The Engadin houses, groundhogs and spiral tunnels of Graubunden

23rd of July, 2018

Our next stop will be a tiny place called Schmitten, in Graubünden. Here, we will stay for five days in a lovely apartment. After some investigations of the map, we decide to take the smaller scenic road over the Sustenpass and Oberalppass. No regrets, we enjoy every minute of our drive! The road is pretty curvy, but the views are impressive. We pass gorges, waterfalls, gletchers, snowpatches, wild rivers and even a lake high up the mountain. The rock formation reminds me of the Rocky Mountains between Jasper and Banff in Canada.

Finally, when descending, we can see the Gotthard tunnel from the corner of our eyes. As most of the times, cars are all in line waiting for their turn to get through.

We can follow our route via another tunnel; the Oberalppasstunnel. The rough landscape is changing into green fields with grazing cows and we buy some cheese, fresh from the farm. We now enter the lovely countryside of Graubünden. Schmitten is situated around 1350 meters in the mountains. There is only one small grocery store, one butcher, who sells only all kinds of schinken, no restaurants and not even one café. The old and new church are the landmarks of Schmitten and form a centerpiece on the hill-top with fabulous views down into the valley.

Nothing blocks the view from our balcony! All you see are the impressive mountains right in front of you!

25th of July, 2018

Just down the road from our apartment, a trail starts direction Filisur. This picturesque village is situated in Parc Ela and is known for its ‘Engadinerhäuser’ and the fabulous panoramic view over the ‘Landwasser-viaduct’, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. This is part of the Rhaetian Railway or Rhätische Bahn. No tourists lined up on the platform here, as you can only reach it via a very steep and small path. So it is more or less a hidden secret!

On the other side of the gorge we can see another platform with many more visitors, but they never have the same fabulous view as we have! We continue our walk down to Filisur following the river and admiring all kinds of different butterflies and flowering bushes.

The long-stretched village of Filisur is like an open-air museum with a variety of Engadiner houses. These houses used to be farms with a barn at the back. The front side has a double door, where carriages had to be able to pass. The windows are placed deep into the very thick walls. Most houses are decorated with different designs. After admiring the houses in this extremely quiet village (since there is a new road around the village, there are less tourists visiting……….), we have a tasteful lunch and return all the way back up the hill to Schmitten.

26th of July, 2018

Today we meet up with friends, who are waiting for us in the very attractive village of Bergün. It is only a short drive from Schmitten and just like Filisur blessed with beautiful Engadin houses. Besides, it has a vibrant center and a fantastic outdoor swimming pool. Around Bergün, the alpine railway line lingers through the landscape. Just above Bergün you can see the famous village of Latsch, known from the Heidi movie in 1952.

Our hike for today starts right in Bergun and goes high up in the mountains from the ‘Álp da Tisch’ and the ‘Crop Sot Igls Munts’………. A fabulous walk under guidance of the expertise of our friend, who totally trusts our hiking skills.

Very pleased to have a stop at the one and only café up the mountain. The person, who prepares and serves the food, also has to help the people out of the chairlift, so he is running around like crazy.

We wait forever for our drinks and are tempted to go and help him in the kitchen! It seems that today brings more people up the mountain than expected………

Our second leg of the hike gets rewarded with the ‘whistle’ of the groundhogs or ‘murmeltieren’. We wait in silence, just as the dog is, and finally we can spot them on a few different locations. What a great way to end our fabulous hiking day!

27th of July, 2018

On our last day in Graubünden, we decide to take the train from Filisur to Preda and walk back to Bergün. Just one more day to enjoy this amazing canton of Switzerland! It is nice to experience the train going in and out of the tunnels and rolling over high bridges with stunning views. In Preda we get off and have a look at the Info Arena, where you find explanations regarding the construction of the old Albula Tunnel of 1903 (now a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the rebuilding of a new tunnel. The inner walls of the old tunnel are not safe anymore.


From the Info Arena, the Railway Historic Path starts alongside the Alpine Railway Line, back to Bergün or even further to Filisur. Sometimes easy, sometimes a bit rough, but all the time with views on the spiral tunnels, the impressive bridges and fast running waters underneath.

A couple of hours later, we arrive in Bergün, where we finally can have a cold beer after this long walk in the heat! Later, we take the train back to Filisur and say goodbye to ‘The Engadina’ or “the valley of the river Inn”.