Davos is a Swiss town that most people recognize by name, primarily for two reasons. Firstly, it hosts the World Economic Forum (WEF), which takes place at the end of January each year. This economic forum gathers the global financial elite and politically influential individuals. Secondly, the skiing around the town is a major draw. Also, what many might not know is that Davos is the highest town in Europe, standing at 1560 meters above sea level.

The ski resort is one of the oldest in the world, with a history of ski tourism dating back to the late 1800s, although the first ski lift wasn't built until 1924. During the 1930s, the number of lifts and slopes increased, and skiers began to seriously consider Davos as a ski vacation destination. After World War II, development continued for several decades, turning it into the major ski resort it is today.

Multiple Ski Areas Around the Town

An important difference between Davos and most other ski resorts is that it is a real town, albeit a small one with just over 10,000 inhabitants. In some cases, a town might have a larger ski area connected to it, but in the case of Davos, there are several different ski areas in and around the town. This makes Davos particularly interesting for those who want to vary their experience and try different areas on different days of their ski vacation.

It is quite possible to buy a lift pass that is valid for all the slopes around Davos, and this more comprehensive lift pass is somewhat more expensive than buying per area. If you plan to ski for several days, it may well be worth purchasing the more comprehensive lift pass, for flexibility if nothing else.

Parsenn Ski Area

The largest of all the ski areas in Davos is Parsenn, located within the town, not far from the Davos Dorf train station in the northern parts. If you go on a ski vacation to Davos, this is generally where you start your skiing. The Parsenn area has about 100 kilometres of slopes and 18 lifts, with the highest point reaching up to 2844 meters. Many who stay near this ski area tend to do all their skiing here. There are also plenty of more advanced slopes, with around 20% being black and 60% red, making this area the most appreciated by more experienced skiers.

Parsenn is also loosely connected with the small ski area Madrisa, located in the neighbouring village of Klosters just north of Davos. If you start your skiing in Parsenn, you can always end the day in Klosters and take the train back to Davos from there.

Jakobshorn Ski Area

The Jakobshorn ski area is also located in Davos, in the southern parts of the town, with a starting point just a few steps from the Davos Platz train station. Jakobshorn offers easier skiing than Parsenn, making it more popular among beginners and those who feel more comfortable with simpler skiing. There are a total of just over 40 kilometres of pistes and 13 lifts here.

Another feature of Jakobshorn is JatzPark, a snow park for those who enjoy freestyle skiing. This snow park is situated at nearly 2500 meters and, due to its high altitude, is one of the more snow-reliable snow parks in the Alps. The park is designed to accommodate both beginners and experienced skiers who enjoys this type of skiing.

Rinerhorn Ski Area

About ten minutes by train south of Davos is the Rinerhorn ski area. This area is indeed more interesting than Jakobshorn, especially for more advanced skiers, but for many, it is not worth the trip since Parsenn is larger. There are over 50 kilometres of slopes here, of which 70% are red or black, and there are seven lifts. If you are in Davos for a whole week and want some variety from the areas within Davos, it is definitely worth spending a day skiing here.

Freeride Area Pischa

East of Davos is the Pischa area. There is only one ski lift here, and no groomed slopes; everything is designed for freeride skiers. Since there are few families and children who come here, this area is much quieter, and for advanced skiers, it is a dream area that must be visited if you go to Davos for a ski trip, provided this is the type of skiing you enjoy. Buses from Davos Dorf train station to Pischa take you there in under 10 minutes.

More Ski Areas Around Davos

It should also be mentioned that, in addition to the ski areas listed above, there are a few other smaller ski areas/slopes in close proximity to or near Davos, but primarily those listed here are large enough to be of interest.

More Than Just Downhill Skiing

In addition to the excellent opportunities for downhill skiing, there are also good opportunities for cross-country skiing. Around Davos, there are over 100 kilometers of groomed tracks, and it is considered one of the ski resorts in the Alps with the best conditions for cross-country skiing.

Another type of exercise you can enjoy here is hiking. There are several groomed trails in winter, and you can also rent snowshoes to venture out on your own adventures where no one else has gone (at least since the last snowfall).

If you are interested in ice hockey, Davos is certainly of interest. The Spengler Cup is played here every December, and it is actually the oldest ice hockey tournament in the world, first played in 1923. The participating teams always include HC Davos (of course) and five other invited teams. It is not just club teams that participate; Canada's national team (without NHL pros) also participates every year nowadays.

A Ski Resort with a Touch of Luxury

Given the luxury that the fancy elite from the financial world require when they visit the World Economic Forum, it is not surprising that Davos can offer some luxury. There are several five-star hotels and a number of fine restaurants, but the ski resort still does not have the same luxury reputation as other well-known Swiss ski resorts such as St. Moritz, Gstaad, and even Arosa and Zermatt.

If you want to stay in style during your ski vacation in Davos, the best five-star hotels you will find are Hotel Flüela Davos and Precise Tale Seehof Davos, which are centrally located in the town centre, and there is also AlpenGold Hotel Davos, located just outside the town centre in northern Davos.

The Best Way to Get to Davos

The fastest way to get to Davos is to fly to Zurich. From there, there are several ways to reach the ski resort. Besides the usual options of transfer and rental car, you can take a train to Davos from Zurich, but expect one or two changes of train and a journey of at least 2.5 hours. If you rent a car or book a transfer, the drive takes about two hours.

Flying to Innsbruck in Austria also works well. With a rental car, you can get to Davos in about 2.5 hours, but you can also take the train from here. The travel time for this is longer, usually around 4 hours, and it will certainly require at least two transfers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the answer to 6 of the most frequently asked questions about Davos, for example:

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Ski schools

With us, you will currently find 32 various ski schools and lessons in Davos that you can book through us. Through our collaboration with the online ski school specialist CheckYeti you can get free cancellation on many different lessons and also with the opportunity to get up to 15% discount.

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There are 108 restaurants in Davos with 37 different types of kitchens, the most popular being European, Swiss and International.

Hotel & accommodations

Here you will find in total 184 hotel, apartments and chalets/houses in Davos.
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