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Switzerland--how is rain impacting hiking in engadines? sils maria?

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Aug 16th, 2014, 03:20 PM
  #1
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Switzerland--how is rain impacting hiking in engadines? sils maria?

we are planning to spend 5 days walking/hiking from our hotel in Sils starting August 25.
it has been raining steadily for weeks and the forecast ahead still has lots of rain.

If it keep raining for another week, shld we change plans?

It wld be great to hear from people who are there about whether we shld change plans/ the impact on hiking paths.

with all the rain, aren't the paths very muddy?

what is there to do there if it is raining? if we don't want to shop in st moritz or pontrasina??

is it basically raining all over switzerland? any suggestions?
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Aug 16th, 2014, 09:30 PM
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i forgot to say that we will be driving from zurich to sils--and driving in heavy rain wld not be fun.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 11:26 PM
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It's too early to predict what the weather will be like the week of August 25, but this week is setting up to be a drier (if not completely dry) week. No rain forecast for today or tomorrow (hooray) and the rain forecast for the rest of the week looks more like intermittent light to medium showers rather than heavy downpours. If that pattern holds, you should still be able to spend a fair amount of time outside, but be prepared for inclement weather and be ready to alter your plans if the trail you have in mind is considered at risk. People at your hotel, the local tourist office etc can give you more detailed information when you get there.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 11:53 PM
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thank you! i hope it clears up as we are so looking forward to our trip.
any suggestions of what to see on days that it is raining?
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Aug 17th, 2014, 12:56 AM
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As Weisser Tee said, the weather is probably taking a turn for the better, it seems. Too early for exact forecast, though.

From my own experience of many trips to the Engadine I can say that the trails quickly dry after heavy rain. There are a couple of places with swamps between Silvaplana, St. Moritz and Pontresina (around Lake Staz e.g.) which are almost always wet, but you won't be there anyway.

If it's raining you have many options. Try museums: Nietzsche museum in Sils, Museum Alpin in Pontresina, Caferama in Zuoz (coffee roasting facility), Segantini museum in St. Moritz, Engadiner Museum in St. Moritz to name just a few.

Several churches are worth to see, but check opening times: San Gian outside Celerina on a hill, Sta. Maria above Pontresina, two churches in Zuoz (key at the tourist info), parish church right in Samedan (key at the shop vis-a-vis), St. Peter above the town (key at tourist info).

Or you make an excursion to the Lower Engadine: Castle Tarasp (near Scuol) is a *must* see, the spa Bogn Engiadina is excellent for a couple of hours relaxing. Or an excursion to the Bregaglia valley: Castle Castelmur is well worth seeing, Stampa has a mixed history-art museum (Giacometti family!), continue to Chiavenna (Italy) for nice old town and the monastery.

Day trip to Poschiavo: It has several museums and churches that would keep you busy for a full day.

UNESCO world heritage site Benedictine monastery (frescoes in the church, museum) in Müstair is also a wonderful excursion.

Cheesemaking at Morteratsch every morning and afternoon, even in the rain

I.
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Aug 17th, 2014, 08:55 PM
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ingo
thank you for your suggestions. i know that you are an engadine expert.

What wld be your 4 favorite not to be missed walks/views? uphill is ok--if not very steep--as long as the cable car/tram work for going downhill.

as we only have 4 full days in sils, shld we concentrate on the upper engadine and omit Scuol?
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Aug 18th, 2014, 01:33 AM
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A *must* is the walk Muottas Muragl - Alp Languard. Or in the other direction if walking uphill is prefered (elevation difference is about 200 m, never steep). There is a chair lift Pontresina - Alp Languard and the funicular from Punt Muragl to Muottas Muragl, which make access to the trail easy.

Another favourite hike of mine is Sils-Furtschellas - Fex Valley via Marmore. I use to walk it in this direction because it's downhill and you have the view toward the glaciers in front of you. But you still can do it the other way around - Walk from Sils to Fex Valley (Hotel Fex at the end of the valley) or take a horse-drawn carriage there. About 500 m before you reach the Hotel Fex a trail turns left, uphill to Marmore along the slope. While the slopes are steep the trail is not - slowly ascending to Marmore (from about 1950 m up to 2200 m). Marmore is a fantastic viewpoint for both the Fex Valley with the glaciers but also for the Upper Engadine valley with the lakes. Continue from there to Furtschellas, the cable car top station (2312 m) and take the cable car down.

Another favourite walk of mine (easy and just a half day, 2.30 h I think) is along the opposite (western) side of the valley from Sils, starting near the church in Sils-Baselgia, via hamlet Grevasalvas to Maloja. Bus back or another 1.30 h walk along the other (eastern) side of the lake via Isola.

For just an hour or so in late afternoon or even after dinner until sunset you could go for a walk around peninsula Chaste (Sils-Baselgia). Magic silver light in the evenings.

Also fantastic is a walk in the Roseg valley. Access from Pontresina train station, either walk to Hotel Roseggletscher (1.30 h) or take the horse-drawn carriage (schedule, a couple of times a day, round trip about 30 CHF or so, I guess.) From Hotel Roseggletscher follow the trail toward Coaz hut as far as the Roseg lake, it's usuallsy milky-green with small icebergs. Great views of the glaciers, too. Take your time, relax, it's just an hour to the lake (or even less), enjoy the dessert/cake buffet at Hotel Roseggletscher afterward

So this gives you an idea. The *must* hikes are Muottas Muragl-Alp Languard and Fex Valley-Marmore-Furtschellas IMO, but they are full day hikes and not walks.

With only 4 full days I would definitely do one excursion to Poschiavo on the famous Bernina train route. In case you do the 2 full day hikes you might want to go slower on the fourth day, too, and do a bus excursion to Soglio in the Bregaglia valley. Just walk around in Soglio for an hour or two, have lunch in the garden of Palazzo Salis or cake/coffee there or at the terrace of the restaurant vis-a-vis the church. You must change buses at Promontogno anyway, so you could add a walk from there to Bondo, explore the small town a bit (the church has some nice frescoes) and take the next bus back to Sils.
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Aug 18th, 2014, 01:58 AM
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It's getting better and better but be prepared for coolish temperatures. Quite often, with all this rain, once it dries up, the views are sharp and crystal clear, allowing mouth-dropping photos to be taken.
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Aug 18th, 2014, 02:51 AM
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"With only 4 full days I would definitely do one excursion to Poschiavo on the famous Bernina train route."

Agreed, but just keep in mind that Poschiave is closed up tight on Sundays.
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Aug 21st, 2014, 05:15 PM
  #10
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Ingo thank you for all your tips.
i had not thought of the the train to Poschiavo. it looks very picturesque. WeisserTee thank you for mentioning that sunday is not a good day to go there.

we arrive next wednesday and leave on monday.
it sounds like the weekends shld be the hikes and not villages.

are there special markets or events/places that we shld do on the saturday/sunday we are in the area?

we will then be driving to basel. any places we shld stop on the way?
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 09:58 AM
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There is a market in the pedestrian zone in St. Moritz on Sat, 30 August from 9 am to 2 pm. Regional specialties, from food to craftwork.

Will you drive the motorways (Vignette required) from Chur on? Otherwise it's a quite time-consuming drive from St. Moritz to Basel.

I think Basel itself offers VERY much to keep you busy, so you don't have to stop necessarily along the way. But if you must - my favourite would be Rapperswil at Lake Zürich, but you could easily do the detour via Lucerne, too, and spend two hours or so there.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:30 AM
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Ingo
we will have a rental car and i read that rental cars have the vignette.

any suggestions for Basel other than what one reads as the main tourist attractions?
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:49 AM
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The rental car should certainly have the vignette.

Please have a look at my Basel page on Virtualtourist.com - I have lots of tips listed there.

What you probably don't read about in most guide books are the Orphanage, Kleines Klingental museum (both in Kleinbasel, right bank), Riehen (except for Fondation Beyeler, which is a top sight) with Toy-, Village- and Viticulture Museum. I also enjoyed the pharmacy museum and the music museum in the former prison, the churches beside the Münster and the excursion to Mariastein pilgrim basilica (in the nearby Jura mountains.)
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 07:47 PM
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I loved Basel! One place there that got barely any attention in any of my guide books, but that I knew to see because of Ingo's Virtualtourist pages -- was St. Peter's. WELL worth a stop IMO! And very near there, you can visit the university's lovely botanical gardens. Enjoy!
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 08:22 PM
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Great info for our upcoming trip. Thanks
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 09:06 AM
  #16
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Ingo
how do i find your virtual tourist basel page?
i just clicked on the site for the first time.
thank you
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 09:56 AM
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I live in Basel -- what are your interests? You're going in August so this is not an issue, but the art museum will be closing in early 2015 (end of Feb most likely) for the remainder of the year for renovations. A new building is also under construction as part of the museum expansion plans.

My favorite museum in Basel is the Kirschgarten museum (Haus zum Kirschgarten). https://www.basel.com/en/art_culture...m-kirschgarten Next favorite is the Antiquities Museum, across the street from the art museum.

Basel has dozens of museums with an ever-changing list of changing exhibitions.

Do you want any restaurant/wine bar/cafe recs? Let me know your budget and cuisine preferences. Like elsewhere in Switzerland, Basel restaurants aren't cheap but there are some great lunch deals at even the most popular places. Others have week-end specials; for example, Prima, our default restaurant, does great homemade thin crust pizzas in a wide variety -- and on week-end nights (Fri Sat Sun) after 6 pm, all pizzas are only 15 francs. This is a real bargain for Switzerland. They have excellent Italian wines by the glass as well. (their menus goes far beyond pizza, of course!) http://www.primabasel.ch/
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 09:59 PM
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i have been checking the weather forecasts. rain is predicted for the next 7 days.
i can't tell if it is light drizzles or heavy rain is forecast.

does anyone have a clearer understanding of the weather conditions?

we are debating changing plans. we land in rome and switch planes to zurich; after sils, we planned to go to basel and then catch a flight to puglia. we wind our way back to rome and fly home.

we are debating whether to skip the engadin area and
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 11:28 PM
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Sorry, I thought I gave the link, but obviously I forgot.

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/4166c/a919b/

Check weather here: http://www.meteoschweiz.admin.ch/web..._forecast.html
(English doesn't work properly, I am afraid.) Have a look at "Samedan", which is in the Upper Engadine. Looks like nice weather on Thursday and occasional showers the other days. Other sources predict nice weather for Sunday, too, good for hiking. But that long in advance is too long for a detailed forecast.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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Rain can be anything from a short drizzle to a heavy downpour. It rarely rains the whole day. Engadin is brilliant to see even in lousy weather due to the architectural style.

The locals are getting extremely frustrated, however, with this weather. Even Washington State had better weather this year.
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