Viamala Schlucht, CH

Viamala or Via Mala (which in Romansh literally means “bad path”) is an ancient and notorious section of a path along the river Hinterrhein between Zillis-Reischen and Thusis in the Canton of Graubünden. This narrow gorge was the most serious obstacle on the approach to two mountain passes: the Splügen and the San Bernardino.

There was a path through the Viamala already in Roman antiquity, though it is not clear whether it was only a foot and bridle path, or could also be used by wagons. Two access paths met at the northern entrance to the Viamala, which the Romans traversed by means of several rock galleries cut into the walls on the left side of the gorge. Presumably somewhere below today’s automobile bridge and near the pedestrian bridge (Punt da Suransuns) the Romans constructed a wooden bridge crossing over to the right side of the Rhine, routing traffic via Reischen to Zillis.

Impressions

Once upon a time it was hated. Travelers called this deep ravine in the Hinterrhein Valley the “Bad Path”. It was an obstruction on the journey through the Alps. Beautiful, but wild and threatening. And today this is exactly the reason why one travels to the Viamala. Equipped with a treasure card, children and grown-ups alike can discover the canyon and stories behind it as well as seek the Viamala treasures!

The Viamala is formed by up to 300-meter-high cliffs. The Hinterrhein flows through this ravine. Despite its narrowness, in spite of the threat of falling rocks and dangerous waters, the gorge offered even as far back as before the birth of Christ the best access to the Alpine Passes of Splügen and San Bernardino. Prehistoric cult sites, churches, old bridges and castles bear witness to the past.

Today the wild gorge is no longer the bane of travelers, but a tourist destination in its own right. The muleteer route, starting in Thusis, with its new hanging bridge, a secured descent over 359 staircase steps and the old bridge of 1739, leads hikers deep into the mystical ravine.

Getting there

By any means or by choice of public transport services: SBB Timetable, please click here.

Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps. Its cities contain landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge.

The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned.

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