Highlights: St Moritz & Engadine villages
STATS of Route 65 Maloja–Martina (www.schweizmobil.ch ): The entire Route 65 travers the Engadine region (canton Graubunden, southeastern Switzerland) along the river En/Inn, from the Maloja Pass to Martina at the Austrian border. It covers 115km during 4 Stages, with a total of 1600m elevation (or 2400m in the opposite direction).
Incidentally, the source of the Inn river is Lake of Lunghin, or Lunghinsee at 2,485m in canton Graubunden near Maloja. The Engadin region takes the name from this river, which is called En in Romansh. The name Inn/En, in turns, derives from the Celtic word “en” for “water”. After crossing southeastern Switzerland via the lakes of Sils, Silvaplana, and St Moritz, the Inn/En river travers longitudinally Austria and Bavaria, finally emptying into the Danube. It is thus the only Swiss River to end into the Black Sea.
MAY 2021 trip
This route was not on our horizon when we planned to bike in Grabunden. Yet, we ended up biking most of it anyway, either as part of route 6 or during additional biking days.
Overall, this is an amazing mountain road-biking route traveling through beautiful mountainous landscapes from the lake region of St. Moritz to the narrow valley of the lower Engadine. And all the while coasting the river En/Inn, which becomes wider and wilder as it reaches Austria.
On the cultural front, this route offers also multiple sightseeing stops, from the VIP village of St. Moritz and its museums to several magical Engadine villages with typical sgraffiti houses, to the majestic Tarasp’s Castle and finally to the impressive Finstermünz’s fortress on the Swiss/Austrian border.
Stages 2, 3, & 4 are reviewed in other blogs as they overlap with parts of Route 6.
Here, I am therefore reporting only Section 1.
STATS from http://www.schweizmobil.ch –Route 65, Section 1 : Maloja (1,800m) – La Punt (1,680m): length 33 km, 220m elevation (340m in the opposite direction)
We split this section across 2 days with a night stop in Samedan. The first day, in late afternoon, we biked the few kilometers from La Punta to Samedan. The route travels through an open valley next to the river and the main road.
Samedan (1,720m) is a quite large touristic village in the heart of Engadine. It has many decorated houses, some even with peculiar Romansh phrases engraved in sgraffiti.
We spent the night at Hotel Bernina 1865 in Samedan, a grandiose historic hotel across from the Bernina railway and a few minutes from St Moritz. The magnificent Imperial Hall, where breakfast/dinner is served, has stunning views of the Bernina Massif, while its decor gives a flavor of splendid bygone times.
The following day we biked sort of roundtrip from Samedan towards Maloja.
Again, the route coasts the river until the nearby St. Moritz (1,850m). Here we stopped to wander around the VIP resort and to warm up with a hot coffee in this freezing spring day. Walking around the town one feels the rich atmosphere emanating from the elegant boutiques and fancy restaurants.
But I did not like St Moritz as a town. It is a chaotic assembly of buildings one on top of each others, new and old, without any charm nor any particular mountain architecture. But in the photos of course I tried to capture its best part.
Then, past St. Moritz, the valley narrows and it becomes dotted with crystal-clear small lakes nestled between snow-topped mountains. This is definitely the best part of Section 1: incredibly beautiful, calmer, more isolated, enveloped by snowy summits and running through a well designed nature path.
The route crosses the charming villages of Silvaplana and Sils and coasts their homonymous lakes.
The tiny village of Sils is particularly attractive, and loved by past writers and artists, such as Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Nietzsche, Segantini and Hodler. As we biked through the only square, the time stood still , the village deserted, with only the ominous clouds advancing towards us.
At this point we turned around and biked back via the same path until St Moritz, where we catched a 10min trainride to our hotel
Links to Introduction and other Sections:
- BIKING THROUGH SWITZERLAND
- 65: Section 2, La Punt–Guarda (38 km, 700m elevation) (see 6:03 & 6:04)
- 65: Section 3, Guarda–Martina (37 km, Ascent 520m/Descent 1150m) (see 6:04, part 1)
- 65: Section 4, Martina–Finstermünz (5km, 150m elevation) (see 6:04, part 2)