The (not so) rough guide to Heidiland

Visit 'Heidiland' in the Swiss canton of Graubünden and experience the grassy Alpine scenery from Johanna Spyri's Heidi stories.

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 31 Jul 2014, 11:00 BST, Updated 1 Jul 2021, 12:03 BST

Q Where do I need to go to best experience the grassy Alpine scenery we all associate with the Heidi stories?

Switzerland is a beautiful country, and the mountainous landscape means striking Alpine scenery isn't hard to come by. Once the spring hits, the snow melts to reveal tranquil landscapes of forested hills, deep valleys and azure lakes.

But those raised on the Heidi stories will doubtless have a more specific picture in mind — one of mountain slopes carpeted with summer meadows, wooden Alpine chalets and goats chewing at the pasture. The good news is that the Swiss are extremely alive to the global popularity of Heidi, and have made it very easy for tourists to experience this Alpine fantasy.

If you head to the canton of Graubünden, take the train from Chur to Bad Ragaz and get off at Maienfeld. Here, an official Heidiland Trail leads from the town's pretty central square up a winding hill path into the hamlet of Oberrofels, where most of Johanna Spyri's classic novel was set. Here you'll find a lovingly reproduced Heidi Village, including the original Heidi House and a museum, which shows how she would have lived.

From here, head further up the Heidi trail into higher pastures to visit the chalet that passes as Peter the Goatherd's Hut, before ascending to Heidi Alp, the supposed home of Heidi's wise Alm-Uncle. From here, views of the stunning meadows below are satisfyingly Swiss.

Heidiland: When to go

Visit Heidiland at any point during Graübunden's summer season, from late April to October. During this period, it gets warm but never uncomfortable, with temperatures rarely straying over the high 20Cs.

Published in the May 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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