Switzerland is a fantastic country for walking breaks, long or short. The public transport system is so good that it is possible to be based almost anywhere using a combination of trains, buses and in some cases boats and lifts.
This series is intended to highlight some of the towns and villages we have found to make ideal bases. Some of these are less known than the more popular destinations, and can therefore be less crowded. We have based the selection on the following criteria:
- Convenient access by public transport – no car required
- Great places to stay and eat
- Excellent walking that is easily accessible either direct from your accommodation or by using local transport services such as buses and lifts
- Stunning surroundings (not difficult in Switzerland!)
For more information on travel passes in Switzerland, please see our page of Recommended Resources.
Scuol, situated in the Lower Engadine, is surrounded by footpaths, meadows, gentle peaks and attractive villages. The busy little town has a very picturesque setting.
The whole area is characterised by beautifully situated villages with immaculately maintained houses. Houses in Scuol and the nearby villages are decorated in a local style known as sgraffito, and many have animals, landscapes, folk tales and mythical figures depicted on the walls. This alone makes walking in the area interesting and enjoyable.
Scuol also has a thermal spa, and is situated close to what is, surprisingly, Switzerland’s only National Park. It makes an ideal base for a walking break.
How to Get to Scuol
Scuol-Tarasp is the terminal station on the Rhaetian railway line (RhB). See Voyages-sncf to check routes, timetables and tickets if you are coming from the UK or Europe, Europe Rail to check routes, timetables and tickets if you are coming from the US or Canada, or Interrail for a range of passes including multi-country passes. The trains are regular, and as always in Switzerland, completely reliable.
The station is a little way from the centre of Scuol (approx. 1 km). You can walk from the station, or use the small local bus. One small payment gets you a pass for the local bus that you can use all day.
Where to Stay
There are several decent hotels in Scuol. The following four all have great restaurants. A particular advantage of these hotels is that in the summer the rates include a free public transport pass. This includes local buses, trains as far as Zernez, and the Matta Naluns-Ftan cable car. This is great for getting to and from walks – you can just jump on any bus or train you want, and use the cable car as often as you like. Always check before booking, though, because offers may change.
A Walk through the local villages
A great walk to appreciate the charm of the local villages sets off from the Motta Naluns lift station. You walk through Ftan and Ardez before arriving at Guarda where you can get a train back to Scuol. The walk is approx. 15 km and on easy trails and quite roads, and can be shortened if you wish.
To find the Motta Naluns lift station follow the sign from the railway station. When you reach the lift station follow the road ascending west until you see a sign for the path to Ftan.
Ftan consists of two interconnected villages (Ftan-Pitschen and Ftan-Grond).
After exploring the villages make your way west to pick up a signed gravel road to Ardez. There are views of Tarasp Castle on the other side of the En valley.
You later join a signed forest path which leaves this road. Turn left when you reach a riverbank, cross a bridge, and then turn left (south) on a road. Then follow signposts to Ardez – there are several routes, but they all lead to the village.
You can get a train back to Scuol from Ardez, or continue walking to the delightful Guarda. If you continue to Guarda the station is a long way below the village, but you can get a bus down if you don’t want to walk.
Walk down from the Motta Naluns Gondola Station
A straightforward walk is to use the Motta Naluns gondola lift to reach 2146 m and then walk back down to Scuol. Here are some photos:
A great walk starts at the hamlet of S-charl, which is easily reached by a scenic bus journey from Scuol. S-charl is very picturesque. There are signposts for several directions in the square. Follow the directions for Alp Sesvenna and Fuorcla Sesvenna. The first part of this walk is on an easy trail beside a fast-flowing stream. The trail gets steeper and wilder later on. Just walk as far as you are comfortable with and then return to S-charl.
Visit to the National Park
A visit to Switzerland’s only National Park makes a great day out from Scuol. To reach the park get a train from Scuol to Zernez and then change for a bus to Il Fuorn, which is at an entrance to the park. The bus from Zernez takes about 30 minutes (check timetable).
The bus stops near the Hotel Parc Naziunal. From the hotel cross the road and take the Nature Path through the woods with information boards. Follow the route to Val Dal Botsch and Alp Stabelchod, or just go as far as you are comfortable with and then return. If you reach Alp Stabelchod (a steady climb of approx 2 hrs), take the path to the right which takes you down to a parking lot, from where there is a path back to Il Fuorn.
Here are some pictures from the walk:
Scuol might not have the stunning peaks of Zermatt or the glaciers of Saas Fee, but it is picturesque in a more gentle way. The surrounding scenery, charming villages and National Park make this a very rewarding area to stay in a lesser-known area of Switzerland.
Please remember that this site is based purely on our own experiences – therefore kindly note the Disclaimer.