A long winding valley cupped between the snow-capped mountains of the Swiss Alps and following the Inn River, the 50-mile-long (80-kilometer-long) Engadine (or Engadin) valley is one of Switzerland’s most desirable holiday destinations. A sunny climate, beautiful lakes, and a stunning alpine backdrop make Engadine, which encompasses star-studded destinations like St. Moritz, one of Europe’s most highly populated valleys.
The Rhaetian Railway and the Bernina Express both run into the Upper Engadine valley, where the highest mountains of the Bernina Range boast ski resorts, mighty glaciers, and a range of year-round outdoor activities. The valley also hosts a number of annual festivals and events. Look out for skiing competitions, horse racing, and snow polo on the frozen St. Moritz Lake, as well as windsurfing marathons and the day parade of traditional horse-drawn sleigh rides that takes place each winter. All-day trips to the region are also available from Milan aboard the Bernina Express, the historic Swiss mountain train. During these trips, travelers are able to enjoy some free time in St. Moritz before heading back to Milan.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Lower Engadine isn't as touristy as the upper part of the valley; the Swiss National Park is located there and worth a visit.
- Try the Bündner Nusstorte (also known as Engadiner Nusstorte), a traditional sweet pastry filled with caramel and walnuts.
- First-time hikers in Engadine should follow the Muottas Muragl hike (also known as the Panorama Way), a trail between Muottas Muragl and Alp Languard that is relatively flat and good for those who aren’t acclimated to the altitude yet; takes about 2.5 hours to complete.
How to Get There
The Engadine valley can be reached by the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) from Chur or Landquart (via the Klosters—Vereina tunnel). If you’re traveling by car, there are car-carrying trains in Klosters/ Selfranga, in case you want to avoid driving over a mountain pass road. Engadine Airport offers flights to Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Milan, and Munich.
When to Get There
The best time to visit really depends on what you plan to do. January and February are considered peak winter season; this is prime time for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. By March, lower ski resorts may be closed. September is considered the best time for high altitude hiking, and because it isn’t as hot as July and August, it’s a good time for other outdoor activities.
Hiking in Engadin Valley
With 360 miles (580 kilometers) of hiking trails, Upper Engadin is a must-visit destination for hikers. The region’s network of trails includes routes of varying distances and difficulties, with some that are even suitable for strollers and wheelchairs. Plus, all of the trails are clearly marked and signposted and offer amazing views of the surrounding landscape.