Who wouldn’t love to spend a weekend in a beautiful castle? I love the mountains and lakes in Engadine and the autumn season is particularly beautiful in the dreamy Valley of Grisons. The Waldhaus Sils is a historic 5*hotel in Sils-Maria in the Upper Engadine and is already run by the 5th family generation. It is one of the few 5* hotels in Switzerland that is a unique family business in terms of its type and size. It is characterised by its extremely personal character and every guest is greeted very courteously. Even though the wonderful Waldhaus is celebrating its 111th anniversary this year – it is as contemporary as ever, not least thanks to the SPA. Not only the SPA, but many other amenities will amaze the guests! Here is the extensive guide to a perfect weekend in Engadine. More more visual impressions see on my Instagram Highlights!
The Waldhaus Sils stands splendidly on the hill in the forest above the Silsersee. Whoever crosses the threshold to this legendary place is immersed in the world of pure relaxation, personal hospitality and traditional adventures. The dawn over the Silvaplanersee, the Fex valley in the south and the Silsersee as well as Maloja in the west – in short – the view is fantastic. But also the impressive slopes of Piz Grevasalvas and Piz Lagrev invite you to daydream.
The castle has a lot of character and each of the 140 rooms is individually designed and originates in a unique style of a bygone era or surprises with its modern charm.
The Waldhaus offers three styles: classic, modern or nostalgic with the original restored furnishings from 1908.
the orginal bath from 1908 😉
We had the chance to enjoy a nostalgically furnished room with a wonderful view of Silsersee. The original furniture (of course restored) from 1908 delighted me very much!
Our view of Silsersee from the balcony made every sunrise and sunset a spectacle! And as you can imagine, you sleep especially well in the mountains, far away from any noise.
What could be nicer than relaxing in the wellness after hiking or skiing? Or even in bad weather, spend the whole day doing nothing between hot steam, treatments and clear spring water?
The spa floor has a spacious Finnish sauna (90°) and two steam baths (45° and 42°). There is also a pine bath at 34° and a larch bath at 34°.
The Waldhaus Spa was reopened for the 2016/17 winter season and integrated into the surrounding pine and larch forest. The architects Miller & Maranta were in charge of the direction and the 1400 square metres invite you to relax and rest. Every day we indulged ourselves in a relaxing break in the baths not only for the body but also for the spirit. I particularly liked the outdoor pool with its view of the surrounding tree tops and clear skies.
In the Waldhaus Spa, the deeply effective and highly concentrated care products of Susanne Kaufmann are used. One experiences the intensive effect of the alpine plant world, used in a modern way for beauty, health and well-being and even in the hotel rooms one is pampered by the wonderful scents.
The kitchen has conjured up an incredibly delicious menu every evening. Inspired by the regional offer, the dishes reflected the forest, the mountains and the nuances of Grison’s cuisine.
The Waldhaus has always cultivated cooperation with producers from the region. The products taste particularly good thanks to the way they deal with animals, plants and soil – be it the freshly grazed milk from the Val Fex, the goat cheese from Isola or the original potatoes from the Albula Valley. The origin of the products and their ingredients is always clearly stated on the menus, and the Waldhaus integrates natural foods wherever possible.
We had the opportunity to enjoy the culinary philosophy of the Waldhaus with the classic half board. A lot of variety and seasonal specialities were available and vegan dishes were specially cooked for me! Of course I was very happy about this.
Also the breakfast buffet left nothing to be desired! From porridge, sweet fruits to rustic house bread and of course Bündner meat specialities. There is nothing to stop you from going on a day hike in the Engadine Valley, freshly fortified.
We took full advantage of the perfect autumn weather and on all three days we explored the Engadine highlands, visiting a breathtaking variety of Swiss natural treasures. All three hikes were rather challenging, but nevertheless adaptable to the respective (hiking) conditions at any time. I would be happy to introduce you to the hikes individually and looking forward to feedback if you try any hike by yourself!
Sils (San Lurench) – Fuorcla Grevasalvas – Leg Grevasalvas – Julier Hospice (La Veduta)
Distance: 15.6 km
Hiking time: 5.3h
Ascent: 973 m
Descent: 727 m
Starting point: Sils (San Lurench)
Destination: Julier Hospice (La Veduta)
On the first day we made a short stop at Julierpass on the way to Engadine and admired the Juliertheater there. The red tower stands prominently in the barren mountain landscape but fits impressively into the landscape.
We started the main hike in Sils. The hiking trail starts right at the bus station San Lurench in front of the church.
The ascent is very pleasant and slightly ascending between the larch forest, extensive meadows and flower landscapes. It is worth stopping again and again and indulging the breathtaking view of Engadine with Silsersee.
At the first turnoff, the village of Grevasalvas is at your feet, which became famous through the shooting of the Heidi series. We tackle the more demanding ascent to Fourcla Grevasalvas (2688 m.a.s.l.), which leads us over rocks to the mentioned mountain ridge. Once at the top, it is worth taking a breather with an impressive view of Engadine on the one hand and the Julier Pass on the other. The descent is pleasant and already after about 45 minutes Leg Grevasalvas appears between the mountain peaks. The deep blue lake seemed mystical during our hike and fascinated by the glitter of the water.
After about 30 minutes you reach the Julier Hospiz, where the post bus returns to the Engadine. Please note that the last bus leaves at shortly before 5 pm and you should definitely catch it 😉
Furtschellas (middle station) – Lej Sgrischuns – Piz Chüern – Santa Margareta – Sils
Distance: 11.8 km
Hiking time: 4:20h
Ascent: 519 m
Descent: 1025 m
Starting point: Furtschellas (middle station)
For the second day we have chosen an easier but not less beautiful hike. But we could get guest cards at the Waldhaus hotel with which you can use the mountain railways for free. This is of course a great advantage and makes steep ascents easier 😉
From the Waldhaus hotel it is only a 15 minute walk to the Furtschellas valley station. We started our hike from the middle station towards Lej Sgrischun. Here you can also enjoy a unique panorama of the Engadine lake landscape and surrounding mountains.
The hike first leads along the Val Fex as a high-altitude trail and then follows a steep ascent. Up to Lej Sgrischun you walk along some small lakes and can always admire the view of the glacier of Val Fex.
From Lej Sgrischun you can decide whether you want to descend directly, or whether you want to walk another few metres up to Piz Chürn. The view is also worthwhile there.
The descent to Val Fex is unfortunately not the most pleasant, but when you get down you will find the small church of Santa Margareta, where you can stop for refreshment in the surrounding cafés.
The last stretch back to the village of Sils leads through a gorge and there is much to admire. Therefore, even the last 30 minutes are over in no time.
Morteratsch – Boval hut – Morteratsch
Distance: 10.5 km
Hiking time: 3:40h
Ascent: 598 m
Descent: 598 m
Starting point: Morteratsch
Even though this hike was a very spontaneous decision, a great dream has finally come true. To admire a glacier from close up with your own eyes is simply an indescribable feeling. We started at the Morteratsch valley station on the valley path, but quickly the many tourists were a bit tedious for us. Therefore we took the first turnoff to the right to the mountain hiking trail, which leads high above the valley towards Bovalhütte.
The path is very varied and there are always beautiful vantage points where you can admire the glacier tongue and the remains in the valley. We hiked up to the Bovalhütte (which I recommend to everyone). With a refreshing snack you can enjoy the view of the Piz Bernina (4048 m.a.s.l.) and the massive masses of snow and ice.
The descent leads along the same path back to the starting point, but of course just as beautiful, as the view of the Piz Albris leaves nothing to be desired.
Insider tip: Every morning we took a short walk from the Waldhaus hotel down to the Silsersee. It is very worth it, because the reflections in the lake are simply breathtaking in the morning! Even the morning grouches are astonished and probably all the more photo enthusiasts like me 😉 The Waldhaus is perfectly located, you can walk down the street 30 minutes before breakfast and enjoy the delicious breakfast afterwards 🙂
Our visit was by invitation of the Waldhaus Sils, all opinions and excursion tips are based on my own impressions and experiences.