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For short summer trips, when you want to combine hiking with some relaxing activities, I recommend Unterengadin (Lower Engadin) – a part of the Engadin valley, canton Graubünden, that lies close to the Austrian border. The capital of Lower Engadin is Scuol – a little pretty village, that is also the last train stop in this part of Engadin.
To get here from Zurich, you need about 2.5 hours and one (in rare cases two) train changes: first from Zurich to Landquart, and from there to Scuol-Tarasp. The road from Landquart to Scuol-Tarasp is very picturesque, so you will not be bored! The trains on this part are mostly old and unfortunately do not have any air conditioning. On the bright side, the windows are easily opened there, so you can enjoy the mountain air right from the train.
Scuol is not that crazy popular as Upper Engadin (and its most famous village St.Moritz): there are no lakes, only a river called Inn, and in winter there is usually less snow. But it is a heaven for summer hikes (with children as well):
- There are funny hikes like Schellen-Ursli-Weg: along the route there are small activities for children and their parents themed with the book about Schellen Ursli.
- Another hiking option is to go up with a funicular magnificent Motta Naluns (2145 m), from where you can choose a direction and follow a wide and stable path. For example, I made this one: Panoramaweg Motta Naluns – Prui
- For more experienced hikers there are longer and more demanding routes like Schwarz- und Grünsee am Dreiländereck or Val Mingèr–Val Plavna–Tarasp.
- Remember always to put on sunscreen and take enough water with you! At first the sun does not seem to be hot in the mountains, but it burns without any remorse. Of course, good hiking boots and a hat are also necessary, and if it spring or early summer you need to consider also an insect repellent – alpine meadows are full of incests woken up by warm.
During summer almost all hotels give a card that allows to use the funiculars in Scuol for free. I stayed in the hotel Guarda Val that also provided me with free entrance to the Bogn Engiadina mineral water center. You can read more about it in my dedicated post.