Mountain view, Tarasp, Engadine valley
Photo by Andrew Harper

Discovering the Remote Lower Engadine Valley

By Andrew Harper

The Hideaway Report | December 1, 2016

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The Engadine is a long Alpine valley in the eastern canton of Graubünden, which follows the Inn River until it flows into Austria, where it joins the Danube. (In Switzerland, it is also known as the “En” in the local language, Romansh, a descendant of the Latin spoken at the end of the Roman Empire.) The Upper Engadine is relatively well-known to foreign travelers, as its major town is the fashionable ski resort of St. Moritz. The Lower Engadine, however, which runs from the town of Zernez to the Austrian border, is much more remote. Here the steep mountain landscape is dotted with tiny villages and ancient stone dwellings. The bright red trains of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) connect the Upper Engadine with the Lower Engadine, running from St. Moritz as far east as Scuol. The Lower Engadine is peaceful and unspoiled, a small fragment of Europe where modernity has yet to intrude. Many of the houses here have painted façades or are decorated with sgraffito, in which the upper layer of plaster has been cut away to create a design. The best examples can be seen in the villages of Guarda, Ardez and Vulpera, all three of which are within 15 miles of the Schlosshotel Chastè. A hiking trail, the Via Engiadina, runs the whole length of the Engadine valley, a distance of 62 miles from Vinadi on the Austrian border to Maloja, 10 miles southwest of St. Moritz.

The Rhaetian Railway passing Ardez - © Rhaetische Bahn/ Galli
Houses in Tarasp near Schlosshotel Chasté - Photo by Andrew Harper

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