We have just returned from 2 weeks in S.E. Switzerland staying at Hotel Sonnenheim in Bergun Canton Graubunden. This was our tenth visit in the past 9 years. Sonnenheim is a small family run hotel in a mountain village easily accessibloe by rail. Language is not a problem as the proprietors and some staff speak English.
We flew to Zurich (less than 2 hours from Heathrow with regular daily flights) by British Airway's recently introduced service from Bristol. In less than 4.5 hours from touch-down we were in our hotel room & on its snow covered balcony looking out over the village and surrounding mountains.
We booked half board paying less than £55.00 pppn for our stay at Sonnenheim & had a spacious room with en-suite shower room. Breakfast was continental style buffet with plenty of variety including fruit juices; cereals; yoghurts; a variety of freshly baked breads, rolls & croissants; cooked meats; cheeses and home made conserves. Four course dinners included soup, salad, main course and dessert with a good variety in each during our 2-week stay.
Bergun is in the Albula Valley on the rail route from Zurich to St. Moritz. The Albula Pass is closed to road traffic in winter so the train is the only way to see the spectacular beauty of the area. The railway line hugs the mountainsides, climbing the valley using stone viaducts, spirals & tunnels. We used the Swiss Pass to travel by train to and from our hotel, which is just 100 metres from the railway station.
Bergun is famous for its 5Km. winter sledge run, which uses the closed road, beginning near the summit of the Albula Pass in the hamlet of Preda. It is one of the longest and most spectacular runs in the Swiss Alps and is fllodlit for evening use making it unique. A half hourly train service operates between Bergun & Preda taking sledgers up the valley to begin the run.
The village has a good variety of shops. hotels, bars and facilities for many winnter sports. There is a 2-stage chair lift up into the mountains for the serious skiers and snowboarders plus two shorter ski lifts on the opposite side of the valley. Families with young children take advantage of the latter and there are special snow fun activity areas for children including ski-ing instruction.
There is no better way to see the scenery and soak up the atmosphere of this winter wonderland than to travel by train. We do not ski so used our Swiss Pass (which includes boats and most buses) to travel widely in the area and beyond. Trains run at least hourly on all routes with connections often made across the same platform at interchange stations. Connecting trains are often waiting for your arrival and leave within minutes. Swiss trains run ON TIME.
Bergun is an excellent centre for travel by train and is served by the metre gauge Rhaetian Railway with its "little red trains". We made day trips over the Bernina Pass to Poschiavo (it is possible to go to the end of the line at Tirano in Italy), and the summit of the route at Alp Grum on another day; the line to Arosa from Chur; and crossing the Alps via Oberalppass to Andermatt.
Short day trips included visiting Zurich for the Christmas Market; St. Moritz (in the Engadin Valley) to visit the town and walk beside the (frozen)lake; Zernez in the Engadin Valley; and Chur (the regional capital) for sightseeing and shopping.
We made two longer day trips - one as a birthday treat to Lucerne, including a boat trip to Vitznau on Lake Lucerne - the return included lunch on an ancient paddle steamer; the other to Schaffhausen, in northern Switzerland, to visit Rheinfall, a quite amazing waterfall on the river Rhine.
It is possible to make circular trips by train from Bergun and we did this twice. The first through the Albula tunnel to the Engadin valley, then through the Vereina tunnel to Klosters & Davos for the return; the second via Chur and the Prattigau Valley to Klosters, the Vereina tunnel to the Engadin Valley, and Albula tunnel for the return.
The Swiss Pass allows maximum freedom in travel - go when and where you want, stopping en route as much and for as long as you wish.
We have visited Bergun once in Summer but that is a totally different experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC