Located in Val Poschiavo (Poschiavo Valley) in the Graubünden Canton of southern Switzerland is the beautiful village of Poschiavo.
Poschiavo is absolutely stunning as the views up the valley connect to the peaks of the alps. Being right next to the border with Italy, the Mediterranean architecture of the village is packed full of charm that you don’t often find in Alpine villages.
You will find everything from churches, to stately villas and beautiful old houses in the village and it is brimming with Italian culture from the markets to the restaurants and more.
A visit to Poschiavo is a must for anyone exploring Switzerland and to sell you on it a little bit more, here are all the great things to do in Poschiavo and in Val Poschiavo too.
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Hike, Swim, and Take A Boat Ride On Lago di Poschiavo
Just south of Poschiavo towards the end of Val Poschiavo is the beautiful Lago di Poschiavo, aka Lake Poschiavo.
To get to Lago di Poschiavo simply take the train from Poschiavo to the train station at the lakeside village of La Prese.
As soon as you set eyes on Poschiavo lake, you will be blown away by its beauty. The mountains fall into the clear waters of this lake, and in the summer some sunbathing on the beaches and a swim in the lake are a must.
There is also a well-marked path around the lake which makes for a beautiful hike. It is about 7 kilometers long and will only take about two hours. Bring a picnic with you and find a secluded beach for lunch and swim half away around.
You can also go on a boat ride around the lake between May and October, it is a wonderful way to get a different perspective of the scenery of Val Poschiavo.
Hike To The Panoramic Views Of Runchet da Sotsassa
A lovely way to get a different perspective of Poschiavo and Val Poschiavo is by hiking up to the Runchet da Sotsassa from the town.
The hike only takes about 30 minutes as it is only around one and a half kilometers long but you ascend close to 100 meters along the trail.
The trail follows the old terraced areas of the valley that were once used for growing produce for the area but are no longer used and are now a lush forest.
As you walk through the beautiful forest, your views of Poschiavo and Val Poschiavo will keep changing. You will cross a charming little wooden bridge over a stream and if you need a break along the way, you will also find two benches with great views.
Once you reach the Runchet da Sotsassa you will be blessed with spectacular views of Poschiavo village and the mountains of the alps.
Discover The Bernina Pass
Located at the northern end of Val Poschiavo is the iconic mountain pass, the Bernina Pass, which connects the Engadine valley to Poschiavo.
The Berning Pass, aka Passo del Bernina, is absolutely stunning and features the Bernina Massif, Lago Bianco, access to multiple peaks, and some of the most stunning hiking trails in the area.
You can either choose to hike up to the Bernina Pass from Poschiavo or take the Bernina Express. I would recommend taking the Bernina Express up to Passo Del Bernina, exploring the area, and then hiking back down.
The Bernina Express follows the Bernina railway line and is a UNESCO World Heritage railway. It was opened in 1910 and finally connected one side of the alps to the other, via the Bernina Pass.
Taking the Bernina railway is a magical experience as the train takes you up into the alps, past mountain peaks, lakes, and glaciers. Hop off at the Ospizio Bernina station and explore the area before hiking back down to Poschiavo.
Visit The Local Museum At Palazzo de Bassus-Mengotti
Palazzo de Bassus-Mengotti is located in the heart of Poschiavo along the banks of the Poschiavo river.
The Palazzo de Bassus-Mengotti was built way back in the 1600s and was once the home of the most powerful politician in Poschiavo, Tommaso de Bassus. It later became a chapel and today is a local museum.
A visit to the museum is a must if you would like to learn about the history and culture of Poschiavo.
You will learn about how people moved to the village, lived in the area, see old artifacts from India and Italy, as well as local artwork. There is also an interesting exhibit on Grisons Pastry Makers.
Take A Stroll Down “Palazzi” Street
Palazzi are stately villas that you will find in Poschiavo that date back to the 1800s and there is a single street, Via di Palazzi that showcases the best of them.
Palazzi came to be in Poschiavo for interesting reasons. In the 1800s, many residents had to travel for work and became very successful confectioners across Europe and the rest of the world.
Once they had made their fortunes, they returned to Poschiavo and built stunning villas to show off just how successful they were.
The first villa was designed by Venetian architect Giovanni Sottovia and built by Tomaso Lardelli in 1856. Along Via Di Palazzi you will find 5 of these villas all with stunning facades and beautiful gardens, that showcase excellent neoclassical architecture.
Take In The Landscapes Alp Grüm
Alp Grüm is one of the most magical spots in the Swiss Alps and spending some time there is an absolute must.
Sitting just at the end of Val Poschiavo you can either hike up to Alp Grüm or take the Bernina line. I would recommend taking the train up and hiking back down if you fancy a solid walk.
When you arrive at Alp Grüm, you will be blown away, it is about as beautiful as the alps gets with insane views in every direction.
From Alp Grüm you can hike around the stunning Lago Palu lake with its amazingly blue glacier water. A hike up to the high-altitude lake of Lagh Da Caralin is about as stunning as it gets too.
There are numerous restaurants at Alp Grüm too where you can enjoy lunch with a view. From your table, you can see views of Poschiavo Valley and lake, plus the Palu Glacier, and the peaks around you.
However, it is the peaks of h Piz Varuna at 3,453-meters and Piz Canton at 3,111-meters that truly takes the prize.
See Inside The Collegiata di San Vittore Church
Sitting in the center of Poschiavo is the beautiful Collegiata di San Vittore Church and taking a look at the architecture and the stunning interior is a must while in the village.
The Collegiata di San Vittore Church was built way back in the 1100s and the adjoining tower was added in the 1200s but it took about two hundred more years for building to stop on this Catholic church.
The church kept being expanded and was finally completed in 1653. The outside showcases excellent baroque-style architecture while the inside features beautiful frescoes and an awesome domed roof.
Step Back In Time At Cappella di San Pietro
Another cultural site one should visit in Poschiavo is the Cappella di San Pietro, or Chapel of Saint Peter.
The Cappella di San Pietro sits on the western side of Poschiavo right at the base of the surrounding mountains. It is thought that the chapel was built in the middle ages and features a Romanesque architectural style.
The chapel was heavily restored in the 1960s and today you can see the beautiful Romanesque windows as well as magical Renaissance paintings by unknown artists plus lots of different other pieces of art depicting scenes from the bible.
The chapel truly is a frozen point of time from the past and is a lovely place to visit for 30 minutes while in Poschiavo.
Hike to Lago di Saoseo In The Val di Campo
One of the most picturesque turquoise lakes called Lago di Saoseo is right up the road from Poschiavo. In fact, that was one of the big attractions for us as hikers when we visited.
At the top of Val Poschiavo is where the Val di Campo breaks east. You can take public transport to the top of the valley and then hike to Lago di Saoseo and the stunning scenery surrounding it from there. There is also a big car park opposite the start of the hike, but, on busy days it still gets full, so don’t come too late.
The steep hike up the valley wall is tough but then you will be on a forested plateau filled with magical lakes and even better views. Lago di Saoseo is the highlight, but also check out Lago di Val Viola, and Lago di Scispadus as you hike the whole loop as well.
The area is truly hard to beat and on a warm summer’s day, you can have a chilly but refreshing swim in the lakes. It is certainly not like swimming in the Mediterranean, and it will cool you down for sure.
Museo Casa Console
For a touch more culture in Poschiavo, head to the lovely Casa Console Art Museum in the center of the village.
The museum sits inside a stunning only building built by Antonia Semadeni back in the mid-1800s who was a pastry chef. Admire the architecture and it is pretty cool.
Inside you will find an excellent art museum with works from artists such as Koller, Segantini, Calame, Lenbahc, and Spitzweg on display.
It is a small charming museum that won’t take very long to get around but it is a lovely thing to do on a bad weather day in Poschiavo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Poschiavo worth visiting?
Poschiavo is worth visiting for those that enjoy a mix of Italian weather and the Swiss Alps. With a historic town center and plenty to keep you busy in the stunning surrounding area, it is a great place for couples and families alike.
Is Poschiavo in Switzerland?
Poschiavo is in Engadin, in the southeast of Switzerland, very close to the Italian border. With Italy so close, it has a very Italian vibe to it, while still being very much a Swiss town.