaxing and peaceful.

We went back to visit the other llamas back at the farm (there are over 40 of them, including baby ones!). Since it is winter time now and there are no grass to graze on now, they are being kept in the sheds against the snow for now. Come spring time when the grass returns they will head back to their natural habitat where they can roam wild and free.

Arvenhof llama trekking in Serneus-Klosters, Switzerland

At Arvenhof, there is also a cute little shop selling authentic products made from llamma and alpaca wool, as well as other traditional Swiss souvenirs. I got a pair of lovely pair of black alpaca gloves and it really helps to keep my hands warm and toasty against the bitter cold.

Arvenhof llama trekking in Serneus-Klosters, Switzerland

My sincere thanks to the team at Arvenhof who hosted me graciously and showed me a side to their farm life in Serneus. They do such a good job as caretakers or these beautiful animals who bless others with their healing presence.

Useful Information

Arvenhof

Clavanuovweg 12
7249 Serneus
076 451 83 05
lama@arvenhof.ch


I hope you will enjoy a beautiful winter getaway in Davos! If you are looking for further suggestions for winter destinations in Switzerland, the following posts below might be interesting for you to check out:

Christmas in Zurich, Switzerland

Jungfraujoch, Switzerland: is it worth it?

How to pack for winter in Switzerland (or Europe!): 20 Essential Packing Tips

This post was written in collaboration with Davos-Klosters Tourism. All opinions are my own.

Destination Davos Klosters

Talstrasse 41
CH-7270 Davos Platz
+41 81 415 21 21

 info@davos.ch

 www.davos.ch

Opening hours office

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