Seriously, this is not a hike - this is a leisure walk. Hardly any elevation difference except for the descent to Ardez at the end, well marked path along the slopes leading through the woods and over pastures, offering stunning views (almost) all the time.
The walk starts in Ftan, accessible by postal bus from the station in Scuol. Have a quick look at the church, then head off toward Hotel Paradies. Take the path right from the minor road that also leads to Ardez. Benches make good resting places, the views of the mountains are beautiful.
After a while you come to the Tasna valley where you see the old, medieval bridge across the creek. It was not torn down when the newer road was built - pic 2. Follow the road for a couple 100 metres, then the hiking path turns right. Soon you'll see the remains of the former tax station on the old route, Chanoua (Pic 4). Quite impressive ruins of an old Engadine style building. Just another 15 minutes of leisurely walking down to Ardez and the restaurants/cafes call for attention :-) Back to Scuol by train. The station is just below the village.
For both villages, Ftan and Ardez, see my Things To Do tips.
This is one of my favourite hikes in the area. Starting point is Pass dal Fuorn (Ofenpass) at an elevation of 2149 m. Hourly bus service from Zernez (-Müstair-Mals/Italy). Trains from Scuol stop in Zernez (to Pontresina), the schedule is co-ordinated, of course.
Around the Pass dal Fuorn is the first National Park in Europe. The hike doesn't go into the National Park but is slightly east of it - the landscape is equally fascinating, though. From the pass (souvenir shop, hotel, lots of motorbikers!) turn north and take the path toward Fuorcla da Funtana da S-charl which leads slightly up and down through a loose forest of larch trees and Swiss Pines, alternating with pastures dotted with beautiful blooming wildflowers (Alpine roses!). The views of the Müstair valley and the Ortler massif with the glaciers are breathtaking.
After 1:30 h or so you reach the pass Fuorcla da Funtana da S-charl (2393 m), the highest elevation of that hike. It is a rather large plateau. From there hike down to the Clemgia valley, reaching it at Alp Astras (2135 m), a working Alp where you can have a glass of milk (I did) and buy cheese/bread for lunch or to take home with you.
Two options now: Either take the trail (gravel) left which is quicker or hike the smaller path on the right side of the valley through Tamangur forest, the stunning Swiss Pine forest, actually that at the highest elevation in the Alps at all. The latter is about a half hour longer but definitely more beautiful. Unfortunately I was short on time and had to hike the gravel trail. Anyway, both meet later farther down in the valley.
The hike down to S-charl, the ending point, is easy, slightly downhill all the time, along a gurgling creek, through Swiss Pine and Larch tree forests with beautiful views and occasional meet ups with cows. Fun!
Don't miss the last bus from S-charl to Scuol - leaves 16.45 h. See my restaurant and off the beaten path tips on S-charl, too.
This hike is moderate, all in all maybe four hours including photo stops and a lunch break. It starts in Sent (hourly bus from Scuol), a village that deserves a closer look. Leave the village at the eastern end taking the slowly ascending gravel road (very little traffic) to Kurhaus Val Sinestra. The tree-lined gravel road offers gorgeous views of the mountains across the valley and back at Sent (church steeple!).
After a while you reach the woods and walk into the side valley, finally approaching the hotel Kurhaus Val Sinestra. It's a quite basic (but nice) hotel built in Art Nouveau style. Their restaurant (see tip) offers simple, tasty food. Walk down to the river, cross it and take the path to the left.
After a while of walking up you reach one of the two suspension bridges - thrilling and nothing for people with fear of heights! About 20 minutes later you will see Hof Zuort (see restaurant and off the beaten path tips). From there you have two options: Either directly back on a gravel road (very little traffic) to the small village Vna or a half hour longer via Griosch to Vna, joining the gravel road further down.
Either way you'll see the so called "Erdpyramiden" shortly after leaving Hof Zuort. They are interesting geological formations - you see them from the shorter option from below, via Griosch from above. While the area around the "pyramids" eroded, the solid rocks on top of those prevented rain doing its work on them. See picture 4!
Finally you'll arrive at Vna, a picturesque, tiny village which is worth to explore for a half hour. The small postal bus takes you down to the valley floor where you can hop on the bus to Scuol (schedule co-ordinated, hourly in the afternoon).
Equipment: It is a very moderate hike, no special equipment necessary. Please note that the suspension bridges allow no fear of heights! Hiking boots recommended but sneakers would be sufficient.
The Engadine is hiker's paradise. Unspoilt nature, quaint villages, gorgeous mountain views, blooming Alpine wildflowers.
The hiking season starts late May and ends late Oct. I prefer June (for blooming flowers) and Oct (for colours). Here some options:
Motta Naluns (gondola) - Champatsch - Hof Zuort - Vna (6 h, medium)
Guarda - Tuoi hut - Furcletta - Val Tasna - Ardez (8 h, quite difficult)
Guarda - Lake Blue and back (6 h, medium)
bus to Ofen Pass - Fuorcla Funtana - S-charl (4 h, easy)
Many easy hikes - all in all more than 1000 km are marked in the Lower Engadine.
Equipment: Hiking boots, sun screen, food, water, some chocolate :-) and a mobile/cell phone for emergency calls
Although the Lower Engadine (Scuol) is not as famous for cross-country skiing as the Upper Engadine (St. Moritz) it is still a fantastic area for this kind of sports.
About 80 km of tracks are groomed for cross-country skiers between Scuol and Martina, and another 35 km between Zernez and Giarsun/Guarda. The longest tracks are to find right on the valley floor along the Inn river. Due to the narrow valley floor and the high mountains towering above the trails gets very few sun in Dec/Jan. Good for the snow quality, but can be quite cold then ...
Sunnier but shorter tracks are groomed near Ftan, Ardez and Guarda.
Equipment: I prefer to bring my own equipment, but you can rent at several sports shops in the villages. Especially Scuol provides a wide selection.
Dozens of miles are groomed in winter for winter hiking. It is the most enjoyable and cheapest way to experience the magic of the Engadine in winter. Gorgeous views along the route, cosy restaurants after every couple of miles, excellent public transportation to starting/from ending points of hikes.
Some particularly fascinating hikes:
Guarda - Bos-cha - Ardez (1.5 h)
Scuol - Ftan (1.5 h)
Vna - Hof Zuort (1h one way)
Motta Naluns - Prui - Ftan (1.5 - 2 h)
Motta Naluns - Jonvrai - Sent (3 h)
Equipment: Bring you own good hiking boots.
All sorts of ice sports are very popular in Switzerland. And Curling is one of the most frequently played. You need a bunch of people for it, but will not have problems to join some others for a match.
The ice rink "Trü" is located in the upper village of Scuol. In the evenings it is illuminated. Admittance fee is 5 or 6 Sfr, but it is included in the ski pass.
By the way, watching is also fun, and does not cost anything! You can even sit on the second floor in the restaurant, have a pizza or sip on a glass of wine and enjoy.
Equipment: Rental station next to the rink.
Scuol shares a midsize skiing/snowboarding area with its neighbouring villages Ftan and Sent. Beside 80 km groomed runs you find countless opportunities for off-piste skiing/snowboarding. The area is excellent for both beginners and advanced skiers/snowboarders. Due to its high elevation it is also very snow reliable; and the southern orientation of the slopes makes it very sunny.
My favourite runs are Champatsch (the uppermost) and the "Traumpiste" (Dream run) down to Sent, 10 km long, 1250 m elevation difference, away from lifts - pure nature! Avoid the run down to Scuol - unattractive, mostly lousy snow quality.
For snow report check:
Equipment: Bring your own or rent the equipment. Rental stations everywhere in the villages, but also in the skiing area.