Münster Valley

Graubünden

The idyllic Münster Valley is its own little world beyond the Ofen Pass. With lush green meadows and beautiful villages, it offers a contrast to the pristine nature of the nearby National Park. A visit to the valley is a must for culture lovers because of the frescoes at the monastery of St. Johann, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

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The Münster Valley lies in the south-eastern corner of Graubünden and stretches over 18 kilometers between the Ofen Pass and the Italian Vinschgau. The trip across the Ofen Pass is an adventure. From Zernez in Lower Engadine the road rises through the Swiss National Park to the Pass Ridge. Here the view extends to the Münster valley and in a southeastern direction to South Tirol’s Ortler Group (3908m).

The cultural highlight of the Münster Valley is the Benedictine monastery of St. Johann, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in the border town of Müstair (Münster). The monastery church from the year 775 boasts the world’s largest fresco cycle of the early Middle Ages and is a jewel of the visual arts of the Carolingian Era. The picture sequence includes the beheading of John the Baptist.

From Santa Maria, the main town in the valley, the Umbrail Pass road (open in the summer), leads to the summer skiing area of Stilfser Joch and to Veltlin. The Pass leads in an adventurous and narrow fashion in many serpentines to the peak at 2501 meters, where a Swiss customs station is located.

The peaceful mountain village of Valchava lies in the direction of the Ofen Pass. The village is located at an elevation of 1440 meters and has a baroque church tower from the 15th century. The valley museum of “Chasa Jaura”, one of the most beautiful houses in Val Müstair, is a magical place. In the carefully restored rooms one gains insight into the old agricultural way of life of the “Jauer” (inhabitants of the Münster valley) and their artisanship, thanks to original antique furniture and implements.

Summer

One enjoys a splendid view of the Münster Valley on the easy hike from the Ofen Pass height, through majestic Swiss Pine Forests, past alpine huts and across mountain and flower meadows to the village of Lü (1920m).

Highlights

  • The monastery of St. Johann in Müstair - no other place has so fully preserved frescoes from the 8th century as this monastery, UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
  • Swiss National Park - largest nature preserve in Switzerland, with a unique abundance of Alpine animals and plants in pristine mountain landscapes.
  • ”Cultural Path of the Alps” (Kulturweg Alpen) - the long hike leads across 650 kilometers, from St. Gingolph on Lake Geneva up to the Münster Valley.
  • Umbrail - one of the last Alpine passes with an adventurous feeling due to so many S-curves on its narrow road .

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