For centuries, Andeer and Splügen were a hub of pack mule traffic across the Alps. The Splügen Pass was the main link between Graubünden and Italy for over 2,000 years, while the mule trail via the San Bernardino also played an important role.
Splügen, a Walser village on the Lower Rhine: This typical pass village evokes memories of the muleteers who passed through here over the centuries on foot or on horseback, carrying salt southwards to Chiavenna in Italy and returning northwards with wine. Be sure to stop on the square and walk a few steps up to the old village to admire the proud palazzi and sun-browned Walser houses.
Andeer, a mule village with a thermal spa: The historic houses along the village street are also well worth a visit. This little staging post in the Val Schons is famous for its healing springs and mineral spa, but also the glistening green Andeer granite that is exported all over the world. Like the village of Splügen, Andeer once earned a living from pack mule traffic across the Alps.
Summer time is hiking time. Over 400 kilometers of marked hiking trails traverse the valley and the vast pine forests of the Rheinwald region to ultimately reach romantic mountain lakes and, via historic crossings, the neighboring valleys. You will experience up close the beauty and hardships of the muleteers lives if you hike for a while the 65-kilometer cultural long-distance trail, the Via Spluga. History comes alive on the four-day tour, which leads from Thusis via the Splügen Pass to Chiavenna in Italy. You don’t have to worry about meals: since 1994 many of the organically grown products of the Rheinwald region, such as cheese, yogurt and meat, are available in local shops.
You can also go on short, attractive excursions to the Ibex Center in Wergenstein on Schamserberg or to the Marmot Trail in the Bergalga Valley, which is 2000 meters above sea level.
Winter visitors will find a sunny skiing area on Piz Tambo near Splügen. The seven mountain trains in Splügen operate in a snow-assured area between 1480 meters and 2215 meters. Nordic skiers can look forward to a variety of cross-country opportunities in Splügen/Rheinwald along the young Lower Rhine (Hinterrhein). The classic Nordic tracks, groomed for skaters, extend 40 kilometers. Toboggan enthusiasts will find 12 kilometers of marvelous toboggan runs on Schamserberg near Zillis.
- Via Mala – or “Evil Road”, is a feared canyon, which for centuries impeded the transit trade. Now a suspension bridge crosses it.
- Roffla Gorge – a beautiful canyon with a 300-meter-long rock gallery for pedestrians - leads to an imposing water fall.
- Splügen – the ancient mule traders’ village on the Pass Road has a well-preserved, atmospheric village center. It is the starting point for roads across the Splügen Pass and the San Bernardino.
- Andeer – a lovely, tradition-rich spa resort with mineral springs and thermal bath.
- Via Spluga – a long-distance hiking trail in a cultural landscape leads from Splügen across the Splügen Pass and through the famous Cardinell Gorge to Chiavenna in Italy.
- Juf – located at 2126 meters in Val Avers, it is the highest village in Europe that is inhabited year round. This pristine valley boasts a unique mountain flora.
- Zillis – the world-famous church, St. Martin, is home to a ceiling fresco with a precious sequence of pictures from the Romanesque era.