St. Moritz isn’t just famous worldwide for its winter experiences: the summer months attract guests to the Upper Engadin, too.
The majesty of the south-eastern Alps must be seen to be believed. For millions of years, these peaks and hills have stood watch over the Engadin valley. One of the most beautiful parts of Switzerland, the Engadin Valley is famous for its glaciers, icy mountain lakes and the mountain peaks rising three to four thousand metres above the landscape. Although many visitors come here for the snowsports, it is the stunning vistas of the Swiss Alps that remain in the mind long after they return home.
Overlooking Lake Sils and Lake Silvaplana, the peak of Corvatsch features one of the highest ski areas in all of Switzerland – although there is plenty for walkers and keen photographers here too. From Sils, Silvaplana, St Moritz and Pontresa, there is a great selection of hiking routes to embark on, and the varied terrain of forest, lakes and glaciers means the landscape is always changing as you explore.
Situated on the eastern slopes of Piz Nair and overlooking St Moritz, the Corviglia region is popular with hikers and bikers for its amazing views of the valley's lakes and streams. Whether skiing on the famous slopes of Corviglia or simply taking in the crisp Alpine air, there's no substitute for the Black Peak!
Rising some 4,000m into the air, the peaks of Diavolezza – Italian word for "she-devil" – are certainly among the most seductive sights of the region. As well as being one of the most popular ski areas in the Upper Engadin, particularly for its challenging 10km slope, Diavolezza is popular with hikers, who can put their endurance to the test across the Pers and Morteratsch glaciers. Climbers can take on the fixed-rope route of Via Ferrata, and for those who just want a little relaxation, the area is home to Europe's highest Jacuzzi.
The fairytale beauty of Muottas Muragl has been inspiring artists and poets for centuries: if you came to the Alps for the scenery, this should be the first place on your list. Even the journey up the mountain via funicular railway - over a century old - is an enchanting experience, and if you want to change the tempo for the journey down, there is a famous toboggan run available! Alternatively, fine food and panoramic views can be had at the mountaintop restaurant.
A huge variety of hiking trails threads through the Engadin valley, where the contours and lush features of the landscape are a feast for the eyes. From ice-blue lakes and imposing peaks to green forests and meadows, let the tranquil environment of the Swiss Alps fill you with relaxation and wonder.
The best way to truly experience the Engadin is on two feet, and hikers are spoiled for choice when it comes to routes offering sweeping, panoramic views over the valley. Whether you challenge yourself with the Piz Nair to St Moritz route or choose the gentler path from Corviglia, you will return inspired by the natural beauty of the Alps.
Why not take in the sparkling, deep blue waters of the Engadin lake district? Between Maloja and St Moritz is a chain of lakes and a network of paths offering everything from a gentle afternoon stroll to a strenuous hike. Enjoy the Emerald Trail from St Moritz railway station to Sils Maria, the Val Minor tour of the region's smaller lakes or the journey to the source of the River Inn. Be sure to bring a camera: you will want to capture these views forever.
Take a walk on the Senda d'Inspiraziun to combine breathtaking views with captivating sculpture: this circular walk on Muottas Muragl features a number of artworks to contemplate on your journey. Alternatively, discover alpine flora on Heidi's Flower Trail, follow the Glacier Trail's 15 stopping-points, or take a gastronomic odyssey between the region's many fine restaurants: every one is a new experience.
SWISS NATIONAL PARK
With 170sq km (65.6 sq miles) of pristine landscapes that have been protected for more than a century, the Swiss National Park is a haven for the naturalist in all of us. It is the only park in the Alps to be categorised as a strict nature reserve, meaning the plants and animals here are under the highest level of protection – all the better to enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed.
There are more than 400km (248.5 miles) of mountain biking trails in the Engadin, and the combination of well-signposted routes and spectacular scenery makes this region a heaven for anybody on two wheels.
Whether you are a fitness fanatic looking to challenge yourself to tough ascents, or just out to enjoy the alpine landscapes on a gentle ride, you are sure to find routes to suit you.
MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR - CORVIGLIA FLOWTRAILS
The panorama of the Bernina Massif and the run over Alp Nova make this route a favourite with mountain bikers. Marvel at the otherworldly karstic landscape of the stretch beneath Sass Runzol, before following the flow trail from the mountain hut to Alp Giop and finishing at Chantarella – a great workout amid beautiful surroundings.
MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR - VAL SUVRETTA
This route begins at Celerina railway station and traverses the woodlands and lakes of the Val Suvretta and Val Bever. With gravel tracks, some steep ascents around Piz Nair, a 6km (3.7 mile) flow trail leading down to a spectacular high-mountain basin and a few bumpy sections to keep you on your toes, this route has a bit of everything.
BIKING TRAIL - RIVER INN
Follow the fast-flowing waters of the River Inn for the opportunity to take in some local architecture, see yourself reflected in crystal lakes, and perhaps do a little bird-spotting: you might be lucky enough to see some spotted nutcrackers in the Stazer forest. As the valley gets narrower, prepare for a steep ascent leading to the idyllic village of Guarda. Don't miss the chance to take a tour of the Rhaetian Railway as you return.
BIKING TRAIL – BERNINA EXPRESS
This demanding, but spectacular trail is a must for real mountain biking fanatics – from a winding path behind Pontresina, through forests up to Bernina Pass with its commanding views of the local glaciers, it is a scenic treat as well as a way to put your fitness to the test! After taking a break to enjoy the vistas, continue on the challenging trail following the Bernina Railway to Val Poschiavo.
Anyone keen on attempting an Alpine summit or two will be spoilt for choice. With numerous peaks over 3,000 metres (10,000 ft), the Upper Engadin offers and exceptional variety of high-mountain thrills.
Those who prefer hiking boots and walking poles to crampons and an ice axe can opt for one of the many Alpine hiking routes.
Other exciting climbing experiences include the high-rope challenge course and the 17 practice rock walls, which attract not only experienced climbers but also beginners and active families.
Glacier Hike: Diavolezza–Morteratsch
The only thing you need in order to tackle the spectacular tour from the Diavolezza summit station across the Pers and Bernina Glaciers and back down to Morteratsch railway station sure footedness and sufficient stamina to cope with the 1,100 m (3,608.9 ft) altitude difference. Here amidst the largest mountain range in the eastern Alps, with the 4,049 m (13,284.1 ft) high Piz Bernina in the middle, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the glaciers that surround you on all sides. Some 5 billion tonnes of ice, covering a total distance of 12 km (7.5m mi) and an altitude difference of 1,000 m (3,280.8 ft), creep lethargically down into the valley. The guided glacier hike provides an insight into a variety of natural phenomena – from crevasses, to glacial mills and erratics, through to the formation of moraines.
Piz Bernina (4,049 m (13,284.1 ft))
The so-called Kings of the eastern Alps provide a hard-fought duel to win the favour of alpinists far and wide, yet while all manner of legends surround Piz Palü (3,901m), Piz Bernina – standing tall at 4,049m – is quite literally the highlight of the region. Tackling this giant also requires stamina and skill, as well as the appropriate equipment, such as a pick axe, crampons and ropes.
Piz Trovat via Ferrata
The first via ferrata – or fixed-rope climb – in the Engadin follows a two-hour route up to the Piz Trovat (3,146m), where, just a 20-minute walk from the Diavolezza top station, alpinists can enjoy a simple climbing experience while taking in magnificent panoramic views. The route starts at around 2,850m above sea level, and after following the western buttress, leads to a small gorge (at 3,050m) and on up to the summit. Here, after traversing around 500 steps, a ladder and a bridge, you can see the Bernina massif laid out below your feet. Climbers should be generally fit, sure-footed and have a good head for heights. The obligatory equipment can be hired at the Diavolezza bottom station.
Pontresina Rope Park
Balance, roll, wiggle, clamber, crawl, swing, hop, climb or jump: the new high-rope challenge course in Pontresina is the perfect place to let off steam. The facility is located in the forest, and with its series of platforms linked by rope bridges, zip wires, wobbly beams and various obstacles, it offers exciting challenges for agile and sure-footed visitors over the age of four. Children under the age of 13 are only admitted to the park if an adult accompanies them. Visitors are given expert instruction, equipped with safety equipment and assessed on a test route.
St Moritz offers plenty of opportunity for sport, including golf, water sports and even inline skating. All ability levels are catered for, from high-altitude training to the more relaxed Nordic walking.
The Engadin Golf Club provides the perfect opportunity to practice your swing, with over 1,200 members making it one of the greatest in Switzerland. Here, you can take your pick from four different courses, each with their own challenges and attractive surroundings. Situated within 30km, you can enjoy plenty of space here.
Make the most of the fantastic Maloja winds and try your hand at kiting, surfing or sailing during your stay. Lake Silvaplana offers some truly great conditions for those keen to get on the water, and is a best-loved location for water sport enthusiasts.
If you are a keen competitor, the Engadin Wind Surf Marathon is open for anyone to enter, as well as making a brilliant spectator sport. For something just as enjoyable, the lake hosts various regattas too - great for those wanting to catch the Swiss, European and even the World Championships.
For those keen to see the picturesque valleys from a different vantage point, head out on horseback and enjoy the alpine meadows. With a variety of tracks and paths to choose from, riders of all abilities will find something to suit. Keen riders can make the most of the professionally managed stables here, and experience a different side to the region.
The Engadin has fast become a great place to enjoy a family holiday. There is an endless number of activities to keep the children occupied, meaning there is sure to be plenty of opportunity for parents to relax too.
From bathing lakes to adventure playgrounds, activity is everywhere in St. Moritz. For those looking for more of an adventure, children will love taking up horse riding for the day, mountain biking through alpine surroundings or inline skating - and the views will certainly please the parents.
ENGADIN'S BATHING LAKES
With water temperatures reaching a pleasing 20°C even in the winter, and plenty of sunshine to go around, you will want to jump straight in to the Engadin's bathing lakes - and there are a number to choose from. Located 200m below Lake Hahnen, Lej Nair is in the most perfect of locations. Only reachable on foot, you can enjoy the pleasant waters and peaceful surroundings here. Lej Marsch is also close by, boasting a sunny but sheltered position near to the Olympic ski jump. Due to its convenient location, this bathing lake has great parking facilities.
For those who just love the water, Lej da Staz is the one for you, or if you would prefer to fit in a hike on your way, head to Lake Cavloccio. This lake also features great amenities for families, meaning you can really make a day of a trip here. With picnic benches and barbeques, parents can unwind while the children are occupied on the playground.
MARGUNS–CELERINA FAIRYTALE TRAIL
Just above Marguns sit three rock pinnacles, the Trais Fluors - something all children in the Engadin are familiar with. Along here, families can take part in a Fairytale Trail, and see that the rocks are actually fossilised magic flowers. The whole trail takes approximately 90 minutes, and guests can discover the 11 illustrated panels that reveal these flowers. Families are sure to love the trek along here, as children of all ages can experience the magic. The path is also suitable for push chairs.
For a more thrilling way to explore the Engadin, visitors can venture their way through the trails and pathways on scooters, all the way from the top station at 2,273m down to Celerina. Ride through alpine meadows filled with flowers down the mountainside, and through fragrant forests on these mountain bike-wheeled scooters.