I already fell in love with Pontresina, Switzerland, when I had one of these magical moments in the mountains. Now: spring is calling, enchanting the Engadine mountains.
Pontresina enjoys a sunny, sheltered location at the entrance to the Val Bernina (Berninatal) on a south-west facing terrace just 7 km from St. Moritz. The first hotels for guests were built as early as the 19th century. The charm of this medium-sized resort lies in the architectural blend of fine old Engadine houses with their typical “sgraffito” (decorated walls) from the 17/18th centuries and the elegant hotels in Belle Epoque style. A modern conference centre completes the village’s infrastructure.
The mountain pass and, since the early 20th century, the Bernina railway line lead over the 2330 m high Bernina Pass towards Italy. At sightseeing speed, the Bernina Express passes the massive Morteratsch Glacier. From the Ospizio Bernina station there is a lovely view over the mountain lakes of Lago Nero and Lago Bianco. From the Alp Grüm stop, you can see a wide view as far as the Puschlav valley in southern Grisons.
Summer in Pontresina
580 kilometers of hiking trails open the impressive mountain world up to the highest peaks in the eastern Alps, the Piz Palü and the Piz Bernina. They lead to attractive destinations such as the romantic wilderness of Val Roseg and the panoramic mountain Muottas Muragl, which offers a breathtaking view over the entire lake district. 400 kilometers of bike paths, a fixed rope park, two exciting Via Ferrata routes, a modern congress and cultural center and a lively new adventure pool complement the variety of scenic impressions.
Insider tips from a local
During my stay at the Grand Hotel Kronenhof I had the pleasure to chat with locals, gathering some insider tips. Katrin Finger, Reservations Manager Groups & Events at the Kronenhof, has been living in Pontresina since 2011 and knows some of the most magical places in Pontresina. “Whether you would like to explore the great outdoors exercising or if you simply wanna unwind and relax at the most peaceful spots, Pontresina has it all. I just love its diversity,” explains Katrin Finger.
Magical spots for outdoor enthusiasts
Val Champagna during summer: Val Champagna, Fuorcla is a pass with breathtakingly beautiful panoramic views, is nearby to Piz Muraigl, Ober Engadin and Pontresina. Val Champagna, Fuorcla has an elevation of 2,783 metres.
Rosegtal (Val Roseg) during fall: it is a car-free valley offering a delightful route for walking, biking or cross-country skiing, trips by horse-drawn carriage or sledge through beautiful larch woods and fantastic views of the peaks and glaciers of the Bernina range.
Muottas Muragl during winter: a funicular railway takes you up to the 2453 m peak for walking and panoramic views, between Samedan and Pontresina. Wonderful views over the lakes of the Upper Engadine.
Most romantic spot for sunrise and sunset
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the “Georgy Hütte”. This mountain hut stands below Piz Languard at an altitude of 3,200 metres, and is the highest in the Engadine and in the canton of Graubünden. The Georgy is “minded” by ibex, which can be seen very close by. On the way to the hut, you may also be accompanied by the whistling of marmots, or you may catch a surprise glimpse of an ermine: a mammal whose coat is as white as snow in winter, but which turns hazelnut-brown in summer, with a black tail. There is also a rich mountain flora to be admired en route.
In Pontresina you can expect all kinds of regional dishes of game during fall season.
You should also try the Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, a unique culinary experience. This type of pasta has humble origins, prepared with few, simple ingredients: buckwheat flour, vegetables, cheese and butter. Nonetheless, it features a rich, distinct taste that is hard to forget. Cheese lovers HAVE to try one of the yummy fondues at the Alpschaukäserei.
Since I have totally fallen in love with the Grand Hotel Kronenhof (No, I don’t get paid for saying this!), I would always come back to visit and would not wanna stay anywhere else. The prices are very fair and I would save up for a beautiful trip back to Pontresina.