Bad Ragaz with the “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz”, the “Tamina Therme”, the Gault Millau restaurants as well as the countless excursions in the region is the perfect place to spend your time or holidays. Here are my 8 top excursions and tips in the region.
Pictures and Text by Marc Gottwald
The Ultimate Bad Ragaz Guide
Bad Ragaz is a village in the canton of St Gallen and is easy reachable in around 1 hour from “Zurich Switzerland”. The place was formerly a farming village called Ragaz and owned by the Pfäffers Monastery. Then from 1838 the canton St. Gallen took over the ownership. It was already during that time an important place due to the traffic between Germany and Italy.
A man from Glarus named Bernhard Simon discovered the potential around the hot springs and turned it into a world health resort. Since 1936 the village is called “Bad Ragaz” and is known today as well for the gourmet with more than 90 Gault Millau points. The most known hotel is the “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz” where also a lot of celebrities are staying.
The perfect destination for excursions
But not only that. “Bad Ragaz” is the perfect starting point to explore different beautiful destinations and nature. For example the “Bϋnder Herrschaft” of Malans, where you can degustate own made wines on the vineyard. Also the famous place, where the founder of the Heidi story lived, is just a few minutes away from the village which is definitively a must-see for visitors.
But also nature is tremendous and one of my favorites close to Zurich. There is a beautiful gorge called “Tamina Schlucht”, where hot water is flowing through. Due to the hot water coming from the mountain springs, “Bad Ragaz” has also a famous spa, the so called “Tamina Therme”.
Moments in nature
If you love nature and you want to hike I really recommend you in summer to do the “5 Lake Hike” in Pizol. Also a sight for hiking enthusiasts is the rather unknown waterfall arena Batöni in the Weisstannental, with three waterfalls.
If you like it more comfortable I can recommend you a trip to the Calfeisental. There you can spend time at the Gigerwaldsee or eat in the restaurant in St.Martin and see the pretty Walser village.
Bad Ragaz also attracts visitors with an annual art exhibition, the so-called Bad RagARTz, which is an open-air sculpture exhibition.
Below is a detailed description of what activities to do.
What to do in the region
1). Tamina Schlucht
A mystical secret of the Tamina gorge is the thermal spring, where hot water of 36.5 °C is coming out 200 meteres from the inner of the rocks and flows to the thermal bath. The gorge is located in Bad Pfäfers and was used as Switzerland’s earliest Braque spa. Kings and their associates used to bathe here in the past. The famous doctor Paracelsus has recognized the water has a healing effect due to the low mineral content and the perfect temperature.
You can take a 4km hike along the Tamina Schlucht. It is only open from the end of April till the end of October. More information you find on the homepage.
After the short walk you will come out in Bad Pfäffers. This village has an impressive baroque church and the former Benedictine abbey too. To get back you can walk or take the public transport to Altes Bad Pfäfers, where you will find the gorges’ entrance.
2). Tamina Therme
The “Tamina Therme” is the well-known public thermal bath and an architectural masterpiece. The spa belongs to the “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz”. These baths unite traditional spa culture with a modern range of saunas. The“Tamina Therme” offers a wide variety of pools, cold or hot water baths and much more.
A visit of this spa will leave you relaxed and revitalized after getting beauty and haki treatments, massages, and health-conscious cuisine which you can add to your stay.
You can get to Therme either by public transport from St. Gallen and Zϋrich while enjoying the wonderful view of the Alpine landscape. Of course you can also reach the place by car. Hotel guests of the “Grand Resort” can use the thermal bath facilities for free.
3). 5 Lake hike Pizol
The hike to these five crystal clear mountain lakes starts at the top of the Pizolhϋtte cable car station. If you are coming from Zurich or St Gallen you can also joing the cable car from Mels. However, from Bad Ragaz the cable car from St.Leonard next to the airport is much more comfortable.
The most beautiful lakes are the Wildsee, Schottensee and Schwarzsee. Especially the Schottensee is my favorite. Will you take a swim there in the blue water? The water is cold but it is a refreshing experience. Because the glaciers scrape the rocks, sediments are released, which give the lake this milky color.
The “5 lake hike Pizol” takes around 4.5 hours, needs good hiking equipment and is very demanding. It is a high alpine hike with two challenging ascents and descents. The hike offers a spectacular view over the Swiss and Austrian Alps.
You will also enjoy the view on the Pizol glacier, the 2844 meters Pizol summit and the Graue Hӧrner. However, the Pizol glacier is melting so much due to global warming that experts say, in the next 20 years it will be gone.
4). Visit Calfeisental with the Gigerwaldsee and St. Martin
Also next to Bad Ragaz is the Calfeisental. With its artificial lake and the beautiful Walser village “St.Martin” it is a must-place to see and still a real insider tip. If you want to do something relaxing, you can enjoy the restaurant in the village or relax at the Gigerwaldsee.
However, due to avalanches and snow the place is only accessible in summer and autumn.
If you like to hike, here is another great one near “Bad Ragaz” which leads from St. Martin to the Sardonahütte. The hike starts in St. Martin following the alp access road for 5 kilometers into the wild Calfeisental. You will take the marked hiking trail to Sardonahütte.
The Sardona Hütte is a SAC hut where you could also stay for the night. During the hike you get to see lean meadows that alternate with the river to give hikers a beautiful scenery. If you like it extreme you can hike back with a wonderful panorama in direction of Chratzerispitz and then taking the steep way down to St.Martin. If you have problems with your knee, you should do it the other way round and estimate beforehand on the map, if the hike is something for you.
5). Stunning Weisstannental with the waterfall arena “Batöni.”
What an astonishing hike near Bad Ragaz! Weisstannen is a village located in the canton of St Gallen and the biggest village of the beautiful Weisstannen Valley. This village is located at 1,004 meters above sea level on the Seez river in the Weisstannen valley (Weisstannental) which lies at the foot of the Pizol mountain. The valley community of the villages of Schwendi and Weisstannen is a part of the Heidiland tourism region.
This valley has a long history, such as Bronze Age findings that prove early settlements. These villages’ names indicate that the initial inhabitants were Rhaeticus and the Walsers followed them in settling here, going by the old buildings.
But now I want to take you to the hike. Pretty hidden in the Weisstannen Valley there is a waterfall arena with 3 stunning waterfalls, called Batöni. It’s a scenic attraction that welcomes hikers to this region and is very close from “Bad Ragaz”. On weekends you have in the meantime already some people, but most of them are locals.
To get to this remote valley village, you will either public transport or take a car. In a car, you will drive to Sargans/Mels where you take the exit. You will then follow the signs to Weisstannen, which will take you on a winding road up the mountain. Once at Weisstannen you can park your car there and start the hike towards Batöni. If using public transport, take a train to Sargans, then get the hourly bus 432 to Weisstannen.
7). Bad Ragaz Hotels
The destination has not only beautiful natural paradises in the surrounding area, no, the village is also a health resort, which attracts thousands of Swiss locals and tourists every year. Here I would like to introduce you to the best hotels:
Grand Resort Bad Ragaz
The “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz” is by far the destinations most famous hotel and has its own thermal bath with the famous “Tamina Therme”. We must say hotels, because it owns four different houses, three of which are awarded with 5 stars: “Quellenhof”, which is over 150 years old, “Hof Ragaz” and Spa Suites are the 5-star hotels that belong to “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz”. In addition, the group owns the “Hotel Palais”, which is the oldest of the hotels with more than 250 years. What impresses me most about the “Grand Hotel Quellenhof” and the “Hotel Palais Bad Ragaz” is the combination of classic and luxury.
Of the 92 Gault Millau points in “Bad Ragaz”, 76 go to the account of the “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz”.
Hotel Castle Ragaz
Who would like to spend the night in a castle? Here you have the opportunity, because the three star “Hotel Schloss Ragaz” is a former castle on the outskirts of the Swiss village. This hotel also offers its own wellness area. In addition, there are also discounted tickets to the “Tamina Therme”, if you want to visit it.
8). Bad Ragaz Restaurants
“Bad Ragaz” is the place of fine dining. The restaurants have more than 90 Gault Millau Points (2021), while 76 belong to five restaurants of the “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz”: Gold Restaurant Gladys, Memories, Namun, Restaurant Igniv and “Verve by Sven”. However, the Rössli is the only restaurant with Gault Millau Points in the village that doesn’t belong to the “Grand Resort”.
If you love gourmet, then you are here at the right place!
“Bad Ragaz” has a wide variety of tourist attractions that will leave you satisfied. It doesn’t matter if you are a hiker or just visiting the spa and in for healthy treats. This region of Switzerland is also best to take children to learn about the rich history places and about nature. With the “Grand Resort Bad Ragaz”, the Tamina Therme and the Tamina Schlucht, there is even a lot to see in the village itself. The place is only 1h from Zurich and 50 minutes from St.Gallen.