Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Advice for planning days/hikes in the Engadin

Advice for planning days/hikes in the Engadin

Old May 15th, 2024, 08:45 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2024
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Advice for planning days/hikes in the Engadin

Hello! I am planning a trip to Switzerland in early July with my partner and another friend and would love some input/help in planning out our time in the Engadin. We will be marriving in the Engadin from Zurich on a Tuesday afternoon; current plan is to spend Tuesday afternoon/evening, Wednesday, Thursday, and the first part of Friday in the Engadin (with lodging in Pontresina), and then travel to Ticino (lodging in Lugano) for Friday late afternoon/evening, Saturday, and Sunday (we are flying home from Milan on Monday midday). We want to explore the mountains, lakes and towns/villages of the Engadine with a combination of hikes and gondolas, funiculars, etc., and I'd love some input about how to organize the days. I've read other posts (on this forum and others) with similar questions, but the more of these I read, the more options I seem to discover, and they all seem too good to pass up, which is tricky with a finite amount of time! I'm all too aware that two partial days and two full days in the Engadin is not enough to do and see everything worthwhile, so I'd love some input as I try to figure out what to prioritize. Here is some of what I'm currently thinking:

-For the day we arrive in Pontreina: chairlift to Alp Languard, panoramic hike to Muottas Muragl, dinner at Muottas Muragl, funicular + bus/train back to Pontresina. Backup (if we want a lower-altitude or easier option on our first day): hike between Pontresina and Lej de Staz.


Options for our 2 full days (I'm assuming we can probably pick two of these and do one on each of the two full days, assuming the weather cooperates):


-Swiss National Park (possible hikes: Margunet, Val Trupchun, Alp Grimmels) and possibly visit Zuoz along the way. This is probably the idea I'm most conflicted/confused about. I have read some sources that say this is a "must" for visitors to Graubunden, but others seem to say that it's not worthwhile, especially with limited time, because it's more remote and difficult to access (whereas hiking in areas that are more accessible and have funiculars, cable cars, train stations, etc.) gives more bang for your buck. This might require renting a car, and we could at most devote one day to this. I would love any input from those who have visited the area.

-Celerina / St. Moritz / Corviglia: Gondola from Celerina to Marguns, hike in the Marguns / Corviglia / Lej Alv area, gondola to Piz Nair, gondola + funicular down to St. Moritz? Train/bus back to Pontreina. OR: gondola to Piz Nair, long hike down via Suvretta pass and around through the valley to Bevers, train/bus back from there to Pontresina.

-Alp Grum, Diavolezza, possible hike to Munt Pers, possible train ride down into Poschiavo to see the full Bernina Pass train route, possible addition of Morterasch Glacier. My understanding is that this area (south/southeast of Pontresina / around the Bernina Pass) is a "must."

-Corvatsch / Sils / Val Fex area: Train/bus to Sils Maria, cable car from Sils to Furtschellas, hike through Val Fex via Marmore back to Sils. OR Cable car to Murtel, hike to Fuorcla Surlej, and then either [a] down into Val Roseg to head back to Pontresin or back to Murtel and then across to Furtschellas, taking cable car down to Sils. Train/bus back from Sils to Pontresina.

-Exploring the lakes near Sils / Silvaplana. Possibly look for somewhere to rent bikes? Not sure if this is worthwhile.

I assume we can do part of one of the above (not the SNP of course) on the day we leave for Ticino, although we will be limited in terms of time as we will be most likely leaving on a train around 3pm. Maybe we can check out Morterasch glacier that day if nothing else?

A couple of things I would note: I have a bit of fear of heights. I'm usually OK on things like cable cars and gondolas but walking/hiking along the tops of cliffs or along steep drop-offs can be a problem (I can usually handle it in short bursts but not really for prolonged lengths of time). This makes me a bit nervous about trying some of the hiking options (e.g., the hike down from Fuorcla Surlej into Val Roseg). If anyone has any insights about which options would be more/less problematic in this regard, I'd much appreciate it. Also, we will be staying in a hotel that provides a free pass for the mountain cable cars, funiculars, etc. Finally, while the above are the ideas I've come up with (or that have been suggested to me) in my research so far, I'm also open to additional ideas!

Any input would be much appreciated! Thank you!

Last edited by Viandant; May 15th, 2024 at 09:00 AM.
Viandant is offline  
Old May 15th, 2024, 03:46 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,077
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Engadin:
one of the Fodors posters, Melnq8, goes regularly to the Engadin.
See if you can find her trip reports to read through, then hopefully, she or Ingo (another source of immense info) will chime in.
mokka4 is offline  
Old May 15th, 2024, 05:01 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,972
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Wow, where to start...you're absolutely spoiled for choice.

Just off the top of my head, you might enjoy the Wasserweg trail, accessed from the Sils-Segl-Frutschellas cable car middle station, covered with your Engadine Card.

The trail’s description:

The Water Trail is one of the hiking highlights on Corvatsch. From the Furtschellas middle station (2312 m), the 2½-hour circular walk takes you past six crystal-clear mountain lakes. The trail goes first towards Alp Munt, then branches off to the left and climbs steeply uphill for a short time. Your efforts are soon rewarded when the first of the six lakes comes into view, Leijn Cristal. This is followed by Lejin Magnetit, Lejin Malachit, Lejin Rhodonit, Lejin S-chaglia and finally Lejin Epidot. All the way along this family-friendly walk, you have wonderful views up to the icy pinnacles and rocky crags of the Corvatsch massif.

The views from up there are spectacular on a pretty day, and the Frutschellas Restaurant makes a good lunch stop.



Melnq8 is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 08:04 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Alp Languard - Muottas Muragl (with dinner at Muotas Muragl) is an excellent idea as the last rope railway train dowwn to the valley leaves there at 11pm only.
But don't underestimate the hike:
first about 1 1/2 - 2 hrs upwards (400m) up to Segantini Hut (Restaurant), then 400 m down up to Margun and then finally more or less at the same altitude up to Muottas Muragl.

National Park hikes: you can try, but that wouldn't be my first choice if I had only 2 full days.

Diavolezza: best viewpoint over the glaciers of Bernina. The ascension of Munt Pers wouldn't bring you a lot (and the direct way down from there to Bernina Diavolezza railway station is frankly dangerous!)
Bur you could hike from Diavolezza down to Lej d'Arlas - Lej Pitschen (small lake) - Lej Nair (black lake) - Le Alv (white lake) and go on to Sassal Mason and Alp Grum railway station.

The hike described by Melnq is fine. There are different ways to do it. The most easy one would be:
bus from Pontresina to Surlej - gondola to Murtel and then either hike from there to Fuorcla Surlej and back or gondola to Corvatsch and back in order to enjoy the glacier panorama of Val Roseg and then go on from Murtel along the Lakes to the middle staton of Furtschellas gondola and down to either Val Fex or Sils Maria. The last boat leaves Sils Maria at 17.10 and arrives at Maloja at 17.50 (from where it turns immediately back to Sils). Bus from Maloja to Pontresina.

You may also spend more time in Val Roseg: Furtschellas - Murtel - Furcla Surlej - Coaz Hut (may be with a side trip to the small lake between Roseg Glacier and Cappucino glacier and back) - Glacier Lake - Restaurant Roseg - and then through the pine forest to Alpe Seguonda and finally to Pontresina Surovas railway station. There are also horse cars between Restaurant Roseg and Pontresina.

You can of course hike a lot on the other side of the Engadin Valley too (Marguns - Corviglia - Piz Nair - Pass da Suvretta). But there you are farther away from the glaciers.
neckervd is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 10:16 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,917
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would scratch Munt Pers. And also hiking in the skiing area Corviglia above St. Moritz - too many skilifts and other installations. Other areas offer more natural beauty.

My heart is specifically set on Fex Valley. Lunch on the terrace of Hotel Fex is hard to beat, so is blueberry cake and coffee at Pensiun Cresta. The little chapel with frescoes is also lovely. And you might see marmots on the trail from Marmore down to Hotel Fex (we did.)

No need to hike from Alp Languard to Muottas Muragl via Segantini hut. You can take the lower trail via Unterer Schafberg which is much easier. If I recall correctly there is a short part of the trail, however, which leads along a steep cliff/drop off, shortly after Alp Languard.

Forget the National Park - not as scenic as the Upper Engadine.

If you continue to Ticino you have two options: Train via Bernina pass to Tirano, Bus to Lugano OR Palm Express Postal bus St. Moritz to Lugano. Both are very scenic. However, if you plan to explore the Bernina pass area/Alp Grüm during your two days, then you better take the Palm Express - different route via Maloja pass. The Bernina route would be a repeat.

Ingo is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 11:06 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ingo is right: the trail via Lower Schafberg is easier and faster. Sorry!
neckervd is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 11:55 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2024
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks everyone for the replies so far!

I get the sense that there is a sort of consensus that the National Park, while I'm sure it's beautiful, should maybe not make the cut given the amount of time we have available. And yes, I think if we do the hike between Alp Languard and Muottas Muragl we will do the lower route (rather than go via the Segantini Hut), as that seems less problematic from a fear-of-heights perspective and also a better fit for the amount of time we will have available. And I appreciate the suggestion to de-prioritize the Corviglia area. I think we will probably have dinner in St. Moritz one night, so maybe we can fit in a gondola/funicular ride to get a view over the valley from the north, but I guess this area won't be a top priority for hiking.

I think we will try to go to Diavolezza/Bernina Pass and Alp Grum (and maybe Poschiavo) on one of the full days, and something in the Corvatsch / Sils / Val Fex / Val Rose area for the other. It sounds like I should scratch Munt Pers, but maybe we can hike from Diavolezza to Alp Grum via the lakes, or at least explore parts of that route on foot. I like the idea of taking the gondola up to Corvatsch to get a panorama of Val Roseg and then going back to Murtel to hike to Fuorcla Surlej and/or hike along the lakes to get to the Furtschellas gondola station. Depending on time/energy, at that point I guess we'd either hike back to Sils via the Fex Valley or take the gondola down. I hadn't thought of taking the boat to Maloja and then getting the bus to Pontresina from there, as I had assumed we would just take a bus directly from Sils, but I like the idea of adding in a boat ride on Silersee if we get there in time. I think I might be leaning toward not trying to hike down into Val Roseg from Fuorcla Surlej because I am concerned that I might find the descent on foot kind of scary, but if anyone disagrees please let me know!

For getting to Ticino, we had initially thought we'd take the Bernina train to Tirano and then the bus (we even booked nonrefundable seat reservations for that bus on Friday afternoon!), but one of my traveling companions has strong objections to being on a bus for that long. This makes the Palm Express a tough sell too (it also leaves rather early in the day, which would mean we wouldn't really have any time in Graubunden on Friday before leaving). So I think the current plan is to take a train in the afternoon on Friday to Thusis (which will be a bit of a backtrack of what we will be doing on our way to Pontresina on Tuesday - alas) and then a bus from there to Bellinzona. The bus ride from Thusis to Bellinzona is shorter than the bus rides entailed by the other two options, and although I assume it's less scenic, going this way does result in the shortest total travel time of the various options. Then from Bellinzona there is quick and frequent train service to Lugano (and also can take a quick stroll in Bellinzona to stretch our legs after the bus ride if we feel like seeing it and have time). If there is some reason I'm missing why this is a terrible idea, please let me know!

Also, if anyone else has further input, it would be most welcome!
Viandant is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 12:07 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PONTRESINA - CHIAVENNA - MONZA - LUGANO
Pontresina dp 9.01 - Lugano ar 14.58, then every hr until 17.01, except Pontresina dp 10.01

PONTRESINA - CHIAVENNA - MENAGGIO - LUGANO
Pontresina dp 10.01 - Lugano ar 14.06
Pontresina dp 11.01 - Lugano ar 17.06
neckervd is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 12:14 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you want to minimize bus rides:
Train Pontresina dp 15.04 - Lugano ar 20.58. Change trains at Tirano and Monza (all by train)
You may also leave the Monza bound train at Bellano or Varenna, go by Lake Como boat to Como and go on from there to Lugano by train. But for that you would have to leave Pontresina about 4 hrs earlier.
neckervd is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 12:35 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2024
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you. We considered those train-only options via Monza but it seems like it would take about 6 hours from Pontresina in total, whereas we can get to Thusis by train in less than 90 minutes, and then from there to Bellizona by bus is only an hour and 45 minutes (yes, it's a bus, but it's less than two hours and cuts the total travel time by about 2 hours compared to the train-only option, so I think it's a reasonable compromise - and from what I've read the bus ride is at least somewhat scenic).
Viandant is offline  
Old May 16th, 2024, 12:43 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,917
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Good plan! Some more comments, though:

I would not walk/hike from Diavolezza (valley station) to Alp Grüm. I prefer to hike to Morteratsch (some little cataracts in the woods there along the way, nice). And you could - time permitting - make a detour to Morteratsch glacier from Morteratsch train stop/hotel/restaurant. Or at least to Chünetta, a viewpoint that gives you a differently stunning view of the glaciers and Piz Palü compared to Diavolezza.

Believe me, the view from Muottas Muragl beats the view from the skiing area above St. Moritz by far. And it's somewhat similar. Granted, if the cable cars are included, I would also be tempted to take the funicular up to Corviglia ... and maybe the cable car up to Piz Nair.

Surprisingly the top station of Piz Corvatsch doesn't give a really good view of the Roseg valley with Piz Bernina and Piz Roseg. It is somewhat obstructed by the glacier flank of Piz Corvatsch, a ridge that comes down from the summit. The view from Murtel pass is much better - the whole Roseg valley is in front of you. However, the Piz Corvatsch cable car top station provides a panoramic view of almost the entire Swiss Alps in northern and western direction - thus a *must*.

I would pick neckervd's recommendation of bus travel PONTRESINA - CHIAVENNA - MENAGGIO - LUGANO and break up the trip in Chiavenna. If that one guy in your party has a serious problem with bus rides, though, then this is not a good idea - numerous hairpin curves from Maloja pass down to the Bregaglia valley. Did you check if you can take a train from Tirano (or Chiavenna) to Varenna, hop on a ferry to Menaggio and then do the short bus ride to Lugano? Or boat from Varenna to Como, train to Lugano? Just an idea.
Ingo is offline  
Old May 17th, 2024, 02:27 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The bus ride from St. Moritz railway station to Chiavenna railway station is just 1 3/4 hrs through a scenic landscape. But there ae 13 hairpins and 8 slightly similar curves.
Thusis - Bellinzona is all highway, but with 6 hairpins nevertheless. The journey time of the fast buses is 1 3/4 hrs too.


neckervd is offline  
Old May 17th, 2024, 02:40 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
JOUNEY TIMES POMTRESINA - LUGANO

ALL BY TRAIN
via Monza: 5 hrs 55 min
via Zurich: 6 hrs 20, min
via Biberbrugg:6 hrs 20 min
via Sedrun: 6 hrs 25 min

TRAIN AND BUS
Pontresina - train - Thusis - bus - Bellinzona - train Lugano: 3 hrs 45 min
Pontresina - train St. Moritz - bus - Chiavenna - train - Monza - Lugano: 5 hrs 55 min
neckervd is offline  
Old May 17th, 2024, 05:30 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,577
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
TRAIN AND BOAT
Pontresina dp 9.04 - train - Varenna ar 12.34, dp 13.37 - slow boat - Como Lago ar 16.30, Como SG dp 17.10 - Lugano ar 17.54 (Lake Como cruise)
Pontresina dp 9.04 - train - Varenna ar 12.34, dp 12.53 - slow boat - Menaggio ar 13.05, dp 14.05 - bus - Porlezza ar 14.35, dp 15.05 - Lake Lugano boat - Lugano ar 16.45 (Eastern Lake Lugano cruise, WEDNESDAY AND SATURDAY ONLY)
Pontresina dp 9.04 - train - Varenna ar 12.34, dp 12.53 - slow boat - Menaggio ar 13.05, dp 14.05 - bus - Lugano ar 15.10

Pontresina dp 11.04 - train - Varenna ar 14.34, dp 15.31 - slow boat - Como Lago ar 18.20, Como SG dp 18.50 - Lugano ar 19.28 (Lake Como cruise)
Pontresina dp 11.04 - train - Varenna ar 14.34, dp 15.31 - slow boat - Menaggio ar 15.47, dp 16.00 - bus - Cima (Piazza Selva) ar 16.30, dp 15.46 - Lake Lugano boat - Lugano ar 18.00 (Eastern Lake Lugano cruise, WEDNESDAY AND SATURDAY ONLY)
Pontresina dp 11.04 - train - Varenna ar 14.34, dp 15.31 - slow boat - Menaggio ar 15.47, dp 16.00 - bus - Lugvano ar 17.06

Pontresina dp 13.28 - train - Varenna ar 17.34, dp 18.10 - slow boat - Como Lago ar 20.25, Como SG dp 21.10 - Lugano ar 21.54 (Lake Como cruise)

neckervd is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
vishalg99
Europe
5
Jun 20th, 2022 02:49 PM
swandav2000
Europe
146
Jun 16th, 2003 04:33 AM
tripster
Europe
12
Jul 15th, 2002 02:54 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -