Mountains with glacier and flags in the foreground

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Engadin, Switzerland - Allie M. Taylor

Overlooking Palü Glacier at sunrise

Light rays breaking through the clouds

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.

Hotels

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.

Camping

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.

Mountain Huts

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Engadin, Switzerland - Allie M. Taylor

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.

Orange surise over mountain layers

Girl sitting in front of a glacier at sunrise

Mountain ridgeline illuminated by the sunrise

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

Climber crossing a rope bridge

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Engadin, Switzerland - Allie M. Taylor

Forno Hut

Ca

Chammana Georgy

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 CoazSituated 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 Ultimate Guide to Engadin, Switzerland - Allie M. Taylor

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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The Ultimate Guide to Engadin, Switzerland - Allie M. Taylor

Pastel sunset with girl and palm tree in the maldives

The Maldives has been at the top of my bucket list for ages, so I couldn’t have been more excited when we escaped the cold winter in Zurich this past March to visit the Maldives. Home to some of the bluest water in the world, white sand beaches, luxurious overwater bungalows, and abundant sea life such as blacktip reef sharks and stingrays – the Maldives have pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to paradise!

We were lucky enough to spend 4 nights in the Maldives at the beautiful Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. We had originally planned to spend 9 days in the Maldives, but unfortunately due to the current Corona Virus situation, travel between islands was banned by the government just a few days after we had arrived. So for the sake of our safety, we had to make the tough decision to cut our trip short. We were so sad to have to leave paradise early, but the 5 days we had on Rangali Island were truly memorable. In this blog post, I’ll break down our entire trip, including how we spent our 5 days at Conrad Rangali Island and everything you need to know about getting here.

Conrad Rangali Island beach villas from above

A little bit about the Maldives

Located in the Indian Ocean, about 500 miles southwest of Sri Lanka, the Maldives is about as isolated as you can get. It consists of 1,200 small coral islands and sandbanks grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls. There are over 130 resorts in the Maldives, where each resort occupies it’s very own island. So it’s important to pick a resort that fits your needs since it’s where you’ll be spending all your time while you’re here.

Girl floating in a red bathing suit in the ocean in the Maldives

How to get to the Maldives

From Europe: To get to the Maldives from Europe, you can either take a direct flight (which is more expensive) or you’ll need to transit through the Middle East via Etihad, Emirates, Oman Air or Qatar Airways. Then from there, you’ll fly into Male, which is the capital city of the Maldives. The trip in total took a little over 13 hours, so I would suggest leaving on a flight the day before. This will allow you to get in early the following day to maximize your time here. Flights were only $750 from Zurich, which we thought was relatively inexpensive considering we were traveling during high season.

From the US: If you’re traveling from the US, your journey will be significantly longer (30+ hours) and more expensive – I’ve heard friends paying up to $1300 for round trip flight. You’ll most likely have to fly to JFK where you can take a direct flight to Dubai or another Middle Eastern country and then travel onwards to Male. I suggest combining your trip with a short stay in the Middle East or Europe (where you can catch direct flights) to make the cost less expensive.

Girl walking towards a palm tree on the beach in the Maldives

When is the best time to visit

The best time to visit the Maldives is during the dry season, which is from November to April. During this time you’ll experience the best weather, warmest temperatures, and little rain – in fact, it only rained for 5 minutes during our entire time here. However, this is also the high season, meaning it’s the busiest time of the year and resorts will be significantly more expensive. May to October is considered the rainy season, where the islands get between 5-10 inches of rain per month and experience strong winds.

Since the Maldives is so close to the equator the average temperature is between 25-30C° or 77°-86F° and only drops a few degrees at night. On average, you can enjoy about 8 hours of sunshine every day and water temperatures that barely fall below 25°C/77F°.

Drone view above Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a one-of-a-kind resort, which is spread across two interconnected islands nestled in the South Ari Atoll. It’s known for its abundant flora and fauna, rare marine life, and unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean. The resort is quite large, which makes it feel very private and secluded from other guests.

From the moment we arrived, the entire staff made us feel at home and took care of every need we had, including our endless smoothie and coconut requests. The entire resort is beautiful and ideal for anyone looking to experience the perfect vacation in paradise.

What I truly loved about this resort is that they practice environmental and social sustainability, with incredible initiatives like their coral reef restoration project where you can adopt and plant your own coral. It’s an experience I highly recommend and is a great way to support the Maldivian ecosystem!

Window view from Maldives sea plane with turquoise blue water below

How to get to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is located just a short 30 minute seaplane ride from Male airport. Once we landed in Male, we were warmly greeted by Conrad staff, who took care of our luggage and arranged our seaplane transfers. They escorted us to their private lounge for drinks, snacks, and massages while we waited for our seaplane to arrive. The entire seaplane ride is incredibly beautiful so you’ll want to make sure you get a window seat where you can admire the atolls and brilliant blue water from above.

Drone view above the water villas at Conrad Rangali Island

The Villas

When we arrived at the resort, we instantly felt like we had arrived in paradise. We were welcomed by our personal service agent who took care of our luggage and escorted us to our accommodation for the rest of our stay, a Deluxe Beach Villa. The resort features several different types of villas located both on the beach and over the water, spread across the two islands – Rangalifinolhu and Rangali. Rangalifinolhu is where most of the restaurants and activities are, making it great for families, whereas Rangali is more private and designated for couples. Due to the size of the resort, the best way to get around is by calling for a buggy, which picks you up directly from your door.

I really wanted to stay in one of the water villas, but at the time they were redoing them. However, the Deluxe Beach Villa was recently renovated and felt extremely new and luxurious. My favorite part was having private access to the beach and snorkeling just outside our door and a private pool for night swims in our backyard!

Girl laying on a whitesand beach in the Maldives

What to do while staying here

While staying at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, there are endless water and land activities to experience that you’ll never find yourself bored. We spent most of our days, swimming and snorkeling in the nearby reefs, where we saw vibrant fish, sharks, rays, and sea turtles.

Water Activities:

  1. On the beach, there are plenty of options to try including catamaran sailing, stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, kayaking and the thrilling X-Jet Pack.
  2. Take a tour with the Ocean Dive Centre team on the island where you can discover an abundance of colorful fish, vibrant coral, sea turtles, rays and sharks. Some of my favorite tours include the Whale Shark Tour, Turtle Safari, and Snorkel hopping.
  3. Go on a sunset dolphin cruise for a chance to spot dolphins and experience stunning sunset views.
  4.  Experience a sunset champagne cruise, where you can enjoy champagne and canapés while watching the sunset
  5. Take a dip in one of the resort’s two infinity pools – one designed for adults on Rangali Island, and another for families, on Rangalifinolhu Island

Land Activities:

  1. If you stay at Conrad Rangali Maldives Island, you must experience their beautiful spas before leaving. There are two spa centers located on each of the islands. The one on the main island, The Spa Retreat, has some of the most beautiful treatment rooms I’ve ever seen and the one on the other island, Over-Water Spa, has a glass-bottom treatment room.
  2. Take part in a daily yoga session led by the resident instructor, while taking in the views of the Indian Ocean
  3. Keep active during your stay by visiting the 24-hour fitness center, tennis court, or beach volleyball court
  4. Learn the art of making dumplings, handmade noodles and dim sum wrappers with a celebrity chef – Jereme Leung

Girl walking in an undersea restaurant with sharks and fish above in the Maldives

Dining

Conrad Rangali Maldives Island is home to 12 award-winning restaurants and bars. Each is delicious and unique in their own ways, and offer a wide variety of cuisines.

  • Atoll Market: We had most of our breakfast and dinners at Atoll Market, which is a buffet featuring a wide variety of cuisines including Indian, Japanese, Chinese and plenty of delicious breakfast options and tropical fruit. We absolutely loved Atoll for its selection and taste. My favorite part was the fresh juice bar and Indian and sushi options.
  • Ithaa Undersea Restaurant: By far one of my favorite things we experienced on the island was Ithaa. Ithaa is the first undersea restaurant in the world, where you can dine 5 meters underwater alongside sharks, rays, and colorful fish five meters below the surface. It’s one place you have to visit before leaving the island, even if it’s just for a cocktail.
  • Mandhoo Spa Restaurant: If you’re looking for good views and equally good food, then Mandhoo is the perfect restaurant for you. The entire restaurant is set on stilts above the ocean, where you can see sharks and rays pass by while enjoying lunch or dinner. The menu is based on the 5 elements — air, earth, fire, water and plants — each designed to affect the mind and body in different ways. It’s filled with plenty of healthy dishes and vegetarian options, my favorite being the quinoa cakes and seared tuna.
  • Ufaa: Ufaa offers a wide range of Chinese dishes filled with flavor. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch here alongside the beach, opting for the Seafood crystal dumplings, Sichuan style poached reef fish, and my personal favorite — the mango and shrimp spring rolls.
  • Champagne and Lobster Night: On our first night in the Maldives, we had an incredible seafood feast with endless champagne – a winning combo if you ask me. If you’re into seafood, then you’ll love the fresh lobster, tuna, prawns, and calamari they cook on the grill right in front of you. Watching sunset and having dinner on a candle-lit table by the beach is the perfect romantic experience for any couple.
  • There are plenty of other dining experiences at the resort that we didn’t get a chance to try. These include Vilu Restaurant and Bar, Wine and Cheese at the Wine Cellar, Koko Grill, Maldivian Nights and many other Beach Dining events, which are perfect for Honeymooners or couples.

Girl sitting on the edge of a boardwalk in the Maldives

Before we knew it, our 5 day stay in the Maldives with Conrad Maldives Rangali Island had come to an end. It was so hard to say goodbye to such a beautiful place in paradise and I will definitely miss our daily swims and strolls along the white sand beaches. We felt more relaxed and energized than ever after our stay here, and left with full hearts knowing we would be back again sometime soon. Based on our own personal experience, I can highly recommend staying at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island if you’re looking for the perfect island paradise to escape to. 

I hope you found this Maldives guide helpful to plan your very own trip to the Maldives. If you have any other experiences from the Maldives that you loved and would like to share, let me know in the comments below!

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Overhead view of the water bungalows at Conrad Rangali Island in the Maldives

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Two men riding bikes on a boardwalk in the Maldives

Palm tree with a pastel sunset in the maldives

Girl walking into the ocean in the Maldives

Drone shot of a beach and the ocean in the Maldives

Conrad Rangali Island: The perfect Island getaway in the Maldives - Allie M. Taylor

Conrad Rangali Island: The perfect Island getaway in the Maldives - Allie M. Taylor

Conrad Rangali Island: The perfect Island getaway in the Maldives - Allie M. Taylor