Val Muestair

The Val Müstair – or in English: “Minster Valley” – is in the most eastern part of Switzerland, in the canton or state of Graubünden, on the border with the South Tirol in Italy.

This is a traditional part of Switzerland that has changed little over the centuries. The natural beauty of this long, narrow, wooded mountainous valley is unspoiled, and a paradise for nature-lovers and those seeking refuge from the stress of urban life. It offers endless walking and hiking possibilities as well as winter sports, but without all the hype of the so-called “glitter resorts”.

This part of Switzerland is well-known for its culinary specialties made with local organically-produced ingredients. Beside local dishes, the Val Müstair reflects its geographical position between Germanic and Latin cultures, with classic Swiss and Mediterranean specialties on every restaurant menu.

The Val Müstair has been designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. One reason is the intact architecture and culture of the valley, and another is the Convent and Church of St. John (St. Johann), founded by Charlemagne around the year 800, featuring unique Romanesque frescoes. Traditional handicrafts and cottage industries complete the picture.

The Val Müstair is on a historical transit route, which takes the visitor through the nearby famous mountain passes and the Swiss National Park, the oldest nature park in Europe. Now in partnership, the Park and Val Müstair have been designated a UNESCO Biosphere.

This is the region with Switzerland’s only natural bear population. Another resident is the American mystery writer, Donna Leon.