The Engadin region is a marvel of the Alps with snow-capped peaks, wild landscapes and a soothing calmness. It’s one of the less populated areas in Switzerland due to its remoteness from the big urban centers of the country. You can explore Swiss only National Park, the very own culture of the region where people kept their unique language and great outdoor activities without the big crowds.
The Engadin is clustered in three areas, the Upper Engadin around St. Moritz, the Lower Engadin around Scuol and Val Müstair which holds big parts of the National Park.
Zernez would be a good place to stay if you don’t want to switch accommodation. We decided to stay half of the time in Pontresina and the other one in Scuol to reduce daily travel times, which was a good choice.
|Our One Week Engadin Itinerary|
|Day 1-3: Pontresina|
|Day 4: Swiss National Park|
|Day 5-7: Scuol|
The small village of Pontresina is just a few minutes away from glamorous St. Moritz and a great outdoor destination for the Upper Engadin region. It’s located next to the famous Bernina mountains which has the tallest mountains in the eastern Alps. You can walk to the foot of a glacier, climb one of the many peaks in the area or jump on a train over the Bernina Pass to Tirano in Italy for an authentic Pizza and Espresso.
How to get there
By car: Coming from Switzerland you can reach the Engadin via Chur – Julierpass (even open in winter) or Davos – Vereina Tunnel where the cars are loaded onto a train. There are several all year open roads from Italy and via the Inn valley from Austria.
By bus: You can reach St. Moritz with one of the iconic yellow busses from Chur or Lugano.
By train: Regional trains run to St. Moritz from Chur which is well connected to Swiss biggest airport in Zurich. Another scenic option is the train ride (Glacier Express) from St. Moritz to Zermatt in the Valais Region.
Although you can get almost everywhere with Swiss world class public transportation services, having a car is highly recommended on this trip.
Things to do
Alp Languard Hiking Trail: 3 hour hiking trail with incredible views to the Bernina mountains after a short cable car ride. There is small hut at the top serving warm food and cold drinks.
Morteratsch Glacier Trail: Impressive and easy to walk hiking trail to the end of the Morteratsch Glacier. The end of the glacier is marked for several years from the past which makes you realize how fast the glacier is shrinking. Plan around 2.5 hours for the whole trail since you will take lots of photos on the way.
Bernina Express: This iconic train winds its way over the Bernina Pass to Tirano in Italy. It’s one of the most beautiful train rides in the world so make sure to get your tickets as early as you can.
St. Moritz: The glamourous town is a nice place to walk around if the weather is not made for outdoor activities.
Swiss National Park
It’s rare to find a spot in the Alps which is not fully developed by the tourist industry but the Swiss National Park is one of those places. There are even some valleys which can’t be accessed at all. You can explore the park by foot on the official hiking trails. There is one street through the park with several parking lots where you can start your hikes.
There is also a post bus running through the park from neighboring Vinschgau Valley in South Tyrol to Zernez which you can use to return from one-way hikes.
How to get there
By car: From Zernez uphill over the Fuorn Pass which brings you to Val Müstair. Use any of the official parking lots along the road.
By bus: Postauto line 811 runs from Zernez to Müstair several times a day on the single road through the park.
Driving the single road through the park is a popular way for cyclists and sports car owners. But to explore the outstanding nature you have to go hiking on one of the trails.
Things to do
Hiking: A nice half-day walking tour goes around Muottas Champlönch. After roughly half of the way there is a big resting place with great views of Val Müstair and the snow-capped Ortler Mountains.
National Park Center: A modern building in Zernez with an exhibition and detailed information of the park, its animals and other sights.
Scuol is the biggest town of the Lower Engadin and a good place to stay while in the region. From here you can easily reach all spots of interest and many tour operators also start their day trips from here. Scuol has a cable car that brings you to a fantastic view point which is just in the middle of a ski area in the winter and a starting point for hikes in the summer.
How to get there
By car: All year round from Austria via the Inn Valley or from Zurich through Vereina Tunnel.
By train: Scuol is the last station of the Engadin train line but travel times to Swiss bigger cities can be quite long (Zurich for example 3.5 hours).
Scuol is a small town so you can walk everywhere in a few minutes. For other outdoor activities you have to check if it is possible to get there by bus / train.
Things to do
Tarasp: The castle of Tarasp from the 13th century is the landmark of the Lower Engadin. A nice hike starts at the castle. You first go up to a small lake (Lai Nair), then through the forest to a small tavern where you can eat the famous Engadin nut cake and then above the lake back to Tarasp.
Motta Naluns: The mountain north of Scuol can be reached with the cable car and is a nice spot to see the neighboring summits. Once you left the cable car go right and follow the hiking path uphill to Alp Clünas, Muot da l’Hom, Alp Laret and from there back to Motta Naluns. Walking time is around 4-5 hours.
Guarda: The small mountain village was once declared to be the most beautiful one in Switzerland. You can combine a visit here with a hike to Alp Sura (2 hours each direction).
Rafting: Possible from May to September on the Inn River.