Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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St. Moritz and the Engadine Valley walking tour - Photo: Lisa Hall
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Highlights

  • Exploring Switzerland’s first National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty
  • Following a well-established network of mountain and valley trails taking in tranquil forests, colourful mountain meadows and cool blue lakes
  • Travelling on the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bernina Bahn railway
  • Pausing at a mountain restaurant to savour a charcuterie plate of local cheeses and Italian salami, washed down with glass of chilled riesling

An easy walking tour through the beautiful Engadine Valley, visiting Switzerland’s first and only National Park, St. Moritz and the pretty alpine village of Pontresina.

The alpine valley of the Engadine offers the perfect introduction to easy walking in Switzerland. Explore fragrant forests, river valleys and alpine meadows with very little effort, thanks to a comprehensive network of 13 mountain railways. You’ll be captivated by stunning views of the 3,000m summits of Piz Nair, Corvatsch and Diavolezza. Relax and rejuvenate your senses as you meander along trails past traditional Engadine villages adorned with delicate murals and colourful window boxes, and take in the pure alpine air.

Your walk begins with a 3 night stay in the village of Zernez, located on the doorstep of the Swiss National Park, a protected area of 170sqkm established in 1914. This alpine sanctuary is home to golden eagles, vultures, ibex, chamois, deer and marmots, as well as more than 650 species of flowering plants.

Continue to the Bernina Valley, staying 2 nights in the village of Pontresina, set amidst the snow capped peaks and glaciers of Piz Bernina and Piz Roseg. These mountain ridges flank the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed Bernina Bahn railway, a feat of engineering with wildly impossible viaducts and numerous mountain tunnels.

Finally, reach glamorous St. Moritz with its world-class hotels, restaurants and boutiques. Relax with gentle waterside walks alongside six shimmering lakes, or choose to wander one of the many scenic paths towards the head of the valley at Maloja. Spend 2 nights here soaking up the ‘champagne’ sunshine.

Your walking tour of Switzerland’s Engadine Valley and St. Moritz includes 7 nights 3 star accommodation in charming Swiss hotels on a bed and breakfast basis, baggage transfer between hotels, a detailed information pack, route notes and maps, and a public transport and mountain railways area pass.

Various photos credit: swiss-image.ch; Christof Sonderegger, Andrea Badrutt, Robert Boesch

 

DAY 1: Arrive Zernez

The attractive village of Zernez is located at the doorstep to the first (and only!) Swiss National Park, in the sun-blessed Engadine valley. With over 80km of walking trails meandering through the park’s 170sqkm, this area is a magnet for walkers eager to soak up the alpine scenery in what is often known as Switzerland’s ‘secret’ valley. Zernez is also home to the park’s excellent Visitors’ Centre with its four interactive exhibition areas.


You fly into Zurich and transfer by train to Zernez (2h53)


Overnight: Hotel Baer & Post***, Zernez



Hotel Baer & Post  is located at the heart of the small village of Zernez.  Enjoy a warm welcome from hosts Christian & Andrea and their family. The hotel started life as a post office, then became the village’s first guesthouse accommodating travellers from the Ofenpass. Having worked up an appetite from all that fresh mountain air, enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant, or why not indulge in a shiatsu or stone massage to ease yourself into your walking tour.


DAY 2: Walk the Ofen Pass

Begin your day with a short bus ride through a steep alpine pass to Buffalora, where you start your walk. Join the Nationalpark Panoramaweg, initially walking through pastureland on the lower slopes of Munt Chavagl. Continue along the high route beside Munt La Schera, overlooking Lago di Livigno in Italy. Descend through wooded slopes, catching views over the valley and passing by ancient landslides to the Nationalpark Hotel at Il Fuorn. After a wonderful first day’s walking in the pure mountain air, take the bus back to Zernez.


Walk: 12 km, ascent 470m, descent 650m, approx. 3h30


Overnight: Hotel Baer & Post***, Zernez



DAY 3: Walk the Val Trupchun

Take the bus to S-Chanf and then follow the trail climbing through cool dense forest to Alp Trupchun. Keep your eyes peeled and tread softly as this is a grazing area for local ibex and deer. Return downwards over alpine fields, reaching and then following the river to the Varusch cabin. Continue to the car park at Prasuras, where you catch the bus back to Zernez.


Walk: 18km, ascent/descent 740 m, 4h30


Overnight: Hotel Baer & Post***, Zernez


DAY 4: Walk the Klimaweg to Pontresina

Today you will continue your exploration of the Engadine Valley not only on foot, but by bus, funicular and cable car as you travel further along the valley to the historic village of Pontresina. Starting from Zernez, take the bus to Pontresina, where you can collect your mountain pass and take the chair lift up to Alp Languard. You can then choose to walk either the higher and more challenging Klimaweg, or the easier Panoramaweg.


Walking at almost 2,500m altitude you’ll enjoy far reaching views over verdant alpine forests and to the glistening Morteratsch glacier. Revel in the outstanding views as the lower Engadine valley opens up with the shining lakes of St Moritz and beyond. Reach the cable car station at Muottas Muragl with further amazing vistas to Val Roseg and Silvaplana. At the base of the cable car return either by bus or take an easy riverside walk back to the traditional Engadine village of Pontresina, with its pretty painted houses.


Pontresina is located at an altitude of 1,800m, and has a luxurious feel, with its Swiss pine restaurants and gourmet cuisine. Traditional Engadine houses painted with alpine murals nestle in a sheltered spot in the Bernina Valley.


Walk: 7km, ascent 520m, descent 400m, 4hrs


Overnight: Hotel Mueller***, Pontresina


Hotel Muller offers just 19 comfortable rooms which boast a natural décor, designed to sooth and reflect the property’s stunning surroundings. Enjoy a delicious meal in the modern restaurant or relax in the traditional cheminée-bar. Facilities include a sauna and steam bath to ease you into relaxation mode at the end of a memorable day.


DAY 5: World Heritage listed Bernina Bahn and circular walk to Alp Grum

From Pontresina, take the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bernina Bahn railway deep into the mountains. The 61km Bernina pass line features 13 tunnels and galleries and 52 viaducts and bridges, and is a fascinating testimony to the use of the railway to link previously isolated settlements in the Alps in the 20th century. You will experience some of this magical feat of engineering as you journey deep into the mountains, with the 4,000m high Bianograt ridge looming high overhead.
Disembarking at Bernina Hospiz station, follow the easy circular walking route skirting Lago Bianco to Alp Grum and hike up to the mountain hut at Sassat Mason. The peace and tranquillity of this area is humbling. Return to Pontresina by train.


Walk: 6.5km, ascent 155m, descent 310m, 2h30


Overnight: Hotel Mueller***, Pontresina


DAY 6: Walk the Valley Roseg to St. Moritz

Bid farewell to Pontresina this morning, ready for a scenic walk along the valley to St. Mortiz. Follow the path as it stretches along the Val Roseg, past shady pine forests and through flower-filled meadows as you trace the bubbling river. Next comes a protracted, more challenging climb up to Fuorcla Surlej with its mountain restaurant —the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch. Continue to Corvatsch Mittelstation Murtel where you can descend with the cable car to Corvatsch Talstation. Descend to the valley where you then take the bus onwards to St. Moritz.


There are plenty of easier, lower level walking routes between Pontresina and St. Moritz to choose from, if you would prefer a shorter forest walk (avoiding the challenging climb up to Fuorcla Surlej during this suggested walk).


St. Moritz hardly needs any introduction. This Swiss resort is known for its ‘champagne climate’ - not only referring to the luxurious tastes of many discerning visitors, but to the sparkling and invigorating climate of the Engadine. Thanks to its geographical location on the southern side of the Alps, St. Moritz benefits from Italy’s warm climate, yet remains pleasantly cooled by the Maloja wind from the south-west. World-class hotels, top restaurants, a myriad of boutiques and a calendar of top events give this ‘village’ an air of sophistication.


Walk: 13km, ascent 1008m, descent 115m, 6hrs (to Corvatsch Mittelstation Murtel)


Overnight: Hotel Nolda***, St. Moritz


The charming Hotel Nolda occupies a peaceful riverside location in St Moritz Bad. The neighbouring pastures are often dotted with grazing cattle, and you will awaken to the smell of freshly baked bread courtesy of the hotel’s excellent restaurant. Hotel Nolda offers a serene and friendly base in St. Moritz, within easy reach of top restaurants, boutiques and further facilities.


DAY 7: Walk the Panoramaweg and Wasserweg

Start today with a short walk or bus ride to the Surlej Talstation, where you’ll board the cable car taking you 900m up to Mittelstation Murtel and the start of the ‘Wasserweg’ (Water Way). Turn around to admire wonderful views of the Engadine Lakes, whilst ahead you will see the peaks of Piz Murtel and Piz Corvatsch. On disembarking from the cable car the route descends steeply to the main gravel track above the valley floor, passing through off-season ski pistes until you reach the view point at Curtinella. From there you will cross a minor valley to the first of the “Lejins”, a series of mirror-like mountain tarns. Finally you will descend through a major ski complex to the cable car station at Furtschellas La Chudera and another cable car trip down to Sils. Return by bus to St Mortiz Bad.


Walk: 6.5km, ascent 230m, descent 580m, 2h30


Overnight: Hotel Nolda***, St. Moritz


DAY 8: Onward Travel


After breakfast catch the train from St. Moritz to Zurich Airport (3h50).

Accommodation

Your trip includes 7 nights in hand-picked 3 star hotels. Dependent on availability, alternative accommodation to that listed may be offered.


Please be aware that twin & double rooms in Switzerland are typically 2 single mattresses side by side in one double bed frame with two separate duvet covers and pillows.


Meals


This trip is on bed and breakfast basis, allowing you the freedom to enjoy lunch and dinner wherever you wish each day.



 

 


 





Hotel Baer & Post - Zernez

Hotel Baer & Post is located at the heart of the small village of Zernez. Enjoy a warm welcome from hosts Christian & Andrea and their family. The hotel started life as a post office, then became the village’s first guesthouse accommodating travellers from the Ofenpass. Having worked up an appetite from all that fresh mountain air, enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant, or why not indulge in a shiatsu or stone massage to ease yourself into your walking tour.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Mueller - Pontresina

Hotel Muller offers just 19 comfortable rooms which boast a natural décor, designed to sooth and reflect the property’s stunning surroundings. Enjoy a delicious meal in the modern restaurant or relax in the traditional cheminée-bar. Facilities include a sauna and steam bath to ease you into relaxation mode at the end of a memorable day.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Nolda - St. Moritz

The charming Hotel Nolda occupies a peaceful riverside location in St Moritz Bad. The neighbouring pastures are often dotted with grazing cattle, and you will awaken to the smell of freshly baked bread courtesy of the hotel’s excellent restaurant. Hotel Nolda offers a serene and friendly base in St. Moritz, within easy reach of top restaurants, boutiques and further facilities.


 

 

 

Single Rooms


If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Solo Walkers


This holiday is suitable for solo walkers.


Baggage Transfer


Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


Equipment


Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Grade & Fitness

This trip is graded easy to moderate and daily walks are between 2.5 and 5 hours in length (less than 8 miles per day), with plenty of route options. Longer days can be shortened with public transport. The route follows mountain paths, which although usually well-trodden, can be rough underfoot. You should have a reasonable level of fitness to get the most from this walk.


Navigation

The network of paths and trails in the Engadine Valley is comprehensively way-marked as are all the variations we suggest. We provide you with detailed route notes and maps so you will have no problem following the route suggested, or indeed if you wish to take alternative routes according to your wishes.

Availability

This trip is available to start from late June to early October (due to operational times of the mountain railways).


Time of Year

The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and early October when the wild flowers are in bloom and the weather is generally fair. Some mountain railways close in mid-October.  Autumn (early October) is great for vibrant warm tones as the forests change hue and foliage turns burnt orange.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.  This trip is not available suitable for solo walkers due to the nature of the terrain


Grade & Terrain 

The walking is graded moderate and you will enjoy the holiday more if you already enjoy an active lifestyle.  Most of the paths are easy to follow and although undulating in parts the paths are generally moderate, and where they are tougher, there are alternative walks that day.  Walking each day is between 2 - 6 hrs.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The network of paths and trails in the Engadine Valley is comprehensively way-marked as are all the variations we suggest. We provide you with detailed route notes and maps so you will have no problem following the route suggested, or indeed if you wish to take alternative routes according to your wishes.


Baggage Transfers

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person. 


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.  


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jackets and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking shoes or boots, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer and a day pack.


Getting to Zernez/from St. Moritz

Zernez and St. Moritz are both located in the Engadine Valley.


By Air: Fly into Zurich Airport, which is served by numerous airlines from UK, European and International destinations.


By Train: From Zurich Airport transfer by train to Zernez (2h53), changing at Zurich Hauptbahnhof and Chur. From St. Moritz transfer by train to Zurich Airport (3h50), changing at Chur then Zurich Hauptbahnhof. Please check the Swiss Rail network for up to date timetables.


Transport whilst on tour: Upon arrival at your hotels in Pontresina and St. Moritz, you will be given an area pass for travel on public transport and mountain railways in the area. Upon check-out you will need to return your pass. When staying in Zernez and travelling between hotels you will need to pay for transport locally.

Getting to Zernez/from St. Moritz

For general travel planning and information in Switzerland, please go to: www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/transport-travel/getting-around  


Zernez and St. Moritz are both located in the Engadine Valley.


Air


Fly into Zurich Airport, which is served by numerous airlines from UK, European and International destinations.


Train


From Zurich Airport transfer by train to Zernez (2h53), changing at Zurich Hauptbahnhof and Chur. From St. Moritz transfer by train to Zurich Airport (3h50), changing at Chur then Zurich Hauptbahnhof. Please check the Swiss Rail network for up to date timetables.


Transport whilst on tour


Upon arrival at your hotels in Pontresina and St. Moritz, you will be given an area pass for travel on public transport and mountain railways in the area. Upon check-out you will need to return your pass. When staying in Zernez and travelling between hotels you will need to pay for transport locally.

Included

  • 7 Nights in hand picked 3* hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Bag transfers of one bag of up to 20kg per person between hotels
  • Walking maps of the Engadine Valley and guide book
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Detailed route notes
  • Area pass for public transport and mountain railways (issued at check-in and collected at check-out at each accommodation in Pontresina and St. Moritz) including use of all chairlifts/cable cars/funiculars in the Engadine Valley. NB: Area pass excludes the ‘Bernina Express’ panoramic train, but includes the public train which runs on the same Bernina line
  • 24-hour emergency assistance

Excluded

  • Flights and transfers to / from Zurich
  • Travel Insurance Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Transportation between hotels (public transport is payable locally)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s) if applicable
  • Additional luggage
  • Room upgrades
  • Additional nights

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the region is very popular especially over the summer months. However we will always try our best to accommodate your plans.

How fit do I need to be?

The walking is graded moderate so you will enjoy the holiday more if you already enjoy an active lifestyle.  Most of the paths are easy to follow and although undulating in parts the paths are generally easy, and where they are tougher, there are alternative walks that day.  Walking each day is between 2 - 6 hrs.

How do the baggage transfers work? 

Your bags will be transferred between your accommodation as per your itinerary. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person. 

Which is the best airport to fly to?

You can fly into Zurich Airport in Switzerland, check out the travel details section for more detailed information.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, warm clothing in the early/late part of the year and hats etc during the summer. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack.  

When is the best time of year?

The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and early October when the wild flowers are in bloom and the weather is generally fair. Some mountain railways close in mid-October.  Autumn (early October) is great for vibrant warm tones as the forests change hue and foliage turns burnt orange.

What happens if I can't walk a stage? 

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

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