A winter guide to Scuol, Graubünden
Before we were even half way through our 7 sun-filled days in the Unterengadin village of Scuol, we had decided we would re-book for next year. The village is perfect for families who have a variety of musts when it comes to a winter holiday: Hubby and The Teen needed enough variety of pistes not to get board by the second day. The Boy needed a beginning snowboard course with an easy enough pistes to learn his new skills. Little Z needed a loving ski-school for her first pizza turns on a ski slope nursery. As for me, as my ski skills aren’t the best, I wanted a village with something to do other than just skiing. Scuol fits the bill perfectly.
What to do in Scuol in Winter
HIT THE SLOPES
We were in the mountains in February so of course what pulled us here initially was the skiing area. The Scuol ski area includes the villages of F’tan and Sent to create just over 70km of family friendly ski pistes - suited from beginners through the more seasoned skiers. I’ve written a more detailed report about the ski area here.
Before Scuol became a place to enjoy winter sports it was famous for its mineral water and wellness culture. Today Bogn Engadin has 6 pools including a salt-water pool and heated outdoor pool. Yes, you can enjoy the warm spring waters while surrounded by snow. It also has a steam room, saunas (adults only) as well as other wellness options. Kids are welcome after 10.30am.
Scuol and the entire Unterengadin region is one picture postcard after the next with plenty of corners to explore. The local tourist office has a book full of options that we received upon check-in, from guided tours to cooking and crafting courses. While the kids skied, I took a guided tour of Scuol, and as a family we explored the village of Guarda made famous by the children’s book Schallen Ursli book. Next year I don’t want to miss a visit to Schloss Tarasp.
There are plenty of different winter hiking paths in the region, so grab a map from the tourist office and start to explore. A popular path is from Motta Naluns above Scuol to F’tan— or simply get lost in the back streets of Scuol. Don’t miss walking over the bridge with a jaw dropping view over the inn below and the Engadin Dolomites above.
CROSS COUNTRY SKING
There are a couple of trails for cross country skiing in Scuol. Head up to the 2km panorama loop at Motta Naluns or take the 21km long path along the river Inn, returning to Scuol with the bus. You can purchase your cross country ticket online or from the tourist office.
Where to eat in Scuol
Scuol’s restaurants are dotted along the main street with plenty of options up on the mountain as well.
In the village:
In my kid’s eyes, you cannot possible visit Scuol without eating at least one meal at Nam Thai. The kids menu is varied and reasonably priced and the restaurant well suited to kids; they have a an activity placemat and when it’s completed they'll receive a prize. and our kids can’t leave without having the coconut ice cream. The regular menu is a little on the pricey side but delicious, and I can highly recommend the Penang curry. Make sure you reserve here as it fills up quickly.
Another one on the kids’ must-do list- it’s tradition they tell me. The wood-fired pizzas here are out of this world, the is dough tasty, and the toppings generous. I cannot remember the name of the pizza (meats and olives) I had but it was one of the best I’ve had in awhile, Not keen on pizzas? They also serve local specialities such as Capuns.
On the mountain:
The self service Restaurant La Charpenna right at the Gondola at Motta Naluns has a wide variety of meals - pasta with a choice of sauces, three different soups, the standard fried fare, as well as a menu that changes daily. The salad buffet is also a good option with a ton of variety. Tables fill up quickly after ski school ends at 11.45 and a line does develop on busy days around 12pm.
Also at the Motta Naluns Gondola beneath La Charpenna you will find the table service restaurant La Motta. This place rarely has a spare table as it allows reservations, so book ahead of time. They have two time slots of 11.45 and 13.00. Food is good - locals dishes like Pizokel and Capuns, beef on a stick served on a ski, Tatsch - their version of Kaiserschamrren and of course Rösti and co.
Although we never ate lunch here, The Teen and Hubby did enjoy a break while skiing. The Teen swears by their hot chocolate and nussgipfel (flaky pastry with nut filling) and I shouldn’t forget their doughnuts! La Palma is located at the top of the first chairlift. Under new management since we visited last, and apparently the change has been positive.
WHERE TO STAY IN SCUOL
When 98% of Scuol’s 2500 inhabitants live from tourism in some way, you can bet there is plenty of accommodation to choose from. Here is where we have personally stayed over the years.
A beautiful hotel with a luxurious feel—you will feel nothing but at home here. We stayed here when the kids were little and if our budget allowed this would be the place we would come year after year. They have a free kids club in the winter high season for kids from 3 years old but only from 3pm-9pm. The Belvedere has access to the Bogn Engadin and a ski pass included in their room price and has rooms that fit up to 6 people
The Belvedere’s cheaper sister is the closest hotel with direct access to the Bogn Engadin pools. Hubby and the kids have stayed a couple of times at the Belvair over ski break in the past and we stayed here a couple of times when the kids were small, too. They rooms fit up to a family of 4 and also include entry into Bogn Engadin as well as a ski pass in the cost of the room
Not wanting to blow our entire holiday budget in one week, we decided this year we would try a self-catered apartment. There are plenty in Scuol to choose from, we found ours on E-domizil, but maybe start your search here. Our apartment was near the Tulai bus stop which we found to be a great location - first on the ski bus in the morning so we always got a seat, and first off the ski bus in the afternoon.
Where to shop in Scuol
Scuol has three supermarkets - Coop, Denner and Volg which are at different locations across the village so there is one relatively close to wherever you stay. The butcher, Hatecke which is just outside the Volg is also a great place to stock up on local sausage varieties. We also loved the little farmers market on Friday afternoon at the bottom of the Scuol Gondola station where we picked up locally made Engadine Torte and fresh bread.
There are plenty of little shops along he main street if you are looking for a memento of your stay. We bought local honey from Engadine Gourmet which also had meats, cheeses and shared a space with a sports and homewares stores. The gift store from the butcher also looked like a great spot to pick up a unique souvenir.
Scuol in Summer
Visiting Scuol doesn’t have to be restricted to winter with plenty on offer in the summer months Scuol is well located near the Swiss National Park as well as plenty of hiking paths. The kids are keen to come back and walk the Flurina (Schallen Ursli’s brother) path when the snow has melted.