The Upper Engadine is one of my favorite regions of Switzerland - hands down!
There, I said it. Because who can resist the emerald lakes, mountain peaks, pine forest and generally rough nature? Not me. Let's say it was love at first sight... With hiking boots and rucksacks strapped on, we recently returned to this remote part of Switzerland in order to witness a special natural phenomenon: Indian summer.
Thanks to an October heatwave, the needles of the lark trees turn golden before they fall in November. Indian summer in the Upper Engadine occurs every year, but it is usually difficult to pinpoint. This time around, we happened to be there during the peak!
Indeed, the conditions for our Indian summer weekend could not have been better: Golden lark trees, green pines and clear blue skies!
On the first day, we take the cable car behind our hotel to the top. After a short hike, there is a connecting cable car to Piz Nair at the very top.
After a lunch break at 3000 meters above sea, we take the cable car back to the middle station.
From there, we hike all the way down to Celerina while soaking in the warm afternoon sun.
The golden lark trees are simply magnificent...
And look at this amazing reflection in Lake St. Moritz!
Back in Celerina, this Roman church is set against the backdrop of the colorful autumn forest.
On the second day, we hike from the nearby Pontresina train station into the Roseg Valley.
This hike was recommended to us by several friends, and now we know the reason why: It is stunning from the moment you enter the forest. I love the Roseg Valley hike particularly because it is a feast for all senses: The pinewoods emit their scent, the Rosegbach river is gushing with fresh water, and the snowy surface of the Roseg glacier is glooming in the distance.
About two hours into the hike, we get closer to the Roseg glacier. There, the valley widens and we are rewarded with a majestic view:
The best hotel to see all the Indian summer action? Try Hotel Cresta Palace in Celerina.
Located in the charming town of Celerina, the four-star Hotel Cresta Palace has a lot going for it. For one, it is within two minutes from the train station and has its own bus stop. This makes exploring all parts of the Upper Engadine extremely efficient. You could hop on the bus towards St. Moritz (9 min), Punt Muragl (4 min) or Pontresina (11 min), each of which offers an abundance of hiking trails.
As part of at least a two-night stay at the Cresta Palace, you will receive a pass for unlimited use of public transportation in the Upper Engadine. This includes before-mentioned buses, plus the iconic red trains of the Bernina Express, cable cars and chair lifts. The in-house activity manager will help you plan the perfect hikes. In addition, they will be able to organize mountain bikes or golfing sessions.
On our way back to Zürich, we decide to cross the Albula Pass with our BMW i3 electric car...
Let's just say it is an epic experience to close an equally epic weekend!
(For the purpose of the hotel review, the Cresta Palace has generously invited us for a two night stay in a double room.)