My personal highlight: Summer trip! Cruising with a mini cooper cabrio in between impressive Swiss Alps
Once upon a time you just need to do crazy things. I have a wish: drive the Julier and the Maloja Pass all by myself by a mini cabrio.
I hoped to find powdered mountain peaks on my way, since the Julier Pass is stretching up to 2,284 m above sea level. End of May seems perfect to do the trip. The chosen car a mini cooper s cabrio, incredible fun factor, safety and a comfortable ride included. Perfect to enjoy all curves and maneuvers to the max.
Having the Lake of Cauma (Caumasee) in Flims, Graubünden on my bucket list, practically located on the way towards Maloja, it was the perfect reason to do a weekend trip out of it, combining lake and mountains.
Swim in crystal clear waters at Caumasee
It’s one of the most breathtaking mountain lakes in Switzerland, they call it the pearl of Flims. You need to experience this with your own eyes, pictures alone won’t make it.
Embedded in a forest you find turquoise blue and crystal clear waters. Water temperature in summer is at an average of 21 Celsius, with a maximum around 24 Celsius. I guess I had the pleasure to enjoy 15 degrees end of May! Around the lake you have spots to relax, you can even rent inflatable boat or bring your unicorn!
How to get to Caumasee
Get there from Zurich in 1.30 h (140 Km) by car. Everything is super organized there. The entrance fee for adults is 12 CHF, kids pay 6 CHF. Find different areas for barbecue or just enjoy their restaurant for drinks & food. The car parking is close (15 min) to the lake so you can make it easily by walking with your picnic equipment.
Continuing the trip all the way to Engadine
On the route of the Julier Pass your next stop after ca. 1.30 h drive (84 Km) can be lake of Silvaplana or Lake of Sils. The Julier Pass is located in the Albula Range of the Alps. Romans built it in the year 1820 to connect the Engadin valley with the rest of Graubünden.
Lake of Silvaplana is a must experience among kite surfers. For Sailors I recommend the small but extremely windy Lake of Sils. Winds here are considered strong and unpredictable. I love sailing. Plan extra time for that. I absolutely recommend the Engadine Sailing school. The school is located at Plaun da Lej. This place has a hotel and restaurant, in front of your sailing spot. It’s well-known for sea food and fish. They prepare it really exquisite.
An other top choice, bit closer to St. Moritz in Celerina is the Hotel Rosatsch. This is a real foodies paradise. Read my story here for suggestions on that spot.
From Silvaplana Lake to Chiavenna in 1 hour
To give a maximum of pleasure to your trip don’t miss the pass called Maloja. It leads all the way to Italy. It begins where the Julier pass ends. Its scenery is breathtaking, too. It connects two fascinating landscapes: the Upper Engadine Lake District and the Graubünden’s southern valley of Bergell. The beautiful play of light and shadows has attracted world famous artists like Giovanni Segantini, who choose Maloja as his last home and subject for many landscape paintings.
On my way to Chiavenna
Sun shining through my sporty mini cooper. Having my deck open, my spotify play list on I feel freedom. I breath in every single minute in this Alpine surrounding. I pass by little rivers, cascades and untouched nature, ancient villages. On the way are plenty of food and panorama stops to enjoy.
Chiavenna itself is worth staying for couple of nights. Depending on your schedule. The city is close to Lake of Como (45 min. drive). Giving you even more options. Strategically it’s situated lovely for trips to Como and Milan.
What to do and where to eat and sleep in Chiavenna
Chiavenna has a bit for everyone – nature, culture, history, hiking and culinary tradition.
- Visit Palazzo Vertemate Franchi & Cascata dell’Acquafraggia
It’s a stunning Renaissance villa only 5 min. car drive from Chiavenna in Prosto di Piuro.
Find a perfectly-preserved fresco portraying stories from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, stucco decorations and wooden ceilings. It was built in the second half of the sixteenth-century. It’s the only house surviving one of the worst landslides in history in 1618.
On this way stop at this beautiful cascade where you enjoy powerful nature and a fresh shower! The park there is super relaxing.
- Have lunch at the restaurant Crotto ombra
Crotto means “cave” in Chiavenna dialect. These are small subterranean caves with airflow, common in the region. They are used to age cheeses, cure meats and brew and store beer. The first brewery in Italy, was “Spluga” here in Chiavenna, which opened in 184o.
At Crotto ombra you need to try polenta, which is prepared authentic and flavorful just pure with funghi. An other to recommend: the “gnocchetti chiavennaschi“. These are small dumplings covered in local cow milk cheese.
- Strolling around the city
Admire unpretentious alleys and enjoy an ice cream or a coffee. Walk over the Mera River bridge to capture your instagram moment.
- Sleep at B&B Casa Selvatica
Casa Selvatica is located in a peaceful and quiet alley in the middle of the historical center of the town. The house is an 300 years old traditional palazzo that offers comfort and space. Gabriella took over the house from her parents and renovated it with attention to detail.
Choose one of 3 rooms with different sizes and comforts. King bed size or a room with two single bed. My room had a kitchenette and a lovely chimney. Every room has its own charm. Breakfast is fresh and with local products. Gabriella is a hearty, spontaneous person and absolutely open to give you plenty of suggestions for your stay. Sleeping here reminded me bit of living a fairy tale. Get more details on the B&B here.
From Chiavenna a new journey can start. I drove back the Alpine roads because I love the scenery. Of course lake of Como is tempting, too. Drop me a line for some more suggestions, I am happy to assist.
Thank you for reading the Lovefoodish travel and food guide! Want to read a travel story about an other European destination? Get one here!