Alpine mountains & picturesque villages – the Lower Engadine is a natural jewel, that is second to none. We dare to say that we actually chose one of the most beautiful regions for our first trip to Switzerland together. We lucky children!
What awaits you in the Lower Engadine? Natural landscapes, picturesque alpine villages, gentle tourism. In short: A relaxed break away from the crowds.
And the best thing about it: we spent part of our time in the Lower Engadine offline. The region (especially our accommodation tip – more on that in a moment) is made for a digital detox. Bye bye hectic everyday life, hello deceleration!
On our travel blog we will of course tell you as always our best tips for your holiday. Whether offline or online: Off to the Lower Engadine! You will like it as much as we do, I promise!
1. Holidays in the Lower Engadine (Graubünden): experiences, information & FAQs Where is the Lower Engadine? We just jump on the map to the south-eastern tip of Switzerland in the canton of Graubünden: That’s where the Lower Engadin is. Compared to the neighboring fashionable Upper Engadine (keyword St. Moritz), the Lower Engadine is one thing above all: original, authentic, quiet.
The Engadine is a high valley – more precisely one of the highest inhabited valleys in Europe. The rushing, turquoise-blue Inn makes its way towards Austria.
What makes the Lower Engadine so special?
Perhaps you are wondering whether the Lower Engadine is the right travel destination for you or what specifically awaits you? In our opinion, the following three aspects make the region so unique:
Spectacular, natural landscape mountain railways? Yes, there are – but very, very few. Lift supports, mountain stations & Co. are rather foreign words in the Lower Engadine. And what’s more: a large part of the Swiss National Park (the largest nature reserve in Switzerland) is located in the Lower Engadine. Of course, we will tell you more about exploring this impressive biosphere reserve later. Picturesque Villages
You simply have to love the sight: sgraffito-decorated houses, cobbled streets and the imposing peaks of the Alps on the horizon. Strolling through the villages in the Lower Engadine is a very special journey of discovery. Touristically developed, but not overcrowdedThere are nice hotels, great restaurants and generally a good tourist infrastructure. But you don’t step on each other’s toes here and we find that very pleasant. Tip: Digital Detox in the Lower Engadin Imagine: 48 Hours no emails, no smartphone, no internet. Instead just nature, a good book and peace and quiet. The only thing that breaks the silence is the buzzing of the bees. If that doesn’t sound tempting, does it?
In Graubünden you can experience your very personal digital detox break. What that means? You check into a special kind of refuge, leave your smartphone switched off and your laptop at home. Paper map instead of smartphone map, book instead of tablet, in short: Shift down a gear!
You can experience your offline time in various mountain villages in Graubünden. Depending on the region, there are also various program suggestions, so that you can spend your time either comfortably or with a lot of sport.
We ourselves were accommodated in Hof Zuort near the mountain village of Vnà. (We will give you further details about this very special accommodation at the end of this blog article.)
You can find more information on the official Graubünden Ferien website: Digital Detox in Graubünden
2. Sights & excursion destinations in the Lower Engadine Tarasp Castle The landmark of the Lower Engadine is enthroned majestically and visible from afar on a striking rocky hill. “Castle” is a somewhat misleading term in this case, because a castle complex actually awaits you here – but what a castle complex.
If you are looking for a bad weather program, then we will put one for you Guided tour through the castle premises to the heart. A guided tour will take you to the knight’s and ballrooms, the bedchambers and the castle chapel.
We took advantage of the last rays of sunshine of the day and instead went in search of the most beautiful photo spots around Tarasp Castle. What is probably the most imposing building in the region is also an excellent photo motif.
Our tip: From the bus station (“Tarasp Fontana”), near which there is also a car park, you can reach the Mot da la viewpoint Crusch walk roughly 10 minutes. From here you have a great panoramic view of Tarasp Castle and the surrounding mountains.
Lai Nair Favorite place! The small mountain lake above Tarasp is a natural beauty! Lai Nair means “Black Lake” – and with good reason. You are here in a high moor area.
There are wooden footbridges leading through the picturesque, gently rolling landscape. Add to that the rugged mountains on the horizon and (when there is no wind) the reflection in the lake – wow! The Lai Nair is really a place of power of a special kind.
By the way, we ourselves were about two hours before sunset on site and can highly recommend this time of day for a visit. When the sky is clear, the setting sun bathes the lake in a beautiful light.
Arrival to Lai Nair Option 1 (our tip): From Tarasp Fontana (here are the bus station and several parking lots) a hiking trail leads to Lai Nair in about half an hour. The path is very comfortable (little increase, wide forest road). We recommend that you walk the entire circular route straight away. Here you can find a possible route option: Circular hiking trail Tarasp – Lai Nair (outdoor active). On this route you will also pass a great restaurant (more on that in a moment).
Option 2: Those who are not so good on foot can drive closer by car. There is a small parking lot which is about 10 walking distance from the lake.
Restaurant tip around the Lai Nair Hungry? Then we recommend a detour to the Gasthaus Avrona. It is conveniently located on the circular hike described above. We ourselves came here in the evening for a delicious 4-course surprise menu.
E-mountain bike tour around the Swiss National Park What a nature experience! If you are looking for a good dose of adventure (but with a cozy touch thanks to the e-bike), then we can only warmly recommend this bike tour.
It leads through some of the most beautiful places on the edge of the Swiss National Park. 48 kilometers and 1.120 Altitude pure natural beauty – we can already reveal that much. Passing by are, among others:
S-Charl: An idyllic mountain village on 1.683 meters above sea level.God da Tamangur: The highest continuous stone pine forest (= pine forest) in Europe.Pass da Costainas: With 2.120 meters above sea level is the highest point of the tour. Our route: From Scuol to Santa Maria (Val Müstair) For all those who are interested in the specific directions, here is our brief summary of the tour. Don’t be surprised: we defined the structure of the stages ourselves. We have summarized sections that are similar in terms of landscape and driving requirements.
1. Stage: Scuol – S-Charl The tour starts in Scuol. Here you can conveniently rent e-bikes directly. (We picked up ours from the Engadin Adventure bike shop. Make a reservation in the high season!)
Then a asphalted road leads steadily uphill in serpentines. The route to S-Charl is not technically demanding, but requires a bit of fitness. Thanks to e-bike support, it’s not that bad, so don’t worry.
You will probably want to take a break in S-Charl at the latest – and that makes sense, because this mountain village on 1.800 meters high is really picturesque.
2. Stage: S-Charl – Pass da Costainas From S-Charl it goes on a gravel road further. The route meanders very picturesquely along a river slowly upwards. Over time, the landscape becomes more and more alpine before you reach the so-called God da Tamangur.
The God da Tamangur is a stone pine forest, namely the highest in Europe. From here you can really look forward to spectacular mountain worlds. We can recommend the next stopover at Alp Astras . In this alpine pasture there are drinks and snacks with a view of the God da Tamangur – wow!
The next piece is here It’s the most technically demanding, but don’t worry: we’re basically mountain bike newbies and we managed it. The route leads over narrow paths (often quite uneven with a few stones) uphill for about a hundred meters until you reach the highest point of the tour: the pass da Costainas.
3. Stage: Pass da Costainas – Lü From here it’s all downhill. The route is sometimes quite steep – dismounting and pushing is sometimes a good idea (especially if you are not that experienced in e-mountain biking).
Now it’s time for a reward for the effort. Here we recommend a short detour to Alp Champatsch. There’s very good Kaiserschmarrn. Yummy!
The strenuous part of the route is definitely behind you now. A gravel road takes you comfortably downhill in the direction of Lü. This mountain village is also really picturesque and is ideal for a stopover. Our tip: Coffee & cake in the friendly Café Jucca, which belongs to the Bed & Breakfast Chasa Sassalba.
4. Stage: Lü – Santa Maria The last section takes you down the valley through the Münstertal ( Val Müstair). If you (like us) stay overnight in Santa Maria, it is only a short (very comfortable) hour from Lü to Santa Maria. You drive here mainly on gravel roads and mostly downhill.
Tips for your bike tour Luggage: Because you definitely don’t want to drive the route back (and it would hardly be possible to do it in one day), we warmly recommend that you use luggage transport. We had our suitcases transported from Scuol to the hotel in Val Müstair with the Alpagi luggage transport. It worked perfectly!E-mountain bikes: We have our e-mountain bikes in Scuol borrowed from the Engadin Adventure bike shop. They have a great selection and our two e-mountain bikes were very well maintained. The rental price is between 20 and 160 CHF for three days (depending on the model). Equipment: Padded cycling shorts (!), cycling gloves (we find them super comfortable) , sun protection (in the form of long clothing, sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and sunglasses), rain protection, sufficient water (can be refilled from time to time), spare tires (you can get them in the bike shop), snacksOrientation: In the course of our Digital Detox we were traveling offline (with conventional maps or signs on site). That worked great! Otherwise, you can find directions for most of the route described above under this link: Biketour Scuol to Tschierv (Outdooractive) 3. The most beautiful villages in the Lower Engadine Tschlin Hello picture book- Village! If we had to choose a favorite from the numerous picturesque villages in the Lower Engadine, we would probably choose Tschlin.
The road meanders upwards, bend by bend, before to 1.553 meters above sea level reached one of the most beautiful alpine villages ever. Once you have parked your car at the entrance to the town (or got off the bus), you can continue on foot.
And that means: A walk through Tschlin is pure deceleration. Virtually no traffic, hardly any people and photo opportunities galore – a combination to love. Imagine the scent of hay and meadow flowers. Pure deceleration, we say so!
Tips for Tschlin Alpenbrauerei Girun: Great recommendation! At the upper end of the town center of Tschlin, beer is actually brewed and it is delicious, to get straight to the point. You can sit outside on the sun terrace. Inside you can (with a bit of luck) look over the shoulder of the chef while he is brewing.
Restaurant Macun: We had a very good lunch in this traditional restaurant in the middle of the historic center of Tschlin. The menu mainly features traditional dishes from the region such as “vaischlas” (potato pancakes) or “bizzocals” (similar to spaetzle).
Village walk: Last but not least, you should of course take enough time to let the little town sink in. The Engadin houses decorated with sgraffito are just so beautiful to look at! Getting lost is practically impossible – Tschlin is really tiny.
Scuol Significantly larger, yes comparatively almost urban, things are happening in Scuol. Supermarkets are lined up with post offices and banks along the main street – an unusual sight in the otherwise sleepy Lower Engadine.
If you then move downhill in the direction of the historic town center, then you will notice that the clocks are ticking more slowly here too. You will also find beautiful sgraffito houses in Scuol.
Scuol is a great place to start or spend the night for all those who don’t like it so isolated. Our tip: Spend the night very comfortably at the Hotel Arnica Scuol.
Ardez That 400 We also liked the soul village of Ardez very much, although it was in In terms of location and flair, in our opinion, it doesn’t quite come close to Tschlin. (Of course, this is criticism on a very high level, because the Engadine houses in Ardez are also beautiful to look at.)
A special feature in Ardez is the mighty Steinsberg castle ruins. It is enthroned on a rock and can be seen from afar. We can warmly recommend a walk to the castle. From the top you can enjoy a wonderful view of Ardez and the Engadine mountains.
Our tip: For a coffee break, we warmly recommend the Cafè la Carsuot. The homemade tarts, cakes and desserts are to die for and the coffee is excellent. Outside on the wooden benches you can comfortably let the sun shine on your face.
Guarda Picturesque Guarda is quite a visitor magnet – and for good reason: the village is the scene of a of the best-known Swiss children’s books called “Schellen-Ursli”.
Everything in Guarda revolves around the Schellen-Ursli – for example, there is a circular hike called Schellen-Ursli-Weg or the Schellen-Ursli-Haus (on see our last photo on the far right).
But even if you haven’t come into contact with the children’s book yet, we can highly recommend a visit to Guarda. The small Graubünden village is simply incredibly beautiful and spruced up. On every corner postcard motifs are waiting for you.
4. Culinary: Tips for specialties & restaurants Regional specialties in the Lower Engadine Capuns: Graubünden is hard to imagine without this dish. It is spaetzle dough wrapped in chard leaves. Capuns are often served with a sauce and/or baked with cheese. The dish is available in both vegetarian and meat versions. Definitely try it!
Engadin nut cake: The sweet classic in the Engadin is the Engadin nut cake. It is made from shortcrust pastry and caramelized, chopped walnuts (in Graubünden they call it walnuts). Delicious!
Vaischlas: What sounds unusual are classic potato pancakes – a specialty from Tschlin. These are served with different side dishes.
Tips for restaurants and cafes Gasthaus Avrona (near Tarasp): Regional, seasonal & highly recommended. In the evening, a 4-course surprise menu is served here. In the rustic parlor you sit very comfortably. During the day, the sun terrace attracts hungry hikers.
Restaurant Macun (Tschlin): Traditional restaurant in the center of the village of Tschlin. Specialties from the region are served primarily. Outside in the guest garden in front of the restaurant you can sit very nicely.
Hof Zuort (near Vnà): Rustic mountain hut feeling! We stayed here overnight so enjoyed the menu in the evening. Hikers come in during the day and enjoy specialties from the region and what is said to be the best Kaiserschmarrn far and wide.
Alpenbrauerei Girun (Tschlin): On 1.570 meters above sea level beer is brewed with love. You can enjoy the cool beer on the sun terrace. Our conclusion: definitely stop by, but keep an eye on the opening times.
Cafè la Carsuot (Ardez): Our favorite place for coffee and cake in the Lower Engadine is this very nice, fam Family-run café in the historic center of Ardez. The lemon tart was a poem – but all the other cakes and desserts looked like little works of art. Another plus point: The coffee here is very good!
Avrona Inn Capuns in the courtyard Zuort 5. Our accommodation tip in the Lower Engadine: pure idyll! Quiet, seclusion & nature – if these terms apply to accommodation in the Lower Engadine, then to the Zuort farm. We present: The perfect place for a digital detox break.
The Zuort farm can only be reached on foot or (only for overnight guests) alternatively via a 20-minute drive away via a very bumpy gravel road. all around? Nothing but nature!
A refuge awaits you here in a forest clearing, very down-to-earth and authentic . If you are looking for hotel luxury, you are definitely in the wrong place. It’s more about shifting down a gear. To enjoy what is important: namely the time, nature, togetherness – without any disturbing stimuli of our modern world.
We ourselves were accommodated in a room in the neighboring chalet with a shared bathroom. There are also rooms with a private bathroom. In any case, the view from our room was unique. To see such a natural panoramic view from the bed – that is our definition of luxury.
The breakfast is – adapted to the location – quite simple kept but of very good quality. At noon and in the afternoon, hikers usually stop off and treat themselves to what is said to be the best Kaiserschmarrn in the region. In the evening the guests are then served a multi-course, excellent menu.
Our conclusion: If you want to spend the night in a really unusual, natural place, you’ve come to the right place. The arrival is for all those who are planning many excursions (e.g. to Tschlin), maybe suboptimal, but definitely feasible, as we can confirm from experience. Personally, next time we would probably only spend our time on site and then start hikes directly from Hof Zuort.
You can book accommodation here: Hof Zuort
Transparency: Advertising & Affiliate Links This blog article and the trip to it were created in cooperation with Graubünden Ferien. Thank you very much for this great opportunity. As you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
And now we are curious: where are the Switzerland fans? Have you ever been to the canton of Graubünden and have other experiences or tips that you would like to share with us? We look forward to your comment!