(CNN) — Park the Porsche. Secure the yacht.
It’s time to leave the ordinary behind and do your part to improve the state of the world by spending four days in Davos, Switzerland.
From January 23 to 26, 2018, the highest city in Europe will once again host the globe’s super-powerful during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Hopefully your private plane will land on time for the forum’s climate change discussion.
If not, you’ll be sure to find yourself among other high fliers on the Swiss ski slopes where you can discuss topics such as social inclusion with the invitation-only event elites.
Not among the 2,500 top business, political, and intellectual leaders and journalists to travel to this year’s forum?
Consider yourself lucky: You’ll have all the more downtime to experience the high life. Here are the best things to do at this popular destination:
Stay at a place that offers the world to those who have already conquered it
Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère: Home to 126 of the most sought-after rooms in Davos.
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The Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère offers luxury that’s hard to explain — even in four official Swiss languages. Perhaps that’s why it’s the hotel of choice for many heads of state.
It hosted the first World Economic Forum back in 1971 and has since catered to leaders like Bill Clinton, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Prince Albert of Monaco.
Perfectly located in the center of everything in Davos Platz, only those who book early get the coveted 126 rooms.
The other 11,000 visitors coming to Davos for the WEF will be left to ponder their tardiness — a phenomenon foreigners get used to when traveling in super-punctual Switzerland.
For those too late to book a room, this celebrated hotel is also a dining destination, featuring three restaurants, including Restaurant Belvédère, where guests enjoy breakfast as well as gourmet evening menus.
Also on the hotel premises is an extensive wellness area that comes complete with everything you’d expect from a luxury hotel: an aquatic area with panoramic Alpine views, a counter-current swimming pool, a whirlpool, a fitness room, a Finnish sauna and a steam bath.
Not to mention: this is one five-star hotel that truly can claim that number of stars. In fact, you’ll probably find most of them at the bar. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, will.i.am and Bono have all been guests here too.
Steigenberger Grand Hotel Belvédère Davos; Promenade 89, 7270 Davos Platz; +41 (0)81 415 60 00
Slide downhill faster than the global economy at Parsenn
Parsenn, a 12-kilometer-long ski slope, is a legend among Alpine adventurers.
The story of its discovery began in 1895, when four English tourists lost their way on the Weissfluhjoch and discovered this classic mountain skiing route while descending to Küblis.
The Parsenn ski arena is reached in an equally epic manner — via a funicular railway from Davos.
Anything’s possible up here at 2,662 meters, from skiing alongside Hillary Clinton on the Meierhofer Tälli (renamed the Hillary Clinton run by locals, since it’s her favorite here) to measuring the speed of your descent.
To check your speed stats, simply start your run on slope number five at the Rapid chairlift. As you pass the two infrared photocell detectors, the speed-measuring system on the Parsenn will allow you to determine if you truly are plunging faster than the global economy in 2008.
Davos Klosters Bergbahnen AG; Verkaufsstelle Parsenn Davos, Promenade 157, 7260 Davos Dorf; +41 (0)81 417 67 57
Raise a glass to your elevated status at Restaurant Jakobshorn Gipfel
At a height of 2,590 meters above sea level, this mountain restaurant, located directly at the Mount Jakobshorn cable car station, serves simple cuisine at standards as high as its altitude.
It offers many culinary options to skiers and non-skiers alike.
There’s a panoramic sun-terrace bar where you can raise a glass to living the high life with other elitists (hot chocolate with grappa, anyone?), a more intimate Fondue-Stübli specializing in that cheesy delight, and Restaurant Jakobshorn Gipfel — a panorama restaurant with a basic mountain menu of hamburgers, French fries, onion rings, barley soup, spaghetti, apple strudel and more.
Whatever dining or drinking space , you’ll be treated to camera-worthy views of the Davos area and the feeling that you’re on the top of the world.
Restaurant Jakobshorn Gipfel; 7270 Davos Platz; +41 (0)81 413 70 04
Pray for world peace at the Sertig Valley chapel
It’s the final stop of the Sertig Classic Davos, but the picture-perfect chapel is open to visitors too.
Davos Klosters Tourism
Built in 1699, the tiny, picture-perfect chapel in the village of Sertig near Davos is still open for weddings and prayer.
Located in the Sertig Valley south of Davos, about 14 kilometers from town, you can get to the church on cross-country skis or by public bus from Davos Platz.
Every February, 250 cross-country skiers, including Olympians, World Cup competitors and many other famous athletes race from Davos to Sertig in the Sertig Classic Davos. The winning time is usually between 48 and 49 minutes. (The bus can get you there in 21).
Kirche Davos Sertig; Sertigerstrasse 24, 7272 Davos Sertig; +41 (0)81 413 61 17
Draw inspiration to improve the world at the Kirchner Museum Davos
The Alps have inspired everyone from world leaders to leading artists. The Kirchner Museum Davos, which features the works of one of the world’s most influential expressionists, offers insights into why.
In 1917, German painter and printmaker Ernst Ludwig Kirchner took refuge in Davos after being discharged from wartime military service following a nervous breakdown.
One of Germany’s most renowned artists, his work reveals some of the fears many have about the world today: about humanity’s place in the modern world, about lost feelings of spirituality and about the belief that there are powerful forces beneath the veneer of Western civilization.
The Kirchner Museum Davos comprises over 1,500 of Kirchner’s paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and textile works, and 160 sketchbooks. The majority of the paintings were created in Davos.
Kirchner Museum Davos; Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Platz, Promenade 82, 7270 Davos Platz; +41 (0)81 410 63 00
Discover the advantageous monetary policies of World Cup ski runs
There are many kinds of elites that meet in Davos. Some of them include the world’s top cross-country skiers who come here for the Davos Nordic FIS Cross-Country World Cup every December and the Sertig Classic every February.
Some Olympic and World Cup Champions, like Dario Cologna, don’t just compete in Davos; they call it home.
Elite skier or not, you can ski the same trails as the champions — for free.
Thanks to the Davos Cross-Country Ski Club, which promotes and supports Nordic skiing in Davos, there are no passes required for cross-country skiing.
Free things in Switzerland, often ranked one of the world’s most expensive countries, are worth taking advantage of, especially if they include 78 kilometers of classic trails, 48 kilometers of skating trails, and 2.5 kilometers of illuminated night-time trails.
Thanks to Davos’ high altitude, there are snowy trails from October until April, making Davos a true cross-country (and financial) paradise.
Destination Davos Klosters; +41 (0)81 415 21 21
Take a break from your limo on the Bernina Express
UNESCO says the Rhaetian Railway “constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble.”
Go even higher, young elite. More specifically, travel first class on the UNESCO-recognized Rhaetian Railway to Ospizio Bernina and experience the Swiss train version of the high life.
The trip from Davos Platz (change trains in Filisur) to Ospizio Bernina takes about two hours, but these two hours could be the highlight of your entire trip.
The Bernina Express, run by the privately owned Rhaetian Railway, is the highest train ride in the Alps, and Ospizio Bernina, at 2,253 meters, is its highest station.
Here, you’ll find the turquoise Lago Bianco (white lake). The color here is stunning and so is the silence.
There’s not much going on at Ospizio Bernina — the action is back in Davos — but that’s the point.
Take an hour to admire the stillness and walk along the lake before returning to Davos Platz. There are trains going north every hour.
Or, if you prefer to have lunch at your destination (there’s nowhere to eat at Ospizio Bernina), stay on the train one stop past Ospizio Bernina and disembark at Alp Grüm, where Restaurant Alp Grüm serves the local specialty, pizzoccheri (buckwheat noodles), along with amazing views of pirouetting red Swiss trains in the valley below.
Rhaetian Railway; Bahnhofstrasse 25, 7001 Chur; +41 (0)81 288 65 65
Move and shake with movers and shakers at EX Bar Davos
It’s not just a bar. It’s not just a club. It’s not just a restaurant. It’s all of those things — and more.
Fifty-three years young in 2018, EX Bar offers something for guests of all ages and nationalities.
You can mix and mingle with celebrities like Matt Damon or move and shake with countless other movers and shakers of the world.
EX bar is cultic, unique, and all-encompassing, allowing you to lose track of time, even in a country known for its watches.
On weekends, the DJ plays until dawn and warm food with a side of equally warm Swiss hospitality is available until 6 a.m.
EX Bar Davos; Promenade 63, 7270 Davos Platz; +41 (0)81 413 56 45
Play politics (or hockey) at the Davos Sports Center
Whether you go to the Davos Sports Center to play hockey or play politics, like most Swiss places, it’s neutral.
It welcomes you no matter your intentions, but encourages you to practice all forms of ice sports, including rink bandy. Skates can be rented, so there’s no excuse.
The Sports Center includes an open-air ice rink, where you can feel free to discuss climate change if the ice gets soft.
The space also features the Vaillant Arena, which is one of the world’s most beautiful ice hockey stadiums and the place the HC Davos hockey club calls home.
Time-Out Restaurant, within the complex, offers exactly what it sounds like: a refreshing break from any activity thanks to a wide range of food and beverages, a large screen that broadcasts a range of live sporting events, and an expansive sun terrace.
Sportzentrum Davos; Talstrasse 41, 7270 Davos Platz; +41 (0)81 415 21 21
Bet with the billionaires (or become one yourself) at Casino Davos
If you don’t find a billionaire to marry in Davos, don’t worry, as Casino Davos offers 70 other ways to become one: 70 slot machines, two roulette tables, two blackjack tables, and one Texas Hold’em table.
One of the best places to socialize (and have the chance at winning more than the GDP of Denmark) Casino Davos allows you to test your luck at millions alongside the super-rich — or just join them at the bar for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
Located in the heart of Davos, it’s one of only two mountain casinos in Switzerland.
It doesn’t require formal dress, but you might want to consider wearing a lucky charm.
Casino Davos; Promenade 63, 7270 Davos Platz; +41 (0)81 410 03 03
Chantal Panozzo is the author of “Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known.”
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