Davos; Tourist Information and Photos

 

Photos of Davos in the sunshine and in the snow, including shots from above, are found after the tourist advice. Don't miss some great pictures of the summit of the Jakobshorn.

To say that Davos, a town on the Landwasser River in the Swiss Alps, has a population of only 11,000, although true, is very misleading. For this is the place that plays host to the World Economic Forum every year, at the same time as being one of Switzerland’s biggest ski resorts. The World Economic Forum itself has a wide aim: “to improve the state of the world”. It tries to do this by engaging the world’s leaders in collaboration on global, regional and industrial matters. Wisely, they are starting close to home with the “Greener Davos Iniative”, a programme intended to reduce the carbon footprint of those attending the Forum itself – some 2,600 people, all travelling there from Zurich and abroad. Probably thanks to the WEF, Davos has one of the largest convention facilities around, the Davos Congress Centre, which can accommodate 5,000 delegates.

The founder and executive chairman of WEF is Klaus Schwab, the German born former Professor of Business Policy at the University of Geneva. In 1971 Schwab began the ‘European Economic Forum’ by inviting representatives of 444 European businesses to Davos; the Forum changed its name to the WEF in 1987. Meeting in January each year, the WEF has widened its remit to include trying to resolve international conflicts. It was in Davos in 1992 that Nelson Mandela and President F W de Klerk first met outside South Africa. In 1994 at the WEF, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres reached a draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho. More recent attendees have been Bill Clinton, Bill Gates (now co-chair of the Forum), Tony Blair, Felipe Calderón, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Bono. In 2014 Klaus Schwab welcomed Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran to Davos. The main concerns of the Forum are poverty, war, health and environmental issues, and their relation to business.

Davos is a resort for all seasons. In winter it is very popular for skiing, both downhill and cross country. The large busy town has five separate ski areas, with its lifts and slopes on either side of the flat valley bottom. Since Davos valley is high, it is only a short ascent to the ski slopes of nearby Klosters. Davos is also famous for its ice hockey team, which hosts the annual Spengler Cup tournament in its own Vaillant Arena. In summer the ski lifts operate from May to October so walkers can explore the remote side valleys.

An alternative activity in the mountains is to ride the cable cars up the 2,560m Jakobshorn mountain, or the equally high Weissfluhjoch, for an amazing panoramic view of numerous above 3,000m peaks. The Jakobshorn is popular with snowboarders and offers the ‘Jatz Park’ with 18 jumps, rollers and rails, and the ‘Jazzhütte’ for après ski parties. At the foot of the mountain is an ideal beginners’ slope and a restaurant from which parents can watch their offspring learn to ski.

However the classic skiing mountain in the area is Parsenn, which links Davos and Klosters. You can take the Parsenn funicular railway from Davos to explore its numerous wide slopes.

Another privately owned funicular, the ‘Schatzalpbahn’ links Davos to Schatzalp resort 300m above the town, saving a walk up to the celebrated hotel of the same name. Schatzalp is a more traditional winter sports resort, the first “slowed down” skiing region in Europe, set against stylish Art Nouveau architecture. Here you can hire toboggans and ride the free 2.8km run down to Davos. The run is ideal for children and beginners, and is floodlit until 23.00 every evening.

For a break from skiing or walking, (or just saving the world), visit the Kirchner Museum. The German expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner lived in Davos from 1919 to 1938, and this architecturally interesting museum has the largest collection of his work anywhere.

Davos’ Tourist Office at 41 Talstrasse in Davos Platz is grandly titled the ‘Destination Davos Klosters Tourist Information Centre’, and they say people typically spend anything from twenty minutes to two hours there. They open every day from 08.30 to 18.00, except Saturdays and Sundays when they are only open 09.00 till 13.00. (There are other tourist information offices at Davos Dorf (8 Bahnhofstrasse) and Klosters-Semeus (6 Alte Bahnhofstrasse), all called ‘Destination Davos Klosters’).
For information about events in Davos, the weather, the state of the pistes or which lifts are open, you can walk into one of the offices, look at their website, or join their WhatsApp community to message them any time during office hours and they will respond. You can book lift tickets there, or hotel rooms and apartments, and the tourist staff will sell you tickets for activities and events. Each tourist office also sells souvenirs, which might explain why some people spend so long there! If you want to give someone a present, you can even buy Davos Klosters Gift Vouchers, which can be spent on the mountain railway and cableways, or in hotels, shops and restaurants. But still their primary function is to provide tourist information, so just ask……

Hotels in Davos are, not surprisingly, many and varied. The five-star Steigenberger Belvedere is a classic, stylish hotel right on the Promenade. It offers free breakfast and a swimming pool. The newest hotel in this category, the amazing-looking InterContinental Davos Hotel, is anything but traditional, its architecture resembling a ‘golden egg’. It too has a pool and spa. The three-star Kessler’s Kulm Hotel is more like a traditional Swiss hotel, and may offer better value, but you need to take a seven minute bus ride (runs every 15 minutes) to get to Davos itself. Much closer in and with views of the Jakobshorn is the family-run Hotel Frieden. This friendly and welcoming inn is only a few hundred metres from Davos Platz train station and the Jakobshorn cable car.

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