Where the Rhine moves mountains
Contura - the magazine
There is something to suit all tastes in the Surselva region between Reichenau and Disentis: nature lovers can hike along Lake Cauma by Flims, rafters sweep down the Rhine and those interested in architecture will enjoy relaxing in the famous thermal spa at Vals.
There is a lot to discover on and off the tracks in the Surselva region. You travel along the Rhine by train through the Rhine Gorge, past rugged walls of rock and expanses of forest. The Swiss Grand Canyon is a genuine paradise for rafters. Bikers and hikers cleave their way along the Rhine – and can hop on and off the RhB any time.
Regional specialities provide the perfect sustenance along the way: the local restaurants serve capuns (chard roulades), maluns (potato pancakes) and Pizokels (a local kind of pasta). RhB's Gourmet Train takes you from one place to the next, and from one delicious bite to the next.
Tip: The Greina plateau is high above the valley. The high plateau can only be reached on foot – and is an unspoiled jewel.
Don't miss any of the highlights when you are in Surselva.
Ruinaulta is the name given to the monumental Rhine Gorge between Ilanz and Reichenau in the local Romansh dialect. You will see rare birds, white rock faces and bizarre geological formations in the Swiss Grand Canyon that can only be crossed on foot, by bike, train or boat.
Ilanz, the first sizeable town on the Rhine, lies at the heart of the Surselva region. In the picturesque old town, buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries survive intact alongside two former city gates. Strolling through the lanes you will discover small shops, local handicrafts and artists' studios. The "Museum Regiunal Surselva" illustrates the history of the area.
Disentis Monastery has two buildings of interest: the abbey itself and the Monastery Museum. The museum displays exhibitions on cultural history and natural history. The monks who live in the monastery follow the ancient Benedictine Rule and make a solemn vow to pray and work in this community for the rest of their lives.
One of Europe's mightiest rivers has its source in a small lake high up in the Surselva region. A lighthouse on the Oberalp Pass marks the source of the Rhine, as it starts its 1,233-kilometre journey to the North Sea at Rotterdam. From the top of the pass you can hike to Lake Toma in one-and-a-half hours.
The six-kilometre-long high plateau links the cantons of Graubünden and Ticino. For hikers, the original tundra landscape is the starting point for various hiking trails. Alongside its unique biodiversity, the Greina plateau is also home to several SAC mountain huts.
Freewheeling through the Surselva: the highlights of this 65-kilometre-long cycle route are the picturesque villages along the Vorderrhein River, the wild Rhine Gorge, the confluence of the Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein at Reichenau and the cantonal capital of Chur. And if your legs grow tired, you can hop on board a train at any time. The RhB can offer bikers whatever they are looking for: Rail & Bike or graubündenPASS Bike.
Discovering the Rhine Gorge: enjoy unlimited travel through the Rhine Gorge (Ruinaulta) for a whole day. More information on the Ruinaulta Ticket.