Summit views from Piz Languard
While Switzerland has so many beautiful regions to offer, the Engadin region is easily one of my favorite places in all of Switzerland. With its beautiful mountains, massive glaciers, emerald blue lakes, endless hiking trails, and breathtaking landscapes, it’s pretty much a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts like me. Even though Engadin, and more notably St. Moritz, is world-renowned for its winter sports, the warmer summer months offer endless opportunities for hiking, biking, swimming, climbing, sailing, windsurfing, and plenty of other summer activities.
This past August we were lucky enough to explore the Engadin region for 5 days and visit places I’ve been wanting to see for so long. If you’re looking to plan a trip here yourself, then keep reading for an in-depth guide on Engadin including what to see, where to stay, and what to do.
When is the best time to visit:
In my opinion, there is no bad time to visit Engadin, it just depends on what type of activities you’re interested in.
Winter: Engadin is considered one of the largest winter sports regions in Switzerland, making the winter time here a paradise for snow sport enthusiasts
Spring: Probably one of the most quiet times to visit making it great place to relax and enjoy some wellness. However, you might encounter a lot of leftover winter snow at this time and a lot of trails will not be accessible.
Summer: Ideal for hiking, biking, climbing, windsurfing, swimming, and plenty of other summer activities. Most trails should be snow free by late June/early July.
Fall: One of my favorite seasons to visit since the entire valley turns a golden yellow when all the larches change and it’s less busy. It does occasionally snow around this time of year so just be mindful that not all trails will be accessible.
Overlooking Palü Glacier at sunrise
Sunset over St. Moritz
Where to Stay:
I recommend staying in the town of St. Moritz since it is the most central location to hiking trails and has the most options when it comes to grocery stores, shops, restaurants and cafes. Another great benefit of staying in a hotel in St. Moritz is that most hotels here offer free public transportation for the buses, cable cars and trains that run in the area. You can find out more about which hotels participate in this offer here.
If you’d like to stay outside of St. Moritz, you can also stay in the nearby towns of Pontersina, Silvaplana, or Celerina. St. Moritz is generally pretty expensive, so if you’re looking to stay on a budget, I recommend staying in a hostel, camping, or staying in a mountain hut.
St. Mortiz Youth Hostel ($): The perfect place to stay if you want to stay in St. Moritz but without breaking your budget. This bright and modernly furnished hostel is clean and perfectly located next to hiking and biking trails.
Hotel Hauser ($$): A family run hotel with their very own bakery located below that serves delicious Nusstorte (a traditional sweet from the Engadin region). It’s reasonably priced and centrally located in the town of St. Moritz.
Hotel Languard ($$): This small yet cosy family run hotel is perfectly located next to the St. Moritz train station, making it easy to get to nearby hiking trails and cable cars.
Hotel Schweizerhof ($$): A traditional Swiss style hotel that is located in the heart of the St. Moritz village. If you’re looking for wellness, they have a rooftop relaxation terrace with a sauna and steam bath.
Hotel Waldhaus Am See ($$): Located directly on the shores of St. Moritz lake, the hotel offers the perfect location to explore the town or lake and see the surrounding mountains.
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel ($$$): One of the most luxurious and famous hotels in Engadin, this 5 star hotel offers some of the best views of the lake and mountains.
Kulm Hotel St. Moritz ($$$): A historic 5 star hotel that is considered the birthpalce of winter tourism. The hotel even offers its very own golf course, swimming pool, and wellness center.
There are 9 main campsites spread across the Engadin region which you can find here. They offer pitches for both tents and campervans/RV’s and are ideally located at the start of many trailheads and biking paths.
Check out this full guide to van camping in the Engadin region and other van life tips to help you plan your next road trip.
There are 9 SAC and mountain huts in Engadin, which are not only an affordable accommodation option but also a great way to experience a night in the mountains. You can find a list of them here.
Passing by Lago Bianco on the Bernina Express
How To Get To and Around Engadin
By Car: If you don’t already have your own car, you can rent a car at Zurich or Geneva airport. The journey to Engadin takes about 3 hours from Zurich and passes over many beautiful mountain passes along the way. Parking is fairly easy in St. Moritz and is usually provided by most hotels.
By Train: If you’re traveling light, I highly recommend taking public transportation to Engadin. It’s the best and most scenic way to get to here because it passes through breathtaking mountain landscapes and you can simply relax and enjoy the views. Swiss transportation is exceptional, in fact one of the best in the world, and very easy to use. The journey from Zurich will take you about 3 to 3.5 hours by train, with only one stop in Chur.
Once you reach the town of St. Moritz, you can easily get around by bus, train, or by bike (you can rent them in the village) if you want to leave your car here. There are also plenty of cable cars in the area that can take you up to the tops of the surrounding mountains and the starting point of many trails.
Sunrise from Piz Languard
Best Hikes in Engadin
The trail network in Engadin is extensive and is said to extend over 580 kilometers! You can find trails for every experience level and even the short, easy hikes offer some of the most breathtaking views.
Munt Pers (easy): 1.9 kilometers from the Diavolezza mountain station, 1 hour duration
Muottas Muragl Panorama Trail (easy): 6.8 kilometers from the Muottas Muragl ending at Alp Languard, 2 hours duration
Morteratsch Glacier Trail (easy): 2.9 kilometers from the Morteratsch Railway Station, 50 minutes duration
Val Roseg (easy): 13.4 kilometers roundtrip from Pontresina, 3.4 hours duration
Corvatsch Murtèl – Fuorcla Surlej – Val Roseg (moderate): 13.5 kilometers from the Murtèl middle station, 4 hours duration
Lägh da Cavloc (moderate): 3.2 kilometers from the Orden dam parking lot in Maloja, 1 hour duration
Piz Nair – Corviglia – Chantarella (moderate): 8.3 kilometers from the Piz Nair summit ending in Chantarella, 2.35 hours duration
Sils – Lej Sgrischua – Val Fex (difficult): 13.5 kilometers from the Furtschellas top station, 4 hours duration
Piz Trovat Rope Bridge
For when you’re feeling adventurous, challenge yourself with a Via Ferrata to Piz Trovat
I’ve been wanting to do a Via Ferrata for awhile now, so during our most recent visit to Engadin we were finally able to complete our first one known as Piz Trovat. This was definitely the highlight of our trip and we loved being able to challenge ourselves and do something a bit different than hiking on a trial to reach a summit.
If you’re not familiar with what a Via Ferrata is, it’s essentially a fixed rope route with steel cables, rungs, or ladders which allow you to climb what would be otherwise a dangerous route to mountain peaks. You must wear a harness with two leashes to clip yourself into the steel cables and a helmet for protection. Via Ferratas are definitely not for those the faint of heart, so make sure you’re comfortable enough with heights and surefooted.
If you’re interested in doing a Via Ferrata for your first time, Piz Trovat is perfect for beginners and offers exceptional views of the Bernina mountain range. Since it was our first time doing a Via Ferrata, we went with a mountain guide from Bergsteigerschule Pontresia so that we felt more comfortable. I highly recommend getting a guide from here as well if it’s your first time!
The route starts at the Diavolezza Berghaus to the bottom of Piz Trovet where you begin to ascend 300 meters to the summit along the rock face. Halfway up there is a ropebridge that spans the gorge and overlooks the Palü Glacier where you can choose to continue the easy way up via Piz Trovat I (ranked as a K2) or a very difficult way up via Piz Trovat II (K5-K6). We decided to test ourselves and take the difficult way up, which also features a zipline you must take to get across the gorge. This route was definitely challenging, especially one section where there was a vertical overhang that was really difficult to get over since I dont have that long of arms.
Best Overnight Hikes/Mountain Huts in Engadin
Staying in a mountain hut is not only a great way to experience a night in the mountains, but also allows you to break up a long hike into 2 days. It’s a special experience that I recommend everyone try when they visit Switzerland and gives you a glimpse into the Swiss mountaineering culture. If you’re planning on staying in a hut, you’ll need to reserve a spot in advance online since most huts get booked out, especially on the weekends.
The types of amenities huts offer can range significantly so you shouldn’t expect the same experience as you would get in a hotel. Some huts have running water, showers, and separated rooms whereas more remote huts have outdoor toilets, shared sleeping quarters and no access to water. One thing I like is that you don’t need to pack as much as you would for a backpacking trip since Half Board (breakfast and dinner) is usually included and all you need to bring is a sleeping bag liner plus whatever comforts you like to have with you (toothbrush, pajamas, etc.) While Engadin is home to 9 huts which you can find here, below are my personal favorites that I’ve visited.
Chammana Georgy: A small but cozy hut located at 3200m ran by a very sweet couple that makes you feel at home. The hut is located just 80 meters below the summit of Piz Languard, which is an incredible place to watch the sun rise with the Morteratsch Glacier in the distance. Being the highest hut in the region, amenities are limited so there is no running water and the toilet is outdoors. However, I’ve had one of the best hut meals of my life here which is usually not the case with such remote huts. You can either start the hike from Pontresina or cut off 500m of elevation gain by taking the chairlift to Alp Languard. The hike is very steep in parts and takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, gaining about 900m total in elevation gain.
Forno Hut: Located deep in the Forno valley alongside the Forno Glacier, the Forno Hut can be accessed in 4 hours from the parking lot in Maloja. The hike is 11 kilometers long and gradually gains 900 meters of elevation until the final steep ascent to the hut. For being so remote, the hut is quite big with 75 sleeping places, including a shared dormitory and private bedrooms. We really liked this hut because of how remote it feels and it offers a great starting point for many mountain tours.
Chammana Coaz: Situated at 2600m, the Coaz hut offers incredible views of the surrounding glaciers and Bernina mountain range. The hut is fairly large and offers 80 sleeping places. My favorite thing about this hut is the incredible hike that you take to get there through the Roseg Valley, featuring unobstructed views of views of Piz Morteratsch, Piz Bernina and Piz Roseg the entire way. It’s by far one of my favorite hikes in all of Switzerland and is a must when you visit the Engadin region. To get here, take the cable car to the Corvatsch middle station, then take the trial to Furcola Surlej and then on through the Roseg Valley. The hike is fairly easy taking between 2-2.5 hours to complete over 9 kilometers.
The Bernina Express
Must Do Activities in Engadin
While many people come to Engadin just for the hiking, there are plenty of other activities and things to see that you should definitely check out when visiting. You can find a list of my favorites below:
Walk to Lej da Staz and go for a swim: While Lej da Staz is a beautiful place to catch sunrise in Engadin, we loved taking some time here during the day to go for a swim with the beautiful mountains surrounding us. We actually biked here but it’s also a very short walk from the town of St. Moritz (30 minutes)
Take the Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Alp Grüm: The Bernina Express is the highest railway in the Alps and is by far one of the most scenic train rides you can take in the world. The route climbs to the Bernina pass at 2,253 meters above sea level and offers breathtaking views of glaciers, emerald blue lakes and impressive mountains. I recommend taking the train from St. Moritz main station getting off at the Ospizio Bernina stop, where you can walk around Lago Bianco. Then get back on the train and continue on to Alp Grüm where you can enjoy a drink on the terrace there while gazing into the valley with cascading waterfalls.
Take the Diavolezza cable car to admire the Palü Glacier up close: Not only is Engadin home to some impressive mountains, it’s also where you can find over 170 glaciers. One of my favorite glaciers that you must see in person is Palü Glacier because of it’s sheer size and scale. The best way to see it is by taking the Diavolezza cable car up to the top station and admiring it from the viewing platform. You can also enjoy a drink or meal here on the terrace of the Berghaus Diavolezza while gazing at the view.
Relax at the spa: If you’re looking for some relaxation or need to rest your tired muscles after hiking, then you should make some time to visit a spa in Engadin. There are 3 public pool and spa complexes in the region, including Ovaverva, which offers massages and sauna. Many hotels have also opened their spas to external guests, such as Badrutt’s Palace, Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski or the Kulm.
Explore Engadin by bike: Whether you’re into mountain biking or more leisurely biking, Engadin has pretty much every type of biking path you can think of. You can conquer the mountains by bike with over 400 kilometers of trails here or explore the valleys at a more casual pace by e-bike/normal bike. I highly recommend riding around Lake St. Moritz and if you’re feeling adventurous you can ride towards Maloja along Lake Sils and Silvaplana. There are also many sports stores you can rent bikes from which you can find here.
Try a traditional Engadiner Nusstorte: If you’re looking for a local specialty to try, then I highly recommend stopping by a bakery in St. Moritz and trying a traditional Engadin Nusstorte. Essentially it is a cake made out of nuts and is the perfect treat when you’re looking for something sweet. Two of my favorite bakeries where you ca by Nusstorte in St. Moritz are Hanselmann and the bakery at Hotel Hauser.
I hope you found this guide helpful to plan your very own trip to Engadin. If you have any places in Engadin that you loved and would like to share, let me know in the comments below!
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Disclaimer: I wanted to give you a big thank you to the Engadin Tourism Board for partnering with me and making this trip possible. All opinions, thoughts, and experiences I share are completely honest and my own. Thanks for reading!
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