This tour explores the rustic, preserved beauty of Switzerland’s Engadine region, on the eastern edge of Switzerland near Austria. On this tour, we’ll hike inn-to-inn combining stops in our favorite village bases with 2 superb nights at high mountain huts. We’ll start in relatively unknown Guarda, often referred to as Switzerland’s prettiest village, set in the quiet, traditional Lower Engadine valley. It’s a stunningly preserved village with beautifully etched floral decorations on its homes, a strong Romansh culture, and of course, great mountain scenery. Then a night in Zernez, headquarters of Switzerland’s only National Park, and a great place to view wildlife. Then we’ll move through the mountainous Upper Engadine region, with nights in two high huts, the pleasant village of Pontresina, and Sils Maria, a tiny lakeside village near St. Moritz. Finally we hike down into the Val Bregaglia, with it’s sunny, distinctly Italian feel to the cobblestoned hamlet of Soglio for a timeless final evening. Unforgettable lakes, lush valleys, and rugged glaciers provide us with a huge diversity of wonderful hikes.
Our typical day starts with a continental buffet breakfast at our hotel – delicious fresh baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives us the energy needed for the task ahead. Soon we’ll be out on the trail, where you’ll get to choose between an easier or more strenuous hike for the day. Each morning, you’ll be handed a lunch to carry, and at a mid-point along the way we’ll choose a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy our picnic. We get a lot of compliments on our imaginative lunches – making them something to look forward to as well! Other than the two hut nights, our luggage will be transported separately from village to village, so we will have it for 5 of the 7 nights.
We should finish our hike around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up and relax. After that, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel or another local restaurant. These are multi-course feasts, featuring delicious local specialties, and both of our hotels on this trip serve delicious meals.
With charming villages, lofty trails, and flexible hikes, the Engadine Traverse is an excellent tour in one of the Switzerland’s best off-the-beaten-path hiking areas.
Guarda – Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train to our meeting point in Guarda. There is a train station in the Zurich airport, and transferring to Guarda is a scenic trip that takes about 3 hours from Zurich.
Perhaps you’ll arrive a few days early, with time to take the famous Glacier Express between Zermatt and the Engadine valley. The nearby village of Scuol is also a noted spa resort, and makes a great rainy day destination, or the Schloss Tarasp is a photogenic opportunity to visit a medieval castle. After we meet, we’ll talk about the tour to come and settle in for our welcome dinner at our lovely hotel. (Hotel Piz Buin)
Zernez – We’ll transfer to the nearby village of Zernez by train, headquarters of the Swiss National Park, the only national park in the country.
One good option for today is an energetic climb to a high mountain pass, one of the best wildlife viewing spots in Switzerland. In the evening, you’ll have time to visit the new park center in Zernez. (Hotel Bar und Post)
Georgy hut – Another short transfer brings us to the upper Engadine region, marked by soaring white-capped mountains and stunning high alpine lakes.
One of our favorite hikes anywhere is the panoramic Muragl traverse above Pontresina. Boasting quiet wooded stretches, abundant wildlife, and spirit-lifting views of the giant Piz Bernina and the pearl-like lakes of St. Moritz, this hike leads us high above the valley to the simple Georgy hut, named after a local painter and perched high atop a mountain overlooking the entire region. Dormitory accommodations and no luggage or showers on this memorable night in a traditional alpine club hut. (Georgy Hut)
Pontresina – Leaving the Georgy hut, we’ll descend a lovely ridge trail with views so fine, the small alpine restaurant along our route is known as chamanna paradise, or paradise hut.
A relatively short day gets us to Pontresina early, where we can enjoy the mellow village and luxurious pool and spa of our 3-star hotel. (Hotel Steinbock)
Coaz hut – The hiking in this region is amazingly varied, and one could easily spend a week hiking from Pontresina. Our route leads gently up the forested Roseg valley, where a steep climb then brings us high above the valley floor to Coaz hut, nestled at the upper end of the valley and surrounded by a ring of glacier-clad peaks.
Again, dormitory accommodations, no luggage or showers at this remote and alpine club hut. (Coaz hut)
Sils Maria – Traversing above the valley, we’ll reach the Fuorcla Surlej pass where we can look east a panorama of high, snow peaks, and west down to the breathtaking string of lakes that line St. Moritz and the upper Engadine valley.
We’ll descend to Sils Maria, a tiny village nestled between two lakes for a night in a comfortable and friendly 3-star hotel. (Hotel Maria)
Soglio – Val Bregaglia is an Italian-speaking enclave tucked at the end of the upper Engadine valley. Dropping down from a dramatic pass, we’ll hike through ancient hamlets shaded by leafy chestnut trees. Across the valley, the ruggedly handsome Piz Badile anchors a high rocky ridge of mountains, as our trail, the sentiero panoramico, winds it’s way towards Soglio.
Soglio is an utterly charming village, with narrow, cobblestoned alleys and a quiet, peaceful atmosphere evoking a much simple time. We’ll stay in a palace-turned-hotel for a unique and memorable final evening. (Hotel Palazzo Salis)
Depart – Today we say good-bye and depart for our post-tour destinations.
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