4 quaint mountain towns to visit near St Moritz, Switzerland

St Moritz is one of Switzerland’s premier ski resorts, attracting the rich and famous. High in the Swiss Alps, well-to-do Europeans love challenging ski slopes and the charming town of St Moritz. There are a number of quaint villages and towns near St Moritz in the Engadine region, as well as an incredible national park, all of which are worth a visit.

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Swiss national park

The Swiss National Park is the only official national park in all of Switzerland and it is also listed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Founded in 1914, it is one of the first designated national parks in Europe. Covering 65 square miles of pristine alpine mountains, the park has nearly 50 miles of nature trails and marked hiking trails, with 21 routes from easy to super difficult.

Stop at the Zernez Visitor Center for full park information. In summer, they present exhibitions related to nature. The park offers full-day private and group guided tours and a list of activities for kids. If you are visiting the park, they recommend that you bring the following list of items as the weather can be unpredictable:

Zernez with Castle Wildenberg and Evangelical Church, Engadine, Graubünden, Switzerland
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1. Zernez

As well as being the gateway to the Swiss National Park, Zernez is a charming village with tons of indoor and outdoor activities available, including a swimming pool and spa center, miniature golf, skate park, hiking, ice skating, cycling and mountain biking. There are also campsites in Zernez.

Where to eat in Zernez: Grotta Pizzeria Mirta

As the Engadine region is close to Italy, there are many authentic Italian restaurants. Grotta Pizzeria Mirta makes excellent pizzas in the wood-fired oven.

Where to stay in Zernez: Baer And Post Hotel

More like a lodge than a hotel, the Baer and Post offers comfortably appointed rooms with upholstered headboards, natural pine paneled walls, down comforters, free mountain drinking water and bathrobes. in thick terrycloth. Single rooms are available for solo travelers, and the room rate includes a buffet breakfast.

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner and offers a varied menu of Swiss and Italian cuisine, as well as salads and vegetarian options.

Autumn landscape of Tarasp Castle perched on a hill and village houses scattered throughout the valley with beautiful fall colors under a clear sunny blue sky in Scuol, Graubünden (Grisons), Switzerland
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2. Scuol

Scuol is a great central town to use as a base for exploring other villages in the area.

Known for its healing mineral springs, Scuol has a spa with the first Irish and Roman therapeutic baths, which combines a sharp soap treatment and brush massage to exfoliate and stimulate the skin, then be wrapped in a warm blanket for relax. The spa also has a large indoor pool and jacuzzi, and in summer there is an outdoor pool with spectacular views of the Dolomites mountain range and Piz Pisoc, the highest mountain in the neighboring Swiss Mountain Park. . Scuol has pure and refreshing drinking water derived from mineral springs.

It is believed that the beginnings of Tarasp Castle were built here in the 10th or 11th century. Situated at the top of a steep mountain road, Tarasp Castle has been altered and rebuilt several times over the centuries. In 1919 it became a museum and in its current status it was purchased by the local artist Not Vital and is now an art foundation. The only way to visit the castle is to take a one-hour guided tour organized by the foundation. Click here for more information. In summer, you can enjoy the on-site café.

Where to eat in Scuol: Trais Portas and Hotel Astras

If you are lucky enough to make a reservation at Trais Portas, Scuol’s smallest restaurant, you are in for a treat. Primarily a steakhouse, Trais Portas is a converted home with three intimate dining rooms – one of them a former dungeon. In summer there is a lovely outdoor dining garden. Deer and bison are popular dishes, and Toblerone mousse is a knockout.

There is also the reasonably priced restaurant inside the Astras hotel, which offers an eclectic menu of Swiss and Italian dishes, such as pizza and pasta and a wide vegetarian selection. The cozy interior has pine walls and red fabric-covered banquettes, and during the warmer months there is an outdoor patio with spectacular mountain views.

Where to stay in Scuol: Guardaval Hotel

An authentic and preserved Swiss house is today the Guardaval hotel. The 36 spacious rooms are well designed and many of them have terraces offering breathtaking mountain views. Room amenities include a flat-screen TV, in-room safe, terrycloth bathrobes, slippers and a bag full of bath towels so that guests can visit the Engadin Bad Scuol Spa, which has a private bathroom. free entry for hotel guests. There is an interior tunnel that connects the hotel to the spa. The hotel also provides free backpacks for local hiking and mountaineering.

Gueardaval has four restaurants: the gourmet restaurant classified Gault Millaut; Nam Thai Restaurant; the Allegra, with hearty local dishes; and the modernly designed Bistro Belvair with a Mediterranean menu.

3. Sent

The small town of Sent is a charming mountain village with a population of less than 1,000. In the 1700s, Sent was a center where wealthy businessmen built their mansions with features such as tent roofs and Senter-Giebel, an outer gable that adorned them. After a big fire in 1823, most of the houses were rebuilt, although there are a handful of authentic farmhouses that have been saved. Stroll through the narrow streets of Sent to discover the houses and panoramic views. In the town’s main square, admire the fountain with drinking mountain water. Just below town is a covered wooden bridge built in 1868 and 180 feet long.

Where to eat in Sent: Chasa Veglia

Chasa Veglia is a local favorite with a cozy dining area fitted with log walls and handcrafted wooden chairs. The menu offers local Swiss specialties and al fresco dining is offered during the summer months.

Where to stay in Sent: Pensiun Aldier Sent Hotel

Opened in 1865, the Pensiun Aldier Sent Hotel has gone through a variety of owners and transformations, and at one time there was a bakery downstairs. In 2012 the Gross family from Italy bought the hotel and lovingly restored and updated it. The rooms are a mix of traditional Swiss elements such as half-paneled wooden walls and contemporary, minimalist furnishings.

Carlos Gross is a collector and the hotel has an extensive library. On the lower level of the hotel is a museum that houses Gross’s personal collection of works by artist Alberto Giacometti, including drawings and bronze sculptures by his brother Diego Giacometti. The hotel restaurant serves a menu made from local ingredients such as mushrooms and meat from only alpine animals.

Guarda village, Switzerland
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4. Guarda

One of the most beautiful villages in the Engadine region, Guarda won the Wakker Prize, awarded annually by the Swiss Heritage Society for its outstanding architectural preservation, in 1975. Rising to 5,400 feet, Guarda faces south and enjoys abundant sunshine all year round. The facades of the 1600s farmhouses are hand painted and in the summer you will see planters stuffed with fresh flowers. There are many hiking trails through Guarda.

Where to eat in Guarda: Crusch Alba

Crusch Alba is a popular little restaurant that serves dishes such as pizokel, an oven-baked dough, and other regional specialties.

Where to stay in Guarda: Hotel Meisser

Two 15th-century houses have been converted into the Meisser Resort, which has been family owned since 1893. The rooms feature pine floors and architectural details and offer mountain views. Room sizes range from a cozy 150 square foot single room to a 600 square foot loft with authentic wood beams with a south facing balcony.

The elegant turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau dining room offers four-course lunches and dinners. The other dining room serves a hearty Swiss mountain breakfast, and their new restaurant, Dalet, serves a menu of small plates.

The hotel offers accessories and equipment for summer and winter activities, including rental of bicycles and hiking poles, backpacks with binoculars, sleds, bobsleighs, skates and snowshoes for rent. Free activities include a curling rink, igloo, and heated storage rooms for winter sports equipment.

Professional advice

The main airport serving St Moritz and the Engadine region is Zurich, and from there you’ll have a three to four hour train ride with wonderful mountain views. You will need to change trains at least once to reach St Moritz. Or, if you prefer, you can hire a car at Zurich Airport. Driving time to St Moritz and the other Engadine towns listed above takes just over three hours.

German and Swiss German are the main languages ​​spoken in the Engadine, with Italian being the third most widely spoken language, but English is spoken in most establishments, including restaurants, hotels, shops and restaurants. parks. The currency is the Swiss franc, not the euro, although the euro is sometimes accepted.

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