Streets and Sweets of Chur

Each time my family or friends visit us here in Switzerland, we love to find the most Swiss experiences for them.  We stroll around charming villages like Appenzell and Stein-am-Rhine, we take in the (accurately stereotyped) gorgeous landscapes, eat locally and wave hi to the cows.  My parents are getting to know quite a bit of Switzerland, and on previous trips of theirs, have discovered the best cappuccino in Locarno, onions (and confetti) in Bern and my favorite region, the Engadine.  With a day of hiking in the mountains rained out, what to do?

Chur, SwitzerlandChur, Switzerland

We hopped on a train and headed for Chur, Switzerland’s oldest city (called Curia Raetorum in the time of the Romans).  I knew no matter what, there would be charm, history, culture and some good eats.  Taking trains in Switzerland is always part of the experience, gazing out the window at the most perfectly green rolling hills, dotted with cows, sheep and little chalets.  Churches, monasteries or castle ruins perched atop mountains always amaze me. It’s tempting to take pictures, but a tree, train line or window reflection inevitably covers the entire thing.  Best to just sit back and enjoy.

Chur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, Switzerland

Chur (pronounced koor) is just over an hour from Zürich in the canton of Graubünden, and turned out to be a great place to walk around for a few hours, simply admiring the architecture, the incredible medieval structures and the pristine churches. All of this set against the mountains – and we had many a photo opportunity, at just about every step!

Chur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, Switzerland

Winding around the old town, up and down narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll see tons of options for restaurants boasting their local specialties, including Bünderfleisch (rectangular, paper thin slices of air-dried beef), Bünder Gertensuppe (barley soup with vegetables), and capuns (Swiss chard leaves stuffed with meat and cheese).  There are also many gelaterias for such a small area, not to mention a Giolito stand, which is truly divine gelato – I recommend the stracciatella.  I love kitchen stores, with tons of gadgets and accessories and Kuchilada was a real find.  Plenty of objects I don’t see in similar shops in Zürich, fun and colorful serving trays, cappuccino stencils and the cutest stainless steel corn cob holders and cocktail skewers by German company, Horgi.  A fantastic shop.  Looking for a cutting board in the shape of a cow, goat, sheep or pig?  This is the place.

And of course my sweet radar went off a few times too…

Chur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, SwitzerlandChur, Switzerland

In just about every bakery and pastry shop window, we saw the traditional Bündner Nusstorte (shortbread-like crust with a chewy walnut caramel filling) and the Alpenstadt-Torte. The latter comes in a large box emblazoned with the region’s famous wild mountain goat, the ibex, overlooking the Alps. A soft sponge cake predominantly made of nuts and a touch of cherries, was coated in sweet, caramelized nuts.  Many places sell the slices, but I chose to get mine at Café Confiserie Maron, where even the cut sides of the individual slices are coated in those sweet nuts too.  The other house specialty at Maron is Bündner Steinböcke, gianduja-filled chocolates in the shape of the ibex, or capricorn in Romamsch, the local language.  The iconic animal’s long, saber-shaped horn also makes an appearance as Capricorn-Brot, which was created just last year and that I found at Bühler’s Zuckerbäckerei am Obertor.  A wholesome bread made with 100% organic Grison grains, including wheat, barley and rye flour, also comes in mini versions, called “Capricörnli.” I love that -li ending, such a Swiss German touch.

I also simply love discovering traditional specialties, and it seems as though we will never run out of charming villages in this country to visit.  Swiss storybook towns, artisans proud of their creations and locals loyal to their favorites.  I’m ready for the next sweet adventure…

Chur, SwitzerlandChur, Switzerland

My Chur Address Book:

Café Confiserie Maron
Am Bahnhofplatz
+41.81.253.53.53

Merz Bäckerei Confiserie
Bahnhofstrasse 22
+41.81.257.15.15

http://www.merzchur.ch

Bühler’s Zuckerbäckerei am Obertor
Untere Gasse 32
+41.81.252.10.65

Kuchilada
Obere Gasse 23
+41.81.252.88.93

Gelateria Blu
Casinoplatz 1
+41.81.252.17.00

Evviva Gelateria Artigianale Italiana
Untere Gasse 11
+41.81.252.40.21

32 Responses to “Streets and Sweets of Chur”

  1. Rosa says:

    Your pictures are awesome! That town is so quaint and pretty. Nüsstorte is so delicious. I can’t wait to go there again (we soon have to visit my boyfriend’s parents who live in Felsberg near Chur)…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    I love the curved building in that 6th picture there.
    All your pictures are gorgeous. Ah to be travelling in Switzerland again!

  3. jkiel says:

    Your mention of the difficulties of photographing out of a train (or bus) window is the reason we don’t take the train, I’d be pulling the emergency cord too many times to make a photograph!
    Chur is going on my list of places to see in Switzerland…. thanks for the tips!

  4. Andrea M. says:

    Yes, never take it for granted the beauty of your surroundings; for Kerrin, you are one lucky lady. Thank you for sharing. Always.

  5. jen laceda says:

    you’re very lucky to live where you live. Switzerland is such a beautiful country! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Kerrin says:

    Rosa, how fabulous that your boyfriend is from Chur ! You must recognize all the streets above and especially the sweets too. What are both of your favorite spots there ?? Aha, we can get the insider’s view… :)

    Samantha, thank you so much. And good eye – yes, isn’t that curved house fascinating ?! I love when buildings are all crooked and undulating, it’s just so amazing.

    jkiel, trying to take photos on trains is quite funny. I used to scoot back and forth from the left and right sides to get the best shots, ha ! People thought I was crazy. Best when there are windows you can actually open !! At least no reflections. But then there’s still all the other obstacles outside. Oh, and plenty of tunnels too ;)

    Andrea, and thank *you*. I do feel lucky, and love sharing, for readers like you appreciate it all so much. And I always appreciate the feedback even more.

    jen, I couldn’t agree more. Hope you’ll be able to make it here one day…

  7. Karen@Mignardise says:

    We spent a night in Chur on our honeymoon, almost 21 years ago. Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories. It is a very charming (and delicious) place!

  8. Valentina says:

    I miss the Swiss scenery. I used to visit every year for nearly 6 years.it has been at least 5 since I was last there. This is such a lovely post, with a lovely cadence. You must be a tremendous hostess.

  9. Anna Johnston says:

    Brilliant photos, I feel like I’ve been on a mini trip to an exquisite part of Switzerland. Adore the pastries in this part of the world, I so envy this experience your indulging in.

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  11. Meeta says:

    how gorgeously quaint. it’s what i love about switzerland – the charming cities, finding a “geheimtip” and the incredible landscape. i love the way you take me to all these lovely places kerrin. hope your parents had a blast and wish them safe travels back home!

  12. kelleyn says:

    So glad you love this city. It is one of my favorite cities next to Lucern.

  13. Kerrin says:

    Karen, ooh I can just imagine Chur being even more magical on a honeymoon, what a fantastic choice for your trip. I am so glad I could bring back the memories. So do the pictures look the same as you remember the town ??

    Valentina, muito obrigada ! You used to visit once every 6 years, so how come that stopped ? It’s been five years now, sure sounds like you are due a Swiss trip ! Hope you can.

    Anna, thank you so much. Glad you’re enjoying – and indulging with me !

    Meeta, you and me both – all that we love about Switzerland. My parents certainly did have a blast, thank you. Only, I am ready for their next trip here already…!

    kelleyn, wow, Chur is one of your favorites ?? I can certainly see why. What other cities are on your top 10 ? I am sure I would absolutely love them as well. I’m ready for *your* Swiss tips… Danke !

  14. Duncini says:

    I can’t believe we didn’t get there! What a wench you are.

  15. Duncini says:

    But I know I will have sweet dreams tonight thanks to this charming post on Chur.

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  17. Christian Langenegger says:

    Great report. Bündner Nusstorte is my favourite – might actually be my wedding cake if I ever make it that far.

  18. Kerrin says:

    Duncini, aha, how come we didn’t get there — well I needed some bait to get you to come back. Hope you had those sweet dreams – but of Madrid right now, your next destination…

    Christian, thanks ! Yum to the Nusstorte for sure – and as a wedding cake, brilliant ! I wanted to have carrot cake at mine, but seeing that I got married in France, there wasn’t even cake ! A pièce montée instead. Oh well. ;)

  19. Kristina says:

    Very nice pictures from Chur!
    I live in Bern for three years already, but never made it to Chur yet. Somehow I more stay in Western and Southern part of Switzerland, need to change this urgently :)
    Viele Gruesse, Kristina

  20. Emma says:

    I figured it had to be somewhere good that you were off visiting since it took you a few days longer than usual to respond to comments on the Viadukt post. And good this sure looks! I’m sure you had a blast with your family, how lucky they must feel that you live in Photo Op City (a friendly and welcoming, albeit somewhat costly, place).

    Holy shamoly, I’d like to get my mitts all over some Bündner Nusstorte and Steinböcke, gosh they look tasty!

  21. Mom says:

    I am so thankful for you choosing Chur for one of our adventures in Switzerland this year! It is quite a charming and delicious town full of the most extraordinary sites. Your photographs of course, are so well chosen. It will certainly bring back some great memories of the day we spent there. Wandering up and down the winding streets, climbing the steps to the top and best of all choosing dessert!!! Yummy!!!!
    Great train ride seeing the wonderful countryside of Switzerland…thank you once again….

  22. Kerrin says:

    Kristina, Bern is such a fantastic city, I have been there a few times. Were you at the Toblerone party a few weekends ago ? :) I actually don’t know the southwest regions of Switzerland like you do, so that is what I need to change too ! Thanks for the comment here, glad you enjoyed the pics.

    Emma, uh oh, I better stay on the ball here – you got me ! ;) With my parents in town, we actually went to Prague for a few days – I hope to do a roundup for the blog. Then it was Chur and hiking in the mountains. They do love visiting us, as they get to discover so much of Europe they don’t know. As for the Nusstorte, check it out – you can make it at home: http://www.myswitzerland.com/de/bettybossi/recipes/41798_de.pdf
    (practice your German or hop onto Google Translate)

    Mom, thank YOU !! I was thrilled that you and dad loved Chur and all of our adventures throughout the week. YAY !! (Minus all the uphill climbing, haha !) I’m ready for you to come back, I have new ideas… ! :O)

  23. KugelDad says:

    Thanks of course for all the adventures you’ve taken KugelMom and I on. Engadine might be my favorite, but i really did love Chur… alot. Gorgeous and delicious, and you sure captured it all with you pictures. Great job honey. So what’s next? :)

  24. W says:

    Very cool! I wanna go, too :D

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~WW

  25. Carolina Caruso says:

    I visited Chur last weekend with some friends and I loved it, thanks for posting this nice article:)

  26. catty says:

    Switzerland in general just looks so picturesque, like how they appear in postcards would be how they actually look in real life! You’re so lucky to be living there.. and the food looks amazing too :)

  27. Kerrin says:

    KugelDad, thanks !! The Engadine region is my favorite too ! What’s next you ask ? Well, you get on buying those plane tickets, and I’ll get on planning the next adventure…. ! :)

    W, thanks ! And you’re welcome !

    Carolina, so glad you loved visiting Chur too. Thanks for your comment here.

    catty, oh absolutely ! Every village is like a little postcard ! ;) I really do love it, and as you said, 100% feel lucky to live here.

  28. Jean says:

    Two servings of Bündner Nusstorte, please! Love the photography and overall design of your blog. Keep it coming!

    Cheers,
    Jean

  29. Lindsay says:

    Love your blog! Beautiful photos, especially those pastries.. (: thanks for sharing, can’t wait to read more!

  30. Katherine says:

    I just found your blog and oh my goodness do I love it!

  31. Pierre says:

    Tu as envoyé cet article à Vera ? que de bons souvenirs en tout cas et bravo again and again…..

  32. vera says:

    hi kerrin, being native from Chur, I can only agree with your report on your latest discoveries in the Grisons and yes, it’s the oldest town in Switzerland, over 11’000 years old! And by the way, it’s the only town in Europe with a funicular directly from the city center into a ski resort! :-)

    and your next discovery MUST be a trip with “my” railway…check out http://www.rhb.ch, we are celebrating out 100st anniversary from a very special railway part which is also unesco heritage…www.mybernina.ch

    kind regards,
    vera

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