The big Alps hiking thread

Old Aug 20th, 2022, 10:25 AM
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For what it's worth, I just added up the cost of apartments we've booked for our 28 night stay in Switzerland in Sept/Oct, and it averages out to USD $135 a night, which is roughly 130 chf per night. These are for nice units with full kitchens, a few with two bedrooms, most with balconies...some in a few off-the-beaten path areas. We also have five nights in Chiavenna, Italy, which isn't included in that amount.

These days we buy the Half Fare Card and just pick and choose which cable cars we want to take. These apartments were all booked back in March, and I definitely noticed an increase in prices since our month long visit in Sept/Oct 2021.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 02:02 PM
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A quick search of 2- to 4-star hotels in St. Moritz came up with quite a few from 104 (Petit Steffani) over 131 (Cervus) to 145 (Soldanella) e.g. for a single room. No idea if all of them offer the Engadin Card. But that's certainly no rate that any Swiss people would call "High End". Btw, I often booked through travel agencies like Tui or Neckermann and got much lower rates than posted by the hotels on their websites. A quick search on tui.com and I found Hotel Laudinella and Reine Victoria (4 star) for 327 resp. 312 Euro (1 night free if you stay a week) for three nights incl. breakfast and Engadin Card in a single room in late September. Europa (4 star) in St. Moritz-Champfer for 329 Euro incl. Engadin Card (659 for a week). Cervo in Sils for 386 incl. half board (balcony, but no Engadin Card I think).

I doubt you would enjoy sitting on the balcony in the (late) afternoon after your hike, sipping a beer - it gets cold very quickly later in the day in the Upper Engadin. Remember it is at 1800 m elevation. And due to the special topography of the valley the temperatures at night are much colder than you might expect (cold air flowing down from the mountains and accumulating at the valley floor).

In the Lower Engadin you get a guest card that covers public transportation, too. But it differs depending on where exactly you stay. The card in Scuol e.g. includes the gondola Motta Naluns also. And some hotels offer a "plus" version which includes bus trips to the Müstair valley, Nauders and Mals.

No idea how important the cable cars are for you. If not so much and you stay in an apartment in the Upper Engadin, then the Graubünden pass is also an option. www.graubuendenpass.ch
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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It's never too cold for a beverage on the balcony


Our balcony in Scuol, October 2019

Our patio in Zuoz, December 2018

Ingo - good to know that the Lower Engadine has gotten on board with the transport cards!

Last edited by Melnq8; Aug 20th, 2022 at 03:13 PM.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
I had the same problem when I last looked for apartments in St Mortiz - couldn't find one of a decent size with a balcony and a kitchen one could actually cook in, just a lot of basic studios with little afterthought type kitchens, if you know what I mean. I'm sure they exist, but not at a price I'm willing to pay.

Perhaps I missed it, but what time of year are you planning to go? The Engadine card that comes with hotel stays is valid May-October, although I see they now offer one for sale that is good 365 days a year...for a mere 1,160 chf!
I almost always go in July. Just found a fairly good 3* hotel in Sils for just over 100 CHF per night for at least a week stay, so I will certainly keep that in mind for next year.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ingo View Post
A quick search of 2- to 4-star hotels in St. Moritz came up with quite a few from 104 (Petit Steffani) over 131 (Cervus) to 145 (Soldanella) e.g. for a single room. No idea if all of them offer the Engadin Card. But that's certainly no rate that any Swiss people would call "High End". Btw, I often booked through travel agencies like Tui or Neckermann and got much lower rates than posted by the hotels on their websites. A quick search on tui.com and I found Hotel Laudinella and Reine Victoria (4 star) for 327 resp. 312 Euro (1 night free if you stay a week) for three nights incl. breakfast and Engadin Card in a single room in late September. Europa (4 star) in St. Moritz-Champfer for 329 Euro incl. Engadin Card (659 for a week). Cervo in Sils for 386 incl. half board (balcony, but no Engadin Card I think).

I doubt you would enjoy sitting on the balcony in the (late) afternoon after your hike, sipping a beer - it gets cold very quickly later in the day in the Upper Engadin. Remember it is at 1800 m elevation. And due to the special topography of the valley the temperatures at night are much colder than you might expect (cold air flowing down from the mountains and accumulating at the valley floor).

No idea how important the cable cars are for you. If not so much and you stay in an apartment in the Upper Engadin, then the Graubünden pass is also an option. www.graubuendenpass.ch
Is Petit Steffani the same as Hotel Steffani? The prices I found on the website for Hotel Steffani was much higher. And Cervus and Soldanella is pretty much what in the range I mentioned earlier, typical 3* hotels for 120-140 CHF per night. I can easily afford it, but it is fairly expensive, even compared to the rest of Switzerland. The high end comment from me earlier was with respect to all the 4 and 5* hotels. Especially the latter are really expensive and high end. Fittingly I see that four of the five 5* hotels in St.Moritz seem to have Russian as one of four or five language selections I will remember to check pages like tui.com if I plan to go there next year. Usually I only use booking.com, but that is mainly for mapping alternatives.

Cable cars are actually not that important when one lives as high as 1800m. From there it's no problem to start the hike for a 3000m peak. 1200-1500m height difference for the hikeable peaks along the Upper Engadin is really no problem. And balcony is still okay, I am really warm blooded. I can tolerate low temperatures and don't need as high temperatures as the majority of the popultion to be comfortable. And I almost always travel to the high Alps in the warmest season, like July. Earlier or later I usually go to other places or lower altitudes. This year I've booked a trip to Lago di Garda for late September.

Btw, found a nice 3* hotel in Sils for something like 110-120 CHF per night for a week or longer stay. That is one of the better deals I've seen after checking at least a couple of dozen hotels in and the area around St.Moritz.

Last edited by OlavE; Aug 20th, 2022 at 03:58 PM.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 02:05 AM
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Mel - LOL, you're right, with a prosecco not ;-)

No, Petit Steffani is not the same as Hotel Steffani. A dependancy with lower standard than the 4star main hotel. Btw, rates in Zermatt e.g. are similar, if not higher than in St. Moritz and you did not call it "high end". Somehow this sounds wrong to me.

Sils is my favourite village in the Upper Engadine, but keep in mind that it is a bit inconvenient for anything around Bernina pass - it's located at the other end of the valley and only served by bus, not train, so requires at least one change and more time to get there and back. Pontresina is ideally located in that regard IMO. A recommendation is Hotel Engadinerhof (engadinerhof.com) - charming, historic, good food, a broad selection of rooms from bathroom on the floor, not renovated, to recently renovated Suite. Check out their weekly arrangements with half board and some more stuff included. No balcony, I am afraid But we had a room with bathroom, not renovated, on the uppermost floor with French balcony and mountain view - perfect.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2023, 10:29 AM
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So, the trip for this summer is booked. I contemplated about Aosta (Cogne and Gressoney or Champoluc) vs Switzerland (mainly Engadin). And ended up with the latter with some additional hiking in Switzerland. The itinerary looks like this:

Day 1: Fly to Zürich, spend the night in Brig.
Day 2: Train and bus to Bourg-Saint-Pierre. Start hiking the Tour of Combins (https://www.outdooractive.com/en/rou...44133868/#dm=1)
Day 3-6: Hiking the Tour of Combins
Day 6: Bus and train back to Brig.
Day 7: Train from Brig to St.Moritz, the "Glacier Express".
Day 8-13: Stay in St.Moritz and do day hikes.
Day 14: Flight back from Zürich to Norway.

Looking forward to the 5-day hike on Tour des Combins. Several of the other multi day hikes in Switzerland goes just as much from village to village as hut to hut. This tour seems like a great option to get away from the resorts and villages and do some true high altitude and hut-to-hut hiking. And in St.Moritz I've decided to splash some bucks and stay at a bit more exclusive hotel with a great view to the St.Moritz lake. First time doing something like that!
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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 09:42 AM
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There is no need to sleep at Brig. Yo could take a train from ZRH to Visp and a connecting train from there to Martigny, much closesr to Bourg St-Pierre.
Trains every 30 - 60 minutes.
Last train to Martigny: ZRH dp 17.45 - Martigny ar 20.47 (- Orsieres ar 22.19.
Last train to Bourg St-Pierre: ZRH dp 15.48 - Bourg St-Pierre ar 20.07.
The Gd St-Bernard - Bourg St-Bernard leg isn't paricularly scenic. You may take the Orsieres bound bus as well.
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Old Jan 4th, 2023, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
There is no need to sleep at Brig. Yo could take a train from ZRH to Visp and a connecting train from there to Martigny, much closesr to Bourg St-Pierre.
Trains every 30 - 60 minutes.
Last train to Martigny: ZRH dp 17.45 - Martigny ar 20.47 (- Orsieres ar 22.19.
Last train to Bourg St-Pierre: ZRH dp 15.48 - Bourg St-Pierre ar 20.07.
The Gd St-Bernard - Bourg St-Bernard leg isn't paricularly scenic. You may take the Orsieres bound bus as well.
Yeah, I know. But I arrive so late to Zurich (it will be at least 19.00 before I've collected my luggage and are ready to leave the airport) that I had a hard time finding a hotel in Martigny (at a reasonable price) that had a check-in at that time of night. It would probably have been past 23.00 before I arrived at Martigny and the most affordable hotel options have an earlier last check-in than that.
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Old Jan 5th, 2023, 02:26 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I know the problem. More and more family run hotels where the owner sleeps in the house and wait for his guests if planes or trains are late disappear in favour of more anonymous structures with fixed check in times.
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