Switzerland is, arguably, best known for its many ski resorts, but there is more to the European country than the winter sport, including its pledge to be completely carbon neutral and self-sufficient by 2030.
After just a few days in Laax, which is in the Graubünden region, it’s safe to say my stereotype of the country has been flipped on it’s head, as it is a must visit destination to have on your travel bucket list all year round, and I can see why many flock there for a healthier work/life balance.
From where to stay, how to get there, and what to do for every type of holidaygoer; from families, to solo travellers, couples and group vacations, hikers, bikers, skiers, yogis, wellness buffs, and those who need some much needed time away from their phone or computer screens.
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How to get to Switzerland?
First thing is first - getting to Switzerland.
It’s safe to say travelling to Zurich, which is the closest airport to Laax, was the swiftest journey I have taken, especially as the flight is no more than 90 minutes, so no sooner you’re up, you’ve landed, which is exactly what you want if you’re not the best flier, or you are travelling with children.
Some airlines have introduced luggage restrictions, but not Swiss Airlines. Those travelling with Swiss can take on a free carry-on bag, with specific measurements and a maximum weight of 8kg, as well as your handbag, which means no fear of overpacking, or being stung with hefty check-in bag costs.
Swiss also offers travellers free bottles of water and decadent Swiss chocolate, although some can select to have an in-flight meal, which is a big win in our books.
The best part about Swiss is it an eco-conscious airline, so for those looking for sustainable ways to travel, you may feel relieved to know it was the first Swiss to use sustainable aviation fuel, and with bigger plans to push this incentive by early next year.
Not only is it efficient, comfortable and eco-conscious, but it is affordable, as return flights from London for three days start from £70 with Swiss, although you can travel from other airports too.
Plus, Zurich’s airport is, quite frankly, one of the best airports I have ever experienced; from the fresh food counters creating cuisines from all over the world, to Starbucks and traditional bakeries, plus plenty of shops to pass the time - you will want to get there early.
Once I landed it was time to journey to Laax, and while it is easy to get an airport transfer, it’s just as efficient to board two very swift trains and a bus from Chur, which drops you off right outside the RocksResort - what more could you want?
If flying isn’t quite for you, travellers can also take the journey by car, crossing over the English Channel via a ferry, and continuing the drive, or trains, although this could take approximately 12 hours.
Alternatively there are plenty of scenic train routes so you can see everything serene Switzerland has to offer even on the most fleeting trips. One in particular, is the Bernina Express, or the Glacier train, which you can pick up from the central train and bus depot in Chur.
Where to stay in Laax?
When it comes to holidays, whether it’s a brief weekend getaway or week long vacation, one unnegotiable necessity when booking accommodation is accessibility, and RocksResort in Laax ticks that box.
It’s safe to say RocksResort is a home away from home, and almost like it’s very own village in Laax, which is ideal for solo travellers, families, and those travelling with friends, as you won’t need for anything.
RocksResort is one of Laax’s most sustainable hotels; from the materials it is made from, to the smaller details in restaurants and cafe’s on site, which is perfect for the eco-conscious traveller.
With over 15 restaurants, cafe’s and bars, on site, as well as gondolas to transport you to the mountains, shops, supermarkets, hairdressers, a spa and it’s very own Treetop walk, you have no reason to ever leave the resort.
The rooms are a talking point in themselves, as they not only boast impressive views of the resort, and surrounding scenery, but are the tranquil space we all need on active holidays - or any vacation for that matter.
The rooms vary from double to four double bedroom apartments, all of which are decorated in neutral colour tones and materials, such as wooden panelling to harmoniously complement limewash walls, marble bathrooms, and soothing stone floors.
At RocksResort you can also opt to stay in Riders apartment block, which homes the first ever sustainable and solely vegetarian restaurant, although I’ve been told this gets booked up with skiing professionals during peak winter season.
RocksResort, prices from £198, Booking.com
The RocksResort has a variety of apartments to stay in, and it is also the site for Signinahotel.
This accommodation has all the perks of RocksResort on its doorstep, while the rooms have been rated an impressive 9.2 out of 10 stars.
The majority of the rooms boast a balcony overlooking Laax, while guests can also enjoy a spa, swimming pool, hot tub, as well as a restaurant too.
Signinahotel, prices from £170, Booking.com
Hotel Schweizerhof is situated in the neighbouring village of Flims, and is simply picture perfect.
The vibrant baby pink exterior contrasts the opulent and decadent interior, as on entering you will be met with ornately decorated high ceilings, a large dining area, as well as a private section, which doubles up as a cinema room.
For those looking for a stunning terrace to while away the hours, or a rooftop bar, Schweizerhof has you covered.
While those looking to for some true R&R can book in for yoga sessions and cocoa ceremony, on the top floor, or forest bathing in the nearby green space.
Schweizerhopf, prices from £194, Booking.com
Sleep under the stars
When do you ever get the chance to sleep under the midnight sky looking over a vast expanse in a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the stars as your nightlight, and sunrise as your alarm clock? It’s practically never in bustling London.
Segneshuette is one of the oldest mountain huts in Switzerland, and measures 2,100 metres above sea level, but don’t be put off by the figures as it is well worth the climb for the breathtaking views.
Be at one with nature by settling into a sleeping bag, and your warmest clothes, to doze off in the fresh air. Admittedly it’s not for the faint hearted, and Segneshuette has a handful of cosy rooms for those who prefer the comfort of their bed, and wish to be shielded from the elements.
However, for those looking for a happy medium the nearby Alp Nagens region has a pop-up glamping site, with a traditional Swiss restaurant serving traditional cuisine just a short walk away.
Is RocksResort kid friendly?
RocksResort is the perfect accommodation to book for all travellers, especially those with children of any age.
With a kids creche on site, as well as a playground, Go-Kart circuit, Freestyle area for teens looking to hone their biking abilities, or skateboarding skills, rest assured your brood will never be stuck for entertainment.
Throw into the mix the unique Treetop walk, which boasts panoramic views of Laax and can be explored through VR to keep kids fully entertained.
Along the 1.5km path, children can meet with iconic children’s characters, play games, and educate themselves on the native animals, all of which can be finished off with a carpet ride down the winding slide to the ground guaranteed to blow their minds - and it’s not just for kids either.
Some resorts may only cater to adult cuisine, but not RocksResort, as Camino serves a whole host of cuisine, and has a dedicated breakfast section for little ones, as well as a popular burger joint, among plenty of other eateries, just a stone’s throw from your apartment, which is always a winning formula for little ones.
Alternatively the on-site supermarket is bound to have something for your kids.
What to do in Laax?
We’ve shared a few teasers about what Laax, and RocksResort, has to offer, but brace yourself for (almost) the full catalogue to fill your days during your visit to Switzerland - one thing is for sure, holidaygoers are spoilt for choice.
On RocksResort travellers have no need to leave as there are plenty of activities and restaurants to keep every visitor entertained.
Skiing and snowboarding
In the winter months guests can enjoy access to a wide range of 224 kilometre ski slopes, and snowboarding routes in Laax accessible from the gondolas at RocksResort.
Hiking and biking
While the summer and spring months, when the snow has cleared and the green grass shows itself, you can enjoy a whole host of hikes and biking routes for all levels to take in the surroundings in all their glory.
For those who prefer a more relaxing stroll the Treetop walkway, which connects Laax Murschetg and Laax Dorf, is well worth exploring.
Mountain biking, as well as e-bike rental is available at RocksResort, which means you can go off piste and venture to the Rhine Gorge, cycle to Lake Cauma, or if you’re feeling brave enough the route from the Unesco World Heritage site.
RocksResort is not only famed for being one of the leading ski destinations, but also for the Freestyle Academy where you can hone your skateboarding and biking tricks.
The fun doesn’t stop there as the active type can also sign up for archery.
For those who enjoy a slower pace when it comes to their holiday, you’re in luck, as RocksResort is a wild bee paradise, and there are plenty of other native animals to look out for during your stay.
Alternatively, book into RocksResort spa for massages, and treatments, or a quick dip, before getting your hair done, and tucking into a multitude of cuisines at dinner.
For those looking to explore more of Laax, and nearby Flims, you won’t be disappointed, as this is where the region truly comes into a league of its own.
At Hotel Schweizerhof any jetsetter heading to Switzerland can book one of many eclectic activities, which ranges from outdoor yoga and cacao classes to forest bathing.
Forest Bathing and Yoga
Forest bathing is perfect for those wanting a zen getaway, as you stroll barefoot through the forest, navigating your way through fresh glacier streams, while the delicate touch of the cooling moss melts between your toes. This wellness practice is said to calm you for one week after just one hour, and it’s safe to say there is method in the madness.
Visit Lake Cauma
It’s paramount visitors schedule in a visit to Lake Cauma, which you can enjoy on the banks soaking up the sun with a good book in hand, at the cafe, Lake Caumasee, on the lake, or enjoy a fresh water swim to wake you up in the mornings.
Lake Cauma also has a variety of activities including paddle boards and pedal boast, for those looking for a happy medium between observing from the sidelines and diving in off the rocks, or diving board in the lake. It is also worth visiting the area in the winter when the lake has frozen over to escape into the calmness of nature engulfing you.
Visit Rhine Gorge
We highly recommend venturing to the Rhine Gorge for one of the best landscape views in Switzerland - hand’s down.
On a cycle, or hiking path, you can steal glimpses of the vast expanse below, but keep going and you will reach the observing platform, known as Il Spir - aka The Swift - which juts out of the cliff edge. It’s at this pitstop you can truly get a bird’s eye view of the 400m deep george, the scenic train route passing below, as well as the mountains in the distance.
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site
But you can’t go to Switzerland without visiting the Unesco World Heritage site and exploring the Tectonic Arena Sardona, a title awarded in 2008 when geo experts discovered it was the site where the history of the formation of the Alps can be traced.
You can reach the site, which spans 23km long, via a bus serving RocksResort, to the lower Segnesboden, where you can make a pit stop at Stalla on the Alp Nagens.
Continue up the incline and you will reach the Segneshütte, which is the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by overwhelming mountains, and glacier waterfalls, which will truly take your breath away.
In the summer months you can ski close to this hotspot, while in the warmer seasons thrillseekers can be found mountain biking down the stoney pathway, abseiling, or hiking the route.
From here you can set up camp for the night and sleep under the stars in a sleeping bag, which is an unforgettable experience your inner Bear Grylls will be eternally grateful for. Could there be anything more magical than sipping on a Swiss hot chocolate (with cream), wrapped up in a sleeping bag and your cosiest thermals, watching the sun set, the stars glisten, only to be woken by the cow bells tinkling in the background, Marmot’s whistling and the sun rising?
Hikers have the option to walk down a variety of routes after exploring the hotspot, including a path where you can discover the seven individually designed bridges, all of which are uniquely designed by Graubünden bridge builder Jürg Conzett, so you can get a closer look at the gushing waterfalls.
On days you want to truly relax, check out Flims shopping mall, quaint sustainable boutiques, and vintage stores, which pepper the main road connecting Flims to Laax.
Let’s not forget Laax has its very own app for the region, which enables you to book restaurants and activities, order food and drinks, and navigate your way around the area.
Where to eat in Laax?
With a jam packed itinerary it’s vital to fuel yourself throughout the day, and that doesn’t solely mean Swiss chocolate and cheese - although we wouldn’t complain.
RocksResort has a whopping 15 restaurants and cafes on site to suit every dietary requirement, and hour of the day; from vegetarian, to traditional dishes, burgers and pan asian cuisine - you truly can taste the four corners of the globe in one hub.
Camino Bar Restaurant and Bar
Firstly Camino restaurant and bar, which is located by the main reception, is where you can head to for an impressive buffet breakfast spread in the morning, lunchtime snacks, ice teas or coffees, as well as dinner.
For those looking for more fine dining, or tapas options, Grandis offers guests a fine selection of antipasti, cheese specialities, hearty meaty main dishes, as well as mouth-watering puddings - but lets not forget the jaw-dropping array of over 1000 wines.
I highly recommend the venison carpaccio starter, as well as the flavoursome antipasti, Angus Beef fillet served with polenta, finished with the flambéed banana split, which is bound to give the rest of the table food envy. However, it was a tough call between raclette, which is a traditional dish in Switzerland, as it is molten cheese that can be served with meat, or potatoes and bread, perfect any time of year.
For those looking for something a little more exotic Nooba is the place to go for pan asian cuisine, with an array of noodle dishes, soups, currys, and salads, which vary in spice to suit those who like mild flavours or a powerful kick to their feast.
Tantalise your tastebuds with the popular edamame beans with soy sauce and chilli, followed by cashew chicken curry for a filling main, or light dim sum to fill a hole come lunchtime. Cool your palate with a homemade lemonade and mochi balls.
Riders Restaurant and Bar
For those who prefer a meat-free menu, you won’t want to miss out on dinner at Riders restaurant, which proudly takes the title of the first vegetarian restaurant in Laax.
But it doesn’t stop there. Riders menu changes weekly, to ensure fresh seasonal produce is used to create two tasty vegetarian options per course. The minimalist menu, combined with a nifty device that measures leftovers to help the chefs alter the portion sizes so not one morsel of food is thrown away, are conscious acts to avoid food waste.
For those looking to keep the party going, Riders doubles up as a bar where locals flock to for a cocktail - or two - and to dance the night away in a secluded section downstairs. Looking for an apres-ski after party - this may just be the answer.
Book in for a burger, satiate your sweet tooth with a pancake, or enjoy a hot coffee, bagel and cake, at Piazza Cafe and Deli in the afternoon, plus many other foodie delights.
However, don’t fret when you venture away from the resort as there are still plenty of eateries calling your name.
Stalla in Alp Nagens
Whether you make a midday stop off halfway through your ski session, or need a refuel ahead of a hike, Stalla in Alp Nagens, is a rustic barn with a cowshed nearby located 1,980m above sea level, which serves traditional Swiss cuisines - with a side serving of the serene vista.
Sit inside by the fire, or outside on wooden loungers snuggled in tartan blankets with the mountains as your backdrop, while you slurp on Capuns Soup, which is dumplings wrapped in Swiss chard with bundnerfleisch dry cured beef and dry, raclette, or mac and cheese.
Whether you’re an early riser, or a fan of a Sunday stroll, it is worth taking some time out to sample Restaurant Caumasee, which overlooks Lake Cauma. Start your day breathing in the fresh air, sipping on a coffee and tucking into a buttery croissant, or a well deserved chilled wine after work.
If heaven is a place on earth, Laax is it.
What to pack?
Whether you are heading to Laax in the summer or winter, there are some basic essentials worth packing.
From sturdy suitcases and carry-on bags, to durable walking boots, nifty microfibre towels, here is the packing checklist for your next vacation.
Women's Moab Flight, £110, Merrell
Women's Newton Ridge™ Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot, £110, Columbia
Travelpack Cnnct Coat, £125, Eastpak
Neck Warmer, £1.99, Decathlon
Blackout High Waisted Womens Leggings, £26.99, Mountain Warehouse
Glacier Full Zip Fleece, £70, The North Face
Ultra Soft Microfibre Pool Towel, £9.99, Decathlon
Juice powerbank 3 charger, £19.99, Boots
Collapsible Water Bottle, £12.99, Amazon
Thermal Protective Pouch for Smartphone, £19.99, Amazon
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