How beautiful calm hiking days with relaxing spa treatments and gourmet cooking can make the most unforgettable memories:
As we finally passed the sign for Milan/Gotthard Tunnel on the highway , I knew we were heading to St. Moritz.
Last year in Mid September, my husband surprised me with a trip for my birthday. I knew we were going somewhere but the end destination had been kept secret. Just before leaving I did not even know if it was by car, plane or train and if I would need my bathing suit or my hiking shoes!
St. Moritz was not a complete surprise as I had mentioned places I really wanted to see.
St. Moritz had always been a destination I had heard about but never made it to. It was for me the destination of the Rich & Famous! When I thought of St. Moritz, I always thought of luxurious cars, glamour, champagne, elegant dining, expensive shopping, horse races on ice and VIP skiing!
My time had finally come….
Would it meet my expectations?
Well, I loved St. Moritz so much that I have been looking forward to go back since that day.
I don’t know if my next stay will be as memorable as the last one. It was a special treat for me and very well planned. I could have stayed ages in the region without any problem to find something to do.
If you love hiking as much I do, then this is a pure paradise! You have so many possibilities each day depending on the mountains you want to climb. It has numerous gondolas, cable cars, funiculars, chairlifts, post buses and even trains to bring you to your hiking destination.
Upper Engadine is just an amazing location!
Located in the Canton of the Grisons, St Moritz is a village of 5,148 inhabitants. With Upper Engadine, the population reaches 16,800 people.
It is more affordable as you may think, knowing that most of the hotels are 3 stars hotels. Only 7 hotels are 5 stars hotels. The best time to travel is the fall as it is still warm and the colors are breathtaking. Plus prices go down a great deal.
We stayed at the Kempinski Hotel Grand Bains, a huge complex just next to the forest at the entrance of the village. The place was almost empty, with most tourists having left after the summer holidays. So it was just perfect: the hotel had the biggest breakfast selection I had even seen, especially the cheese platter, gourmet tapas and special cooking for the kids. We could eat with a beautiful view of the mountains. There was a nice bar in the lobby, a gourmet restaurant “Enotoca”, possibility to have room service. But the nicest thing was the spa with the hamman, sauna, Turkish bath, swimming pool and jacuzzi.
I wonder why tourists do not think of visiting St. Moritz in the fall!!!!
Most Swiss come to St. Moritz in the summer (51%), with only 39% in the winter. Germans, the second most represented nationality after the Swiss, come more in the winter with 28% compared to 16% in the summer. Not many Americans make it to St. Moritz for winter vacation, only 1%. 3 % of them come in the summer.
It is true that St. Moritz is more known as a winter alpine resort with assured snow due to its high altitude. The village is located at 1856 meters/6089 feet.
It became a winter resort for the first time in 1864 when Johannes Badrutt opened a luxury palace, the Badrutt Palace.
Maybe I will experience skiing in St. Moritz in the near future, but we were there in the fall for hiking. With 580 km/360 miles of trails around our hotel, there would be only one problem each morning: to decide which trail to go on each day.
Our four days flew by quickly. On my birthday we took the historic Rhaetian railway, the Bernina line, to hike from Lago Bianco to Alp Grüm. You can take the train at the St. Moritz train station. Stop at the station Ospizio and hike to the station before Italy, Alp Grüm.
Woah! Lago Bianco was so beautiful. I won’t forget the amazing colors. The hike is not difficult and at that time of the year you may not see many hikers.
Alp Grüm, at 2091 meters/6860 feet, offers a view of Lake Palü and of peak Palü.
We hiked from the cable car Furtschellas at 2313 meters/7588 feet to follow the six lakes trail. All lakes looked different, rectangle, round, transparent, green… We passed numerous rocks and alpine flowers such as cotton grass, cobweb houseleeks, thistles, alpine anemones, pasque flowers and lichens.
But where were all the tourists and wildlife I wondered? One could go miles without seeing a soul nor hear or see any animals. People were rare especially in high altitude. I was suprised to not see murmur animals or ibexes. The only animal I saw was an eagle!
For hikers who are looking for relaxation holidays, this is the place to be in the middle of September! Calm and lonely paths with beautiful fall scenery.
One day hiking from Murtel to Fuorcla Surlej, we stopped to enjoy the view of the glacier. Then, we had a small lunch at the terrasse of the Berghaus, almost completely lonely. From time to time, a hiker would sit down before going back down or continue toward the glacier.
On average we walked 6 hours a day without being tired of what we saw!
I love lakes so for me it was a paradise, from the tiny ones to the biggest ones:Lejin Cristal, Lejin Magnetit, Lejin Malachit, Lejin Rhodonit, Lejin S-chaglia, Lejin Epidot, Lej da Segl (Sils), Lej da Champfer, Hahnensee, lake of St. Moritz, Lej da Silvaplana…
From the Corvatsch station at 3303 meters/10,837 feet you have an amazing view at Piz Bernina 4049 meters/13284 feet and Piz Roseg 3937 meters/12916 feet.
If you are not a fan of hiking you could just spend your week going up with a cable car or another on one side of the Engadin Valley and enjoy the view. Go to Corviglia for views of Piz Nair or Diavolezza for very scenic views of glaciers.
Or just visit the old Pontresina and its Engadine homes…
Then, you can relax at your spa before changing for an amazing gourmet dinner!
I hope it made you want to visit St. Moritz and the Engadine Valley.
Check out more views of my last trip in the fall: