Time-honoured pilgrimage paths wind through the canton of Graubünden in eastern Switzerland. With Santiago de Compostela in sight, pilgrims have been hiking through this picturesque landscape for centuries. You can still follow in the footsteps of these pilgrims on the approximately 250-kilometre-long (155 mi) Way of St. James in Graubünden. Between ice-cold rivers, a wild mountain and meadow landscape, and spiritual places, you can find your way back to this old way to travel.
The Way of St. James in Graubünden is divided into 20 stages of varying lengths. The starting point is Müstair and your destination is Amsteg. Of course, you can also combine individual stages and reduce the number. This is also part of your own personal pilgrimage path, where you alone set the pace. Along the way you will conquer the four passes Chrüzli, Strela, Costainer and Scaletta and then hike through beautiful, rugged valleys. On the Way of St. James, a different landscape awaits you every day; each has been shaped in the past by diverse religious practice.
You can organise your journey to Müstair either by public transport or by car. For example, there is a bus to Müstair from Zernez, which is easily reached by train. Amsteg is also connected to the public transport network by bus and you can also get back to Müstair from there if you’ve travelled by car.
You’ll find suitable accommodation at the end point of each stage and also in the towns and cities that you pass on the way. Some stages end at individual huts where the number of overnight places is limited. You should call in advance to find out if there’s room.
If you hike the entire Way of St. James in Graubünden, you can pick up the ‘Disentis Seal’ at the Benedictine monastery in Disentis. There are several stamping points along the way where you can gradually fill your pilgrim's passport. Of course, this is hardly a must as even without a stamp, you won't forget your adventure through eastern Switzerland. You can have the passport sent to you via the Jakobsweg Graubünden Association: jakobsweg-gr.ch/derweg/pilgerpass (in German).
You’ll see that the length of the Jakobsweg Graubünden allows you to immerse yourself completely in your pilgrimage and the spiritual places you encounter along the way. You’ll discover chapels and churches but also lakes and waterfalls, which exude a magnificent atmosphere. You’ll always be at an altitude of between 1,500 and 2,700 metres (4,920 - 8,860 ft). Well-known hiking trails such as the ‘Via son Giachen’ and the ‘Jakobus entdeckt’ will accompany you at every turn. Be sure to take the altitude into account when planning your hike as snow can fall on the route early in autumn. The Jakobsweg Graubünden is followed by the Innerschweiz-Weg (Central Switzerland Trail) at Lake Lucerne, which leads into the canton of Bern.
In order to go on a pilgrimage you have to do one thing at the beginning: get on your way. On the Way of St. James in Graubünden you start in the village of Müstair with 800 inhabitants, the easternmost place in Switzerland on the Italian border. At the UNESCO World Heritage Monastery of St. Johann you can get in the mood for the next 20 stages and even have a look at the museum.
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After the sometimes demanding first stages, you can take it easy on today's 12-kilometer hike. From Tschiertschen you first follow the butterfly path, which leads through the hilly landscape with information boards.The hiking trail then leads you to Asserpraden and then to Passugg. At Passugg you approach the Plessur again and follow the river to Araschgen. On this way you will then reach your destination Chur, which is also the canton capital.
After the first five kilometers that you cover today from Trinn-Digg, a special natural landscape awaits you. You first hike through unpopulated area and then reach the Rhine Gorge.The gorge, which the river carved into the rock over thousands of years, is 14 kilometers long. The gorge was created when the rock collapsed just as long ago at the place of the gorge. The Rhine Gorge is home to rare animal and plant species.