My husband and I bought a 15-day flex Swiss Travel Pass for our 18 day trip. Two days were spent traveling to/from the US. So we had one day's worth of travel to cover. I did use the MySwissAlps calculator to see which would be the best day to NOT use the pass, then we found out the hostel in Pontresina provided a pass for the two days we stayed.
Our goal was to visit smaller villages, not cities, and hike. Due to my husband's heart condition we opted to take funiculars/gondolas up and down and just hike more or less level elevation. Thank you all for patience with all the questions, for willingness to share all your experiences - you feel like friends.
We arrived in Zurich at 6 am from the US, bought groceries at Migros in the airport, headed down to the trains and were on our way on the 7:04 am train to Zurich HB. We took regional trains to Landquart, Klosters and through a tunnel to Guarda in the Engadine. Much has been shared about it and I can't add to that except to say we were very happy with our stay at Hotel Val Tuoi and just the quaintness of the village.
We didn't want to fall asleep until evening after a night on the plane so we did the walk from Guarda to Ftan...and the wildflowers were in bloom. Scenery was gorgeous...loved the hill tower in Ardez, the ruin along the path, and almost lost my husband when he saw a weather tracking station and a ham radio tower. The signage left us a little perplexed, but we found our way.
After a good night's sleep we took the bus from the village of Guarda which is about 1000' above the train station, down to the station, train to Zernez, bus through the National Park (I had tried to make bus reservations, but they were not allowed unless you needed one for a bike). Lots of construction in the park allowed us time to soak it up a bit more. We hopped off at Val Mustair to visit the Closter St Jon. As we entered the church, the choir (nuns?) were singing...the acoustics were grand. Ate our lunch (fruit, bread, peanut butter and honey from the grocery in the Zurich airport) under a tree in the cemetery. Then explored a bit more of the monastery gardens.
Due to this forum we decided not to return the way we had come but continue on the bus northeast to Malles, Italy, then Nauders, Austria, back into Switzerland at Martina and on to Scuol, taking a short train to Guarda from there. Border patrols did get on the bus looking for someone at the Italy/Austria border.
We had a wonderful thunderstorm that night...boomers reverberating all over the valley. Woke and made our way by regional trains to Pontresina.
We found the train conductors/ticket takers to be very helpful when they had time. Late June we did not find the trains to be crowded except near Zurich.