If you’re planning your Switzerland travel itinerary, here’s a hidden gem in the Swiss Alps that offers a dreamy backdrop for adventure. Flims, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to spectacular mountain trails, lakes and breathtaking scenery.
The Swiss Alps resort of Flims is a lesser-known beauty located only 140km from Zurich (1 hr 30-mins drive, or 2 hrs by public transport) and offers some of the most stunning scenery. Travel here to find no less than three beautiful mountain lakes, the 400m deep Rhine Gorge (also referred to as Switzerland’s Grand Canyon) and the soaring peaks of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tectonic Arena Sardona.
With such unique natural wonders on its doorstep, Flims has pioneered an eco-initiative called ‘Greenstyle’ to ensure sustainable tourism and protection of the local environment. Also, the Tectonic Arena Sardona, one of three of Switzerland’s UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Boasting 250 km of hiking trails to explore, and 330km of mountain bike routes, the region of Flims is a truly magical summer destination for all; from adrenaline junkies to nature travel lovers, families and couples.
Flims is home to some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, which can be explored by marked hiking routes (both gentle or challenging) or on mountain bike, taking travel lovers past several natural wonders. Perfect for your Switzerland travel itinerary.
Adventures on water
You can hike along craggy rock formations, have a BBQ or dip your toes in the turquoise waters of Lake Cauma or Lake Cresta, or even try some watersports such as paddle boarding and canoeing.
Lake Cresta is only accessible by foot. The ‘forest ridge lake’ is situated on the eastern border between Flims and Trin. The crystal-clear water lake is nestled in a dark green grove of trees. It is 375 metres long and 180 metres wide and is listed as a protected natural landmark of regional importance in the canton of Graubünden.
Further up the mountains, you can also find the unique ‘Glacial Mills’, natural pools where you can refresh with an icy dip. The Maliensbach stream has been turning large rocks, sand and gravel on their axis for centuries. This constant friction of the limestone rock over the course of time has led to the formation of natural bathing pools.
Hike or River Raft the Rhine Gorge, The Swiss Grand Canyon
The Rhine gorge between Reichenau and Ilanz is known as the ‘Swiss Grand Canyon’ as it is one of the most spectacular landscapes in Graubünden and is unique in the Alpine region. In the wild gorges, you can go river rafting or take a hike along the craggy rock formations.
An easily accessible hiking trail and several biking trails along the Rhine also work as a scenic backdrop for a barbecue or simply dip your feet in the water. You can also explore the Rhine gorge by train or PostBus.
Travel lovers can also sample delicious local cuisine along the paths including specialty grills, rustic cheeses and freshly-baked breads with glorious mountain views. The culinary trails are specially-curated and allow hikers to enjoy a dish at a selection of pre-arranged restaurants during their hike.
The mountain cows procession
The region also plays host to exciting events throughout the summer season, including the famous “Flimserstein Alpabzug” in September 2018, when the mountain cows descend from their lush pastures down to the valley, accompanied by traditional music, a local fairs market, funfair and more – a real traditional Swiss experience.
UNESCO Natural Heritage Site: Tectonic Arena Sardona
With only 3 UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites recognised in Switzerland, the Tectonic Arena Sardona in Flims is extremely unique and guaranteed to delight geologists and travel lovers.
The site spans 32,800 hectares and is one of few locations in the world where you can actually see how mountains are formed, with a clear line showing two separate tectonic plates coming together. To celebrate the anniversary of the site a series of entertaining events will take place during summer 2018.
The Naraus – Nagens panoramic trail offers extraordinary views of the Flims valley and surrounding mountains. The hike begins at the Naraus summit station, follows along the slope of the mountain to the lower Segnesboden, and finally reaches the Alp Nagens – Stalla tavern. Return to the Laax base station via the Nagen shuttle or descend on foot.
Trutg dil Flem, trail upper part: A wild mountain stream, a fairytale forest, several bridges and mountain panorama in the heart of Sardona. Trutg dil Flem leads you along the Flem stream from the Segnesboden, passing through the site of the largest landslide in European history, before returning to Flims. From the lower Segnesboden, you can enjoy wonderful views of the Tschingelhörner. On the descent back to the town, you will cross seven bridges, some of them based on audacious designs, before returning to the Flims fairy-tale forest.
Segnesboden climbing garden: This high mountain valley situated at 2,100 metres above sea level with 31 climbing routes is the perfect place for novice hikers and families. The rocks on the Segnesboden are strong limestone rock, perfect for climbing. In preparation, take note that the walls of the Segnesboden climbing garden may still contain traces of snow at the beginning of summer due to its high altitude and location.
Accommodation in Flims and the surrounding region
Flims offers a wide range of accommodation options, from camping, to serviced campsites and camping pods. For a more unique and ‘off-the-grid’ experience on your Switzerland travel route, hike to the ex-Military Mountain Hut on the Segnespass, where they offer (very!) basic, yet exhilarating accommodation on the side of the mountain.
For more hiking, biking and other Switzerland travel adventures in Flims, check out the official Flims website.