Bad Ragaz in the St. Gallen Rhine Valley at the foot of the Pizol has a long tradition as a health spa. Today it is a wellness resort with top-class hotels, thermal baths and golf courses. The warm (37°C) healing waters bubble up from inside the mountain in the deep, mysterious Tamina Gorge in nearby Pfäfers.
From the middle of the 13th century pilgrims journeyed to the Abbey of Pfäfers near Bad Ragaz, where the Tamina Valley opens into the Rhine Valley, to bathe in the thermal waters. In 1535 the doctor and philosopher, Paracelsus, became the first doctor in Bad Pfäfers and testified to the healing powers of the thermal springs. Thus began the age of spa tourism. In 1716 the earliest baroque bathhouse in Switzerland was built below the Benedictine Monastery in Pfäfers.
From 1840 the thermal water was piped down to the more easily accessible village of Ragaz, 4 kilometres away, so Ragaz quickly became a renowned health resort. Luxury hotels were built to accommodate wealthy travellers, including Russian nobility, and, like the richly traditional Grand Hotel in Bad Ragaz, they still attract guests from all over the world. Today Bad Ragaz with its Tamina Thermal Spa, offers a broad range of medicinal and wellness packages.
The Pizol ski region stretches between 1600m and 2220m. Winter sports enthusiasts will find 12 railways and lifts, more than 40 km of piste, a free-ride paradise, a winter sports school, cross-country trails and interesting ski tour routes. Toboggan fans will rave about the 7 km toboggan run, and there are marked trails for snowshoe hikers. The attractive mountain footpath affords panoramic views.
The two golf courses in Bad Ragaz ideally complement the spa. The Bad Ragaz home mountain, the Pizol, and the plain of the Rhine Valley provide wonderful biking and hiking country. There is a popular cycling and inline skating route on the nearby Rhine Dam and marked Nordic walking trails are also to be found on the Pizol. The