Engadine, Switzerland: Best Things To Do & Where To Stay

engadine switzerland

The Engadine Valley, also known as Engadin, is located in one of the highest parts of Switzerland, the eastern Alps. It is split into the upper and lower Engadin.

The upper Engadin begins at the headwaters of the Inn river and follows the river through the Maloja Pass and then it becomes the lower Endagin closer to the Swiss border with Austria.

You probably haven’t heard of Engadine, Switzerland, but I bet you have heard of St Moritz, the famous ski resort. Well, St Moritz sits in the upper Engadine valley.

The Engadine valley is well known by local Swiss travelers but is often missed by international ones, and this is a big error. The Engadine valley is special, different, and rather unique, and for Switzerland, that is saying something!

Known for its clear skies, bright sunshine, dark blue lakes, and unique scenery, it is a paradise for both hikers and skiers alike. Everyone should visit the Engadine valley to see just how magical it is!

Join me as I run through everything you need to know about getting to the Engadine Valley, the great things to do there, and where to stay!

How to Get to The Engadine Valley

Engadine Valley
Engadine Valley

Getting to the Upper Engadine valley and the Lower Engadine valley isn’t so easy but the journey is a beautiful one. Unless you live locally or are doing a road trip, getting a flight and then a train is your best option.

Flight And Train

You will have to fly to Zurich or Milan airports and from there, hop on a train to either the upper Engadin or the lower Engadin, depending on where you want to visit.

Luckily, the train journeys take you through some of the most stunning scenery around but there are 4 hours or more, and require multiple changes!

From Zurich Airport, you will need to get a train to Zurich HB, and change onto a train to Chur. Once you have reached Chur, it is another change onto the Rhaetian, Rhaetische Bahn, or RhB train company that will then take you into the mountains and to the Upper Engadin or Lower Engadin.

From Milan, it takes 5.5 hours by train and requires 3 changes too. The first is from the airport to Milano Centrale station, then change onto the train to Tirano. In Tirano, you must leave the station and find the Bernina Express station across the piazza.

The Bernina Express will then take you across the Bernina Pass and into the Upper Engadin close to St Moritz from which you can access the lower Engadin.

The journey across the Bernina pass is magical: you climb from the valley floor, up into and across the mountains, and back down to the valley floor on the other side.

Driving

Driving to the Lower or Upper Engadine is easy in the summer as all the mountain roads are open and the weather is clear. It can be accessed from every direction.

When driving to the lower or upper Engadine in winter, there are three mountain passes one can use, all of which can be closed in bad weather, so be sure to check ahead.

The train is the best way to be sure of arriving in winter. Having a car available in summer would also be great so you can explore off the beaten path a little bit.

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Top Things to Do in Engadine

There are a lot of great things to do in Engadin and we will not cover them all here. But, think of cross-country skiing, skiing, snowboarding, and more winter sports in the cold months.

Then in the summer, hiking trails are everywhere, and you can fly fish, go rock climbing, and lots more. If you like to be in the wilderness, then Engadin is a place you will love.

Go Hiking In The Swiss National Park

Swiss National Park
Swiss National Park – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

This is Switzerland’s only national park and one of Switzerland’s wildest destinations. It is an amazing place for hiking and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve full of rare Alpine wildlife.

If you are lucky, while hiking around the park you may encounter golden eagles, bearded vultures, ibexes, chamois, marmots, and if you are very lucky, a brown bear.

The park is also home to some of the best-preserved dinosaur footprints in the world, which is a statement of how remote this part of the Engadin is.

You will hike through forests, alpine meadows, and alpine peaks in this area, all of which are immaculately looked after. Access is much easier in the warmer months but snowshoeing around the park is also available in winter.

Dip Your Toe In Luxury In St. Moritz

best things to do st moritz winter
St Moritz

One of the larger towns in Upper Engadine is the iconic St Moritz. If you are looking to spend some time in luxury, or just take a look behind the viewing glass, a stop here is a must while visiting the Upper Engadine.

St Moritz is known for being one of Switzerland’s most beautiful ski resorts as it sits on the highest mountain in the area and looks over a beautiful lake down the valley. The views from St Moritz are simply spectacular and there is plenty to do if you love the outdoors.

Summer hiking and spending time on the lake are magical ways to spend your days in St. Moritz. While in the winter, skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter sports options are fantastic.

Discover Guarda, A Hidden Gem

Guarda
Guarda – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Sitting in the lower Engadin Valley is the lovely town of Guarda. It overlooks the famous spa town of Scuol and stares directly over the valley, the river Inn, and into the alps.

Most people do not know about this little town in Switzerland but it is very much worth visiting and is a must while you are in Engadine.

What makes this town so special are the houses that line the few streets it has. All the houses are stunningly painted in the style typical to the area. They are beautiful to see!

There aren’t many places to eat or stay, nor are there many people in Guarda, but you can always find what you need in this little town most of the year.

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Guarda, Switzerland: Why Is It Worth Your Visit?

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The Bernina Pass

The Bernina Pass is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful alpine passes. You will find it in the Upper Engadine connecting Pontresina to the town of Tirano in Italy.

The route takes you past some of the most beautiful peaks in the alps, next to glaciers, and past some of the bluest and most magical lakes, you may have ever seen.

There are numerous ways to see the pass. You can either drive or you can take the train, both are excellent options. Once you reach the border, you can stop for a taste of Italy and continue on or head back into Upper Engadine.

Relax More Than Ever In Scuol

Scuol
Scuol – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Scuol is one of the larger towns in the lower Engadine and can easily be visited while you take a look at Guarda. Sitting on the banks of the Inn river, this town is known for its wellness.

There are over 20 different mineral springs in the town and they are used to create cures and mineral baths to provide you with maximum wellness. The spa hotels provide amazing massages, treatments, and of course, saunas all combined with the mineral springs.

The skiing and winter sports are excellent during the cold months and the summer opens up magical hiking trails in the area. You can also visit the church of St. George with a Romanesque tower and Gothic architecture which sits rock. It has incredible views over the town and into the national park!

Pontresina

Pontresina is a stunning mountain resort town in Upper Engadine just down the road from Saint Moritz. Its architecture dates back to the early 19th century, splashed with newer buildings, of course.

Surrounded by glaciers and mountain peaks, it is magical. In summer, you will have access to more than 580 km of hiking trails to explore the mountains with. You can do long hikes into the Val Roseg and the highest mountain Muottas Muragl, for incredible lake views.

Winter is also wonderful in this slice of Upper Engadine. You can ice climb, sled, ski, snowboard, and more. It has some of the best access to alternative winter sports around.

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Pontresina, Switzerland: A Mountain Village Worth Your Visit

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Where to Stay in Engadine

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There are lots of places to stay in both the lower and upper Engadine Valley. You will have a lot of different options to choose from super luxurious hotels to more down-to-earth BnBs.

For anyone looking for luxury in the Upper Engadine Valley, St Moritz is the place to be. If you want to be close to St Moritz but spend a bit less, try out Samedan, Celerina, Pontresina, or Champfèr.

If you are looking for authenticity, and friendly people who are locals, then stay in the towns of La Punt-Chamues-ch, Zuoz, Bever, Sils, and Silvaplana in Upper Engadine.

The Lower Engadine is much less populated than the Upper Engadine with far fewer towns. Great places to stay include Scuol, the main town, Zernez which is next to the Swiss National Park, and Samnaun, Switzerland’s only tax-free shopping area.

Engadine Map

Sometimes people get a little confused about where Engadine actually starts and ends. So, I took this map from the Graubunden.ch website to help illustrate what part of Graubunden is actually Engadine.

Map of Engadine, Switzerland
Map of Engadine, Switzerland

Frequently Asked Questions

What language is spoken in Engadin Switzerland?

Romansch is spoken widely in Engadine, especially in Lower Engadine. However, German, specifically Swiss German is also spoken throughout the area. Many people in tourism and hospitality also speak English, which is helpful if you are visiting.

What language is spoken in St Moritz Switzerland?

In St Moritz, the locals speak both Romansch and German (Swiss German). However, there are many people who speak English in the hospitality and tourism industries.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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