By Anna Timbrook – With its perfect pistes, St. Moritz is a small slice of heaven for avid skiers. However, the good news is, you really don’t have to be a skier at all to enjoy the region. Switzerland’s Engadin region is well known for its stunning lakes, mesmerizing nature and countless mountain biking and hiking trails.
The best part of it all is that the majority of them are family friendly, so they’re perfectly safe to explore with your little ones! From hiking trails that are straight out of fairytales to winter wonderland fun – here are the best family adventures in Engadin St. Moritz!
Book family friendly accommodations in the heart of St. Mortiz as a base camp to enjoy easy access to the entire region’s recreational offerings. Outdoor Families Magazine’s editorial staff recommends Hotel Giardino Mountain, located at almost 2,000 meters above sea level, between the Alpine peaks of Corvatsch and Corviglia, and only 4 km from Lake St. Moritz.
7 Best Family Hiking Trails in St. Moritz, Switzerland
1. Marguns To Celerina Hike
Hikes with kids are supposed to be fun and easy and that’s exactly how we’d describe the 90-minute walk from Margnus to Celerina. The trail begins at the gondola station in Marguns and continues on for some 6 kilometers. There’s no elevation gain – the rest of the trail casually descends into Celerina without any steep downhills, making this a perfectly family friendly trail.
But, before you set out on the hike, you will have to spend some time at Marguns while your children roam around the massive playground. With bouncy castles, a trampoline and a huge swing, your kids are sure to enjoy this adventure.
This particular hiking trail is best enjoyed in the summer months. You can wear lightweight clothes and we’d recommend a fleece jacket if you wind up doing it in the afternoon, since it can get a bit chilly up in the mountains. The trail is easily done without any technical equipment and if you wear proper hiking shoes, the terrain will be a breeze.
2. Heidi’s Flower Trail
Heidi’s Flower Trail is a short family friendly hike that is suitable for children of all ages – even the ones in strollers. It’s a 30-minute hike so it is not tiring or strenuous at all, especially with a total elevation gain of only 18 meters.
The short trail takes you Chantarella to the Heidi Hut above St. Moritz, and you can see more than 200 different types of Alpine plants along the way. But what’s most interesting here is the Heidi Hut, especially for children who are familiar with the story. It is the same hut from the movie that was shot in this region, so it’s bound to be a particularly exciting experience for them.
If your children are already experienced hikers, then we’d recommend combining this hike with the Schellenursliweg to St. Moritz trail. It adds another hour to the hike, and it takes you all the way down to lovely St. Moritz Lake.
This is a summer hiking trail – in the winter months, it is not as easily accessible due to all the snow. It is best to do the hike between the months of May and October, especially if you’re looking forward to seeing all the flowers and plants along the way.
3. Schellen-Ursli Path
This is another hike your kids might enjoy a bit more than you because all kids in Switzerland are familiar with the Bell for Ursli tale. And if you follow the trail from the village of Guarda, both you and your kids will be able to experience the story first hand!
The exact trail from the story is a 3.4 kilometer loop trail, which is easy enough for children and adults. There are lots of book-themed experiences along the way, from a memory game you reach near the first section, to all the different bells that are referenced in the story.
There is also a fun rope bridge, however, you don’t need to cross it in order to reach the final stages of the hike. Instead, you have to cross the Maiensäss pasture and you have to navigate through a snowfield to get to it, just like Ursli did. For that reason there’s always snow on the ground, even if it might be artificial at times.
Your kids will be thrilled once they reach the Maiensäss pasture – the huge bell is inviting them to ring it, and they can play around in the recreated house. There’s even a grill on-site, and you’re free to use it for a barbecue if you want. That’s why we recommend doing the hike in the warmer months, so you can spend some family time near the Ursli home in warm weather.
4. Morteratsch Glacier Trail
The mere sight of the year-round ice on Morteratsch Glacier is impressive. But there’s a lot more to this trail than just the sight of a massive glacier; the Morteratsch Glacier Trail includes a companion app that will teach your children about the glacier, as well as a booklet that takes them on a scavenger hunt!
The app is the perfect audio companion to this impressive landscape, as it answers pretty much all the questions you might have about your surroundings. And the children’s booklet is even better – it immerses them into a compelling story that makes them interested in exploring the glaciers, all the while learning about this spectacular phenomenon.
The trail itself is quite rocky, so it’s recommended you bring good shoes and even hiking poles for the smoothest experience. Also, you bring warm winter clothes, even if you’re doing the hike in July. It’s quite cold near the glacier, and there’s always snow along the way.
5. Val Roseg Mountain Biking Trail
The Val Roseg is a short and easy mountain biking trail that is perfectly suitable for families. It begins in Pontresina near the railway station and takes you all the way to the Roseg valley, which is regarded as one of Engadine’s most stunning side valleys.
The very beginning of the trail goes slightly uphill, but from there, the path mostly crosses level terrain. It follows the valley floor along the Roseg stream, offering spectacular views of snow covered caps of the Eastern Alps. You can also admire the views of the Bernina Massif and even hike up to the glacial lake Vadret if you have the extra energy!
This mountain biking trail is only about 7 kilometers long and it can be covered in less than an hour. The terrain is fairly simple, so the trail is suitable for all kids that are able to ride mountain bikes.
6. Sils Maria To Val Fex
The Sils Maria to Val Fex trail is about 16 kilometers long and it features an elevation gain of about 400 meters, so it’s not too strenuous. It is rated as easy and it is perfectly suitable for kids who are capable of riding a bike for about two hours. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the total length and time that includes a return trip – you can take as many breaks as you like along the way.
In fact, it’s recommended you stop by near Hotel Waldhaus, one of the most iconic landmarks in Sils. The trail passes through hamlets, next to inns and always follows the rushing Fedacla river. At the Sar Antoni mountain farm the trail goes right and follows the Alp road up to Alp da Segl. Here you can find a museum as well as a restored quarry, so plenty of options for a fun and informative short break.
When you finally reach the Fex valley, you can enjoy some spectacular views of the surrounding glacier mountains. But the serenity of the valley might just be more impressive than the views. It is one of the quietest valleys I have visited in Switzerland, and I have covered most of the country!
7. Sils To Lake Marsch Mountain Biking Trail
This mountain biking trail is rated as moderate, so it’s recommended you do it only with kids that are slightly older. It follows forest roads from Sils Maria to the ruins of Alp la Muotta and then Surlej. For this segment of the ride you can enjoy some spectacular views of lake Silvaplana.
From Surlej, the official trail goes to the magnificent Palüd Lungia moorland plain, passes the lakes of Zuppò and Nair and heads down to the wonderful Lake Marsch. This small lake is a popular spot with swimmers since it often reaches water temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius, that are more than high enough for a comfortable swim.
The entire trail is about 20 kilometers long and takes about three hours to complete, including the return trip to Sils. It includes a total ascent of 585 meters, which is one of the main reasons why it’s rated as moderate and why we don’t recommend it for families with small children.
Sailing And Windsurfing
The Engadin region is known for the Maloja wind, which rises around midday in the summer months. It’s what makes it possible to enjoy sailing and windsurfing on the Alpine lakes, which happens to be one of the best ways to cool down on a hot summer day.
Lake Silvaplana is the most popular spot in the Engadin region for windsurfing and sailing. It’s just a short ride from St. Moritz, and it’s undoubtedly worth it to make the trip if you’re just looking to spend an adventure filled day with your family.
But it’s worth noting that the chilly waters of the Alpine lake might not be inviting for everyone – if you’re more into casual swimming and sunbathing, it’s best to visit the smaller lakes that are usually much warmer in the summer. The average temperature of Lake Silvaplana doesn’t get much higher than 16 degrees Celsius even on the hottest summer days, so bear that in mind.
But if you want to go stand up paddling on the calm lake in the morning and then sail the waters in the noon, this is easily the perfect destination in the area. You might even want to try your hand at kitesurfing – there’s a 5-hour course for beginners that will teach you all the trips and tricks to mastering this fun skill, allowing you to pilot one of the dozens and hundreds of kites that can be seen in soaring above the lake.
Swimming And Sunbathing
You don’t have to be near the ocean to enjoy a fun beach day with your family – you can do so even in the Swiss mountains, as long as you know which lake to visit.
Not all of the Alpine lakes are great for swimming and you should avoid the really big lakes because their water temperatures are pretty low even in the summer. So, head to some of the smaller lakes if you want to sunbathe and swim around with your loved ones.
One of the most popular lakes with swimmers is Lake Marsch, which usually boasts a water temperature of 20 degrees Celsius in the summer months. There are ample sunbathing spots around the banks of the lake, as well as some cute picnic areas for lunch.
The Lake of Staz is also very popular with swimmers thanks to the warm water and scenic surroundings. There’s even a restaurant nearby, meaning you don’t even have to worry about lunch. But it is worth noting that this lake is not supervised, so you’re getting in the water at your own risk. If your kids aren’t the best swimmers, maybe opt for a lake that has a lifeguard around, just to be on the safe side.
Speed Skating On Lake St. Moritz
Every year the massive St. Moritz Lake is turned into a speed skating rink. And yes, it is sufficiently frozen and it is perfectly safe for everyone, so long as they have speed skating skates.
This is a thrilling activity for families, and one you have to try out if you’re in St. Moritz during winter and know your way around a speed skating rink. Just make sure to dress appropriately; even though you will get warm while you’re speeding around the lake, you’re still spending time on a frozen water surface in the middle of a Swiss winter. It will be freezing cold, and a thick insulated jacket is a must.
Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has traveled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on Expert World Travel. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.