From the middle of the 13th century pilgrims journeyed to the Abbey of Pfäfers near Bad Ragaz, where the Tamina Valley opens into the Rhine Valley, to bathe in the thermal waters. In 1535 the doctor and philosopher, Paracelsus, became the first doctor in Bad Pfäfers and testified to the healing powers of the thermal springs. Thus began the age of spa tourism. In 1716 the earliest baroque bathhouse in Switzerland was built below the Benedictine Monastery in Pfäfers.
From 1840 the thermal water was piped down to the more easily accessible village of Ragaz, 4 kilometres away, so Ragaz quickly became a renowned health resort. Luxury hotels were built to accommodate wealthy travellers, including Russian nobility, and, like the richly traditional Grand Hotel in Bad Ragaz, they still attract guests from all over the world. Today Bad Ragaz with its Tamina Thermal Spa, offers a broad range of medicinal and wellness packages.
The two golf courses in Bad Ragaz ideally complement the spa. The Bad Ragaz home mountain, the Pizol, and the plain of the Rhine Valley provide wonderful biking and hiking country. There is a popular cycling and inline skating route on the nearby Rhine Dam and marked Nordic walking trails are also to be found on the Pizol. The 5-lake walk on mount Pizol, which takes about four hours to complete, passes five crystal clear mountain lakes and, with its magnificent views of the eastern Swiss alpine landscape, it is a classic among mountain hikes.
From Bad Ragaz there are rewarding excursions into Heidi country, to which Bad Ragaz belongs; to the nearby Principality of Liechtenstein; to Chur; the castle at Sargans; St. Gallen and Lake Constance.
The Pizol ski region stretches between 1600m and 2220m. Winter sports enthusiasts will find 12 railways and lifts, more than 40 km of piste, a free-ride paradise, a winter sports school, cross-country trails and interesting ski tour routes. Toboggan fans will rave about the 7 km toboggan run, and there are marked trails for snowshoe hikers. The attractive mountain footpath affords panoramic views.
- Tamina Gorge – a wild, mysterious, narrow gorge near Pfäfers with cliffs up to 70 metres high, where the most prolific and energising thermal water (pure, warm spring) in Europe gushes from a chamber deep in the mountain at 36.5°C
- Ancient Bad Pfäfers – beautiful walk from Bad Ragaz through the thermal ravine to Bad Pfäfers where kings and princesses once bathed, and where there are now two museums and a Paracelsus memorial.
- Tamina Thermal Springs – the thermal spa centre near the Grand Hotel has two indoor pools and one open-air bath with whirlpool, water chute, waterfall, spa bath, spa grotto with massage jets.
- Pizol – at 2220m, the home mountain of Bad Ragaz offers a wonderful view of the Rhine Valley right across to Lake Constance and plenty of trails for hikers, Nordic walkers, cyclists and skiers.
- Heidi experience – the home of this children’s storybook heroine offers Heidi experience trails on the Schwarzbüel Alp, the Pizol and above Maienfeld. Other Heidi attractions are also available.
- Bad RagARTz Sculpture exhibition – triennial sculpture exhibition in Bad Ragaz and Vaduz with classical music concerts in the street (every three years in summer, e.g. 2015).
- Autumn Culture – classical music, fascinating theatre and virtuoso jazz (every two years in September).