A relaxing and peaceful environment filled with snow-capped peaks, wildlife, and fresh mountain air, Pontresina is worth a visit. If you’re seeking to discover the mountains in the morning and indulge in afternoon spa treatments, then Pontresina is an excellent choice for a vacation. Here, in the Engadine Valley, you have the opportunity to escape the daily routine for a while.
Is Pontresina worth visiting? As someone who appreciates the tranquility of nature, outdoor activities, and beautiful hotels, I can highly recommend visiting Pontresina, Switzerland. Throughout this article, we’ll discuss why I recommend that you should visit Pontresina.
Overview: Pontresina, Switzerland
In the heart of the Swiss Alps, Pontresina is a picturesque village surrounded by fragrant pine forests, glacial valleys, and high mountains. Located 1,805 meters above sea level, it’s in Bernina Valley, Upper Engadine’s highest valley. A stunning mountain village in Switzerland, Pontresina is a popular winter and summer destination that’s worth visiting.
Beautiful houses from the 17th and 18th centuries line Pontresina, along with chic Belle Epoque hotels. With its glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and thick woods, Pontresina offers fantastic views, spa and wellness sites, as well as a wide range of adventures and activities. Aside from Pontresina, St. Moritz, Celerina, and Samedan are also close by.
Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Pontresina:
8 Reasons to Visit Pontresina
1. You can explore the Ibex Paradise
Visit Pontresina to see Alpine Ibices up close, one of the most exciting reasons to visit. Usually, these creatures live high up in the mountains, which makes them hard to spot. They do sometimes head down to Pontresina to be close to the people. If you are lucky, you might get to see them.
With its long horns, the Alpine Ibex is an impressive mountain creature. The horns can grow up to a meter long and weigh up to 6 kilograms. They use it to impress and fight their opponents. An ibex’s horns can tell you how old it is. They get longer horns as they get older.
Piz Albris, a mountain southeast of Pontresina, located 3,166 meters above sea level, has one of the largest populations of ibex in the Alps. There are 1,800 Alpine ibex in the mountains around Pontresina.
Herds of alpine ibex descend into the valley as soon as the meadows turn green after winter. Usually, this occurs between late April and early June. They come to Pontresina most often in the late afternoon.
In spite of the fact that Pontresina’s Ibex does not seem to be bothered by people, you should not approach them. They feed on the village grass as you watch them come down.
The Ibex Promenade is just a short walk away from the Church of Santa Maria. There’s a wide trail one kilometer long that you can push a stroller on. There are seven stops on the promenade to tell kids and adults about ibices. Take a walk around the area and you’ll find the animals eventually. You can also access it near the Languard chairlift.
If you would like to read more about the Alpine Ibex in Pontresina, check out our article Steinbock Paradies Pontresina – The Alpine Ibex Promenade.
2. You can marvel at the views at Muottas Muragl
Pontresina is also worth visiting for the beautiful views of the Engadine Valley it offers. The Muottas Muragl viewpoint is one of the most spectacular in Pontresina, Switzerland, and the Engadine Valley. You should put it on your bucket list whenever you are in Switzerland. My picture does not capture the beauty of the place.
From this vantage point, you can see five of the largest lakes in the Upper Engadine Valley. The Piz Muragl and Piz Languard are visible, along with the Piz Vadret and the Roseg Valley. The red funicular of Muottas Muragl provides easy access from Punt Muragl. From the bottom of Punt Muragl at 1,728 meters to the top of the mountain at 2,456 meters, the climb is very gentle up a steep slope with a gradient of 56 percent.
There are a lot of hiking trails near the summit, so you can explore the Upper Engadine Valley. One popular hike is Segantini Hut to Alp Languard, a 2.5-hour hike from Pontresina. In the middle of the trail, there is a cozy mountain restaurant called Munt da la Bês-cha. During the hike, you’ll get a good view of the Bernina Massif. The Muottas Muragl to Punt Muragl toboggan run is open in winter.
3. You can hop aboard the Bernina Express Train
One of Graubünden’s most popular attractions is to ride the Bernina Express. And the Bernina Express also stops at Pontresina, making it another reason to visit.
There are 13 tunnels and galleries, 52 viaducts, and 52 bridges on the 61-kilometer Bernina Pass line. UNESCO has recognized it as a World Heritage site since 2008. The Bernina Express connects Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy.
If you’re in Pontresina, you can take the Bernina Express at 10:22 AM to Tirano or the 4:24 PM train to Chur. I recommend trying both directions.
If you would like to read more about the Bernina Express Train Route, check out our article Bernina Express Route: Chur to Tirano.
4. You can enjoy many unforgettable hikes
Pontresina is also known for its stunning natural beauty, including mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. Enjoy hiking or simply take in the views against the picturesque backdrop of this idyllic location. You can enjoy a vast network of trails for every skill level here. With more than 580 km of hiking trails, Pontresina is the ideal place for a holiday.
Check out these hiking trails near Pontresina, Switzerland:
|Hike||Estimated Time||Hike Description|
|Muottas Muragl – Samedan||2 hours |
|From Muottas Muragl, you will have a steep hike to Chuoz. You will navigate the forest before reaching the Samedan Airport. Head to the Samedan train station to get back to Pontresina.|
|Muottas Muragl – Alp Languard||2 hours|
|A wide panoramic hike to Alp Languard from Muottas Muragl. Along the way, you will come across Munt da la Bês-cha, a restaurant with a terrace with fantastic views of Pontresina and the valley. From Alp Languard, you can take the chair lift going down to Pontresina or hike all the way down (an additional 1 hour).|
|Muottas Muragl to the Valley||Varies||From Muottas Muragl, you can go to the following destinations:|
– Punt Muragl in 1 hour 30 minutes
– Pontresina in 2 hours 15 minutes
– Lej Muragl in 1 hour 15 minutes
|Segantini Hut||1 hour 45 minutes||From Muottas Muragl, follow the trail to the Segantini Hut. The trail offers fantastic panoramic views. To go back, you can go back to Muottas Muragl or head further to Alp Languard.|
|Ibex Trail||3 hours||From Pontresina, head to Alp Languard with the chair lift. Follow the trail to Segantini Hut. Once you see the trail signs saying Steinbockweg, turn there. This way leads you to Val Languard where you might see Alpine Ibex. You can head back to Alp Languard after seeing the horse station. There is also a detour to Lej Languard (an additional 1 hour).|
|Pontresina – Lej da Staz||2 hours 20 minutes||You can do a circular route from Pontresina heading to Lej da Staz. This trail will take 2 hours and 20 minutes. You can also opt to head to St. Moritz or Celerina from Lej da Staz if you wish.|
If you would like to learn more about the mountains of the region, as well as mountaineering, you can also visit the local museum in Pontresina. Museum Alpin (Address: Via Maistra 199, 7504 Pontresina), which offers more information on mountaineering, is located in a typical Engadine house built in 1716.
Hiking Time Calculator
Plan your hikes with ease using our Hiking Time Calculator. Calculate estimated hiking times based on distance, altitude, terrain, and average speed.
5. You can admire the largest glacier in the Eastern Alps
A visit to the glaciers near Pontresina is another good reason to visit this area. There is no way to predict when these glaciers will be completely gone since they are receding. The Morteratsch Glacier is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you should not miss. By volume, it is the largest glacier in the Eastern Alps.
Morteratsch Glacier is the largest glacier by volume in the Eastern Alps and the largest by area in the Bernina Range. The glacier is 5.85 kilometers long now, but unfortunately, it’s receding.
Together, the Morteratsch Glacier and the Pers Glacier cover about 16 square km2. During the Little Ice Age of the mid-19th century, the glacier reached its largest size. Since then, it has retreated by about three kilometers, averaging about 40 meters a year. Currently, the glacier is about 5.85 kilometers long.
The Morteratsch Glacier Trail near Pontresina, Switzerland is one of the most popular hiking routes in Switzerland. The trail is easy to walk, 3 km each way. You walk along a wide gravel path right to the ice tongue of the glacier. Families will love this easy glacier walk.
Along the Morteratsch Glacier Trail, there are signs that tell you where the glacier was at different times. Sixteen posts show the Morteratsch Glacier’s length in the 19th and 20th centuries. There’s also some glacier trivia you might find interesting.
From the Morteratsch Railway Station, the trail passes through a glacial floodplain and offers fantastic views of the Morteratsch Glacier, Piz Albris, Mount Pers, and the Ova da Morteratsch Glacial River. Against a backdrop of glaciers, Piz Bernina (4,049 m) and Piz Palü (3,900 m) also look impressive.
More active hikers can go to the Boval Hut. On the hike to the Boval hut, you’ll get a stunning view of the Morteratsch Valley dominated by the Piz Palü and Bernina Massif as well as the Morteratsch and Pers glaciers.
6. You can venture into the enchanting Val Roseg
A visit to Pontresina would not be complete without exploring Val Roseg. Val Roseg has fantastic food, a view of the Roseg Glacier, and a stagecoach to Pontresina for tourists. Pontresina is only 7 kilometers from Val Roseg.
Roseg River (Ova da Roseg) is a 15-kilometer-long torrent in the Inn River system. The river enters the Bernina River (Ova da Bernina) near Pontresina, where it’s called Flaz. Val Roseg gets its name from another mountain above it: Piz Roseg 3,937 m. It is not far from Piz Bernina 4,049 m.
Val Roseg can be accessed by foot, bicycle, or carriage from Pontresina. Discover the beautiful Engadine countryside on a horse-drawn carriage ride. They can take you from Pontresina to the Restaurant Roseg Gletscher in the Roseg Valley. For more information, you can check https://www.engadin-kutschen.ch/.
Fuorcla Surlej is another beautiful viewpoint in Engadine in addition to Muottas Muragl. You can go hiking in Fuorcla Surlej and Murtèl from Val Roseg. If you want to do it from the other side, do the Corvatsch – Murtel – Fuorcla Surlej hike before heading into the mountains at Val Roseg.
If you would like to read more about Fuorcla Surlej, check out our article Fuorcla Surlej: One of Engadin’s Most Beautiful Viewpoints.
7. You can treat yourself to one of the stunning hotels in Pontresina
As with St. Moritz and Verbier, Pontresina has its share of luxury hotels. I highly recommend you try these.
In case you want to stay in Pontresina, I highly recommend Grand Hotel Kronenhof. Our family has been there once and enjoyed it very much. Besides getting gifts, our kids enjoyed the pool area a lot. Additionally, the food was excellent.
The following is a list of the top hotels in Pontresina, in case you decide to stay there. I have linked all the hotels to Booking.com, my favorite hotel booking site.
8. You have an abundance of beautiful places nearby to visit
Pontresina is also situated in one of the most beautiful parts of Engadine, or should we say the world? There are so many beautiful places around there that you can explore. Here are some of the places to visit around Pontresina:
- Lake Staz (Lej da Staz) – Lake Staz is one of the best places near Pontresina for summertime fun. In comparison with other lakes in the valley, this is a smaller lake with a warmer temperature. There are plenty of people who come here to cool off and relax by the lake on hot days.
- Cross-country trails – Pontresina is a cross-country skiing paradise. Cross-country skiing is hard work, but it’s one of the best ways to explore this snow-covered landscape. Those who want to do cross-country skiing during spring or autumn can also do so on the Alp Bond.
- Diavolezza – As a great starting point and base camp for high alpine tours, Diavolezza offers spectacular views of the Eastern Alps. At the mountain station, there’s a restaurant with a great view. The Diavolezza-Lagalb Ski Resort is also one of the few that stays open longer than others nearby. Ski season begins in October and lasts until May. A lot of red and black slopes can be found in Diavolezza-Lagalb. From Pontresina, you can take the train to Diavolezza station, from where you can take the cable car up to the top of the mountain.
- St. Moritz – Whether you visit the Segantini museum or walk around the lake, Pontresina’s neighbor St. Moritz is also worth a visit.
- Celerina – The sunny destination of Celerina can be reached in one hour from Pontresina on foot. Among the activities you can enjoy here are walking along the Flaz River or the village and visiting Corviglia.
Final Thoughts: Is Pontresina Worth Visiting?
Pontresina, Switzerland is a well-known alpine village often overshadowed by its more luxurious neighbor, St. Moritz. Still, is Pontresina worthy of a visit?
For those looking for some of the most beautiful and stunning natural landscapes that Switzerland has to offer, Pontresina should not be missed. If you prefer more restaurants, bars, museums, and shopping, then you should check out the best cities in Switzerland rather than Pontresina.
If you want a beautiful high valley with a variety of wildlife, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, glaciers, opportunities for adventure sports, scenic train rides, and fantastic accommodations, you should explore Pontresina. Visit Pontresina if you have the chance. Because it is near our vacation home, we have been here a few times already, and we plan to visit again soon.
Whether it’s taking in breathtaking views, enjoying new experiences, or spending quality time with loved ones, Pontresina offers a chance to create memories that will last forever.
- Zurich to Pontresina Train: All You Need To Know
- Visiting Pontresina, Switzerland: 8 Best Things To Do
- Steinbock Paradies Pontresina – The Alpine Ibex Promenade
- The Wonderful Lure Of Engadine’s Chastè Peninsula
- 8 Stunning Villages in Engadine Valley
- Guarda: Explore This Fairytale Village in Engadine, Switzerland
- How to Spend 1 Day in St. Moritz, Switzerland
- Why We Love Hiking Around Ospizio Bernina
- Fuorcla Surlej: One of Engadin’s Most Beautiful Viewpoints
- Discovering Celerina, an Engadin Gem
- Most Beautiful Villages In Graubünden
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.