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Discovering Celerina, an Engadin Gem

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Darla Uhl

There is something utterly endearing about Celerina, which is so close to St. Moritz that it seems like it belongs there. But Celerina doesn’t have the flurry and clamor of its world-famous neighbor. As a small Engadin village, Celerina retains its traditional appearance and feel. Together with Pontresina, Celerina is one of the two best options if you wish for something similar but a little smaller compared to St. Moritz.

With 320 sunny days on average per year, it is an extremely sunny place too. There are few sunnier places in Switzerland than Celerina in Engadin, Switzerland.

With its size, charm, and fantastic weather, Celerina is a great place to visit any time of year.

Celerina contains excellent tourist infrastructure, including restaurants, hotels, playgrounds, and mountain cableways. In the village, you will see many Engadin houses characteristic of the region. There is also a church in Celerina, the San Gian church. It sits on a small hill between the rivers Inn and Flaz.

Highlights of Celerina, Switzerland

View of Celerina coming from St. Moritz by TouringSwitzerland.com

Inn, the river which gives the Engadin Valley its name, offers peaceful walks along its banks. Flaz, another nearby river that runs through the territories of Pontresina and Samedan, is also an enjoyable place to walk. Celerina also has some beautiful lakes nearby. 

Nonetheless, Celerina has more to offer than simply walking by the rivers.  Among the most important tourist spots in Celerina are the following:

  • Church San Gian – It was Bishop Ortlieb von Brandis who commissioned the Protestant Church of San Gian in 1478. A lightning strike in 1628 caused it to be destroyed, but it was rebuilt. Two to three days a week, the little church on a hill overlooking the rivers can be visited for free in the afternoon. The church has beautiful frescoes. Please visit http://www.engadin.ch/ for more details. 
Church Sta. Maria in Crasta by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Church Sta. Maria in Crasta – This Protestant Church from the 14th to 15th centuries has a cross-vaulted ceiling and a Roman tower. It is only open during church services.
  • Atelier Turo Pedretti – Turo Pedretti, an artist born in Samedan, shows his work in this atelier. His early works were largely destroyed by an avalanche. A year after the avalanche in Samedan, the Pedretti family moved to Celerina. Influenced by the expressionist and futurist movements, he continued to paint. His work can be seen in this small atelier every Friday at Via Maistra 36 in Celerina.
  • Marguns – The gondola lift brings guests from Celerina all the way to Marguns at 2,280 meters above ski level. The lifts lead to Corviglia Ski Resort.
  • Corviglia Ski Resort – On Corviglia, there are lots of ski slopes for skiers of all levels. The resort also welcomes free-riders. A total of 163 kilometers of pistes welcome skiers and snowboarders across Marguns, Corviglia, Salastrains, Signal, Munt da San Murezzan, and Piz Nair.
  • Bob Run and Cresta Run – St. Moritz is home to the oldest (and only) natural ice Bob Run in the world. And there is only one Cresta Run. Cresta Run is a 3/4-mile natural ice run built every year from scratch with 10 corners and a drop of 514 feet (157 meters). The rider of the Cresta Run goes down head-first as an individual on a toboggan, using rakes on the end of special boots to steer and brake. In Bob Runs, riders are enclosed in metal capsules on runners, either in pairs or in fours. Steering and brakes are divided between two people. Please visit https://www.cresta-run.com/ for more details.
  • Tennis Courts – Tennis courts can be hired for CHF 20 per hour in front of Hotel Cresta Palace
  • Ice Skating and Curling – The Celerina Ice Rink at Center da Sport offers a natural ice rink for public skating, ice hockey, and curling with seven sheets.
Celerina with its fantastic views and trails. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com

During the summer months, Celerina is also a favorite riding spot for bikers. There are numerous bike trails in Engadin, which are well-maintained. Horses can be hired for carriages and horseback riding is also available. Fishing on the rivers is also possible.

Young visitors will find two playgrounds near Hotel Cresta Palace, as well as one near San Gian Church. Additionally, a playground can be found near Marguns Mountain Station. If you are older than 12, you can avail of a scooter to go down to Celerina from Marguns.


Hiking in Celerina, Switzerland

From Celerina, you can hike over 580 kilometers of trails in Engadin. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the choices – there are so many! Enjoy themed trails, stroller-friendly paths, alpine hiking tours, biking trails, and more.

Among the most beautiful hikes in Celerina, you can do the following:

  • Marguns – Munt da la Bês-cha – Alp Muntatsch – Samedan: Hiking starts after you exit the Marguns Gondola. You will enjoy a gorgeous vantage point after ascending 150 meters on the hike. There are sweeping views of the spectacular Engadin Valley and the Bernina Massif from here. A portion of this route also goes through a protected area of geological and botanical interest. The hike ends in the village of Samedan and takes approximately three hours.
  • Celerina – Cristolais – Samedan – From Celerina, simply proceed in the direction of Cristolais. From there, you can either ascend to Alp Clavadatsch at 2,100 meters or descend to the direction of San Peter’s Church. The first option, reaching Samedan via Alp Clavadatsch, takes four hours. The second option, going directly to St. Peter’s Church for a shorter hike, will only take one hour. 
Lake Staz, near Celerina and St. Moritz. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Celerina – Lake Staz – From Kantonsstrasse and train tracks, take the forest trail until you reach Lake Staz. The hike takes about an hour. A small hotel with a restaurant and toilets is located at Lake Staz at 1,809 meters above sea level. 
  • Celerina – Pontresina – From Celerina, it’s another easy walk. The trail starts near the Church San Gian this time. Cross the Kantonsstrasse from there. You’ll walk along the Flaz Stream. This is an absolutely beautiful and easy walk, popular also among dog owners. Pontresina can be reached in around one hour.  It is part of the Flaz Uferweg trail.
  • Celerina – St. Moritz – Another lovely and easy walk. The Marguns Valley Station is a good place to start. The trail near the train tracks and skeleton track can be followed from there. You will reach St. Moritz village in 45 minutes. You can also reach St. Moritz Bad using Kantonsstrasse. 
  • Marguns – Corviglia – From Marguns, you can hike to Corviglia (2,488 meters) in 90 minutes. They have a beautiful panorama restaurant. This 3-kilometer trail leads mostly gently downhill and only climbs just slightly at the very end.
  • Marguns – Celerina – You can hike to Marguns from Celerina. Or you could also take the cable car. From Marguns, going down to Celerina takes around 90 minutes to 2 hours. This trail can be done with strollers.

Where to Go Near Celerina

Pontresina, near Celerina. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com

Celerina is also near so many other beautiful villages in the Upper Engadin. With a little bit of walking, you can reach St. Moritz, Pontresina, Samedan, and Bever within an hour.

Places reachable in 1 hour from Celerina (on foot)
* St. Moritz
* Pontresina
* Samedan
* Bever

For further exploration, you can also visit the Swiss National Park in Zernez. Celerina is less than an hour’s drive from the Swiss National Park. 

And on the mountains are the Morteratsch Glacier, Corviglia, and Piz Nair. Those who choose to take the train can access Celerina via the Albula and Bernina lines. 


Summary: Celerina, Switzerland

Flaz River, Celerina. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com

If you want a peaceful place nearby without the hotel and boutique crowds of St. Moritz, Celerina is the perfect alternative. Seeing all those beautiful Engadin houses really makes it feel like a fairy tale, especially in winter. It is an excellent location for you to do all of your summer and winter activities in Engadin. 

We haven’t even begun to cover all of the hikes, activities, and things you can do in Celerina. However, we hope that this article will provide you with a good starting point for your next visit.

Celerina is one of my favorite places in Engadin. 

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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.

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