You’ve never heard of Raron? This might be Switzerlands newest place to be! Well… For some maybe. It’s small, it’s beautiful and far away from where all the other tourists are. If you’re looking for the most jaw-dropping views, the highest peaks and the best after-ski bars, don’t waste your time and stop reading. Raron is not yours. But if you’re looking for an authentic and charming Swiss mountain village, Raron is your place to be.
So, what makes Raron special?
Rarons main attraction are actually two churches. Not some random churches like in any Swiss village. But one church on top of a hill, overlooking the village, and the other one right inside of that hill. If it weren’t for the cross in front of it, you’d never guess to find a church inside.
The day I was there the place seemed to be rather abandoned. Admittedly, I was a bit scared to enter the church. Fortunately, my partner was with me to hold my hand. The place is well maintained and even has super clean toilet at the entrance, but there was something eerie about it.
Anyways, we went inside and stepped into darkness. Two seconds later the lights turned on and we found ourselves in a pretty big church with stone walls. The church was empty except for a lonesome lady who was praying in silence. It’s bigger than expected and the stone walls give it a rustic look. There was some Christian music playing in the background, adding to the drama.
Afterwards we made our way to the top of the hill. In order to get there, you need to pass through parts of the village. In architectural sense Raron is pretty special. You can find many different types of houses, old and new and quiet some new houses which combine modern with traditional elements. As a whole this village doesn’t make any sense, but I liked the random mix. I also appreciated the small details and decorations many people added to their houses.
Getting to the top of the hill takes no more than 10 minutes. Here you can admire the second church and it’s beautiful setting. Next to it there is a small castle and in between them there’s a graveyard.
From the hill top you can easily hike to a neighbouring village called St. German. There are two directions you can go and I’d recommend doing it as a round trip. The entire trip takes no more than 1.5 hours and apart from the first climb, it’s a very easy hike.
Just before you reach the church there is small path leading pretty steep up the hill. From here you’ll have a wonderful view over the church and the castle, towering over the village and overlooking the valley.
Not even 10-15 minutes later you’ll reach the top of the hill. From here you can follow an easy, straight path alongside a small water canal. Enjoy the tranquility and the soothing sound of the water.
Once you reach St. German, it’s an easy, slightly descending way back to Raron. On the way back you’ll overlook small wineries which probably look awesome when you’re there in the rights season (which is not April obviously).
Before reaching Raron, there’s a small hill on your right. I’d definitely recommend climbing on top of it. You’ll get again another perspective of Raron and the valley.
Maybe Raron is not Switzerland’s new hot spot. And that’s why it’s charming. In fact, it’s the small things I enjoyed in Raron: the random architecture, the water canal, they way the bench and old barns along the path fit into the scenery…. It’s not only the big and impressive things that deserve our admiration, it’s worth paying attention to the small things. Are you this person who slows down to grasp the details other people ignore? Then Raron is just the right place for you.