The Weekly Postcard: Greetings from Engadin

But for an article I’ve read in the National Geographic Expeditions magazine, I might have not discovered the beautiful valley of the Engadin. The article was actually about the Bernina Express, one of the many Scenic Swiss Trains that runs from St. Moritz to Tirano, passing through some of the most spectacular sceneries ever imagined. The pictures were so incredibly beautiful, that we decided to add Engadin to our Swiss train itinerary.

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The Engadin is gorgeous! Entering the valley, you feel like you are stepping into another world. The long valley protected by the Swiss Alps follows the route of the Inn River for one hundred kilometers downstearm, enjoying an always sunny climate and beautiful landscapes.

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St. Moritz

Engadin’s original fame derives from the fancy St. Moritz, one of Europe’s most exclusive ski resorts. St. Moritz is a small place, but ever since 1864 when a group of adventurous English travelers first ventured here, the town is being flooded with affluent skiers lured by the snowy peaks and sunny days that abound in this area. At 6,000 feet above the sea level, St. Moritz gets plenty of snow from December through late April, making it the perfect place for the snow-sports enthusiasts. Its streets are lined up with rows of exclusive shops, luxurious four- and five-star hotels and plenty of fine restaurants that will make any visitor feel welcome.

 

Pontresina

Unlike its overdeveloped and snobish next-door neighbor, Pontresina is smaller and more modest, yet very stylish and pleasant. Its many beautiful hotels, walks, shops, cable cars,  horse-drawn carriage rides and its big range of restaurants may keep you busy for days. There is even a small ski area above town and and easy access to the slopes above St. Moritz.

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Pontres

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Muottas Muragl

Just outside of Pontresina you’ll find the beautiful peak of Muottas Muragl that can be reached by funicular. From the summit, you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the entire region.

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The Villages of Engadin

Engadin is home to many beautiful villages that do not seem altered by tourism and where tradition still remains very strong. As you begin exploring these idyllic, timeless villages, you’ll feel like stepping into another world. Small hamlets like Zuoz, Maloja, Bieber and Silts look like something straight out of a fairytale: sturdy stone houses with painted façades, wide, wooden door and narrow paved streets with small benches where locals just sit back and watch the world go by.

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Images from the village of Zuoz

This region is a hiker’s paradise, that’s why we loved it so much. Everywhere you look there are splendid paths, snow capped mountains and green pastures where cows graze happily.

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The villages have customs and traditions that have been practiced for centuries. One of these is Chalanda Marz (First of March), which I found very nice. On the first or March the boys in Engadin “ring out the winter’ and announce the spring’s arrival. They put on cattlemen’s costumes with wide leather belts from which they suspend as many large cow bells as they can collect. Other boys, who represent the cows, put bells around their necks and follow the “cattlemen.” The children go from house to house ringing their bells loud enough to make winter go away. Housewives give the boys fleshly baked cookies, candy or apples.

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Images from the village of Sils

 

Engadin was the last stop of our Swiss train itinerary. From here we rented a car and crossed over to Italy. As we were leaving behind the spectacular backdrop of the mountains my heart was filled with regret. There was so much more to see in Switzerland …  I wish we could have stayed longer, but it was time to move on. So many stunning places to see in this world and so little time!

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Little village on the border of Switzerland and Italy

 

 

 

22 Comments on “The Weekly Postcard: Greetings from Engadin

  1. I had never heard of Engadin before reading this. What a beautiful area. Your photos are really inviting. Sounds like you made a great choice adding it to your itinerary. Italy is lovely too, so you won’t feel sad for long.

  2. Anda, I love everything about Switzerland, other than the cost! The views are just stunning, and who doesn’t want to have one of those gorgeous cows for a pet?

  3. It looks almost too picturesque to be real! Great photos certainly help too. I always imagine visiting Switzerland in the winter, but your summertime posts are making it look really appealing at that time of year too.

  4. Spectacular scenery and gorgeous photos, Anda! I love charming European towns like these. We’re really hoping to make it to Switzerland next summer and see these towns for ourselves. Your pictures are inspiring. I’d leave with a lot of regret too if I was leaving a town like Engadin.

  5. My goodness, this looks like home to me, although I’ve never been. I think I could spend the rest of my days there, if I could bear to leave my family. Thank you for the incredible photographs. Peaceful beyond measure.

  6. What a beautiful part of the world! Love the cows with the mountains behind them. For some reason that First of March story rings a bell (ha ha, pun not intended), but I can’t think of why I would know of it. Sounds like a very interesting custom.

  7. Very Picteresque! never heard of Engadin, but just as beautiful as so many other parts of Switzerland! I always love your travel pictures, they could all be made into postcards 🙂

  8. Thank goodness for that article you read! The scenery is completely gorgeous. I also like the architecture of the area. The details on the buildings are incredible.

  9. This is an area I have never heard of and unfortunately although very pretty won’t be including our next trip to Europe. It’s great to read articles that give us inspiration, and these linkups are a great way to get bulk inspiration. Beautiful photography as always Anda.

  10. Oh my god, Switzerland is absolutely gorgeous, I need to visit asap! I always pictured it as a ridiculously expensive place, but I would definitely enjoy the scenery and those charming towns, so I think it would be worth it 🙂

  11. What absolutely charming towns, Anda! So glad you visited and shared your gorgeous photos because I’d never heard of Engadin. How long did you spend there? Were you there for the First of March celebration? It sounds like it would be quite a sight!

    We paid $17 for two Starbucks coffees and croissants in Zurich so I’ll agree that Switzerland is pricey but oh, my goodness, wouldn’t you say it is worth it for the views and the memories?

    • What can I say, Linda, it is expensive indeed but probably not much more expensive than other European countries which are not even by far as beautiful.

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