Switzerland: Engadin - Sankt Moritz

Winter is coming ! Spend your holidays in Engadin: the reign of winter sports and fairy tale landscapes. Here what to do and where to go.

Engadin is famous for 3 reasons:

 

- It’s one of the highest valleys in Europe as it reaches 1,800 meters above sea level

- It has at least 322 sunny days per year

- there’s St Moritz, one of the favourite international Jet Set’s destinations

 

An undisputed paradise for classic winter sports such as alpine skiing and cross-country skiing, Engadin is the best for other sports too, like skating and hockey on ice, ski mountaineering and snowkiting. You can have a lot of fun also going down  breathtaking toboggan runs: perfect snow and high speed.

If you don’t like sports this valley offers you hundreds of paths in a beautiful scenario, a great cuisine, international fashion stores like Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton and luxury wellness centers.

Ready to leave ?

 

Location

Engadine is located in Switzerland, in the Graubünden’s canton. It is set in southern Alps and is divided into Lower and Upper Engadine.

The Upper Engadine is characterized by the presence of four lakes (Sils, Silvaplana, Champfer and St. Moritz), wonderful forests and glaciers that make the landscape truly unique. The main villages are: Segl, Silvaplana, Saint Moritz, Celerina, Pontresina, Samedan, Bever, La Punt, Madulain, Zuoz and S-chanf.

How to get there

Milan - St. Moritz

175 Km

Zurich - St. Moritz

200 km

Basel - St. Moritz

250 km

Munich - St. Moritz

280 Km

The upper Engadin can be reached:

 

- By car from Italy, other Switzerland regions, from Germany and Austria. In winter it’s important to provide your car with winter tires or have snow chains on board and check the opening of alpine passes. 

 

- By train with Switzerland Railways (RhB) 

 

- By plane from the international airports of Zurich, Geneve, Basel, Milan and Munich to the Engadin Airport

 

10 things to do in Engadin

1 - Alpine skiing

If you are really into alpin ski Engadin is one of the best places in the world to practise this sport. These are the best ski areas where you'll spend unforgettable snow holidays:

- Corvatsch

From Surlej cablecar station you can reach the summit station at 3,303 m above sea level, the highest in the eastern Alps.

You can choose amid several red slopes or test your skier skills  on the famous 9 km long Hahnensee black slope and enjoy an amazing view on the Engadine lakes. It starts from the Giand'Alva chair lift station that is open from 9.00 am and it takes you in St. Moritz Bad where Hahnensee Express shuttle will be waiting for you.

This is the timetable from the  10th of december 2017 till the 15th of april 2018:

St. Moritz Bahnhof 8.36 am – 5.06 pm

Schulhausplatz 8.40 am – 5.10 pm

Signal 8.46 am – 5.16 pm

Surlej Corvatsch 9.08 am – 5.08 pm

The rides are every 30 minutes. Also from the 10th of february 2018, due to the high season, there will be these additional rides:

St. Moritz Signal 5.46 pm

Surlej Corvatsch 5.38 pm (to St. Moritz Signal)

- Corviglia - Piz Nair

From Piz Nair, 3,035 m above sea level, to valley bottom there are tens km of slopes  where  ski world championship often take place and one of the best snowpark in Europe.

Skilifts open before 8.00 am to allow people who want to get up early and ski on freshly groomed slopes. 

- Diavolezza - Lagalb

Feel the great emotion to ski near the Bernina's glaciers: from october to may the snow is assured !

Don't miss the 10 km long  slope going down from the Diavolezza glacier till the Morteratsch glacier. You'll see breathtaking landscapes but be carefull and don't go out the track because it can be dangerous because of crevasses.

 

2 - Cross country skiing

Engadin is truly a paradise for those who love cross country skiing, because it offers at least 230 km of snowy and sunny slopes perfectly  groomed that go through villages and fir woods. Whether you practice classical technique or skating technique you will be fully satisfied. Each village has its own cross-country skiing center with changing rooms and showers. The day ticket costs 8 chf.

3 - Toboggan runs and other sports

 

Tobogganing is one of the many ways to have fun in this area. There are several toboggan runs that are set up during winter, mainly on closed roads because of the snow.

Here are the main ones:

- Muottas Mouragl toboggan run

This is an amazing route 4 km long and make up of 20 curves that will take you from 2,400 m above sea level to 1,700 m above sea level.

The rental price for a slad per day is 15 chf, while the daily ticket costs 48 chf for adults, 32 chf for children from 13 to 17 years old and 16 chf for children from 6 years old. It is also possible to buy a half-day ticket (from 11.45 am) with the following prices: 42, 28 and 14 chf for adults, children from 13 to 17 years and children from 6 years old.

- Toboggan run in Sils

40 minutes are needed to cover the entire trail that goes from the Laret forest to Lake Sils. There’s no possibility to rent a sled.

- Toboggan run on the Albula Pass

This track is built along the Albula pass where cars and motorcycles usually circulate in summer. 2.5 km long, the toboggan run has to be reached on foot and you need to bring with you your own sled. It is open from December to March from 10 am to 12 am and from 13 pm to 16 pm.

- Madulain toboggan run

- Bever toboggan run 

- Zuoz toboggan run

 

In Engadin you can have fun practising many other winter sports like skating and hockey on ice, curling and snow kite. All the lakes in this valley in January get iced so they become cross country skiing slopes and playgrounds where to play safely. 

4 - Walks in the snow

Engadin is also the reign of walks in the snow because a network of paths offers endless possibilities. On icy lakes or in enchanted woods, you'll enjoy unique landscapes completely surrounded by truly unspoiled nature.

Always follow pink painted poles, they sign walking paths, not to be confused with light blue ones, they signs cross country skiing slopes.

passeggiata sul lago di Sankt Moritz
passeggiata sul lago di Sankt Moritz

Here are some easy walks:

- from St. Moritz Bad to Staz lake

Route of about 3 km that will lead you in 45 minutes to Staz lake and to the homonym  hotel and restaurant Lej da Staz (Staz lake) where you might taste good traditional dishes  or warm up with a hot drink.

 

- from Pontresina to hotel and restaurant Roseg Gletscher

Route of about 7 km that will lead you in less than 2 hours through  the beautiful Roseg Valley to the hotel and restaurant Roseg Gletscher. 

 

- From the Morteratsch train station to the homonym glacier

Route of about 3 km that will lead you at Morteratsch glacier feet. When you'll be back you might eat and drink something at the hotel and restaurant Morteratsch.

On the way to the Morteratsch glacier
On the way to the Morteratsch glacier

5 - Horse-drawn sleigh rides

Don't miss this romantic adventure. Throughout the valley it is possible to enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides in fairy tale landscapes. Warm wool blankets will protect you from stinging cold.

For example from Pontresina railway station  horse sleighs leave at a fixed timetable leading through Roseg valley till the hotel and restaurant Roseg Gletscher (1 hour and 10 minutes).

 

Departures from Pontresina at 10.30 am - 11.10 am - 12.10 am - 1.10 pm

Departures from hotel and restaurant Roseg Gletscher at 1.45 pm - 2.45 pm - 3.45 pm

The one way ticket costs 20 chf for adults and 10 chf for children, while the roundtrip ticket costs 32 chf for adults and 16 chf for children.

6 - Take a ride on the cable railway to Muottas Muragl 

You won't forget so easily a ride on this cable railway: from the departure station to the 2,456 m above sea level of the Muottas Muragl, a mountain where you can enjoy the best scenario on all Engadin and surrounding Alps. On the top there are many path for walks with snowshoes, a toboggan run and a restaurant with a wonderful terrace and a great view.

The cable railway is open from the 23nd from december to the 8th of April. It leaves every 30 minutes from 7.45 am till 11 pm. The daily ticket costs 48 chf for adults, 32 chf for teenagers and 16 chf for children. The half day ticket costs 42 chf for adults, 28 chf for teenagers and 14 for children.

 

7 - Relax in a wellness center

After a full day on the snow there's nothing better than relax yourself in a wellness center.

Many hotels have one, above all 5 stars hotels like the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains  with its St. Moritz High Alpine Spa, or the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz, or the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz: they all guarantee very high standards and luxurious ambience.

If you are not a 5 stars hotel type you can enjoy wonderful wellness center anyway. Here where you can go:

 

- Ovaverva        

 

Swimming pool and wellness center in St Moritz covering an area of over 3,000 square meters. It offers a 25-meter indoor pool, a heated outdoor whirlpool, saunas, a Turkish bath, Kneipp trails, relaxation areas, a women's area, a play area with slides for children and a bar. There's all you need after a day of skiing.

It is open every day from Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm. From the 30th of April to the 13 th of May 2018 Ovaverva will be closed.

The entrance ticket for the pools area costs 15 chf for adults and 7.50 chf for children. The entrance ticket for the weelness area costs 30 chf for 3 hours and 14 chf for children from 6 years old. The combo entance ticket with no time limits  costs 37.50 chf.

 

- Bellavita  

Swimming Pool and wellness center in Pontresina suitable for families, it has an indoor and an outdoor swimminpool, sauna, steam or turkish bath and a playground for children.

It is open every day from monday to friday from 10 am to 10 pm and saturday and sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.

The ticket for the swimming pools area costs 11 chf for adults and 5.50 chf for children (6-15 years old).

The combo ticket swimming pools area plus wellnes center costs 26.50 chf for adults and 16.50 chf for children (6-15 years old).

8 - Visit St. Moritz and have some shopping

St. Moritz is a small town of about 5,000 inhabitants and it is famous all over the world. It has always been an exclusive destination thanks to its modernity, luxury hotels and its great chefs cuisine, as well as for the naturalistic beauty of its sourrandings.

Enjoy a nice walk in the town center alleys. The St. Moritz church, the tower and the Museum of the painter Segantini deserve a visit of course, but the main attraction, it's useless to deny it, it's Serlas street, truly a paradise for shopping because it is full of fashion stores of the most famous stylists in the world.

9 - Taste the Engadin walnut cake

There are many specialties you might taste in Engadine, but the one you can not really miss is the famous engadinese walnut cake prepared with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, minced walnuts, cream and honey. A real treat to taste in the most famous pastry shop in Sankt Moritz: Hanselmann.

10 - Travel on the Red Bernina Train and the Glacier Express

 

An experience to try at least once in your life is the adventurous journey in the Alps on the most famous panoramic trains in Europe.

- The Bernina Express leaves from Tirano in Italy (2 hours by train from Milan) and reaches St. Moritz. So It starts from Valtellina, go through the Poschiavo Valley to finally reach Engadine in Switzerland after 60 km,  46 bridges and 13 tunnels. Here are the train stops:  Campocologno, Campascio, Brusio, Miralgo-Le Prese, Poschiavo, Cavaglia, Alpe Grum, Ospizio Bernina, Lagalb - Diavolezza, Morteratsch, Pontresina, Muottas Muragl, Celerina, Saint Moritz.

 -The Glacier Express  leaves from St. Moritz and arrives in Zermatt in front  of the Matterhorn mountain after a 7 hours and a half  journey through the Swiss Alps and 291 bridges, 91 tunnels and the Oberalp pass at an altitude of 2,033 m. The train stops are: Chur, Disentis, Brig, Visp and Zermatt.

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