Val Poschiavo
Home > Tourist Guide > Table of contents > Graubuenden > The Upper Engadine > Val Poschiavo

From Pontresina, the Bernina Pass (2328m) is about 15km southeast. This route is part of the Bernina Express, one of the packaged train rides which carry panorama carriages from Chur, Davos and St Moritz into the idyllic Val Poschiavo and down to the Italian border town of Tirano, from where postbuses skirt the shores of Lake Como, ending up back in Switzerland at Lugano. Ordinary trains also run on regular schedules between St Moritz, Pontresina and Tirano: however you travel in the valley, it’s still gorgeous. A classic vantage point from which to look over the whole area is Alp Grüm, on the train line but not the road (reachable after a two-hour walk from the car park at the Ospizio Bernina inn on the pass): from 2091m on a bright day you can see clear down to the Lago di Poschiavo and beyond. The Belvedere hotel and restaurant (mid-May to Oct) provides refreshment while you’re up there.

After a series of hairpins, the railway joins the road again at the little village of San Carlo, watched over by its ancient church tower, and heads on a couple of kilometres further to POSCHIAVO. The difference between this laid-back, photogenic Italianate town, and, the Alpine resort of Pontresina the same distance the other side of the pass, couldn’t be more striking. Poschiavo’s tranquil old quarter, just across the river from the train station, is filled with tall, foursquare eighteenth-century shuttered mansions in various shades of pastel, their windowboxes overflowing with local carnations, overlooking sunny plazas that are stone-paved in swirling patterns and ringed with terrace cafés. The place is perfect for soaking up some sunshine – of which there’s plenty – filling up on risotto instead of fondue, and savouring a carafe of Valtellina wine from the Italian regions bordering. On the north side of the central Piazza Comunale, also labelled with its Romansh name of Plazza da Cumün, is the seventeenth-century Protestant Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio, which holds an inscription stating that the town was riformata da gli errori e superstizioni in 1520. Despite this claim, the Catholic Chiesa San Vittore, dating from the late fifteenth century, remains a powerful presence 200m away on the south side of the square. The same square holds the tourist office (Mon–Fri 8am–noon & 2–6pm; July & Aug also Sat 9am–noon & 2–5pm; 081/844 05 71, www.valposchiavo.ch). Of the hotels, Croce Bianca, a five-minute walk south near a row of graceful old townhouses (081/844 01 44, fax 844 12 70, croce.
), and Suisse, on Via da Mez southwest of the square (081/844 07 88, fax 844 19 67, hotel.suisse@bluewin.ch, www.forum.ch/suisse), are both long-standing fixtures in the town but with newly renovated rooms.

© Micheloud & Cie 2013     No part of this site may be reproduced in any form or by any means without our prior written permission. Printed from http://Switzerland.isyours.com/e/guide/graubunden/valposchiavo.html