Route 6: Section 4, part 2 & Route 65:04 – Cycling Scuol to Martina to Finstermünz Fortress , Switzerland

Highlights:  Finstermünz Fortress  (on route 65:04)

Route 6: Section 4, part 2: Scuol 1,390m to Martina 1,034m to Finstermünz Fortress and back to Scuol (56km and 800m elevation)

Stats from for section 6:04 to Martina ( ): Their site has the full profile. 

This section shares its path with Route 65:03,04

May 2021

Today we continued along the 2nd part of section 6:04 and further on. We biked Scuol to Martina to Finstermünz Fortress and then back to Scuol on the same trail.  We had to return to Scuol by bike because there is no train past Scuol (and buses usually do not carry-ebikes). 

And so we started in Scuol, which can be easily reached by train. 


After Scuol, the trail enters a nature path secluded from cars almost all the way to Martina. 

About 6km from Scuol is Sur En (or Suren) ( ). In the woods adjacent to its Camping site, we were astounded to find a series of about 100 sculptures in display along the path (Sculpture Trail)! I would have never thought to discover an art exposition in the middle of this remote countryside. 

Sculpture Trail in Sur En
Trail towards Mertina

Continuing on along the nature path we crossed only a few small hamlets.  In one of these is the small Romanesque church of San Nicla built around 1200. One of the church’s external façades still shows a large painting of Christophorus. The church location near the river testimonies the presence of an ancient road passage through this valley in the Middle Ages.

Church of San Niclà, circa 1200
Crossing the river at San Niclà

Further above the trail is the village of Tschlin apparently with some of the prettiest houses in the lower Engadine and with an important late-Gothic church built in 1515 ( ). The village though is far from the bike path and thus we skipped it. 

Arriving in Martina

Martina, right at the custom/border with Austria, sits at the Inn’s riverbanks and marks the end of Route 6.  But from there we continued for about 5 km along 65:04 to visit the exceptional fortress of Altfinstermünz, the absolute highlight of the day. (, ( )

Fortress of Altfinstermünz

This austere fortress sits on the Austrian banks of the river  (Finstermünz Gorge) and at the foot of an imposing rock wall. It is connected to the Swiss side by a small wooden covered bridge. To reach the fortress, a gravel trail descends down to the river. The site is extremely scenic, enveloped by a medieval aura in complete silence and isolation.  Only forest and stony walls and water surround the building .

fortress of Altfinstermünz

The Fortress was built in a strategic border position along the old Via Claudia Augusta road, where the Romans had already constructed a small wooden bridge to cross the river. Some sort of dwelling to guard the passage and to give refuge to stranded travelers existed at least since the 13th century. But the Finstermünz Fortress we see today was probably built in the 15th century by the Habsburgs and continued to remain in use as a custom building and a pass road until the 19th century. 

We stopped here to have a picnic lunch, alone, amongst these ancient stones, while listening to the sound of water rumbling through. 

And then we turned around and retraced the same route back to Scuol. I tried to find an alternative way but that would have brought us up in the hills with a much longer and exhausting detour. 

Back towards Scuol

At last, with this final segment, I almost completed the entire Route 6 (Graubunden Route), if not for the missing 23km over the Albula Pass (Section 6:03)! ( ( )

Links to Introduction and other Sections:

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