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On a hillside above the river some 18km west of Chur, the winter and summer resort of FLIMS is well known to the Swiss, who consistently pack the place out every season, but is virtually unknown outside the country. There are two parts to Flims – Flims-Dorf is the older, original village with most amenities and the base station for the ski lifts, while Flims-Waldhaus is a newer resort, with most of the hotels, set amidst beech and larch woods on a slightly higher elevation 1km south. Some 5km south of Waldhaus – across the German–Romansh language border – is the quiet village of Laax, with tiny Falera up a 3km branch road completing the picture. Flims, Laax and Falera all share the extensive “Alpine Arena” ski region, centred on the Crap Sogn Gion mountain (2228m), accessed by a cable-car from Laax-Murschetgon the edge of Laax village, and the Cassons Grat (2634m), served by a combination of chairlifts and a cable-car from Flims-Dorf. Falera has a chairlift to Curnius, halfway up the Crap Sogn Gion. Beginners and intermediates are best served, with plenty of nursery slopes and practice areas around Waldhaus, and a host of blues and reasonably testing reds all over the mountain. Ski passes cost Fr.55/59 for a weekday/weekend day, with discounts outside peak season. In summer, the hiking network is extensive, plenty of trails winding their way through the forest on the cliffs above the River Vorderrhein. Alternatively, take the chairlift up to the broad, level plateau atop the Cassons Grat, where there’s a pleasant three-hour circular walk offering Alpine panoramas. The three-hour trek from Falera up to Crap Sogn Gion, and along the crest to Crap Masegn is especially beautiful too. Swissraft in Flims-Waldhaus (081/911 52 50; www.swissraft.ch) offer summer-only white-water rafting on the Vorderrhein between Ilanz and Reichenau (Fr.99/143 for a half/full day).
Flims is served by regular postbuses from Chur. The main tourist office is in Flims-Waldhaus (Mon–Fri 9am–noon & 2–6pm, Sat 9am–noon; Dec–April Sat also 2–5pm; 081/920 92 00, www.alpenarena.ch), beside both the post office (CH-7018) and the postbus stop. Buses from Chur first run through Flims-Dorf, stopping outside the post office (CH-7017). The local Guest Card covers buses to and from the lift stations.
The least expensive accommodation is also handily close to the Dorf lifts: Alte Säge, at Sulten 187 just down from the main road (081/911 28 07, fax 911 28 41), has dorms for Fr.27 as well as use of a kitchen. Also convenient for the Dorf lifts is the Curtgin (081/911 35 56, fax 911 34 55; b–c), a cosy family-run hotel. The tiny, modern Uaul Pign in Waldhaus (081/911 13 39, fax 911 56 39; b) is in a tranquil location well away from the road, with only ten rooms, all with balconies looking into the forest. In Laax, the Bellaval, Via Falera 112 (081/921 47 00, fax 921 48 55, firstname.lastname@example.org; c–d), offers peace and quiet, with pleasant, well-appointed rooms. Skiers could do a lot worse than stay right on the slopes, at the Berghotel Crap Sogn Gion (081/921 22 70, fax 921 22 73, email@example.com; d) – overpriced for the quality of rooms, but good value considering the unbeatable location.
Eating and drinking is largely a hotel affair, with a handful of restaurants in Flims-Dorf, including the Central, with menus of solid regional fare from Fr.14. Pomodoro is an inexpensive pizzeria in Waldhaus, while the restaurant in the Hotel Bellevue beside the Dorf lifts has great food, including local specialities and plenty of veggie options, for Fr.20 and upwards. Locals also favour the Meiler opposite, with much the same style.
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