Just back from two weeks in Italy, which included a side-trip to Switzerland. We were staying near Bellagio, so we took the 7:15 car ferry to Varenna. Twenty minutes later, we were driving traffic-free to Soglio. The drive was pretty easy, just keep following the signs to Chiavenna. Once we crossed the border, which did not require any passport viewing, it seemed like we were in Soglio in about ten minutes. It took a little over an hour to get from Varenna to Soglio. The Soglio parking lot, which you can't miss as you enter Soglio, was about half-full when we arrived at around 8:45AM. The lot takes both euro coins and swiss franc coins. We went to Stua Grande Hotel for breakfast but it was buffet only for 20 pp, and the buffet was limited so we headed onward to Hotel Palazzo Salis, which had a much more varied buffet for 25 pp (kids 20 pp). The buffet was delicious and filling so we then walked around Soglio for the next 3 hours or so. The weather and views were spectacular and there was virtually no other tourists walking around. Soglio was as perfect as I had read previously. You definitely do not want to miss it. It is like stepping back in time with the most incredible scenery you will find anywhere. We could have stayed for a few more hours but we decided it was time to keep moving onwards.
From Soglio, we drove to our hotel in Celerina, the All-in-One Hotel. The drive from Soglio took about an hour, with 5 miles or so of pretty constant twisting hairpin turns. It was not a difficult drive at all and we had virtually no traffic. The All-in-One hotel has basic accommodations but is a hotel I would highly recommend. It is fairly cheap (180 per night for 4 adults) and the inclusion of the Engadin pass, which includes free lift passes, buses, train to Alp Grum, etc. make it a very worthwhile reason to book two nights, which we did. After we checked in and picked up our lift passes, we took the bus from Celerina to Muottas Muragle ("MM") so we could hike from MM to Alp Languard ("AL"). We had lunch at the top of MM but by the time we had finished, the weather was turning bad with very dark skies and a constant rain. We waited for about an hour and then decided to take the bus from MM to AL to see if the weather was better. Fortunately, the weather was much better over at AL, with blue skies. We took the very fun chair lift to the top of AL and started the hike. The signs told us it would take 2.5 hours and we thought there was no way it would take that long. However, it took every minute of 2.5 hours and our party of 8 was all pretty much in good shape. The hike and views were spectacular and we stopped many times along the way for perfect photo opportunities. Just when you think you are almost done with the hike, and you get your first glimpse of the ending spot at the top of MM, you really have another 1.5 hours of hiking to go, the last 30 minutes or so of which is pretty much straight uphill to MM. We finished hiking around 8PM so by the time we got back to the hotel to clean up and get ready for dinner, it was almost 10. We had dinner at Hotel Cresta-Run. The kitchen was closed by the time we arrived so it was pizza or salads only, which was fine for us. The pizza was quite good, however, it was 5 swiss francs for a coke. Note that drinks are very expensive in Swiss restaurants.
For Day #2 in Switzerland, we got up early and found a local grocery market where we bought cereal, lunch, and drinks for our planned day. The grocery store prices were quite reasonable. The 5 coke from the night before was less than 1 swiss franc in the grocery store! After eating breakfast in our rooms, we took the regional train from Celerina station to Poschiavo. Since the train passes were only good to Alp Grum, we purchased extended train tickets from Alp Grum to Poschiavo right on board the train when we arrived at Alp Grum. I won't go into too many details about the train trip from Celerina to Poschiavo, since you can read all about the spectacular views elsewhere, but again I would not miss this experience if you are in the area. Well worth the time! We hung out in Poschiavo for a liltle while. It is a very nice, quaint village with an Italian vibe. We had great pastries and gelato at Cafe Semedini. After exploring Poschiavo, we got back on the train and got off at the Bernina Diavolezza stop. We took the tram to the top and we then experienced what was the highlight of our trip to Switzerland. The views are simply gorgeous and unique! The sun was shining brightly and it felt like it was about 80 degrees up there (27 celsius). We took a ton of pictures and enjoyed a nice snack at the top. After Diavolezza, we got back on the train and then got off at the Morteratsch stop to hike to the glacier. Some in our party jogged it and it took about 20-25 minutes each way. It was a worthwhile stop as well since how often do you get to walk on a glacier?!?! After Morteratsch, we took the train to Pontresina where we walked around and did some souvenir shopping. Pontresina is also a nice little village to explore. From Pontresina, we took the bus back to our hotel in Celerina. It was getting late and we had quite a full day. Since we had already gotten two days out of the use of our Engadin passes, we decided to drive back to Bellagio rather than stay the second night in Celerina. We had a great dinner in Varenna at Bar Il Molo, which has a great lake view setting with spectacular scenery. We caught the last ferry back to Bellagio at 23:05.
It was a packed two days in Switzerland and we highly recommend this journey to anyone staying in Lake Como, especially if you are near Bellagio, Menaggio, or Varenna. It is a very easy drive and navigating the Swiss buses and trains is very simple and straightforward.
Thanks to all of the local experts here who contributed their time and knowledge in making our planning as efficient as possible. They are what really make TripAdvisor such a great tool to use in vacation planning!