This June we had the great opportunity to go and discover Graubünden! Graubünden is the biggest province in Switzerland and is all about raw natural beauty! We spent 2 weeks traveling around Graubünden during which we visited 4 different areas. This post is about the second stop on our Graubünden road trip: the area of Engadin St. Moritz. Get ready for a spectacular region with clear blue lakes, big glaciers, spectacular mountain peaks and a panoramic train ride with the Rhaetische Bahn!
Engadin St. Moritz
Engadin St. Moritz is a large and spectacular area in the Swiss Alps. Here you can find the Piz Bernina, the only fourthousander in the eastern Alps (4049m.). We’ve spend 5 days in this region and were overwhelmed by the beauty. We could spend weeks in this area discovering the different mountains, blue lakes and numerous hiking trails. We were surprised how the language in the Engadin changes per village from the main language Romanisch to German or Italian.
St. Moritz is the major village in upper Engadin. It is a high Alpine resort at about 1800m. The village has many classic and charming “Grand Budapest Hotel” style hotels and is situated next to a large blue lake (St. Moritzersee). It is not surprising that lots of rich people bought a second house in or around this beautiful village. A downside is that the area is quite expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper option then one possibility is to choose accommodation in the quite modern Youth Hostel St. Moritz like we did. Another possibility is to search for accommodation in the other beautiful and small villages in the Engadin region.
Lej da Staz
Lej da Staz is a small and beautiful lake surrounded by pine trees. It is a 20 minutes walk from the St. Moritzersee. When there’s not a lot of wind you’ll see stunning reflections in the water. This is one of our favorite lakes in Graubünden!
From the Diavolezza (2987m) you’ll have a stunning panoramic view over two glaciers and some of the highest mountains in the area. This viewpoint is easily reached with the gondola departing from Bernina-Diavolezza. From here you can see the highest peak of the Eastern Alps: Piz Bernina (4049m). You also have a great view over the Pers glacier that starts at the top of the Piz Palü and runs all the way down to where it crosses with the Morteratsch glacier. This viewpoint is a must see when you are in the Engadin area!
Morteratsch Glacier hike
One of the highlights of our visit to Engadin St. Moritz was a guided glacier hike! We started at 10.00 at the top of the Diavolezza and walked in about 5-6 hours to the bottom of the Morteratsch Glacier. The glacier hike was organized by the Bergsteigerschule Pontresina. We descended in a group of 8, first over the Pers glacier and then we continued to walk along some big crevasses, water mills and waterfalls on the Morteratsch Glacier. We absolutely loved it! It is a relatively easy walk and with the crampons you’ll feel safe walking over the ice. It is also lots of fun, walking over ice gives the same sensation as walking over cornflakes! 🙂
Mouttas Muragl (2454m.) is a viewpoint accessible by a cool funicular train. From here you’ll have a stunning view over the big lakes in the Engadin valley. You can spot Lej da Staz, St. Moritzersee, Lake Silvaplana and Lake Sils (All beautiful lakes worth a visit too!). There are some great hiking trails starting from Muottos Muragl. We hiked towards Lej Muragl, but unfortunately we had to return halfway because there was still too much snow.
Swiss National Park
The Swiss National Park is situated at an altitude varying between 1400 and 3200m. In the Swiss National Park you’ll have a good chance of finding wildlife such as ibexes, deer or marmots. We’ve walked the hiking trail towards Alp Trupchun. It is a great 2-4 hour hike (one way). There are two options to get there: one through the valley and one trail just under and above the tree line. We recommend to take the beautiful hiking trail through the valley! To get to the Swiss National Park (to reach Alp Trupchun) you’ll have to park your car near S-Chanf. The exact place is shown on our map. If you have some time left it is well worth it to walk through this charming little town!
Graubünden has its own spectacular red train that rides through some amazing landscapes. A ride with the Rhätische Bahn is an experience in itself. We took the train from St. Moritz towards Brusio. It was an amazing 2 hours drive with some beautiful views. Check here to see the rail network of the panoramic train rides.
One of the places we passed with the Rhätische Bahn is the stunning Bernina mountain Pass (2328m). It connects the German speaking St. Moritz Valley with the Italian-speaking Val Poschiavo. It’s possible to walk around the lake and continue to hike towards Alp Grüm!
Alp Grüm is the last station on the trainline in the Romansh speaking part of Graubünden. From here you can walk towards the heart shaped Lake Palü or do what we did: hike to the next train station at the Bernina Pass with a great view over Lake Palü.
We’ve had an amazing time in this beautiful area. It is definitely an area we would love to explore more. There are so many things to do! Check here to see the hiking trails for yourself!