Davos (German), Romansh Tavau town, Graubünden canton, eastern Switzerland, consisting of two villages, Davos-Platz and Davos-Dorf, in the Davos Valley, on the Landwasser River, 5,118 feet (1,560 metres) above sea level. The town is mentioned in historical documents of 1160 and 1213; it was then inhabited by Romansh-speaking people, but later in the 13th century it was settled by German-speaking people from the upper Valais. In 1436 it became the capital of the League of Ten Jurisdictions or Courts (see Graubünden), but it belonged to Austria from 1477 to 1649. After the 1860s it became a fashionable health resort, and in the 20th century it was developed as a skiing and winter-sports centre. In the 1990s Davos became famous for hosting the World Economic Forum, an annual winter gathering of international politicians and financiers who represented a transnational elite. Scholars of globalization used the term “Davos culture” to represent this elite group. The location of the World Economic Forum meetings moved from Davos to New York City in 2002. The population is mainly German-speaking and Protestant.
Davos in Grisons is a place of superlatives: this holiday destination with international ambience is the largest resort in the Alps for mountain holidays, sport and conferences, at 1560 m the highest town in the Alps and a high-altitude health resort with a long tradition.
This long-drawn-out town in the Landwasser valley is renowned above all as a conference centre, and also as a major winter sports centre with an international flavour and a huge range of activities. Its showpiece is its modern Conference Centre, which hosts the World Economic Forum WEF (nearly) every year. In the centre of Davos, visitors will find a wide range of accommodation and excellent shopping, with numerous boutiques, cafés and restaurants. At night, too, there’s plenty of entertainment, with bars, discos and a casino. Davos is also the headquarters of the well-known Weissfluhjoch/Davos Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.
The cable-cars on the Jakobshorn (2590 m), Parsenn including the Weissfluhjoch und -gipfel (2844 m), Pischa (2483 m), Rinerhorn (2490 m) and Schatzalp/Strela provide access to four hiking areas with a total of 450 km of marked footpaths. Anyone seeking rest and relaxation amid unspoilt nature should head off on foot, by bike or by horse-drawn carriage up the romantic side valleys of Sertig, Dischma or Flüela. For a change of scene, visit the Davos Lake with its swimming area and a sailing and surfing centre. In addition, there are opportunities for hang-gliding and paragliding and mountain bike and inline skating routes. Davos is also the starting point for excursions on the famous Glacier Express, and the Heidi and Bernina Express trains.
Davos is a winter sports metropolis for skiing and snowboarding fans from all over the world. At altitudes between 1124 and 2844 m, guests will find 54 ski lifts, 320 km of slopes, 75 km of cross-country ski tracks, two artificial ice-skating rinks and Europe’s largest natural ice rink for people to skate or play curling on. And no fewer than five sledging runs to have fun on! The six Davos-Klosters skiing areas of Parsenn, Gotschna, Jakobshorn, Pischa, Madrisa and Rinerhorn have been brought together into one vast winter sports arena. For skiing fanatics, the mecca is the Parsenn and Weissfluhjoch area which connects up with the neighbouring resort of Klosters. The Jakobshorn, on the other hand, is the in place for snowboarders, with its half-pipe and monster pipe. For a quieter time, take a ride by horse-drawn sledge into the snowy side valleys, or experience the Davos mountains from 84 km of beautifully prepared winter footpaths and snow-shoe trails.
- Kirchner Museum – the world’s largest collection of works by the German Expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) is housed in an innovative modern museum building.
- Zügenschlucht – a wild and romantic gorge with the spectacular RhB railway line and a mining museum at the Schmelzboden at 1340 m, and the Geology Trail between Davos-Monstein and Wiesen.
- Monstein Brewery – the highest brewery in Europe and the first brewery in the canton of Grisons to open to the public. The ABC of beer-making, guided tour, tasting.
- The Schatzalp (1861m) inspired the German author Thomas Mann to write his novel “The Magic Mountain”, published in 1924. An Alpine botanical garden, the Alpinum Schatzalp, with about 800 different species of plant from all over the world. Flowers are best in June and July. Enjoy a change of scene on the summer sledging run.
- Sertigtal – its unique natural beauty and mountain scenery make for an unforgettable alpine experience. Popular destination for rides by horse-drawn carriage or sledge.
- O’Neill SB-JAM Davos – this freestyle snowboarding event takes place every year in Davos, with the qualifying rounds open to everyone (December/January).
- World Economic Forum (WEF) – politicians and celebrities from business and society meet in Davos for this global discussion forum (January).
- Young Artists in Concert – young musicians from all over the world perform as soloists or in chamber groups at the Davos Conference Centre, in the Kirchner Museum and in various churches (July/August).
- International Hiking Rally – long-established rally involving hiking on one of four routes in the mountains around Davos, with stamps for the number of kilometres walked and coveted medals (September).