Engadin St. Moritz in 8 Days

Saturday: Welcome to our winter wonderland

6 pm - A beautiful authentic mountainscape

Strolling through Zuoz, it’s not long before you find yourself at the very heart of a winter wonderland. With its authentic buildings the village is regarded as the most beautiful in the Engadin. Impressive patrician houses such as the Chesa Planta proudly showcase their typical bay windows and sgraffito embellishments while secretive alleyways invite the visitor to explore the locality’s lively past. It’s all particularly romantic in winter when the snow crunches underfoot and warm light glows from the windows onto the snow-covered streets.

8 pm - Typical food – but with a difference

Engadin ‘hay soup’, Capuns, Maluns and Krautpizokel: Restaurant Dorta in Zuoz, recognised as the valley’s most original dining venue, serves all of the traditional dishes the Engadin has to offer. And it is not unusual for typical Engadin cuisine to be given a virtuoso twist. The perfect introduction to a winter’s week full of surprises!

Sunday: Off to the slopes!

7.45 am - The mountain (almost) to yourself

There’s nothing early birds love more than a ‘White Carpet’, i.e. the first run of the day on freshly prepared slopes. By 7.45 am the Marguns cable car and Chantarella funicular are already up and running. And by 8 am all the other mountain railways and cableways have followed suit. That means you can be up on top of Piz Nair (3057 m) in time for sunrise – with the world-famous panorama before you, along with 100 km of dream pistes.

10 am - Mixing with the young guns

It’s regarded as one of the best in Europe, and nothing if not challenging. The Corviglia Snow Park and its thirty obstacles is a playground for the young guns – and quite a show for its spectators. It’s located on the way to the Marguns Sternenbar, a popular haunt among locals too. This is the place to chill out in a canopied wicker chair, sip a coffee, and soak up the Engadin sunshine.

12 noon - Mountain magic for connoisseurs

15 mountain huts await in the Corviglia/Marguns skiing region. At lunchtime the small cosy traditional Glünetta serves ‘Swiss ethno food’ while the Cüpli Bar on the sun terrace is a wonderful place to chill out. However, to sample the peak of earthly pleasures you need to head off to Mathis Food Affairs on Corviglia. This is where the master himself celebrates his own personal brand of contemporary alpine cuisine at the De Fät Moonk lounge restaurant, serving signature dishes of truffle and caviar specialities at the Marmite, Europe’s highest gourmet temple.

2 pm - World-class pistes for the serious skier

There are of course lots of skiers who would prefer to enjoy an afternoon’s gentle skiing down the Paradiso ‘Chill-out-Riding’ piste. But for proficient skiers and snowboarders the real challenge awaits on the Women’s Downhill World Cup piste and of course the legendary Olympic run, where it’s all systems go for the hotshots on the black category slope.

3.30 pm - Coffee with prospects

It’s like sitting in a stadium grandstand, but with far better views, namely a five-star panoramic vista. The sun terrace at the Trutz Hut is the connoisseur’s arena, the perfect spot to soothe those aching calf muscles with a Kafi Trutz and indulge in the fine art of dolce far niente.

6.30 pm - Simply delicious

Cosy, casual and trendy: The Pitschna Scena in Pontresina feels just like home with its cosy Swiss pine panelled Stube, the perfect spot to enjoy simple delicious dishes from the gourmet kitchens of the 4-star Superior Hotel Saratz. All the day’s specials are up on the blackboard, complemented by a selection of specialities from the small menu. And on Thursdays there are live concerts to go with dessert.

8 pm - Would you like ice with that?

The night is crystal clear, the air crisp and fresh – and the stomach replete. So why not take to the ice for a small lap of the Roseg natural ice rink in Pontresina, which is open late every Monday and Thursday for evening skating (7.30 pm to 9.30 pm)? And best of all it’s free: even the skate hire is free of charge.

Monday: Full-on winter magic

10 am - Carriage ride to happiness

The Engadin is a paradise for romantics. And what could be more enchanting than a horse-drawn carriage ride through the winter wonderland. For example into the delightful valley of Val Bever, where the idyllic Gasthaus Spinas awaits with delicious regional dishes.

12 noon - A culinary oasis

When the Albula Railway was being built a hundred years ago, the idyllic hamlet of Spinas suddenly found itself bursting at the seams. Up to 400 people, mostly migrant workers from Italy and their families, are said to have taken up residence here. What remains is the now freshly renovated Gasthaus Spinas, serving Grisons specialities along with genuine heart-felt hospitality.

2 pm - On the fairy-tale trail

At times the trail leads across open ground, at others through mystical forests, but mostly it follows the course of the Beverinbach, a stream what winds its way through the picturesque valley; and now and again the Rhaetian Bahn’s little red carriages stomp past on their way to Tiefencastel. And on the idyllic winter walk from Spinas back to Bever there’s no mistaking that you’re well and truly in the Engadin.

4 pm - Water fun at every level

After a day in the snow there is no better contrast than the sensuous surroundings of a leisure pool and spa. The Mineral Pool & Spa Samedan is Switzerland’s first ever ‘vertical’ mineral pool. Guests bathe their way through a maze of pools and steam rooms laid out on three levels in an atmospheric architectural setting. And end up under the starry night skies of the Engadin.

7 pm - Capping it all

Restaurant Krone in La Punt has not only conquered the hearts of its patrons with its Engadine, Grisons and Valtellina specialities, it has also picked up 15 GaultMillau points. Outside, the Inn river flows gently through the winter landscape while, inside, wholesome market-fresh cuisine is served in four ultra-snug pine-panelled Stuben.

Tuesday: Into the eternal ice

10 am - Devilishly beautiful

The locals refer to it as the ‘ballroom of the Alps’. By which they mean the dramatic panorama, the devilishly beautiful downhill runs, and the ultimate skiing heaven of the Diavolezza. The sheer diversity of pistes guarantees a maximum of variety – right through to late May!

12.30 pm - Staring into the eternal ice

Valtellina and Grisons specialties on the plate before you and, stretching out in front of you, one of the most spectacular high-altitude panoramas. Lunch at the Berghaus Diavolezza is not just a culinary treat. The vista from the panoramic terrace across to the Bernina Massif where ice masses tower up above glacier tongues is simply breathtaking.

2 pm - Across the glacier to the valley

There’s a special treat that’s also a 45-minute fitness test. The secured (but not prepared) downhill glacier run is Switzerland’s longest at 10 km and leads from the Berghaus Diavolezza to Morteratsch. Where the glacier ends, crevasses shimmer through, ice blue, along with their mysterious caves. Nowhere else can you get so close, so easily. From here on in it’s a gentle run along the winter hiking trail back to the Morteratsch station.

6 pm - Calling in on Nietzsche

Sils-Maria was where the philosopher felt entirely at home – and found his inspiration. It was here that he wrote his masterpiece Thus Spoke Zarathustra, among others. Nietzsche felt a particularly close kinship with the landscape of the Upper Engadin and spent many summers here. So any stroll through the village inevitably leads into his realm, culminating in front of the Nietzsche House. And enthroned above it all is the legendary 5-star Hotel Waldhaus, a regular venue for cultural events.

8 pm - Dinner is served!

Sisters Maria and Christina Godly are the life and soul of the Chesa Marchetta and excel at making their guests feel at home. Their good wholesome cooking is unfussy yet authentic, and the loving way in which the food is prepared counts for far more than page after page of a large menu.

Wednesday: Making tracks

10 am - Tracks in the snow

The Engadin St. Moritz network of cross-country tracks comprises 220 stunning kilometres, and that includes 42 of the most famous ones in Switzerland, namely the Marathon circuit between Maloja and S-chanf. Those looking for a more relaxing run will opt for the section across the three lakes or enjoy one of the Engadin’s longest gliding zones near Zuoz. Not to mention stepping out at one of the Beizli along the circuit for some time-out to soak up the sunshine and enjoy a hot steaming bowlful of Grisons barley soup.

2 pm - Where it all began

An enjoyable way of retracing the history of St. Moritz is to take a small tour of the town. In the centre itself, typical Engadin buildings such as the Chesa Veglia (a farmhouse dating from 1658) are a delight. Soaring out of the ocean of rooftops is the Chesa Futura with a façade of 250,000 larch shingles designed by British architect Norman Foster. The hustle and bustle of vibrant village life is to be found along Via Maestra. And showcased up on the hill, high above the village, is the local landmark, the 12th century leaning tower.

3 pm - Tea time!

Adjacent to the leaning tower stand a particular legend. The Kulm Hotel was opened by Johannes Badrutt in 1856 as the first luxury hotel of the Alps, and it was on these premises that Switzerland’s first electric light was switched on at Christmas in 1878. Even for non-residents it is well worth enjoying afternoon tea in the five-star hotel’s historical setting. As in all the luxury hotels in St. Moritz, tea time is also available at the splendidly fashionable Carlton, which has no fewer than two 3-star chefs in its kitchens. So staying on for dinner is certain to be yet another treat!

5 pm - A world of (healing) waters

Winter tourism was invented in St. Moritz 150 years ago. But its history began more than 3,000 years ago when the first mineral springs were tapped here and half the known world made a pilgrimage to the alpine village. It’s a tradition upheld to this very day, with a spring at the spa in St. Moritz Bad still affording healing waters for all; in fact, the original spring catchment basin is still there to be admired at Hotel Kempinski. On the way there, it is also well worth stopping off to visit the museum dedicated to the famous artist Giovanni Segantini.

8 pm - Spirited shanty shack

Once upon a time the Baracca stood in a remote mountain valley, providing shelter for tunnel workers. That is, until jack-of-all-trades Max Schneider relocated it to the Signal cableway car park, where it gained a cult following as a bohemian watering hole for elite artists. Patrons are invited to dine at long tables, chat about everything under the sun, and celebrate the beautiful things of life (not infrequently into the wee hours of the morning).

Thursday: Up to the panoramic mountain

10 am - Spectacle ‘on the rocks’

The ideal way to clear your head: a stroll from Celerina along the world’s one and only natural bob run to the big bend known as the Horseshoe. This is where the pros thunder past at spectacular speeds. Which is something amateurs can try their hand at too, as a passenger on a ‘taxi ride’ in a four-man bob. Besides the Olympia Bob Run the legendary Cresta Run is also built out of natural ice, every winter. Its members race down the ice run (face down!), some of them in historical costumes.

12 noon - Dining delights in prospect

In a matter of minutes Graubünden’s second oldest funicular railway takes its passengers up to the summit of enjoyment: the panoramic mountain of Muottas Muragl, where the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl as the first plus-energy hotel in the Alps awaits with its innovative cuisine. While regional and Mediterranean cuisine blends with the alpine backdrop into the ultimate treat in the Panoramic Restaurant, the Restaurant Scatla serves good value snacks and other delicious dishes for those who are just a little peckish.

2 pm - In seventh heaven

Plenty of poets and thinkers have found their inspiration on Muottas Muragl. Retracing their steps along the Philosophers’ Trail not only puts you in touch with their lofty thoughts, it also opens up the vista onto what is arguably the most stunning panorama anywhere in Switzerland. Then it’s high time to turn your back on the mountain – and race down the region’s fastest toboggan run. The sleds for the thrilling 4 km course are available for hire from the valley station.

6.30 pm - Culinary revue

The Giardino-Mountain Hotel, the latest 5-star addition to the Engadin, is the winter home of star chef Rolf Fliegauf, impresario to the world of brand new taste experiences. His innovative cuisine at the Restaurant Ecco & Snow recently earned the Hotel no fewer than two Michelin stars. Bumann’s Chesa Pirani in La Punt is a worthy alternative, it too the proud owner of two Michelin stars for some time now.

Friday: Romantic round-up of a winter wonderland

10 am - For top-notchers only

This mountain tops it all. Even skiers and snowboarders who have seen it all end up raving about the thrilling downhill runs on the Corvatsch. From the highest mountain station anywhere in the eastern Alps at 3303 m you step out into a superb panorama. It is also the starting point for the challenging 9 km downhill run down to St. Moritz via the Hahnensee. The Corvatsch is the most demanding of all the skiing mountains – with plenty of snow well into the spring!

12 noon - Hospitable hut

Few alpine huts are as genuine and as original as the Alpetta. The menu features whatever the region has to offer. The polenta from the huge copper cauldron is a particular favourite. With its cheese, game and grill specialities it also caters deliciously to lots of other culinary cravings.

5 pm - Romantic evening stroll

The short and pleasant winter hike through the snow-covered Swiss pine forest to the Lej da Staz takes around one hour. Here, in a totally secluded spot, the Restorant Lej da Staz serves up moments of sheer happiness. Its cuschina engiadinaisa specialises in genuine rustic mountain cuisine with the finest ingredients the region has to offer.

Saturday: Time for souvenirs

10 am - Final treats

A final stroll through St. Moritz is tantamount to a culinary tour of excellence. It takes in the chic designer premises of the Hatecke butcher’s shop with its exceptional selection of salsiz sausages; the confectioners and patisseries of Hauser and Hanselmann with their legendary Graubünden nut pastries; Heuberger & Heuberger with their sausage specialities; and not least Glattfelder, with its exclusive coffee, caviar and tea blends, including Swiss pine tea. An opportunity to take home some of the many wonderful things the Engadin has to offer.

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