Viamala Gorge

The Viamala Schlucht is a narrow river gorge near Chur. In this middle of this long river, there’s a narrow section with interesting formations and a visitor center with a fenced walkway built into the cliffs so you can get a closer look. They offer a treasure hunt activity for kids, where the kids use binoculars to look for hidden letters, then unscramble to solve a puzzle. It’s a relatively short activity; you might spend an hour here. So it’s probably better combined with something else in the area (see the Viamala region website for ideas). We went in April 2010 and as you can see, it was still icy cold and covered with snow. But it was still fun and very beautiful.

Location:   Graubunden Switzerland
Address: Viamala, Zillis, Graubunden, CH
GPS: 46.663227, 9.447552
Car: 1hr30 from ZH
Train: 2hr from ZH
Trail: short path
Condition: walkway with lots of stairs
Skill: easy
Open: April through October
More info: www.viamala-schlucht.ch

Getting There

By car: Drive south on A3 then A13 past Chur towards the San Bernardino tunnel/pass. Take exit 23-Viamala and merge onto Route 13, following the winding road up the canyon. After a few minutes, you’ll see a small parking lot and visitor center on your right. Park here and go buy your tickets.

By transit: You can also take a train to Thusis (via Chur), then a bus to Zillis, Viamala Schlucht.

Impressions

On the left, you see the road winding through the Viamala Schlucht as seen from the visitor center. On the right, our big group buying tix.

When we went in 2010, for an extra 3CHF, your kid gets a treasure map and use of binoculars and explorer pack, shown in pics above. If I remember correctly, there are a series of informational signboards along the path and the kids have something to look for at each signboard.

The kids use the binoculars to spot clues and letters hidden around the Schlucht. Below you can see a little army diorama on the opposing walls that our kids had to find. Our 6 and under kids needed a lot of assistance with the treasure hunt and some lost interest after awhile.

You explore the Schlucht on concrete walkways built into the cliffs. There are a lot of stairs, so no strollers and very little children might need help. The railways were safer than other gorges I’ve visited. I wasn’t so worried about my 6yr old walking ahead of us with his friends. Some sections are in tunnels and under overhangs. It can get wet and slippery in these sections, so kids may need a gentle reminder not to run around.

The formations are impressive and beautiful. With grey skies, it was hard to get pics that really showed the beauty of this place. I’ll bet it’s so much prettier on a sunny summer day.

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