Trip report Lower Engadine/Scuol mid-October 2016

Trip report Lower Engadine/Scuol mid-October 2016

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Nov 30, 2016 - 11:52 AM

I stayed in the Lower Engadine town of Scuol in mid-October 2016. This was my first visit to the Lower Engadine, but it won’t be my last because I absolutely loved it, and there are many places I still haven’t been to!

Scuol is in a far-flung valley in the east of Switzerland, less than 20 km from the Austrian border, and is very easy to get to by train. Zürich to Scuol takes only 2 hrs 38 min, or from St Moritz it’s only 1 hr 26 min. For anyone travelling to or from Austria, another option is travelling by PostBus between Scuol and Landeck-Zams in Austria (about 1.5 hrs). Landeck-Zams is a stop on the Vienna-Salzburg-Innsbruck-Zürich train line. Apparently when the Scuol railway station was built in 1913, there was an intention to build a rail line from Scuol to Landeck, but clearly that never eventuated!

Scuol is situated on a hillside. The lower part of town is called Scuol Sot, the upper part is Scuol Sura. “Sot” and “sura” mean lower and upper in the local variety of the Romansch language (which is Vallader). They are separated by the main street, called “Stradun”.

In Scuol Sot near the River Inn (called "En" in Romansch) is the historical village centre with narrow winding lanes, paved with stone and lined by typical Engadiner houses decorated with “sgraffito”, and small squares with pretty spring-water fountains.

Scuol Sura has fewer older buildings, but there is a historical area called La Plazzetta just above the main shopping area in Stradun.

Stradun has a wide variety of shops, including a Coop supermarket, restaurants/cafés, a bakery, the tourist office, post office, Intersport, clothing shops, souvenir shops and pharmacy/chemist (apoteca).

The town bus (Bus da Scuol) runs a route through the town consisting of two loops, serving both Scuol Sot and Scuol Sura, as well as travelling along Stradun, which runs through the middle. This bus is free with the Swiss Travel Pass. The timetable for the town bus varies according to the time of year, and there is a break in service for an hour or two in the middle of the day (when most of the shops are also closed). Pocket timetables are available on the bus or from the tourist office. There is also a link to an online timetable at the end of my post.

Starting from Scuol-Tarasp railway station on the western edge of Scuol, the town bus does the upper loop in a clockwise direction, travels along Stradun, then does the lower loop in an anti-clockwise direction, before travelling along Stradun again and going back to the railway station. Sometimes it goes back to the station between doing loops. In addition to the town bus, PostBuses serving the wider area around Scuol travel along Stradun, and it’s also possible to catch one of these buses back to the railway station.

I really enjoyed doing a round trip on the town bus, taking in both the upper and lower loops. Along the upper loop there are nice views into the valley and parts of the lower town from the vicinity of the “Ospidal” stop in particular.

The lower loop goes right through the beautiful historical village centre of Scuol Sot. The main bus stops in the historical centre are “Bügl Grond” and “Plaz”. I got off the bus at Bügl Grond, and after exploring the square there, strolled along the winding lane to Plaz, another square with a bus stop. There is plenty of seating at both Bügl Grond and Plaz. Although it was chilly, it was sunny, and I enjoyed sitting for a while in the sunshine to enjoy the peaceful and beautiful surroundings.

Adjacent to the Plaz bus stop is a path leading uphill to a church, the “Reformierte Kirche”. About halfway up to the church are some well-kept toilets. I didn’t go all the way up to the church, but next time I definitely will. The church dates from the early 16th century and stands on the top of a cliff, with great views. At Plaz there is also a small Volg grocery store.

There is a lane called “Punt”, which leads from Plaz down to the River Inn, where there is a covered wooden bridge across the river (built 1878), and a small defensive tower from the 16th century, but I didn’t go down there. Another one for “next time”!

Also at Plaz is the “Museum d'Engiadina Bassa” (Museum of the Lower Engadine) in a beautiful old building. Opening hours are fairly limited. (I have linked to their website below).

After Plaz, I continued along the lane to the end of the historical area and the next bus stop called “Porta”, where I eventually caught the bus again. There is no seating at the Porta bus stop. Two stops after Porta, at the Serras bus stop, there are good views.

Something else that would be nice to do, but which I unfortunately didn’t get around to, would be to get off at the stop before Bügl Grond, which is called “Chantröven”. Here, you can walk out onto the Gurlaina bridge, standing high over the River Inn, for lovely views.

Along Stradun, there are three bus stops. In order of travel, they are: Bogn Engiadina, Belvédère and Posta. (The town bus always travels in the same direction along Stradun). It’s not very far to walk between these three stops.

- Bogn Engiadina bus stop: This is the stop for the famous Bogn Engiadina spa and wellness centre, with indoor and outdoor mineral baths, saunas etc. The pharmacy is nearby.

- Belvédère bus stop: The Hotel Belvédère has a restaurant terrace with wonderful views over Scuol Sot. Between the Belvédère and Posta bus stops (but closer to Belvédère) is an Italian restaurant, also with a terrace and the same wonderful views. On the opposite side of the road from the Italian restaurant are some well-kept public toilets.

But best of all, opposite the Belvédère Hotel, a steep stone-paved lane leads to the lovely compact historical area called “La Plazzetta”, with beautiful Engadiner houses lining the small square and the stone-paved lanes leading off it. After exploring La Plazzetta and walking up a steep lane which led up to an area of gardens, fields and farmhouses, I retraced my steps to the square and followed a lane to my left. There were more lovely Engadiner houses along this lane, and wonderful views to the mountains on the other side of the valley as well, and I eventually ended up back in Stradun near the Bogn Engiadina bus stop.

- Posta bus stop: This is the best stop for the Coop Supermarket, the Tourist Information Office and post office. The Tourist Information Office can supply a bus timetable and town map. I have also linked to an online version of the town map below. Between the Belvédère and Posta stops, but closer to Posta, is a lovely Engadin villa from 1869, which has a painted façade decorated with portraits of historical figures from Graubünden.

Useful links:

Scuol Town Map, with bus stops marked.

www.apoteca-scuol.ch/fileadmin/use r_upload/pdf/Ortsplan_ Scuol.pdf

Museum d'Engiadina Bassa (Museum of the Lower Engadine)

www.museumscuol.ch/ind ex.php/en/

Overview map of Scuol, Samnaun and Val Müstair ("Übersichtskarte")

Diagram of the bus route network in the area ("Linienplan")

Current Scuol town bus timetable ("Ortsbus Scuol")

www.engadin.com/servic e/reiseplanung/mobilit aet-vor-ort/?S=1

Apart from exploring Scuol itself, I made day trips to Guarda, Samnaun, Kloster Son Jon in Müstair, and took a trip over the Flüela Pass by PostAuto bus. I also made a fleeting visit to Ftan one afternoon when I had an hour or two to spare. Another day trip was to the Alpabzug in Seewis im Prättigau, about which I have already written. I’ll write about the others as I get time!

Now here are some photos of Scuol - first of all Bügl Grond and the lane leading to Plaz in Scuol Sot!

Alpenrose

Last modified on Nov 30, 2016 - 12:28 PM by Alpenrose666
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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Nov 30, 2016 - 12:13 PM

This next group of photos are from the Plaz area of Scuol Sot, and the lane leading to Porta.

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Nov 30, 2016 - 12:19 PM

These photos are from La Plazzetta in Scuol Sura, accessible via a stone-paved lane opposite the Hotel Belvédère in Stradun, the main street of Scuol.

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Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Nov 30, 2016 - 12:26 PM

This last group of photos was taken in La Plazzetta, and from the lane that eventually took me back to Stradun. There are also some photos of the Villa Engiadina in Stradun and the views from Stradun over the lower town and the Gurlaina bridge, which is accessible from the bus stop "Chantröven".

Last modified on Nov 30, 2016 - 12:33 PM by Alpenrose666
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maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
470 posts
top member
Nov 30, 2016 - 3:10 PM

Hi Alpenrose

Thank you for posting this informative post. We visited Scuol way back in 2001 while spending a few days in St. Moritz and really enjoyed looking at the houses. I have some photos but they are not as good as yours! The camera I had back then was pretty basic! We didn't know about the bus either.

We will be staying in St. Moritz again next summer so will go back to Scuol armed with all your tips and hopefully make more of our visit! Mike passed through last year on his way to visit the castle at Tarasp - well worth a visit if you are going back there - but be warned it is a stiff climb up to reach the castle! That's why he went without me while I indulged in a "rest day".

Best wishes

Maggie

Annika
Annika
4880 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 1, 2016 - 11:07 AM in reply to Alpenrose666

Hi Alpenrose,

Thanks a lot for your very informative post about Scuol! You've definitely become familiar with this picturesque town and its surroundings during your stay. Your tips detailed tips about walks and bus routes and your beautiful pictures are very helpful to other visitors, and may even get them interested in visiting this less touristy but very charming area. If you have time to tell a bit more about your other day trips, we'd be happy to read about them. I'll also make sure to refer forum members considering visiting the (Lower) Engadine to your trip treport.

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Dec 3, 2016 - 5:43 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

>> We will be staying in St. Moritz again next summer so will go back to Scuol armed with all your tips and hopefully make more of our visit!

Hi Maggie,

Hope you enjoy your next visit to Scuol, and that some of my tips do come in handy!

>> Mike passed through last year on his way to visit the castle at Tarasp - well worth a visit if you are going back there - but be warned it is a stiff climb up to reach the castle! That's why he went without me while I indulged in a "rest day".

I would love to visit Tarasp Castle when my knees are in better shape! This time I had to settle for the view of the castle while passing by in the train, and from the bus on the way up to Ftan. It is in such a lovely location!

Alpenrose

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Dec 3, 2016 - 5:50 AM in reply to Annika

Hi Annika,

I'm glad you think my post will be helpful to others. It's so different there compared with the Berner Oberland - the diversity of such a small country as Switzerland never ceases to amaze me!

Alpenrose

Arno
Arno
9617 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 3, 2016 - 4:31 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

It is amazing indeed. Caused by centuries of influences from all over Europe. And caused by the mountain ranges, which basically isolate regions which are very close together. In a way it's still a bit like that. You may have seen this page already, but just in case: myswissalps.com/ aboutswitzerland/ culturehistory/ historyswitzerland.

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Dec 17, 2016 - 4:39 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno! I hadn't seen that page - it's very interesting!

Alpenrose

travelbarbi
travelbarbi
5 posts
new member
Mar 6, 2017 - 6:36 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

I just finished looking at the posts you suggested of your photos & I really feel like I've been there. Thank you so much for sharing. I visited Switzerland (Interlaken area) in the late 1980's with my 2 sisters & was blown away by the sheer majestic wonder of this special country. The only thing close to it in the United States , in my opinion, is Glacier National Park (GNP) in Montana, which my husband & I visit & hike frequently. My first trip to GNP, I remember saying, "This looks like Switzerland, but with bears & moose, instead of cows & goats!" Not to mention the Swiss cuisine, culture, lush valleys, ease of transportation, etc. I'm so looking forward to showing Switzerland to my husband. He doesn't feel it can compare to GNP, but my response was, "Just wait and see...you'll love it!"

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Mar 8, 2017 - 5:54 AM in reply to travelbarbi

>> I just finished looking at the posts you suggested of your photos & I really feel like I've been there. Thank you so much for sharing.

I'm glad you enjoyed the reports and photos :-)

>> I visited Switzerland (Interlaken area) in the late 1980's with my 2 sisters & was blown away by the sheer majestic wonder of this special country.

I wonder what differences you will notice when you return!

>> ease of transportation, etc.

Other countries might have mountains, but I doubt if there's another country in the world that could compete with the Swiss when it comes to public transport, and providing access to areas of great natural beauty! I think I read somewhere that they have the densest public transport network in the world.

Alpenrose

OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
active member
Mar 8, 2017 - 11:47 AM

Alpenrose...I saw recently in another post, which I can't find at the moment, that you might write up about two other trips...Grindelwald to Meiringen via Grosse Scheiddeg and I think it would be Meiringen over the pass on a bus to the south/southeast (via Steingletscher Susten?). We are planning on doing those trips and would love to hear of your experience. I was not sure if those trip reports already existed in MySwissAlps. Thank you for the delight it is to read your posts.

OHGeologist

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Mar 9, 2017 - 4:55 AM in reply to OHGeologist

>> I saw recently in another post, which I can't find at the moment, that you might write up about two other trips...Grindelwald to Meiringen via Grosse Scheiddeg and I think it would be Meiringen over the pass on a bus to the south/southeast (via Steingletscher Susten?). We are planning on doing those trips and would love to hear of your experience. I was not sure if those trip reports already existed in MySwissAlps.

Hi OHGeologist,

Glad you find my trip reports useful! Thank you for your kind comments about them.

I'll make the trip reports on the PostBus trips through four passes of the Central Alps, and over the Grosse Scheidegg the next ones I do - hopefully this weekend!

By the way, you asked me recently about using the SBB App to buy a class upgrade on the fly. Just in case you have not already seen it, there is some important additional information about doing this in the following thread:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/itinerary-questions/page/2

Alpenrose

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
86 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2017 - 7:16 AM

Taking note of the useful details in this TR, thanks. A wander through Scuol is on my list.

BTW.....Am wondering how to pronounce Scuol and Ftan?

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
1186 posts
top member
Apr 28, 2017 - 11:21 AM in reply to Adelaidean

>> Taking note of the useful details in this TR, thanks. A wander through Scuol is on my list.

Hope you find time for it! The mountain setting of the town is beautiful, and the old town is just delightful, as is La Plazzetta.

>> BTW.....Am wondering how to pronounce Scuol and Ftan?

Scuol is something like sku-OL. The railway station there is called Scuol-Tarasp, which is pronounced something like sku-OL tar-RASHP (Syllables in capital letters are stressed.)

Ftan is pronounced something like f-TARN, but the f and t combination is a bit problematic for English speakers!

You can hear both words pronounced in these YouTube videos:

Scuol-Tarasp

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X1WCtIhRiI

Ftan

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdmVpT3qbis&list=PLr AvDZ9sYjXbcVhPl81cdPWK 98NWTE5Bt

The first line of dialogue in the Ftan video is:

"In der Engadiner Bergwelt liegt das Hochalpine Institut Ftan."

Translation

"In the mountains of the Engadine lies the High Alpine Institute Ftan"

(It is an international school for students between 13 and 20 years old).

Hope this helps!

Alpenrose

Adelaidean
Adelaidean
86 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2017 - 10:23 PM in reply to Alpenrose666

Thanks. 😀

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