Long before the Engadin became known as a paradise for skiing and hiking, people flocked to St. Moritz to bathe in the mineral-rich springs. Water dominates the rest of the valley, too, from the cascading rivers to the sparkling lakes.
The glittering Lago Bianco at the Bernina Pass, which links the Engadin with the magical Valposchiavo, was once a small mountain lake fed by the milky waters of the Cambrena Glacier. In 1911, the construction of two dams turned the mountain lake and the neighbouring Lago della Scala into one single reservoir, in which hardy swimmers can enjoy a bracing dip. Fortunately for everyone else, the region boasts many other places where visitors can take a plunge in rather warmer water. The benefits are many: swimming boosts the cardiovascular system, exercises muscles from head to foot and yet is gentle on the joints. Those who enjoy swimming good old-fashioned lengths will find two venues with 25-metre pools: the Bellavita Pool and Spa in Pontresina, and the Ovaverva indoor pool, spa and sports centre in St. Moritz. Here, swimmers can lap leisurely or power up and down the pools, just as their mood takes them.
Keeping children happy on a family holiday is no easy task. When kids are tired of going for walks, a trip to a pool offers a perfect alternative – for example, to the Bellavita pool complex in Pontresina, which holds a children’s afternoon every Wednesday. Here, younger kids can have fun on an inflatable bouncy “sun”, while more daring youngsters seeking a blast of adrenalin can hone their acrobatics at the diving board or loop the exhilarating water slide.
During the warmer months, the crystal-clear waters of the mountain lakes, large and small, offer a wonderfully refreshing experience of pure nature in an idyllic setting. Thanks to the many hours of sunshine, the water in the smaller lakes can reach temperatures of up to 20 degrees, so that even the most cautious swimmers will brave a dip.
Many swimming lakes, such as Lake Staz and the Lej Marsch, are easily accessible with a short stroll. With their picnic areas, barbecue sites and playgrounds, they invite visitors to linger the whole day. For a more peaceful and meditative experience, nature lovers can head to one of the remoter lakes that are accessible only via a longer hike. The enchanting Lägh da Cavloc beyond Maloja, for example, promises crystal-clear waters, magical seclusion and pure tranquillity.