Hotel Val Sinestra is connected to the picturesque mountain village Sent by a six-kilometres-long mountain road. Most houses have been built in the Engadine style, which means thick walls, small windows, bow-windows, a large arched front door and stables underneath the house. The facades are often decorated with “sgraffito”, a special scratch technique used to apply sayings and symbols.
In the early 18th century, when there was a lot of poverty, many locals flocked to Italy to try their luck there as confectioners or coffee shop owners. The Italian influence that the “Zückerbäcker” brought back home is still visible in Engadine houses: the so-called Senter Giebel (the onion shaped part in the gable) and the classic palazzi are silent witnesses of this time.
The next (larger) village along is Scuol, the capital of the lower Engadine. It offers the possibility of shopping, restaurants, swimming pools, train connections, cable cars and a spa.
The lower Engadine is a mountain area bordering Italy and Austria, surrounded by the Swiss Dolomites and the Silvretta mountains.
The isolated location is one of the reasons that the centuries old Roman language is still the official language here. Thankfully it isn’t necessary that you speak this: most people speak German very well. What is helpful to know is that the most common greeting here is “Allegra”, which literally means “be happy”.
Seasons can vary in the mountains: In the valley it can already be summer but higher up in the mountains spring flowers still bloom. And when the mountain peaks are still covered in winter snow, are the alp fields already in full bloom. And when the larch trees start colouring golden and yellow, are those peaks already covered in fresh snow again!
Spring (mid April – end of June)
Sometimes there’s still some snow from the previous winter, but it can already get quite warm. The first spring flowers bloom, the alp marmots stick their heads out of the ground and you have everything to yourself in the quiet valleys. An ideal time for those looking for some peace and quiet and don’t want to do very challenging or high walks. In June the fields look like massive flower arrangements and the Val Sinestra itself is known for its many different types of orchids.
Summer (July – mid September)
When the fields have been mown and the cattle is in the fields, it is time for the bigger mountain tours. Due to the heights in the Lower Engadine, which vary from 1100 to 3400 meters, are the temperatures pleasant which are ideal for swimming, walking or mountain biking.
Autumn (mid September – end of October)
Autumn presents itself in an array of beautiful colours, the larch trees become golden yellow and the leaves on trees and mountains become a deep red. The sky is mostly blue and the mountain peaks white. As long as there’s no fresh snow fall, an ideal time for mountain walks. It’s not surprising that so many Swiss people go on holiday in their own country, in the Engadine!
Winter (mid December – end of March)
The First snow often comes in November, and in January and February it is really winter with temperatures far below zero. Those that want to enjoy a romantic, white Christmas or New years’ eve, have come to the right place. In February conditions are still excellent for cross country skiing and in March it’s often possible to sunbathe in just your t-shirt by the ski slopes. A winter holiday in the mountains mostly means fresh air and lots of sun light.