Being this the first segment of Route 6-Graubünden Route, I will give here a general overview of the entire route, which runs from Chur–To Martina / Bellinzona (https://www.schweizmobil.ch/en/cycling-in-switzerland/routes/route-06.html)
Overview of the entire Graubünden Route: Total length of the 7 Sections is about 250 km. Total elevation about 5500 m
Route 6 winds around the Engadine region and goes through magical mountain landscapes with breathtaking views of high alpine peaks and glacier-polished walls. It crosses iconic landmarks such as the Albulapass, the Rhaetian Railway, the impressive gorge of the Viamala, and the San Bernardino Pass. It is the only Swiss Route that is not continuous but splits into 2 diverging segments at Thusis.
Route 6: Section 1 (Chur 583m–Thusis 672m)
Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch ( https://www.schweizmobil.ch/en/cycling-in-switzerland/routes/route/etappe-0887.html): 27km, height difference 360m (260m in opposite direction). Their site has the full profile.
Chur is the start of the Graubunden Route (06). We arrived there by train in the early afternoon. Incidentally, this being a long weekend in Switzerland, we met many cyclotourists on the train with their packed bike-bags ready for adventures in different corners of Switzerland. We even met a couple who was going by train to Hamburg to start a 4-month, 5,000km long bike trip from Hamburg to North Cape (Norway)!…..my dream …….
But let’s go back to our much smaller tour. As we arrived in Chur ( https://m.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/chur.html), I was immediately struck by the number of VTT/MTB cyclists returning into town. This place must be a real paradise for outdoor sports, nestled between high mountains and crossed by the river Rhine. It is indeed surrounded by world famous resorts such as Davos and Arosa. It is also the departing station for the panoramic train lines of Glacier and Bernina Express.
Chur (https://chur.graubuenden.ch/en/explore-regions/chur/chur-old-town) is also the oldest city in Switzerland with over 5,000 years of history and is one of the ancient settlements of the pre-Roman Rhaetian people (whose language was somewhat similar to the Etruscan one). So, before taking off, we browsed the charming Old Town, which is entirely pedestrian so that even bikes must be dismounted . Here the buildings are simple and well maintained. The little and narrow streets are winding around, uncovering picturesque corners at every turn. Particularly attractive is the large square with several cafes.
For shopping, Chur is reputed to be the town with the highest number of shops between Zurich and Milano, and for food lovers one can find plenty of different restaurants.
Left Chur, the bike path entered the valley of the Hinterrhein, one of the two initial tributaries of the river Rhein (or Rhine), converging in Chur. After an initial flat section, the trail started to climb into a more forested area with beautiful panoramic views of the rumbling Hinterrhein below.
Most of this section was along very tranquil roads or natural trails, completely immersed in nature, and surrounded by high mountains.
After only a couple of hours we reached Thusis, set at the entrance of the spectacular gorge of the Via Mala. Here we stopped for dinner and then backpedaled a couple of km to the ancient hamlet of Fürstenau where we had booked a lovely small hotel for the night (“Casa Caminada”).
I highly recommend this “Ghasthaus” for its romantic charm and its amazing food (though we had only breakfast here -but the dinner menu looked very sophisticated). It combines an elegant ultramodern design with a minimalist approach. The bedroom was exquisite but bare-minimum. The building was recently renovated from two old stables in the historic center of the village, with a mix of contemporary and farm styles. Next door there is an even more elegant and sophisticated ancient villa/castle converted into a beautiful old-charm Hotel
Links to Introduction and other Sections:
- BIKING THROUGH SWITZERLAND (with an electric bike)
- Route 6: Section 2 – Thusis to Bergün
- Route 6: Section 3 – Bergün to Zernez
- Route 6: Section 4 ; part 1 – Zernez to Scuol
- Route 6: Section 4, part 2 – Scuol to Martina to Finstermünz Fortress
- Route 6: Section 5 (Thusis–Splügen )
- Route 6: Section 6 (Splügen – S. Bernardino)
- Route 6: Section 7 (S. Bernardino- Bellinzona)