Samnaun – finish the season in style!

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Located in the eastern part of Switzerland in the canton of Graubünden, near the border with Austria, at about 1,800 metres the Swiss village of Samnaun is a winter sports paradise offering direct access to over 238 kilometres of groomed slopes and 44 ski lifts which comprise the Silvretta Arena. The village is linked with Ischgl in Austria, but offers a more sedate base than its more boisterous Austrian neighbour from which to enjoy the world class skiing and first rate winter sports infrastructure of the area.  Its predominantly south facing slopes mean that its visitors generally get to enjoy sunnier mornings on the slopes and on windy or stormy days when the high border is impassable due to closed lifts guests can still enjoy the less populated slopes of the Swiss side of the Silvretta Arena. 

Winter sports enthusiasts can ski all the way back to the village from the surrounding mountain slopes, arriving at the welcome sight of the “Smugglers Arms” bar and restaurant at the edge of the town via the old smuggler’s mountain trail, while enjoying the spectacular alpine scenery on the return. A series of “Smuggler’s” ski circuits have also been devised around the ski area to celebrate the history of this border region.

The village itself has a population of around 1,000 people and retains a traditional charm, with alpine architecture, wooden chalets and a welcoming atmosphere. Local cuisine includes cured meats as well as other traditional Swiss specialties like alpine cheese and the local culture reflects a mix of Swiss and Tyrolean influences due to its proximity to the Austrian border. Visitors can explore the local museum to learn about the history of the area and the tough lives those living here in former times endured. Nor is Samnaun only a winter destination. In the summer its many trails and alpine meadows offer fantastic facilities for hiking and biking enthusiasts in particular to enjoy the mountainous landscape.

Duty-Free!

A unique element of the village is that it is a duty-free shopping zone with over 40 shops. These offer a wide range of quality goods including alcohol, cosmetics, electronics, perfumes and watches – all without the usual Swiss customs duties. A modern (and legally permitted) take on the valley’s historical reputation as a smugglers haven! This of course also means that some well-planned purchases can make a visit highly cost effective.

How to Get there

Samnaun is easily accessible by road, either through Switzerland or via Landeck in Austria. However, notwithstanding its remote location, the village of Samnaun is also well served by the efficient Swiss public transport system. Accordingly, car hire is not required and visitors can relax and enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery during their voyage from the comfort of their train carriage or, for the final leg of the journey from the town of Scuol-Tarasp, bus.

Where to Stay

Having grown in recent years to cater to the tourism industry, Samnaun offers a good range of accommodation options at different levels ranging from self-catering apartments to highly rated hotels. For those looking to indulge themselves with a taste of luxury for their visit the Hotel Post Sport und Wellness is an excellent choice. Located in the heart of the village, this cosy Alpine style hotel offers a choice of two bars and restaurants, the Restaurant Pöstli or the Restaurant Stammerspitze, both serving hearty traditional Swiss cuisine as well as international dishes. Its spacious Stella Aqua spa area includes saunas, a steam bath, a hot tub, and a fitness centre and a wide range of massage and beauty treatments are also available. Just the thing after a hard day on the slopes ! The central location of the hotel is also great for accessing other hostelries as well as the local duty-free shops and in fact guests are also entitled to an additional deduction when shopping in some locations. 

Mark Browne was a guest of the Swiss Tourism Association when visiting Samnaun.