8 Stunning Villages in Engadine Valley

Engadine is one of the most beautiful valleys in Switzerland, located in the canton of Graubünden (Grisons). This beautiful gem of a place is dotted with lakes, 3,000-meter peaks, glaciers, forests, and more. The valley is also high, with villages around 1,400 to 1800 meters above sea level. It also gets tons of sunshine. Engadine is sunny when it’s foggy and gray elsewhere in Switzerland.

If you’re thinking of visiting Engadine, here are some of the prettiest towns in the region. So without further ado, here are some of the 8 most beautiful villages to visit in Engadine.

1. Guarda

Image of Guarda. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com

Guarda won the Wakker Award in 1975. The Wakker Prize is given annually by the Swiss Heritage Society to a town, village, or group in Switzerland. This award goes to a place or an organization that has worked to preserve and develop architectural history. Many of the houses in the village bear sgraffito decoration. Their windowsills are adorned with flowers, adding to the beauty of their home.

Guarda, a sunny and beautiful village in the Engadine, is famous for Schellen-Ursli. One of the most famous traditions of Engadine is featured in this children’s book – the Chalandamarz. It is an annual tradition that takes place on the first of March, in which young children try to drive out winter with the help of their bells. Featuring an original story by Selina Chönz and illustrations by Alois Carigiet, Schellen-Ursli is set in Guarda, Engadine

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


2. Celerina/Schlarigna

Flaz River, Celerina. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com

The town of Celerina is right next to the world-famous ski resort town of St. Moritz.  It’s very sunny there too, with 320 sunny days on average a year. Celerina in Engadine, Switzerland, is one of the sunniest places in the country. Celerina is a great place to visit any time of year, thanks to its size, charm, and weather.

Celerina has lots of beautiful Engadine houses in its village center. It also has a charming church called San Gian, a short walk away from the village on top of a little hill. The San Gian Church has fresco paintings from the 12th until the 15th century. Celerina contains excellent tourist infrastructure, including restaurants, hotels, playgrounds, and mountain cableways.

If you want to learn more about Celerina, we have written about it in detail here: Discovering Celerina, an Engadin Gem.


3. Samedan

Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Upper Engadine’s capital is Samedan, with 2,500 people. Samedan’s geographical location where the valley is the widest helps its economic and political importance. It’s a trade and industrial center, as well as a train hub. A lot of private planes and gliders fly out of Samedan’s airport.

You’ll find beautiful houses, businesses, hotels, and restaurants there. Among the places to visit in Samedan are the following:

  • Village with houses from the 16th to 17th centuries
  • St. Peter Church from the 13th and 15th centuries
  • Chesa Planta with its library and cultural archives (Biblioteca da la Fundaziun de Planta)
  • Sacred Heart Church of Samedan
  • La tuor, Samedan

Both Chesa Planta and the Sacred Heart Church are listed as heritage sites of national significance.


4. Sils im Engadin/Segl

Image Sils from TouringSwitzerland.com

The scenery in Sils (or Segl in Romansh) has drawn a lot of artists, writers, and musicians. It’s surrounded by a huge expanse of flat land between lakes Silvaplana and Sils.

The village is divided into Sils-Maria (Maioria meaning feudal estate) and Sils-Baselgia (Basilica). The village has the Nietzsche House, the Engadiner Library, and the Church of San Lorenzo in Sils-Baseglia. There are also some beautiful houses in the village (Andreoli and Salis houses). If you walk past Sils-Baseglia, you will reach the gorgeous peninsula called Chastè.

Beyond the village, you can also walk or ride a horse-drawn carriage to Fex Valley (Fextal in German). There are also numerous hiking routes on Furtschellas, a nearby mountain.

If you want to learn more about Fex Valley, we have written about it in detail here: Val Fex – One of Engadin’s Most Beautiful Valleys.


5. Pontresina

Image of Pontresina by TouringSwitzerland.com

Compared to most of the other villages in the Engadine valley, Pontresina caters more to mountaineers, climbers, and alpinists. This region has the infrastructure and support to help these mountaineers who want to go on alpine expeditions in the Bernina massif. Mountain tours and hikes are available for all skill levels. 

The three highlights for tourists who travel to Pontresina are the following:

  1. Go up to Muottas Muragl and enjoy the view
  2. Go to Steinbock Promenade and try to spot wild Capricorns or alpine ibex that come to graze in spring
  3. Visit the Morteratsch Glacier

Some other places to visit in Pontresina are the following:

  • Val Roseg
  • The old town with its beautiful houses
  • Church of Santa Maria
  • Spaniola Tower, a well-preserved fiver-cornered tower house
  • The Alpine Museum (Museum Alpin)
  • Alp Languard

If you would like to read more about Pontresina, check out our article Visiting Pontresina, Switzerland: 8 Best Things To Do.

Nearby Pontresina, you can also visit Samedan, Val Champagna, Alp Languard, and Val Chamuera


6. Zuoz

Image of Zuoz by marcelkessler from Pixabay

Zuoz is one of the best-preserved villages in the Upper Engadine. It has lots of beautiful houses with imposing beauty and artistic elements. It’s a sunny village that used to be the main city in the region. There are more than a thousand people there now, but it is not as big as St. Moritz. 

Places to visit in Zuoz include: 

  • the Reformed Church of St. Luzi, a Gothic Church with windows by Augusto Giacometti
  • the San Bastiaun Chapel from the 13th century
  • the Planta House in the village center
  • the fountain in the village center 

You can visit nearby villages Madulain and S-chanf from Zuoz. You can also hike to the nearby Val Susauna and Val d’Arpiglia. In Arpiglia, there’s a waterfall (Arpiglia Waterfall) that’s a popular hiking destination since you can get there and back in an hour.


7. Scuol

Scuol
Image from flickr

Scuol is composed of Scuol-suot and Scuol-sur.  It is considered the main village in Lower Engadine. 

There are a lot of mineral springs here that can be found. 25 mineral sources offer thermal baths. Even the village’s spring water churns with minerals. These waters are generally used for thermal baths.  The following are some mineral water sources in the area of Scuol:

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

This sunny village in Lower Engadine isn’t just famous for mineral sources and beautiful houses. There’s also a moderate-sized ski resort called Motta Naluns. Motta Naluns has 70 kilometers of ski slopes. In summer, you can go paragliding, biking, and hiking on this mountain.


8. Ardez

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

Scuol merged with Ardez in January 2015. It’s a typical mountain village in Graubünden’s Lower Engadine Valley. The whole village is a protected site.

You can see the window sgraffiti in the beautiful houses in Ardez. 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)

In addition to these beautiful houses, the Ruins of Chanoua are also well worth exploring.

Sur En on the other side of the valley offers a great view of Ardez. The movie Little Mountain Boy (Schellen-Ursli), which was released in 2015, was filmed in Sur En, Lower Engadine.


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/