Hiking the Panoramaweg

Chris and Justine toast a perfect day at the top of Muottas Muragl. Note the hang-glider in the cloudless autumn sky, top right. Picture by a random stranger
Bever Lodge is ideally located for those travelling by train or bus. Picture by Bever Lodge
Our spacious, modern suite at the trendy, near-new lodge. Picture by Bever Lodge
Peaks tower above hikers on the Panorama Pathway.
PICTURE Justine Tyerman
The staggering Landwasser Viaduct on the Chur to Bever UNESCO World Heritage train trip. PICTURE Franziska Pfenniger, Switzerland Tourism
The historic 1907 funicular, the oldest in Graubünden, took us to the top of Muottas Muragl where the panorama of St Moritz, the mountains, lakes and glaciers is spectacular. PICTURE Christof Sonderegger, Switzerland Tourism


Schweiz. ganz natuerlich. Muottas Muragl (2453 m), erreichbar mit der Standseilbahn von Punt Muragl. Blick auf St. Moritz und die oberengadiner Seen, Graubuenden.

Suisse. tout naturellement. Muottas Muragl (2453 m), desservi par le funiculaire depuis Punt Muragl. Perspective de St-Moritz et des lacs de la Haute-Engadine, les Grisons.

Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism By-Line: swiss-image.ch / Christof Sonderegger
The Rhaetische Bahn train emerging from a tunnel and crossing the Landwasser viaduct. PICTURE Peter Donatsch, Rhaetische Bahn



Bernina Express - The Bernina Express crosses the world-famous Landwasser Viaduct.


Bernina Express - Il Bernina Express attraversa il celebre viadotto di Landwasser. Un viaggio dai ghiacciai alle palme.



Copyright by Rhaetische Bahn By-line: swiss-image.ch/Peter Donatsch
The Panorama Walkway has spectacular views. PICTURE Christof Sonderegger, Switzerland Tourism
The Panorama Walkway is one of the most beautiful walking tracks on the planet. You can see the track, mainly downhill, around the side of the mountain in the left foreground. PICTURE Justine Tyerman
The Panorama Walkway is one of the most beautiful walking tracks on the planet. Picture by Justine Tyerman
The picturesque village of Bever. PICTURE Robert Boe, ENGADIN St Moritz
The spectacular view of the mountains and sapphire lakes from the top of Muottas Muragl.
The sauna facilities at Bever Lodge. Picture by Bever Lodge
Chris on the Panorama Pathway. PICTURE Justine Tyerman
Coming across the Unterer Schafberg restaurant on our hike was a novelty for us as Kiwis. PICTURE Justine Tyerman

MY LIMITED German came in incredibly handy on the day we set out by train from Chur to Bever Lodge in the high Engadine Valley. I recognised the word ‘spät’ which means late, something that rarely happens with Swiss trains.

But the ‘drei Minuten zu spät‘ or ‘three minutes late‘ meant we could catch an earlier train to our destination and spend more time in this spectacular mountain region in the canton of Graubünden.

I knew the UNESCO World-heritage section of the famous Glacier Express, would be thrilling but I wasn’t prepared to be quite so overwhelmed by the landscape. We never actually sat down in our seats but stayed at the back of the carriage where we could open the windows to take photos without disturbing the other passengers. I spent the entire two-hour trip leaping from one side of the carriage to the other frantically trying to capture the vertiginously-high viaducts, deep gorges, swirling rivers, turquoise lakes, castle ruins, glorious autumn colours, bright blue skies, majestic mountain peaks and impressive hydro-electric dams.

The highlight was the staggering 65m-high, 136m- long, six-span Landwasser Viaduct between Tiefencastel and Filisur. I nearly fell out of the train window trying to get the perfect shot. The other passengers thought I was crazy.

Our destination, Bever Lodge, was ideally located for those travelling by train or bus — it’s directly across the road from the railway station with a bus stop right out in front.

The trendy, three-star lodge — Switzerland’s first hotel built using an innovative modular wooden construction technique — opened two years ago and is already a big hit with hikers, bikers, skiers and families who are seeking close-to-nature, active, outdoor holidays rather than the glitz and glam of nearby world-famous St Moritz.

You get a feel for the healthy, sporty vibe of the place as soon as you arrive — there are mountain bikes parked outside, cyclists taking a break in the sunny courtyard and hikers with back-packs and walking sticks.

Soon after we checked into our spacious, modern suite, we headed for the mountains with maps and a tourist information app in hand, courtesy of Andrea at the reception desk. She also gave us free transport cards, walking sticks and sunblock. Nice touch.

Historic 1907 funicular

With our magical cards we caught a bus to the Punt Muragl Talstation and enjoyed a thrilling trip up the mountain to Muottas Muragl in the historic 1907 funicular, the oldest in Graubünden.

Basking in the warm autumn sunshine at 2454 metres surrounded by magnificent mountains, lakes and glaciers brought tears to my eyes and made my heart soar. I was awe-struck . . . lost for words. Our fellow lunchers were bemused at the tears.

In the valley below, a cluster of lakes sparkled like sapphires strung on the necklace of the Inn River. On the horizon, the stunning snow-covered Bernina Massif and the Morteratsch Glacier gleamed in the sunshine. Nearby, hang-gliders were taking off with whoops of excitement and hikers were beaming with joie de vivre on a perfect autumn day in the Swiss Alps.

We didn’t think life could get much better — but then we set off on the 7km Panoramaweg, one of the most beautiful walking tracks on the planet. The path took us around the side of Schafberg mountain, through larch woodlands and across mountain streams beneath the towering peaks of Piz Muralg (3157m) and Piz Languard (3262m).

Hikers sitting outside a stone alpine hut waved at us. Their hefty packs suggested they had done a more arduous trek than ours. Our path was mainly downhill which was a blessing at this high altitude where even the slightest climb had us puffing.

We stopped midway at the picturesque little Unterer Schafberg for the sheer novelty of coming across a restaurant on a mountain track, a rarity in New Zealand.

By the time we reached Alp Languard two and a half hours later, it was late afternoon and the air was starting to chill so we caught a chairlift down to Pontresina and a train back to cosy Bever Lodge. So easy, so Swiss . . . and all free thanks to our magical transport cards.

When we arrived home, the lodge was buzzing with rosy-cheeked guests, fresh from a day in the ‘Great Outdoors’. Our kind of place. And it’s comparable if not cheaper than hotel accommodation on the fringes of New Zealand’s top holiday resorts. Who says Switzerland is expensive?

First published in Travelmemo.com

https://travelmemo.com/europe/switzerland/hiking-engadin

MY LIMITED German came in incredibly handy on the day we set out by train from Chur to Bever Lodge in the high Engadine Valley. I recognised the word ‘spät’ which means late, something that rarely happens with Swiss trains.

But the ‘drei Minuten zu spät‘ or ‘three minutes late‘ meant we could catch an earlier train to our destination and spend more time in this spectacular mountain region in the canton of Graubünden.

I knew the UNESCO World-heritage section of the famous Glacier Express, would be thrilling but I wasn’t prepared to be quite so overwhelmed by the landscape. We never actually sat down in our seats but stayed at the back of the carriage where we could open the windows to take photos without disturbing the other passengers. I spent the entire two-hour trip leaping from one side of the carriage to the other frantically trying to capture the vertiginously-high viaducts, deep gorges, swirling rivers, turquoise lakes, castle ruins, glorious autumn colours, bright blue skies, majestic mountain peaks and impressive hydro-electric dams.

The highlight was the staggering 65m-high, 136m- long, six-span Landwasser Viaduct between Tiefencastel and Filisur. I nearly fell out of the train window trying to get the perfect shot. The other passengers thought I was crazy.

Our destination, Bever Lodge, was ideally located for those travelling by train or bus — it’s directly across the road from the railway station with a bus stop right out in front.

The trendy, three-star lodge — Switzerland’s first hotel built using an innovative modular wooden construction technique — opened two years ago and is already a big hit with hikers, bikers, skiers and families who are seeking close-to-nature, active, outdoor holidays rather than the glitz and glam of nearby world-famous St Moritz.

You get a feel for the healthy, sporty vibe of the place as soon as you arrive — there are mountain bikes parked outside, cyclists taking a break in the sunny courtyard and hikers with back-packs and walking sticks.

Soon after we checked into our spacious, modern suite, we headed for the mountains with maps and a tourist information app in hand, courtesy of Andrea at the reception desk. She also gave us free transport cards, walking sticks and sunblock. Nice touch.

Historic 1907 funicular

With our magical cards we caught a bus to the Punt Muragl Talstation and enjoyed a thrilling trip up the mountain to Muottas Muragl in the historic 1907 funicular, the oldest in Graubünden.

Basking in the warm autumn sunshine at 2454 metres surrounded by magnificent mountains, lakes and glaciers brought tears to my eyes and made my heart soar. I was awe-struck . . . lost for words. Our fellow lunchers were bemused at the tears.

In the valley below, a cluster of lakes sparkled like sapphires strung on the necklace of the Inn River. On the horizon, the stunning snow-covered Bernina Massif and the Morteratsch Glacier gleamed in the sunshine. Nearby, hang-gliders were taking off with whoops of excitement and hikers were beaming with joie de vivre on a perfect autumn day in the Swiss Alps.

We didn’t think life could get much better — but then we set off on the 7km Panoramaweg, one of the most beautiful walking tracks on the planet. The path took us around the side of Schafberg mountain, through larch woodlands and across mountain streams beneath the towering peaks of Piz Muralg (3157m) and Piz Languard (3262m).

Hikers sitting outside a stone alpine hut waved at us. Their hefty packs suggested they had done a more arduous trek than ours. Our path was mainly downhill which was a blessing at this high altitude where even the slightest climb had us puffing.

We stopped midway at the picturesque little Unterer Schafberg for the sheer novelty of coming across a restaurant on a mountain track, a rarity in New Zealand.

By the time we reached Alp Languard two and a half hours later, it was late afternoon and the air was starting to chill so we caught a chairlift down to Pontresina and a train back to cosy Bever Lodge. So easy, so Swiss . . . and all free thanks to our magical transport cards.

When we arrived home, the lodge was buzzing with rosy-cheeked guests, fresh from a day in the ‘Great Outdoors’. Our kind of place. And it’s comparable if not cheaper than hotel accommodation on the fringes of New Zealand’s top holiday resorts. Who says Switzerland is expensive?

First published in Travelmemo.com

https://travelmemo.com/europe/switzerland/hiking-engadin

FACTBOX

• Justine and Chris Tyerman stayed at Bever Lodge, Switzerland: www.beverlodge.ch

• Switzerland Tourism: www.MySwitzerland.com

• Swiss Travel Pass: www.MySwitzerland.com/rail

• Rail Europe: www.raileurope.com.au / www.raileurope.co.nz

• Swiss International Air Lines: www.swiss.com/ch/en

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