Lower Engadine section

Stage One: 

Zernez - Susch - Lavin - Guarda - Ardez  

Note about maps: These appear above the text for the walk. Where there is a dotted red line this is the route we used rather than the Via Engiadina. All maps are reproduced with the permission of

ENGADIN/Scuol Tourismus AG


We actually walked this section on the third day of our hike but as it is the first stage of the Lower Engadine section we’ll start our description with this. Basically, it is a valley walk between Zernez and Lavin and is part of both the Via Engiadina and the Unterengadin Talweg (Lower Engadine valley path). 

From Zernez railway station we walked through the town and past the church  along lanes.... the River Inn....

through meadows and along forest tracks to Susch.

 At Susch the road over the Fluela pass to Davos drops into the valley. Above the village are the ruins of  a castle, a feature of many locations in the valley. 

The church at Susch

Continuing through meadows and forest the track continues to Lavin....

....past the hideous Saglians railway station, where cars are loaded onto trains to go through the Vereina tunnel. 

Look back at Saglians

The track reaches Lavin where the river is crossed to reach the village. The walk from Zernez to Susch took about 1h 40m plus another hour onto Lavin.

Beyond Lavin we chose to take the easier option of walking to Guarda and Ardez using the alternative lower route. (The more demanding alternative route between Lavin and Guarda can be found at the bottom of this page). 

Leaving Lavin we took the lane through the fields which gradually climbs uphill. 

We took the higher of the tracks signposted to Guarda (and left the main signposted Via Engiadina route shortly after leaving Lavin.) This route is particularly interesting as it passes through the remains of a medieval village of Gonda. 

The farm terraces and house foundations are clearly visible....

.....together with an old avalanche shelter.  

More foundations with Guarda just visible on the right.

Looking back to Lavin

Guarda high above the valley.

Leaving Guarda (1653m) we took the paved lane to Bos-cha ....

Looking back to Guarda from Bos-cha

...... and then climbed higher up the hill on a field track and then a path to reach Chöglias at 1797 m.

Here the main Via Engiadina path was rejoined......

......before dropping down to Ardez (1454) , with its tower, along forest lanes. Including a break in the delightful village of Guarda for coffee the walk from Lavin to Ardez took just three hours.

  Stage Two: Ardez to Scuol  

  We actually walked the section from Ardez to Motta Naluns cable car station (above Scuol) in the reverse direction to take advantage of the generally downhill nature of this section. From Motta Naluns (2142m) the way is along a broad track across the mountainside to Prui (2082m) with views of the glaciers in Italy and Austria. Beware of cyclists on this section!

wpe5.jpg (39286 bytes)

Near Prui

Passing the chairlift to Ftan the path climbs through woods to briefly join a lane and then climbs around the mountain slopes to reach Alp Laret farm and restaurant at 2202m. The path then gradually drops down the side of Val Tasna before falling steeply down to Alp Valmala at 1980m. Here there are superb views of the Dreilander Spitze (3197m) and its glaciers. The time from Motta Naluns to Alp Valmala was 2h 30m.  

wpe7.jpg (35818 bytes)

Alp Valmala

We headed off down the broad track but decided to stay on the forest track by the river, rather than take the Via Engiadina path at Alp Tasna. The track crossed over the remains of a landslide which required careful footwork!  After briefly joining a paved road the path to Ardez climbed past the ruins of an old tavern at Chanoua and then gradually dropped down to Ardez.

wpe9.jpg (41435 bytes)

By the river between Alp Tasna and Ardez

An alternative valley walk from Ardez to Scuol  

  As an alternative to the Via Engadina we also walked the valley path between Ardez and Scuol. In some ways this is more interesting and demanding! Leaving Ardez station we took the path marked to Scuol and Tarasp Vulpera. The narrow path drops about 150m down into the narrow gorge, that the Inn  has created just east of Ardez.  

wpe7.jpg (56495 bytes)

Descending to the bridge over the Inn

  The way is through woodland and finally reaches a rather exciting looking suspension bridge over the Inn. Stephen isn’t usually too keen on this sort of thing but the bridge is well protected with wire mess and there are the suspension cables to hold onto if you wish.  

wpe9.jpg (47020 bytes)

The bridge - not as bad as it looks!

wpeF.jpg (164362 bytes)

It can't be that bad as Stephen took a photo from the middle of the bridge

  Once over the bridge the path climbs up through the woods to a farm at Aschera (1350m). Then we continued along forest tracks to Vallatscha and Chaposch before joing a paved lane to reach Fontana (1402m). A little further on there’s a bus terminal at Tarasp just below the magnificent Schloss Tarasp. There’s also a restaurant serving magnificent Aprikosenküchen!  

wpeB.jpg (29710 bytes)

Schloss Tarasp

  We continued along the lane past the lake (Lai du Tarasp) to Sparsels (1450m). Leaving the paved road the route to Vulepra is along a footpath across meadows past Chants. Vulpera (1270m) is a suburb of Scuol so we decided to catch the postbus from here. The road has numerous hairpin bends and the driver sounds his horn to warn approaching traffic.  

Stage Three – Motta Naluns - Sent - Vna


wpe13.jpg (27907 bytes)

Motta Naluns with the mountains on the south side of the Inn valley

 This was actually the first section of the Via Engiadina that we walked on but it fits in logically here. Taking the gondola cable car from near Scuol railway station we began the walk at Motta Naluns at 2142m. The broad track leads up into the ski area as far as point 2323m where a path then drops down to the farm at Jonvrai (2179m). Signposting in this area is confusing (and sometimes non-existent) and a sharp right turn is needed, just before the farm, onto a path that runs down the side of a stream to a footbridge and then climbs back up onto the mountainside.  

wpeF.jpg (34900 bytes)

  The footpath goes through an enormous area of thistles, many almost two metres high and then through woods and across fields to reach a farm at Vastur (1766m). From here the farm track leads downhill in loops to the village of Sent at 1430m. Sent is a typical quiet Engadine village with a good bus service back to Scuol. The time taken for this section of the walk, including breaks was three hours.  

wpe15.jpg (22710 bytes)

Scuol down in the valley

wpe17.jpg (20335 bytes)

The village of Sent

 After a break in Sent we retraced our steps to the outskirts of the village to rejoin the route. This runs on farm tracks, above the road to the Val Sinestra, for about 2km before joining this unpaved road. Despite being unpaved this carries a regular post bus service to the Kurhaus Sinestra hotel, as well as cars. Luckily it wasn’t too busy but, being unpaved, was rather dusty when vehicles passed by. The road passes through the woods high above the river with some spectacular views down into the valley.  

wpe19.jpg (41685 bytes)

On the unpaved road to Val Sinestra

  The hotel at 1522m is an amazing structure with turrets and spires and is set deep in this spectacular wooded valley. We didn’t linger long here as there were a surprising number of people about and we had a bus to catch at Vna. The Via Engiadina at first takes the path towards Zuort; by all accounts a diversion to here is worthwhile if time allows. After a few hundred metres it doubles back on itself and climbs steeply up the valley side through woods with superb views of the Kurhaus and Piz Spadia (2936m) behind it. 

wpe1B.jpg (79418 bytes)

Kurhaus Sinestra

Once out of the wood the path meets a broad farm track which is followed more or less on the level to Vna at 1602m. Our time from Sent to Vna was about 2h 30m making the Motta Naluns to Vna sections a pleasant days walk of about 5h 30m.  

wpe1D.jpg (30215 bytes)

The village of Vna

  We returned to Scuol by taking the Postbus (only a 12 seater, so make sure you turn up early!) down to Ramosch for the main Martina to Scuol bus service. The Postbus route down to the main road is a typical hairpin bend, "hang on to your seats" one!

 Stage Four - Vna - Tschlin - Martina

The final section of the Via Engiadina to the border at Vinadi is the most demanding part of the Via Engiadina. In fact the “official” guide suggests that it should only be walked from Vinadi to Tschlin because of the steepness of the path and its exposed nature above the near sheer walls of the Inn gorge. As mentioned earlier we had decided that we weren’t going to attempt this section.

We were determined, however, to walk to the Swiss/ Austrian border and, fortunately, the border runs along the Inn at Martina and there is a frontier crossing point in the village. Our plan was simple; we’d walk from Vna to Tschlin and either walk down to Martina, or catch the Post bus down to Strada and walk the along the valley path to Martina.  

wpe1.jpg (173319 bytes)

Leaving Vna

So we caught the bus up to Vna and walked to Tschlin. The signposts suggested times between 2h 15m and 2h 30m but we took a straight 2h. Leaving Vna (1602m), on a rather cloudy morning, we headed up the lane to Chamlsura (1703m) and then on a variety of forest tracks, paths and field tracks to Chilcheras. Here the Via Engiadina suddenly drops very steeply into the Val Ruinains to a bridge over a stream. To our dismay three rather unfriendly workers were rebuilding the footbridge and there were no handrails on it; it felt a little bit like walking on a tightrope above the stream 20 feet below! The path then climbed out of the valley and then slowly dropped down through fields to Tschlin.  

wpe3.jpg (336573 bytes)

Footbridge under repair......

wpe7.jpg (212551 bytes)


After a break we caught the Postbus down to Strada to save putting Fran’s feet under any more pressure than necessary. To walk down to Martina takes about 1h 30m. A paved lane was taken out of Strada signposted for Chaltur and Martina. This turned into a forest track which gradually descended towards Martina. The time needed was just over an hour.


wpeB.jpg (212843 bytes)

Between Strada and Martina

wpe9.jpg (185069 bytes)


This completed the Lower Engadine section of the walk so we now moved our base to Samedan to tackle the  Upper Engadine part. Click here to go to the next page.

Alternative more demanding sections of the Via Engiadina



The link to download the walk description in German and the maps used on this page can be found on Scuol's website as at the following location:  

and to down load the pdf. file of the maps click here