Pontresina is a beautiful village nestled in the Engadine Valley, surrounded by fragrant pine forests, glacial valleys, and high mountains. At 1,805 m above sea level, it’s a sunny place at the mouth of Bernina Valley, the highest valley in Upper Engadine. Known as one of the most popular winter and summer destinations in Switzerland, Pontresina is a stunning mountain village that is worth visiting.
Pontresina has beautiful 17th and 18th-century houses and chic Belle Epoque hotels. With its glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and thick woods, Pontresina offers fantastic views, spa and wellness sites, and a long list of adventures and activities for young and old. Also close to Pontresina are St. Moritz, Celerina, and Samedan.
Here are some things you can do in and around Pontresina, Switzerland:
1. Enjoy the Views from Muottas Muragl
One of the most spectacular viewpoints in Pontresina, Switzerland and the Engadine Valley is Muottas Muragl. It should be on your bucket list. From Muottas Muragl, you can see the Upper Engadine Valley and its five lakes. 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.
Near the summit are a bunch of hiking trails, so you can explore the Upper Engadine Valley. A popular hike is a 2.5-hour hike from Pontresina to the nearby Alp Languard via Segantini Hut. Midway through the trail, there’s a cozy mountain restaurant called Munt da la Bês-cha. Throughout the hike, you’ll get a good view of the Bernina Massif. This is a mountain hike, so make sure you wear hiking shoes.
In winter, you can toboggan from Muottas Muragl to Punt Muragl. This toboggan ride is only 3.6 kilometers long, but it’s fast and tricky. Toboggans can be rented at the valley station. As of the time of publishing this article (February 2022), the toboggan run is open from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM.
2. Discover Pontresina’s Ibex Paradise
The Alpine Ibex is an impressive mountain creature with long horns. The horns can grow up to a meter long and weigh up to 6 kilograms. It’s used to impress and fight their opponents. Horns can tell you how old an ibex is. They get longer horns as they get older.
As soon as the meadows turn green after winter, the herds of alpine ibex go down into the valley. This usually happens between late April and early June. Pontresina’s Ibex does not seem to mind people around them, but you shouldn’t bother them. You can see them coming down to the village and feeding on the grass. It’s usually in the afternoon when they come.
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.
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.
Winter ibex tours are every Tuesday from February to April. There are also guided tours in the Spring, from the end of April to the beginning of June. Rangers also come to tell you more about the animals.
If you would like to read more about the Alpine Ibex in Pontresina, check out our article Steinbock Paradies Pontresina – The Alpine Ibex Promenade.
3. Visit the Morteratsch and Pers Glaciers
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.
4. Hike or Ski around Pontresina, Switzerland
Equally beautiful is the perfect hiking location: a 360-mile network of hiking trails is within easy reach and more than 100 trails for every skill level, enough to make it one of Switzerland’s most popular hiking destinations. With more than 580 km of hiking trails, Pontresina is the ideal place for a summer 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.|
In winter, 220 kilometers of cross-country trails run through the side valleys of Pontresina. 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.
For those who want to ski in Pontresina, there is a small magic carpet in Snowli Kids Village where kids can ski for free until they are 15 years old. But if that is too small, nearby are the larger ski resorts of St. Moritz – Corviglia with 163 km of ski slopes, and Corvatsch – Furtschellas with 120 km.
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. Swim in Lake Staz near Pontresina, Switzerland
If you love to swim, Lake Staz (Lej da Staz) is one of the best places near Pontresina for summertime fun. There are plenty of people who come here to cool off and relax by the lake on hot days. It’s a beautiful spot with crystal-clear water.
The highest swimming beach in Europe is the small Lake Staz (Lej da Staz).
The lake is a small one located close to St. Moritz. Because it is smaller than St. Moritz Lake, it gets warmer more quickly than other bigger alpine lakes in the area. The result is a refreshing summer dip once you are there.
You can also enjoy other activities like hiking, biking, picnicking, or simply taking in the scenery in this wonderful area. If you’re looking for a bathing lake in summer near Pontresina, head out to Lake Staz.
Lake Staz is only 3 kilometers away from Pontresina, so it is an easy walk or bike ride.
6. Ride the Bernina Express Train
In Graubünden, the Bernina Express is one of the most popular attractions. The 61-kilometer Bernina Pass line has 13 tunnels and galleries, 52 viaducts, and 52 bridges. UNESCO has recognized it as a World Heritage site since 2008.
The Bernina Express connects Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy. One of its stops is Pontresina.
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.
If you would like to read more about the Bernina Express Train Route, check out our article Bernina Express Route: Chur to Tirano.
7. Check out Diavolezza
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.
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.
The Diavolezza is renowned for its exquisite views over the eternal ice and the highest peaks of the Eastern Alps – including Piz Bernina (4,049 metres above sea level). High-mountain tourers appreciate Diavolezza mountain station as a departure point for longer tours in the Bernina region, a guided hike over the Pers and Morteratsch glacier, or the two via ferrata on Piz Trovat.– Pontresina.ch
8. Don’t Miss Out on Val Roseg
Val Roseg is a beautiful place with 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 to the Roseg Valley.
You can go hiking in Fuorcla Surlej and Murtèl from Val Roseg. You can also do it from the other side by doing the Corvatsch – Murtel – Fuorcla Surlej hike before heading into the mountains at Val Roseg. As for Fuorcla Surlej, it’s one of the most beautiful views in Engadine.
If you would like to read more about Fuorcla Surlej, check out our article Fuorcla Surlej: One of Engadin’s Most Beautiful Viewpoints.
Hotels in Pontresina
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.
Final Thoughts: Pontresina, Switzerland
Pontresina, Switzerland is a well-known alpine village often overshadowed by its more luxurious neighbor, St. Moritz. However, Pontresina is charming too, with its Engadine houses, and Belle Epoque hotels.
As the gateway to the Bernina Valley (Val Bernina), you get a lot of chances to see the Bernina Massif and its alpine peaks (Piz Palau, Piz Bernina, and Biancograt to name a few). Pontresina is close to other lovely Engadine villages like Samedan and Celerina, plus most of the Upper Engadine lakes.
Visit Val Roseg near Pontresina, as well as the Pers and Morteratsch glaciers. There’s skiing, cross-country skiing, ice skating and hiking in winter, and biking and hiking in summer.
There’s a lot to do and see in Pontresina, as you can see. I’d highly recommend visiting Pontresina. We’ve been here a few times already, and we’ll keep coming back.
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- Zurich to Pontresina Train: All You Need To Know
- Steinbock Paradies Pontresina – The Alpine Ibex Promenade
- Is Pontresina Worth Visiting? 8 Reasons Why
- 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.