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6 Best Villages in Lower Engadine, Switzerland

Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by Admin

Separated from Upper Engadine by the Punt Ota Stream, Lower Engadine is also a true gem. A visit to the Lower Engadine Valley is also worth it for its beautiful villages, hiking trails, and mountains.

Vallader is the Romansh dialect spoken in the Lower Engadine Valley, whereas Putèr is the dialect spoken in the Upper Engadine. It has a melodic sound and is pleasant to listen to. Vallader is also easily understood if you know Italian.

Apart from the language, Lower Engadine differs from Upper Engadine in other ways as well. The right side of the Lower Engadine is heavily forested and jagged. The left side has a wide valley floor that gently rises. It is here, in a slightly less steep area than the other side, that the Lower Engadine villages, such as Ardez, Guarda, and Sent, were developed.

Lower Engadine

Lower Engadine Valley has picturesque villages with fountains. The water fountains not only provide fresh water to the residents but also enhance the ambiance of the area. Churches often date back to the 17th century and are built in the Roman style. Numerous houses have flower pots decorated on their facades. It’s a look you’ll notice in Lower Engadine.

In terms of vegetation, Lower Engadine is quite similar to South Tyrol and the Donau – quite mild. Mineral water is also abundant on the land, thereby enabling Scuol to build a thermal bath. There is also less wind in the Lower Engadine Valley than in the Upper Engadine Valley. 

We’ll look at the 6 best villages you can visit in the Lower Engadine Valley in this article.

6 Best Villages To Visit in Lower Engadine

The following six villages are among the best in the Lower Engadine Valley of Switzerland.  In no particular order, here are some of the most beautiful villages in Lower Engadine, Switzerland:

1. Scuol

Scuol
Image from flickr

The village of Scuol is the main village in Lower Engadine. 

Scuol is composed of Scuol-suot and Scuol-sur.  Mineral water is found in abundance here. During the Middle Ages, health practitioners and doctors prescribed these mineral waters to cure various ailments. Today, these waters are used as thermal baths. 

Thermal baths are available from 25 mineral sources. Mineral water churns even in the spring water from the village’s faucet.  Some examples of mineral water sources (Mineralquellen) in the region of Scuol are:

  • Lucius, Emerita, and Sfondraz which are high in calcium, magnesium, and sulfate
  • Chalzina, Vih, Clozza, Sotsass which are high in calcium carbonate and hydrogen
  • Bonifazius, Fuschna, and Carola which come from very deep under the valley
  • Lischana, and Funtana San Jon which are high in sulfate
  • Val Plavna which is very alkaline and is rich in sodium, hydrocarbon, and sulfate

This sunny and beautiful village in Lower Engadin is not only famous for its mineral sources and beautiful houses. It also has a medium-sized ski resort calledMotta Naluns. With 70 kilometers of slopes, Motta Naluns is a fantastic place for skiing and snowboarding. In summer, you can also go hiking, biking, and paragliding.


2. Ardez

Image of Ardez viewed from Sur En. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com

Ardez has been merged into the municipality of Scuol since January 2015. It is located in the Lower Engadine Valley, Switzerland.

Ardez is a typical mountain village in Graubünden with beautiful houses with its typical Engadin look. You can see the window sgraffiti. The entire village is a protected site. Some charming houses to view in Ardez are the following: Claglüna house (the year 1647), Stupan house (the year 1676), Planta house (the year 1591), and the Ruins of Chanoua.

From the village of Sur En on the other side of the valley, you will have a fantastic view of Ardez. Sur En is a small village in Lower Engadine that was used to film the movie Little Mountain Boy (Schellen-Ursli) which was released in 2015.


3. Guarda

Image of Guarda by TouringSwitzerland.com

A sunny and beautiful village, Guarda is well known for the book Schellen-Ursli. The village has charming houses adorned with sgraffito. Flowers adorn their windowsills, adding to their prettiness. It is situated in the Engadine Valley in Switzerland.

Schellen-Ursli is one of the most famous children’s books in Switzerland. Written by Selina Chönz and illustrated by Alois Carigiet, it is set in Guarda. It talks about the bell that Ursli received for Chalandamarz. Chalandamarz is an annual tradition on the first of March wherein the young children try to drive out winter using their bells.

Guarda received the Wakker Prize in 1975. The Wakker Prize is an award given by the Swiss Heritage Society annually to a town, village, or group in Switzerland. The award recognizes efforts to preserve and develop a locale’s architectural heritage.

If you would like to read more about Guarda, check out our article Guarda: Explore This Fairytale Village in Engadine, Switzerland.


4. Tarasp

Image by Werner Hense from Pixabay

Tarasp has been merged into the municipality of Scuol since January 2015. It is located in the Lower Engadine Valley, Switzerland.

Quite near Scuol is the village of Tarasp, well-known due to the castle of the same name – Tarasp Castle (Schloss Tarasp in German). You can see it on the road on the way to Tarasp from Scuol. It is an old castle from the Italian family Tarasp, built in the 11th century.

Tarasp Castle

Over the next centuries, Tarasp was occupied by a number of administrators, but remained under Austrian control. By the 18th century Tarasp was the only Austrian territory in Switzerland.” 

-Tarasp Castle, Wikipedia

The castle was passed from the hands of the Tarasp family to the barons of Matsch and the Bishop of Chur. After that, it was sold to (or inherited by) the Habsburgs from 1464 to the 19th century. The property was then purchased by a successful German businessman, Karl August Lingner, who had it restored. In March 2016 Not Vital, a Swiss Artist, acquired the castle for CHF 7.9 million.

The Tarasp Castle is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.


5. Ftan

Image from Wikipedia

Ftan has been merged into the municipality of Scuol since January 2015. Among the best-preserved villages in Switzerland, Ftan is also a protected site.

Ftan is another typical mountain village in Lower Engadine that offers fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. Romansh is the language spoken there. Its residents depend on handicrafts, farming, and tourism. 


6. Zernez

Zernez National Park Center by TouringSwitzerland.com

Zernez is in the Engiadina Bassa/Val Müstair Region region of the Lower Engadine. Zernez is the base for those who wish to visit the Swiss National Park. In the national park, there are 21 nature trails totaling 100 kilometers. Educational and guided walks are also available.

The Swiss National Park is a mountainous area located between 1,400 and 3,200 meters above sea level.  It is part of the worldwide UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Zernez National Park Center houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, an information desk, as well as a shop. 


Summary: 6 Best Villages in Lower Engadine

The Lower Engadine Valley is not as well-known as its popular neighbors in the Upper Engadine Valley, like St. Moritz. Nonetheless, it is very picturesque. 

Scuol and Zernez are two of the places that draw attention. While Scuol is the center of the Lower Engadine Valley, Zernez is the gateway to the Swiss National Park. Scuol is known for its mineral water and incredible mountain views.

Each of these villages in the Lower Engadine Valley is worth exploring – Scuol, Ardez, Guarda, Tarasp, Ftan, and Zernez. You might find it convenient to stay in Scuol since there are plenty of accommodations to choose from and from there you can walk to neighboring villages. 

Resources

  • M. Perego, Giuseppe. Ausflugsparadies Engadin. Wanderführer von Giuseppe M. Perego. Montabella Verlag AG, St. Moritz, 2000.
  • Swiss National Park: https://www.nationalpark.ch/en/

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.