One of the best things about nature and the outdoors is the freedom to forget about the struggles of life and unwind in open spaces. If you choose the right places to go, Mother Nature still dominates and this affords us the endless and priceless possibilities to experience what this planet has to offer.
Since a child I have always been a keen walker and I am grateful to my parents for the camping trips and walking holidays, which led me to an Outdoor degree and then to Collett’s Mountain Holidays with whom I’ve been working for 4 years now.
Musings on the Mountain Pass & walking in Switzerland’s gorgeous Engadine
I am a firm believer in maximising access to the outdoors, so that people of all ages and backgrounds can discover the joys. On a walking holiday in Switzerland’s beautiful Engadine, (where I just happened to find myself on a research mission for Collett’s during Summer 2019), I learned that if you stay in a hotel for 2 nights or more, you will be provided with a free mountain pass, granting you access to the 13 cable cars and various buses and trains linking you with all the key villages and trailheads in the valley. If that isn’t good access, what is?!
Not only does the Engadine’s Mountsin Pass provide amazing value in an expensive country, but it is a gesture from the Engadine tourism board that makes you feel welcome. It whets the appetite and fuels the enthusiasm for adventure in one of the most breathtaking corners of the Swiss Alps.
One of my favourite hikes which takes advantage of the Mountain Pass starts at a funicular called Muottas Muragl, a small mountain train that ascends the mountainside giving you significant height gain without any effort. Once at the top, spectacular views of the valley await you, including the glamorous town of St Moritz. It’s a wonderful place to sit and have a drink whilst enjoying one of the best views in the Engadine. Sitting in front of panoramas like these are moments to savour. They are the moments that diminish the aforementioned struggles of life and clear troubled minds.
There are a few walk options from this location, which suit a variety of fitness levels, including a popular panorama walk which meanders along the hillside and regularly offers sightings of the elusive ibex. However, we climb higher on to a lesser-frequented trail. Soon we are away from other hikers, enjoying a delightful coffee stop at the Segantini hut that has stunning views towards to the Roseg valley. Further along the path as you look across to the Bernina Massif (the biggest range in the Eastern Alps), the Moteratsch glacier will eventually come into view. It’s a wonderful sight and it is a privilege to drink it in in peace (apart from the occasional cowbell perhaps?!) and surrounded by the purest alpine air.
At the end of the walk a short chairlift lowers us into the town of Pontresina, a vibrant and pretty resort in a stunning mountain location. This is a lovely place to do little shopping, grab a drink and wind down after a great day out.
With my Mountain Pass this walk costs me nothing and it simultaneously gives me access to an incredible abundance of natural splendour. It is a Swiss classic: majestic mountain views, ubiquitous cowbells, hospitable mountain huts, a funicular ride and lots of ‘feel-good’ factor. I go to bed feeling better and hardly any poorer – and that’s not bad for Switzerland!
Huge thanks to Emma Monk for the words and photos.