Disentis is a very nice Swiss village/town with a lot of future perspectives, they are building a lot for their winter activities at the moment, but it already has a lot to offer to any traveler and its historic facts are pretty fascinating.
I have spent there two days on a weekend in September and let us see what I have found there.
Where is Disentis and how to get there
Disentis is in Graubünden canton and actually not that far from another very famous Swiss location: Andermatt. Although on the other side there is famous Flims village. Disentis is all surrounded by the Swiss Alps, but you can easily reach it by car or train.
Some distances from the biggest cities: from Zürich it is 178 kilometers , from Basel it is 265 kilometers: , from Bern it is around 300 km (it dependence if it is summer or winter, as in winter most of mountain passes are closed, so you may need to get to Disentis from Chur side).
It is very easy to get there by car, depending from which side you come, the trip is very beautiful. If you are going there in summer, I suggest to go through Andermatt and Oberalp Pass: it is a very high mountain pass, so you will get all the alpine drive thrill. From the other side the drive is not that alpine, but still there’s no highway up to Disentis and you will go from one little city to another. The highway ends up once you reach Chur.
You can park your car next to Disentis sports center ( Via Alpsu 51, 7180 Disentis ) or by Coop shop (which is actually very close to the sports center).
If you go by train, it shouldn’t take you longer than 3 hours from Zürich. Check all the latest schedules and prices here: Swiss trains.
What to do in Disentis
We have come to Disentis so we were a bit more flexible what to do over there.
First thing what we did: went to Lukmanierpass. It’s a mountain pass not very far from Disentis: only 21 kilometers. To walk till Lukmanierpass would be a day hike 🙂
Lukmanierpass has a hotel, restaurant and a church which was actually open, although empty. There is as well a huge lake: Lai da Sontga Maria. Have you noticed something unusual about the name :)? It’s not italian, french and definitely not german: it’s romansh! It’s the 4th language of Switzerland and it is spoken in Disentis. A lot of places, streets are written in this language. This is very cool. It’s a mix of italian and latin, but I actually know very little about this language. It is mostly spoken in small villages in the mountains.
In Lukmanierpass you can definitely hike. A lot. You can hike to such peaks as: Schenadüi, Scopi and Pizzo di Cadrèigh; or even to Lago Ritom (now the “lake” is in italian language. If you cross a bit of mountains over there, you will get to italian part of Switzerland and will hear buon giorno! in the mountains.
As we have visited Lukmanierpass we headed a little down. Actually the drive up to Lukmanierpass is very beautiful and picturesque. We stopped in Acla village, had to cross a very narrow wooden bridge which I hoped will be able to keep the car’s weight.
In Acla we just hiked a bit up to Medel village along the the Rein da Cristallina (the river). But one very fun thing is, that we found a lot of mushrooms. And they are not very much hiding, you can see them from the trail. Now, you must be aware that in Switzerland you can not pick mushrooms as much you wish, there are rules. In some cantons you can pick 1 kg, in others more. So if you see mushrooms in the Swiss Alps and would like to collect them, check the rules 🙂 And of course, know your mushrooms. I know them from my childhood and if I find a mushroom I don’t know, I don’t take it at all. It is very hard to check if they are good even when I find pictures on internet. The risk if something goes wrong is too big. But if you know the mushrooms, then you can actually find quite a lot in Switzerland.
After the mushroom picking we went back to Disentis to our hostel called Nangijala. Very not Swiss name for a hostel in Switzerland, but as I understood, name comes from Himalayan region.
The room with no bathroom (bathroom is on the same floor) costs 80 CHF. That I still consider quite cheap in Switzerland.
The hostel is very cute and made for travelers and snowboarders in winter. Very cute. It has a nice bar where we spend our evening, but before the sun went down, we went for a walk in Disentis.
In September it was pretty much empty. There are many big houses, big apartment houses – all empty. I think they are being used just in winter.
As well, they are now building a huge new apartment house complex which looks very cool, it is going to be very popular I believe. It is right next to cable car station. As Disentis is already at 1150 meters altitude, it’s a perfect place for skiing resort. Disentis skiing resort is not very big, but still fun as it can lift you up to 2833 meters altitude. You can check all the information here: Disentis skiing.
One thing you will for sure notice if you go to Disentis or just pass by is a Disentis Kloster (Disentis Abbey). It’s a huge building. It’s a benedectine abbey built first in 8th century! But as it always happened: it was burned, destroyed and then rebuilt in 1880. It has more than 14 centuries of history. This is pretty fascinating fact knowing that Switzerland wasn’t really Switzerland till the 13th century. So if you have time, visit it. Check all their information about visiting hours here, so you won’t miss anything: Disentis Kloster.
So if you go there in the Fall, it’s a pretty calm small Swiss town. After a short city tour we went to have a pizza, very delicious one actually in the pizzeria here: Pizzeria Surselva. Small cozy pizzeria with their own huge oven where they bake all the pizzas.
Afterwards: cozy evening in our hostel’s bar.
Hängebrücke Mutschnengia (the Suspension bridge)
The next day we had a cup of coffee and headed to Mutschnengia village. It is a very very cute small, very old village on the mountain. It’s very beautiful and it has one pretty cool thing: a huge suspension bridge. We sometimes call it a monkey bridge 🙂
It is above a big ridge and looks pretty fascinating. Once you cross it, you can have a hike on the other side if you wish, it goes into more mountainous places. We tried to look for more mushrooms over there, but no luck.
Going back from Disentis via Oberalp Pass
As we came to Disentis from Chur side (because from the other side there were huge traffic jams leading to Gotthard Tunnel), we decided to go home via Oberalp Pass and Andermatt.
It is always a fun experience to go through mountain passes as you can see a lot of the Swiss Alps.
As well on the road we met a lot of very old cars (I would say from 1920s) from Britain, some of those cars didn’t even have the door windows. It was bad luck for them: it was mid September and it was already snowing in Oberalp Pass. Pretty heavily. I was even worried as I was with my summer tires, but luckily snow melts fast on the road, stays just on the grass around.
On the top in Oberalp Pass I met a lot of cows in the snow, I guess the farmer as well didn’t expect the snow to come in on that day.
All in all, it was a very Christmassy mood there on the top in the middle of September, still 12 weeks till real Christmas 🙂
I am always very happy to find out more and more about Switzerland and Disentis actually really deserves the love of tourists.
It’s a really nice beautiful small town in the Swiss Alps with gorgeous surroundings: you can get right to two mountain passes from Disentis in 20-30 minutes. A lot to hike around, a lot to ski and just enjoy the Swiss Alps. And the history of this place… Abbey was found in the 8th century! That’s a pretty majestic fact!
Come to Disentis, hike around, have a pizza, spend the night, you will not regret it.
A little bit facts about the costs of such a day trip:
Hotel: we paid 80 CHF, but it can easily go to 300 CHF a night. So if you find something lower than 100 CHF, that’s a good deal.
If you come there in summer, you can try the Disentis camping: all information about it is here: Disentis camping place.
Food: there’s a shop with plenty of food, so you can get things cheaper there, but let’s say a pizza in the restaurant costs around 20 CHF.
Beer: we have tried beer in our hostel, it costs 7 CHF per bottle.
Breakfast cost: we didn’t have breakfast in a hotel, we went for it in the city. So the small croissant and coffee combo was 7 CHF.
Train tickets: always check the latest prices on the official SBB website. We came with a car, so it’s a bit cheaper and as well parking was free in the hotel.
If you have any questions about Disentis, please let me know, I will do my best to help you!
If you are looking for more places to hike and visit, you can check out these options:
Let’s discover the best hiking trails in Lauterbrunnen.
Gantrisch Nature Park offers a lot of hiking routes for beginners and advanced hikers
Grindelwald is a hikers dreamland
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