There are many beautiful places in Switzerland, but the Engadine in particular keeps me falling in love with it again and again. A valley full of different facets and possibilities to get active outdoors and enjoy an unforgettable mountain scenery. As various as the possibilities in the valley are, so are the hiking trails in the heights. From glacier views, cosy mountain huts to crystal-clear mountain lakes or hiking trails combined with outstanding hospitality – you will want to come back again and again.
Hike, marvel and dream. Apparently, the Engadine is said to have hiking trails of over 580 kilo-metres. A unique nature experience and with a little luck you might even see marmots or ibexes. Painters such as Segantini discovered the Engadine as a place of recreation in the past, and it is still possible to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and everyday life into the quiet mountains.
The Engadine has of course a variety of great accommodations, but none is as conveniently connected as the Nira Alpina. No matter if summer or winter, the hotel is directly connected to the Corvatsch 3000 cable car, so that you can almost get from your hotel bed directly into the cable car with only a few steps. No matter if you are a sporty individual or a laidback family, the Nira Alpina welcomes all different kind of guests and leaves nothing to be desired. Although the hotel is luxuriously furnished, the more comfortable and family-friendly are the offers in and around the hotel.
The restaurant also offers delicious local and international dishes. The creations from the kitchen are not only a feast for the eyes but also for the belly. Of course, you should definitely try the house specialties such as Capuns, or the vegan creations – Surely convincing from starter to dessert!
Changes to last year
Of course, my stay was a bit different than last year… Due to the situation the SPA is still open and you can relax very well, but the rules are stricter and you have to register upfront. But I think the professionalism of the implementation of the COVID-19 protection measures is very remarkable. So far, I have never felt so well looked after in any hotel. There are clear rules on spacing, hygiene measures for the staff and you also have to sign up for a meal so that not too many guests are in the room at the same time.
But now a bit more about the sports activities and my little recommendation for a hiking/excursion.
Corvatsch 3303m – Murtél – Fuorcla Surej – Chamanna Coaz – Lej da Vadret – Roseg – (Pontresina)
It is unique to be able to get directly from the hotel to the cable car in less than a minute and then arriving at Corvatsch 3303m within 20 more minutes and to admire the glacier on top. The Hotel Nira Alpina is situated in the best place. As the tickets for the cable cars and public transport are included in the hotel price (from minimum 2 nights), we only had to see the glacier (or what is sadly left of it). The ride up and down is already super spectacular, but also the view itself at 3303 meters above sea level is overwhelming.
To start the official hike, you have to go back to the middle station Murtél and start from there. It is a very panoramic path with a few steep climbs and after 30 minutes you can cross the ridge and enjoy the view of Fuorcla Surej. The small lake with its reflections and the beautiful hut makes you want to stay longer. If you are planning a long hike, however, you should not rest here too long.
The path continues to the right at the back of the Val Roseg and you slowly approach the Vadret glacier and on the opposite side you will see a fantastic mountain scenery with some famous 4000m peaks like the Piz Bernina. The trail leads across beautiful flower meadows and again and again small waterfalls invite you to take a short break for refreshment.
During the hike to the Chamanna Coaz there are several possibilities to shorten the hike and already turn left down into the valley. But if you want to enjoy another breathtaking view over the whole Val Roseg down to Pontresina, you should stay there and maybe take a lunch break. From the hut the descent to Lej da Vadret, a glacial lake, which captivates everyone with its sky-blue colour, begins. If you feel like an ice-cold bath, you should jump in, like I did 😉
From the lake, the way down the valley is very pleasant, but it is a very long one. If you have tired legs and heavy feet, you can rent a bike at the Roseg restaurant and let the wind blow in your face on the ride along the river.
From Pontresina, the regional bus will take you directly back to the Hotel Nira Alpina, what more could you ask for? After such a long and panoramic hike, you can go to the SPA or enjoy a delicious dinner.
Other activities directly from the Nira Alpina
At the foot of the village of Surej and a few minutes’ walk from the Nira Alpina, Lake Silvaplana offers various water sports activities. SUP or kite surfing are very popular and can be done directly from the small lido. Those who prefer a more leisurely pace can sunbathe and admire the mountain scenery.
Also very popular are the mountain bike trails or leisurely bike tours on the e-bike. If you don’t have a car and like to pedal, you will have a lot of fun 🙂
Further, just about 10 minutes from the Nira Alpina you can walk around Lake Silvaplana and enjoy the view on the beautiful castle and small village. Or if you prefer a longer trip, Lai da Staz is also always super nice..
Sleeping on the Piz Nair at 3000m
An overnight stay at over 3000m is special in the truest sense of the word and additionally absolutely unique in a decommissioned cable car gondola. Up here the stars are within reach and because the Tiny House Gondola of Valeria and Adi of LittleCITY has been lovingly converted into high quality accommodation and makes the overnight experience is unforgettable. I was lucky enough to spend a night in the beautiful gondola at the beginning of August, but unfortunately the 3rd of August was a little bit unique. There was 40cm of fresh snow and so it turned out ot be a very adventurous night, which will remain in our memories forever. Instead of deep red mountain peaks, ibexes and an unforgettable sunset, there was lots of snow, thick white clouds and minus temperatures 😀
By the way: The gondola stays until the beginning of October on Piz Nair and the area is worth a visit and a hiking trip!
Below my experience vs. the dream conditions 😛
Like you, every visit to the Engadin is unique and a sensation in itself. One thing is for sure, the mountains, lakes and forests will cast a spell over you and will impress you with their respective charm at any time of the year. Here you can read my articles about Sils-Maria, the Waldhaus and the Julierpass. A detailed article about Muottas Muragl, the most beautiful lake hikes and Segantini can be found here. For more impressions follow me on Instagram!
I am looking forward to your feedback and hope you will visit the most beautiful valley soon!
*This article has been created in friendly collaboration with Engadin St.Moritz and Nira Alpina