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Davos Is a Winter Haven, Even With the Crowds

Davos Is a Winter Haven, Even With the Crowds

It may be synonymous with the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of world leaders, but Davos, Switzerland, is, first and foremost, a winter sports mecca.

The highest city in Europe at 5,120 feet above sea level, this modern town in the Swiss state of Graubünden has plenty to offer travelers, from cultural activities to outdoor excursions.

And while it might not be the priciest of the high-end Swiss destinations (that title is claimed by St. Moritz, Verbier, and Zermatt, known for luxury hotels, glitzy shopping, and premium ski resorts), travelers should expect to spend a pretty penny both for hotels, which can run anywhere from 254 Swiss francs (about $277) to nearly 1,000 Swiss francs per night, and ski passes in the high season. A six-day Davos Klosters pass, for example, costs 454 Swiss francs per adult, 318 Swiss francs per teens, and 182 Swiss francs per child, not including equipment rental.

Cost isn’t the only element to keep in mind. During the forum conference, which takes place at the Congress Center and other cultural venues and hotels from Jan. 16-20, tourism is significantly disrupted as several thousand business, political and organization leaders — along with their security and trailed by throngs of journalists — invade.

One representative from the local tourist organization, Destination Davos Klosters, described the conference period as “a state of emergency,” with roadblocks, armed guards and closures. That includes the shutdown of cultural institutions like the Kirchner Museum, home to an expansive collection of works by the German Expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner who spent the last two decades of his life in Davos.

But visitors can still enjoy outdoor time in pure mountain air — the distinctive feature that historically made Davos and its sanitariums a magnet for people in search of healing. And beyond the roadblocks and closed doors, it’s still possible to get a flavor for what the town offers beyond business and politics.

Davos does not have the same idyllic Alpine village vibe as neighboring towns. Nonetheless, it is surrounded by grand mountain peaks and forestland, with connections to the best slopes, trails and vistas in the valley. Those ‌staying‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌hotel‌ or holiday rental for at least one night are eligible for a free Davos Klosters Premium Card ‌‌for discounts ‌on outdoor activities, ‌museum‌ ‌admission‌ ‌fees and regional railways, as well as ‌free‌…

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