Trip report - Bregaglia Valley - Soglio

Trip report - Bregaglia Valley - Soglio

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Apr 10, 2017 - 5:29 AM

I took a day trip to the beautiful mountainside village of Soglio above the Bregaglia Valley at the beginning of October 2016 while I was staying in St Moritz.

The whole journey is by PostBus and takes about an hour and a half. Soglio is a wonderful destination in itself, but the journey there from St Moritz is also very scenic. In fact, it follows part of the Palm Express scenic bus route.

Leaving St Moritz from the railway station, we first skirted the end of the St. Moritzersee (“-see” at the end of a place name indicates that it is a lake), and before too long found ourselves travelling alongside several more lakes ringed by forests and mountains: the Champfèrersee and the Silvaplanersee. Shortly after that, the bus travelled through the pretty village of Sils Maria and along yet another lake, the Silsersee, before reaching the village of Maloja at the other end of the lake.

From Maloja, the bus commenced the steep descent down the magnificent forested Maloja Pass, which is an unusual sort of pass, being fairly flat on the Maloja side, and very steep on the Bregaglia side. The driver manoeuvred expertly around hairpin bend after hairpin bend, and we had beautiful views into the Bregaglia Valley. (Good views on both sides, but slightly better on the right). The bus then travelled through lovely villages of traditional buildings, where some roads are so narrow they are only just wide enough to permit the bus to pass through.

In the village of Vicosoprano, I saw the following inscription on one of the houses:

"LASCIA CHE PENSA AI CASI SUOI CIASCUNO

SAGACE SCALTRO E CHIUSO IL CUOR CONSERVA

NON SCRIVER PARLA POCCO IL TUTTO OSSERVA

CREDI IN DIO SOLO NE TI FIDAR DI ALCUNO

E CHI NON FA COSI

NON PUÒ VIVER AL TEMPO D'OGGIDI

AGOSTINO VASALLI F.F. 1769"

I googled the first line of it, and discovered that this same inscription was noticed by a writer called Émile Louis Victor de Laveleye, who included it in his book “Letters from Italy”, which was published in 1886. In the English translation of his book, the following translation for the inscription is provided:

“Let each man mind his own affairs, and then,

Prudent observer, keep thy heart close sealed.

Write not ; speak little ; mourn thy woes unhealed.

Believe in God alone, but trust not men.

In these days, he who works not, shall not eat.”

About 10 minutes later, the bus pulled into the village of Promontogno. I think the PostBus stop at Promontogno (“Promontogno, posta”) must be one of the prettiest bus stops in Switzerland! I had about 15 minutes to wait for my connecting bus to Soglio, and passed the time strolling around the picturesque village and taking photos.

From Promontogno, it was just a further 12 minutes of steep and winding road up the mountain to the village of Soglio, passing through groves of what I think were mainly chestnut trees, with many stone huts scattered about. The bus stopped at the edge of the village, from where I followed a lane slightly uphill into the village, which is located on a terrace at 1,090 metres above sea level and has a population of about 300 people. From this lane, there were stunning views into the valley below. The lovely Sciora mountains on the other side of valley were obscured by clouds when I arrived, but I saw them in their magnificence later in the day.

After passing the “Stüa granda” hotel/restaurant near the top of the hill, I reached the St Lorenzo Evangelical Church (which dates from 1354), and explored the beautifully manicured churchyard and cemetery – from which a breathtaking panorama spread out before me! This cemetery must have one of the most beautiful views of any cemetery in the world! From there I continued along narrow, winding cobblestone lanes lined with traditional stone-roofed houses, many of which displayed pots of bright flowers, and I felt like I had travelled back several hundred years in time.

When I was ready for lunch, I stopped in at the hotel/restaurant “Palazzo Salis”, a building dating from 1630, and took a seat at one of the outdoor tables. I ordered a simple meal of sausage with potato salad, but I have to say that the potato salad was the best I have ever had in my life! As I was enjoying my lunch, the clouds cleared from the Sciora mountains across the valley and revealed some magnificent craggy peaks!

Practicalities

In the SBB timetable, the stop for Soglio is called “Soglio, villagio”, which is at the edge of the village. The route from St Moritz involves first taking bus #4 from St Moritz railway station (direction: Chiavenna) and alighting at the stop called “Promontogno, posta”, from where connecting bus #632 takes passengers up the mountain to Soglio. Both buses run all year.

Although it was not apparent from the timetable, we also had to change buses at the stop "Maloja, Posta". The second bus was also a #4 bus. This happened on the way back as well. I don't know whether that is the usual arrangement, or was simply a temporary measure. In any case, it was a quick change at the same bus stop.

Attached below are some photos of Soglio, Promontogno, and some scenery en route. I have posted photos of the Maloja Pass and Sils Maria previously, and they can be seen on the following page:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/trip-report-late-august-to-mid-october-2016

(For photos of the Maloja Pass, see the post "Locarno to St Moritz", and scroll down a little further for the photos of Sils Maria.)

Alpenrose

Last modified on Apr 10, 2017 - 4:03 PM by Arno
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Apr 10, 2017 - 5:32 AM

Soglio houses

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Apr 10, 2017 - 5:34 AM in reply to Removed user

Promontogno

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Apr 10, 2017 - 5:39 AM in reply to Removed user

Scenery between St Moritz and Soglio

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maggiehorswell
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Apr 10, 2017 - 11:48 AM

Hi Alpenrose

Thanks for yet another super report with stunning photos. And yet another idea for our up coming stay in St. Moritz! I will be sure to let you know which of your amazing days out we decide to copy! There's no way we can fit them all in.

I am going to study all your reports carefully to choose the ones most suitable for us to do. Unfortunately we are going to be a bit restricted in our activities because I have recently been diagnosed with a condition called myasthenia gravis which will have an effect on what I am capable of doing! It affects the nervous system between brain and muscles - main symptoms include difficulty holding head up in natural position and some disturbance to vision, also energy levels are affected. So we will not be doing any extensive hiking for sure but are determined to fill our days with good experiences and some of your day trips are looking like good options. There is no cure for the condition but consultant is working on treatments to alleviate symptoms so hopefully by the time we are due to go to Switzerland things will have improved - I have already seen some progress thankfully. I was worried about the steep walk up to our hotel from the rail station but contacted the hotel who have said I can call on their shuttle bus (large taxi) at any time on our return from a day out. Our apartment in Uetendorf for the second part of our stay is ground floor so no problems anticipated there!

So we are busy making sensible plans for what will still be an amazing experience again this summer.

By the way - congratulations on reaching top member status in the forum! You should be designated as an expert in my humble opinion!

Best wishes

Maggie

Arno
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Apr 10, 2017 - 4:06 PM in reply to Removed user

Many thanks Alpenrose! Soglio is extraordinary, isn't it? I had the pleasure of hiking from Vicosoprano to Soglio once and was impressed the scenery in this narrow valley. It's great to now have a series of photos here for people to enjoy.

Arno
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Apr 10, 2017 - 4:10 PM in reply to maggiehorswell

I'm sorry to hear about your condition Maggie. I wish you all the best adapting to this and hopefully you'll be able to enjoy Switzerland again next summer. As you know there is plenty to see and do even if your health isn't optimal.

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Apr 11, 2017 - 4:20 PM in reply to maggiehorswell

Hi Maggie! Yes, I would love to hear about what you end up doing during your time in the Engadin and elsewhere again this year!

I’m very sorry indeed to hear about your diagnosis and the limitations it will bring with it, but am glad to see you are determined to find ways of enjoying your annual trip to Switzerland to the fullest extent possible in the circumstances. I wish you all the very best in receiving appropriate treatments to alleviate symptoms and maximise your ability to continue doing the things you love.

It’s good that you have already determined that your accommodation arrangements for this year won’t have to be changed to suit the new circumstances you find yourself in. Even though you might have to change your sightseeing plans somewhat, I am sure you will still find many wonderful things to do and see this year. I look forward to hearing how your holiday went, and how you adapted your travel style and activities.

Thanks for your congratulations on my “top member” status! I hadn’t actually noticed, but that must have happened after I reached the 250 message mark! There is such a wealth of detailed and practical up-to-date information here in the forum, that no guidebook can match. I learn so much here myself and am glad when I can also make a contribution in return. I also look forward to your continuing participation in the forum and your trip reports :)

Alpenrose

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Apr 11, 2017 - 4:25 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Yes, Soglio certainly is extraordinary! It's wonderful that villages like this are still so well preserved and unspoilt.

Did your hike take you through the chestnut forest?

Alpenrose

Adelaidean
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Apr 14, 2017 - 1:32 AM

Alpenrose, what a joy it was to scroll through your photos....

I am 95% certain we will be heading to Switzerland in September and have been poring over your wonderful reports. I already included a visit to Ftan based on one of your outings.

Soglio was on my list, this has certainly confirmed that. So helpful to get tips such as the 15 min wait at bus stop, I am exactly that kind of person that will bolt down the street to check out the town while hubby gets all anxious waiting for me LOL...

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Apr 14, 2017 - 3:23 AM in reply to Adelaidean

>> Alpenrose, what a joy it was to scroll through your photos....

I'm glad you liked them!

>> Soglio was on my list, this has certainly confirmed that. So helpful to get tips such as the 15 min wait at bus stop, I am exactly that kind of person that will bolt down the street to check out the town while hubby gets all anxious waiting for me LOL...

Yes, that 15 minute or so wait for the bus at Promontogno on the way to Soglio was very useful for taking some photos of that pretty village, and you don't have to walk very far to take some good photos!

On the way back from Soglio, many connections allow only 1 minute to change buses at Promontogno. This is perfectly achievable however, as the bus to St Moritz (which has come from Chiavenna) waits at Promontogno for the bus from Soglio, and you just hop off one bus straight onto the other one.

I hope you enjoy your trip to Soglio as much as I enjoyed mine! With a bit of luck you will get a day when the Sciora mountains are not obscured by clouds, as the view across the valley to those mountains is truly magnificent.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Apr 14, 2017 - 3:24 AM by Removed user
Arno
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Apr 14, 2017 - 12:06 PM in reply to Removed user

Hi Alpenrose,

I don't remember if it was a chestnut forest. It was the trail via Parlongh on the northern slope. The tiny restaurant we hoped to visit there was closed, I remember that :-)

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Apr 15, 2017 - 5:19 AM in reply to Arno

Shame about the restaurant being closed! Perhaps the chestnut forest is only on the Castasegna side of Soglio.

Alpenrose

maggiehorswell
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Apr 15, 2017 - 12:58 PM

Hi Alpenrose

Just a quick question - did you need to reserve seats on the buses you used on this trip or did you just turn up and hop on?

Maggie

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Apr 16, 2017 - 8:48 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

>> Just a quick question - did you need to reserve seats on the buses you used on this trip or did you just turn up and hop on?

Hi Maggie,

No, I didn't make any reservations, just turned up.

Alpenrose

Adelaidean
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Oct 11, 2017 - 3:53 AM

Hi Alpenrose, just wanted to let you know that the Soglio day out was a highlight for me, wonderful! Would have liked to add that walk that Arno mentioned, but, as always, one wants to do more than is possible. Which was very true of my over ambitious plans to add the lower Engadin, so I have saved all your tips for another trip. I have done a trip report if you are interested. Your help / tips much appreciated.

Slowpoke
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Oct 12, 2017 - 1:10 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Alpenose -

Re: Soglo houses images -

They certainly know how to lay out the paving stones inthe roads. ;-)

Slowpoke

fredch
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Oct 12, 2017 - 6:09 AM in reply to Slowpoke

In summer, there is a great Wanderweg beginning in Casaccia, Villaggio at the bus stop, along the north slopes all the way to Soglio. You are treated to magnificent views across the Bengal Valley, ending in Soglio. A well maintained path. Look in the cemetery at Soglio for a stone of a British woman. Wish I knew the story of how she got there. A Wanderkarte will show you the way.

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Oct 14, 2017 - 6:22 AM in reply to Adelaidean

>> Hi Alpenrose, just wanted to let you know that the Soglio day out was a highlight for me, wonderful!

Glad you enjoyed it! It is such a charming village, and in a superb mountain setting!

>> I have done a trip report if you are interested

Yes, definitely interested! I have bookmarked it and am looking forward to reading it!

Alpenrose

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Oct 14, 2017 - 6:25 AM in reply to Slowpoke

>> They certainly know how to lay out the paving stones inthe roads.

Yes, it must be so labour-intensive, but contributes so much to the charm of a village or town.

Alpenrose

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