What to Do In Chur: Visit Switzerland’s 5000-Year-Old City

what to do in chur

This post was written in collaboration with Chur Tourismus. I’m so thrilled to be able to share what to do in Chur with you, as this is one of my many past homes. 

An Ex-Local Shares What to Do in Chur, Switzerland

The first thing I noticed about Chur, stepping out of the car, was the air. It just smelled so fresh and pure. The second thing I took in were the snow-covered mountaintops, no matter which direction I turned.

And so began 6 months in Switzerland‘s oldest city, before I became a blogger, before I could even fathom that I would return to Chur, a year-and-a-half later, as a guest of the local tourism board.

But life takes us in incredible directions and now I’m so very happy to be posting about what to do in Chur on my blog!

In a Rush? Keep What to Do in Chur for Later

what to do in Chur
Pin this post on what to do in Chur!

A Brief Intro to Chur

Before we get into what to do in Chur, let me share a bit of background information. Many people know Chur as the departure point for the Bernina Express, one of the iconic Swiss panoramic trains that winds through the Alps. However, the city itself has much to offer visitors in its own right.

Set in the canton of Grisons (or Graubünden, in German), Chur is an hour’s train ride from Zürich and about 50 km from the Italian border as the crow flies. Home to 40,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city between Zürich and Milan.

Pro Tip: if you’re planning to explore more than just Chur on your Swiss trip, you’ll be able to save A LOT of money and enjoy unlimited public transport throughout the whole country when you buy a Swiss Travel Pass.

what to do in chur
Evidence of 5000+ years of human activity in Chur includes Roman excavations. Photo credit: Chur Tourismus.

Chur was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (some 3,500 years BC). Archaeological evidence further shows that humans occupied this part of the Rhine Valley during the Stone Age. The Romans eventually conquered the area at the dawn of the Christian era, giving their settlement the name Curia Raetorum, which, over time, was germanized to Chur.

So when you visit, you’ll be standing on over 5000 years of human activity – always something that makes an impact on me.

what to do in chur
When your dress matches the buildings in Chur’s Old Town.

Why Should You Visit Chur?

If you like any of the following, I definitely recommend adding Chur to your Swiss itinerary:

  • Old towns with cobblestone lanes and colourful historic homes
  • Walking straight out of your accommodation into the Alps
  • Sampling local dishes prepared with pride and dedication
  • Beautiful photo spots at pretty much every corner

Curious? Read on for the top tips on what to do in Chur!

what to do in Chur
What to do in Chur simply depends on your interests. There are so many options!

What to Do in Chur: 17 Unmissable Experiences

What to do in Chur really depends on your interests, but rest assured: you’ll have plenty of activities to choose from.

Amble About the Old Town

If you can only pick one activity and ask me – or probably just about anyone – what to do in Chur, the first thing that pops to mind is to head to the Old Town. Chur’s historic core is a wonderful web of little alleys and squares, lined by perfectly preserved buildings; a mix of private homes, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries.

Chur’s Altstadt is compact enough to discover in an afternoon, yet intricate enough to spend days browsing if you can afford to take your time. It is often considered one of the most beautiful Old Towns in Switzerland, with examples of architecture dating back 800 years.

what to do in Chur
If asked what to do in Chur, locals will tell you to visit the intricate streets of the Old Town.

Highlights include towering cathedrals and churches, remains of the city wall, original guard towers, and clusters of narrow, colourfully-painted houses interrupted by the occasional half-timbered home.

When I lived in Chur, I would spend many afternoons aimlessly wandering around, coffee or smoothie in hand, always discovering a new little nook. Buildings of historic significance have little red plaques outside for orientation.

To get your bearings and dive deeper into Chur’s history, I suggest joining an express 1-hour walking tour. A local guide will show you the best of this lovely city. That way, even if you’re pressed for time, you won’t miss out!

what to do in chur
Chur’s Old Town offers plenty of wondrous little corners to discover.

6 thoughts on “What to Do In Chur: Visit Switzerland’s 5000-Year-Old City

  1. I seriously can’t believe I never made it to Switzerland, even though it’s a neighbor country of Austria. I’ve never heard of Chur tbh but will try to add it to my Switzerland itinerary 🙂

  2. Wow, thank you for putting Chur on my radar! I’ve been dying to visit Switzerland and now I have yet another spot to add to my list.

Leave a Reply