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The rugged beauty of Graubünden

Lake Cauma near Flims. swiss-image.ch

When the Swiss themselves are asked to name the most beautiful part of the country, they often say the eastern canton of Graubünden due to its largely intact landscape and sparse population.

This content was published on April 11, 2006 - 17:28

It doesn't boast the towering peaks or wooden chalets that are synonymous with Switzerland, but Graubünden claims pristine alpine forests teeming with wildlife, fast flowing rivers, spectacular railway journeys and is home to three of Switzerland's four language groups.

As far as resorts go, few in the Alps can rival St Moritz or Davos.

They first came to prominence in the 19th century when it was discovered that their dry microclimate could heal tuberculosis sufferers.

Even today, the spectacular settings, top skiing, hiking and variety of accommodation make the resorts hard to beat.

With the exception of St Moritz, the Engadine Valley is home to quaint villages where the locals speak Romansh and live in a style of house equally unique to the region.

Sgraffito

The facades of the large, squat buildings are decorated with traditional artwork called "sgraffito".

The Engadine stretches from lakes Sils and Silvaplana - a mecca for windsurfers - to the resort of Scuol, known for its thermal baths.

National park

About halfway along, the road branches off and passes through Switzerland's only national park.

This is the best place in the country to see marmots, chamois and ibex and other alpine fauna in an environment largely untouched by humans.

Glacier Express

Arguably the most scenic alpine railway journey, the Glacier Express, connects St Moritz and Davos with the Valais resort of Zermatt.

But before it leaves Graubünden it crosses stone viaducts spanning deep gorges and loops through tunnels in order to overcome sudden changes in altitude.

swissinfo, Dale Bechtel

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