Summer in Celerina: the season for boundless outdoor recreation and all kinds of entertaining indoor events. We would happily talk to you for hours about our magnificent hikes, legendary flow trails, historical buildings, natural treasures and … oh, you only have time for the highlights? No problem: here are our top 10 tips for your summer break:
Framed by lush meadows and high peaks, Alp Laret is an idyllic spot that enchants all who love the mountains. You can access it in a number of ways: on a hike along the Via Engiadina, for example, or following a walk up on the Corviglia, or as a short excursion from Celerina. The alpine farm, restaurant and meadows lie about 30 minutes’ walk from the Marguns gondola summit station or about 1 hour 40 minutes from the base station in Celerina (by bike: a ride of 10 or 50 minutes respectively). A sun terrace and a picnic area with glorious views across the valley provide a delightful setting in which to enjoy the home-made delicacies. Walkers can buy fresh mountain cheese and butter from the alpine dairy, which they can also visit.
The German poet Christian Morgenstern (1871–1914) was one of many writers and artists to have found inspiration in the Graubünden Alps. His descriptions of nature have inspired generations of readers; perhaps he in turn was inspired by the best-loved of Engadin moorland lakes: idyllic Lake Staz. Early in the morning – when the surface of the water is as smooth as glass, the reeds stand motionless and wisps of mist still adorn the treetops – the lake is especially magical. Today, this delightful spot inspires swimmers, sun-worshippers and nature-loving Instagrammers – and perhaps still the odd poet, too.
Did you know that some of the world’s oldest larches and Swiss stone pine trees grow in the Swiss Alps? You can admire the most impressive Swiss stone pines – also known as Arolla pines – on a bracing walk from the Staz forest up to the high plateau of Muottas da Schlarigna (2,305 m): a beautiful spot to linger and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views. Already on the climb up you pass through several different bands of pristine forest; if you would like to visit the oldest Swiss stone pine of all, on the way down take the trail towards Alp Staz. Just below the junction, you can see the gnarled tree that first saw sunshine here as a sapling in the early-15th Century and now has a mighty trunk with a girth of no less than 6.70 m.
“Trais Fluors” means “Three Flowers”: the name suggesting a delightful, gentle and easy ride. But that is misleading: this top Engadin trail is anything but! A total of 26 demanding kilometres promises one blast of adrenalin after another: mountain biking bliss. The route starts with a steady climb from Celerina up to Chantarella, and then on up to the Corviglia summit station. The trail continues past the pretty mountain lake of Lej Alv and up to the summit station of the Trais Fluors chairlift. From this mountain ridge onwards, the ride becomes swift and easy: you simply glide down the many corners of the scenic trail to Alp Muntatsch before a zig-zag descent to Samedan and the final leg back to Celerina.
Try walking without shoes: you can’t get any closer to nature! Walking barefoot stimulates circulation in the feet and gets the whole cardiovascular system working. A vitality booster, in other words, which improves wellbeing and strengthens the immune system. No wonder they say that barefoot walking is good for your heart – just like falling in love with the Engadin! The following three barefoot trails, starting at San Gian at the eastern edge of the village, all promise to awaken your senses: (1) San Gian – Punt dals Bouvs – San Gian, approx. 45 min., (2) San Gian – Choma Suot – San Gian, 1½ to 2 hrs, (3) San Gian – Lake Staz – San Gian, approx. 2 hrs.
The church of San Gian with its two unmatching towers is our region’s landmark. It is one of the valley’s old mother churches: in former times, christenings and burials could take place only here. Perched on top of a hill on the plain between Celerina, Samedan and Punt Muragl, the church is unmissable. Built in the 11th Century and extended in the 14th Century, the complex includes a small Romanesque and a large Gothic tower; the interiors boast fine frescoes and a delightful painted wooden ceiling. In 1682, a bolt of lightning struck the larger tower, whose steeple was never rebuilt. But why not?
Well, in 1670 an impressive new church was built in baroque style in the old heart of Celerina, intended to serve as the new village church: Bel Taimpel. When you visit, look out for two intriguing features. First of all, the church benches reveal on which side men and women sat: the “men’s benches” on the right side have deeper seats with ornate backs, while the “women’s benches” on the left have narrower seats, with simple backs added only much later. Second, once outside the church, look up at the golden weathercock on the steeple: it can flap its wings! A simple wire mechanism enables this little marvel, which you can admire daily at 8 am, noon and 4 pm.
From the Marguns gondola summit station, you can reach the Corviglia funicular summit station in about 30 minutes on foot, following glorious mountain hiking trails. From here, it’s just a short walk to the Lej Alv natural reservoir, a popular spot for idyllic picnics at high altitude. This delightful lake, framed by lush alpine meadows, is also home to many fish and a favoured location among anglers.
Our tip: at Marguns, look out for the three striking mountain pinnacles collectively known as “Las Trais Fluors” (Romansh for “The three flowers”), with the melodious individual names of Pigna, Vivanda and Allegria. According to legend, a flower fairy once wanted to help the poor inhabitants down in the valley, and gave them three flowers. The seeds of Pigna (Romansh for “oven”) kept their homes warm, the seeds of Vivanda (nourishment) stilled their hunger and the fruits of Allegria (joy) drove away melancholy and made even the toughest jobs a cheerful, light-hearted task. With this good fortune, the people soon became lazy, greedy and envious, and the fairy realised that they did not deserve her gifts. She took away the three flowers from them, and placed them above the village as stone memorials to their folly. And ever since, the villagers have had to work hard again to survive the winter. They procured ovens and food, but they really missed joy. To this day, the people of the Engadin greet each other with a cheerful “Allegra!” (happiness!), and so conjure a smile on the face of their fellow humans.
It’s Wednesday evening and you’ve nothing lined up? Impossible in Celerina! Every Wednesday evening here, various musicians entertain the public at ever-changing locations. See you on Wednesday, then!
Enjoy a guided gastronomic walk through Celerina punctuated by the different courses of an Engadin meal, including an aperitif. With each course you will get to know another restaurant; during the short strolls in between, you will learn all kinds of fascinating facts about the village and the region.
The Celerina summer is all the more wonderful for heralding a bewitchingly beautiful Indian summer. The colourful autumn forests with their golden larches and fragrant pines, the turquoise lakes and of course the seasonal game dishes are among the highlights of a feast for all the senses.