DAVOS SWITZERLAND - A big town surrounded by a great Alpine playground.

Davos was once hugely popular with Brits, but has fallen out of favor and is now dominated by Germans. Few resorts in the world have more extensive slopes, or offer more for all standards. But the area has its drawbacks: it is split into several unlinked sectors, and relatively ancient and queue-prone lifts access many of them. Those prepared to accept such drawbacks normally do so as the price of staying in a captivating Alpine village. But Davos is far from that.

Whether you forgive the flaws and fall for the resort depends on how highly you value three plus-points: the distinctive, long intermediate runs of the Parsenn area; being able to visit a different sector every day; and the considerable off-slope potential. We like all three, and we always look forward to visiting.

But you don't have to stay in Davos to enjoy its slopes: Klosters offers a much more captivating alternative. Despite royal connections, it is not exclusive - on the contrary, it has exceptionally welcoming places to stay. But it is less well placed than Davos for exploring all the mountains.

What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ Very extensive slopes

+ Some superb, long and mostly easy runs away from the lifts

+ Lots of off-slope, with lots of marked itineraries and some short tours

+ Good cross-country trails

+ Excellent sports facilities, pretty walks, good range of shopping

+ Some captivating mountain restaurants above Klosters

+ Klosters is an attractive village

Dreary block-style buildings of Davos spoil the views

Davos is a huge, city-like resort, rather plagued by traffic and lacking Alpine atmosphere

The slopes are spread over five or six essentially separate areas

Some access lifts are old and out-of-date, with long queues

- especially the main funicular from Dorf

Only one slope (black) back to Davos Dorf, which finishes 500m from town