• Engelberg
  • Engelberg – Food & Drink Edit.

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Long time no stories. Sorry for that, it’s been a bit too much lately. But now, since my very nice sunny free days last weeks resulted in many nice hikes and – unfortunately – injured ankle, I have time to get on to the first top tips for Engelberg.

    And because I mainly hike (and run and ski and bike) to eat ( a lot and well), I thought it would be good to start with the best end points for nice tours in the sunny side of the Engelberg valley. Also known as the Brünni and Fürenalp side, with the south faces and sunny terraces, with great mountain views and trails for many kind of activities.

    As an extra, I’ll also tell where you get the best coffee in town. Good deal, right?

    Brunni – The Sunny Side of Engelberg

    First of all, there’s Brunnihütte at 1860m, SAC mountain hut & restaurant, which can be reached by foot, bike, skis in winter. For the not so fresh legged ones its also reachable by Brunnibahn and one additional lift from the Engelberg town. Up near the hütte, you also find easy category Via Ferrata and good hiking and other activities for the whole family. And from Brunnihütte itself you may get a bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer or just cake and coffee.

    Also note it’s accessible by lift (normal ticket CHF29 one way, CHF44 return) so especially on sunny days the place and especially terrace may get crowded (for which I have a better restaurant tips below).

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Below Brunnihütte and a bit above the village there’s Flühmatt restaurant, my current favourite one. Accessible by foot, bike or skis in winter it offers great food and drinks and excellent terrace with great views to Titlis & co.

    Flühmatt is also fairly close to the Ristis station of Brunnibahn, yet I do recommend earning the food and drinks by hiking, biking or skiing.  From here, you may find the best Älplermagronen of the Engelberg area (haven’t tested them all but well I have tested many all over Switzerland and this was definitely the best one of one of the most iconic Swiss foods you can get) enjoyed alone as a single portion or as a shared bowl for the number of the party.

    Flühmatt Engelberg Tiina Kivelä


    Fürenalp – Difficult Via Ferrata & Amazing Panorama

    Moving from Brünni further on the valley to Fürenalp (1850m), yet staying in the sunny side, you can hike up past Alpenrösli and Stäfeli (offering also restaurants and cheese) in the Surenpass direction, or take the difficult category Via Ferrata all the way to the Fürenalp bahn top station and restaurant with the same name.

    From here, you may also get the Älplermagroni but also Chässchnitte aka Käseschnitte aka lots of cheese on a bread with ham and wine and egg. And of cours many kind of drinks, coffee and cake and Kaiserschmarrn, the traditional fluffy pancake dessert of the alpine region (the Kaiser- name comes from the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph 1).

    Even though also accessible directly by cable car, I really recommend first doing the hike, via ferrata or bike, and only then the food stop (to gather enough appetite for these heavy yet yummy specialities). After the well deserved break, you may then save the knees and very well fed belly taking the Fürenalpbahn down to the valley floor (payment in the valley station, CHF14 one way, CHF19,50 return, ski/hiking season pass is valid in here) or stay the night in the mountain hut.

    Engelberg Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Apéro ! The Best Swiss Food Related Tradition

    The Italian Apero is known almost everywhere, but very few know that Switzerland has the similar aperitivo tradition, which I have taken to like a lot. In apéro, there’s traditionally local finger food like bread, cheese and various meats, pickled cucumbers, wine or other apéro drinks and good company gathering for the afterwork, pre dinner or just to have some snacks together. And while the traditional time is after office hours before dinner, around 5-7pm, you may also get quite similar for lunch or afternoon snack, with the names like Regionale Trockenfleischspezialitäten mit Bergkäse.

    Normally swiss apéro is best when shared, but after injuring my ankle I have also taken it as my solo event, on side of keeping my foot up and enjoying the good weather in my balcony. Unfortunately ,I have no pic of the excellent ones you find in the Swiss restaurants (in Engelberg try the one from Zum Schweizerhaus restaurant a bit outside the village centre) so you have to deal with this one from my “don’t know how long I stay in this place so no point decorating this” balcony.

    The wine and almost local mozzarella from the nearby Entlebuch biosphere were excellent though.

    Swiss Apéro

    But First & Last & In Between – Coffee

    Engelberg’s in Switzerland, but it’s also one of the most Swedish places on earth. And while Verbier is the higher class Stureplan Swedish place in Switzerland (pardon my raw characterisations), Engelberg is the hipster cousin.

    With cute Swedish boutique hotels, real skandinavian ski bums (more than one Finnish too) and Swedish owned excellent coffee roastery with cool graphics aka Roastery Engelberg.

    You may get the coffee (drinks) or beans or coffee makers (no nespresso here) from their own shop in Dorfstrasse, or spot the coffee served in local hotels and restaurants and  too homes. The latter only if you’ve been invited or have your own here though.

    Comes with climbing and skiing and other outdoors chat, like every good mountain coffee stand. Oh and Nitro Cold Brew. The best trendy thing happening to coffee right now (my own honest opinion).

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg


    Ps. Don’t Forget The Local Bakeries

    You may have your own favourite trail snack but yet I would recommend you always check in every village your (hike/bike/run/ski/whatever) tour starts, passes or ends the local bakery (or bakeries) in addition to the restaurants and coffee stands.

    For the best bread and croissants (mandelgipfeli for me in zentralschweiz). This way everyone wins – you get a delicious local snack and the local bakery gets enough business to thrive, hopefully year round. Which kinda goes to any local product and service there is, in your hometown or favourite resort and activity destination.

    The local the better.

    Where: Engelberg (map) : Brunnihütte / Flühmatt / Fürenalp / Roastery Engelberg / Bäckerei Stöckli for the bakery 

  • BLOG
  • The Best Hiking Destinations in Switzerland

    Tiina Kivelä The Best Hiking in Switzerland

    It’s been a bit springy in Switzerland lately. And while the skiing is more than fine activity still – thanks to the amounts of snow we’ve had this winter – the warm sunny afternoons in the patio get the mood quite summery every other second.

    And so – as the restless person I am – I’ve been wondering where I want to return to and where I want to go for the first time this summer. To hike the alps, run the trails and climb up the mountains (Especially the latter, because it’s about a time I start to really work for my alpinist goal.) Simply because going to the Swiss mountains on my two feet is my favourite outdoor activity.

    And because recently I’ve also gotten a few questions on the best hiking destinations in Switzerland for this summer, I’ve collected the following list to help you to choose your destination for the summer.

    And so – in no particular order – the best hiking destinations in Switzerland (according to yours truly) are Alpstein in Appenzell, Jungfrau Region, Zermatt, Engadin (Sankt Moritz) and Ticino.

    Read on for information and inspiration. But please, do note that I haven’t been everywhere  (it’s on my list though). Therefore, I might not even know the really best destination in Switzerland (feel free to comment below if you think I miss something). Nevertheless, I can promise I have myself liked very much hiking in all of the mentioned destinations, and I have returned many times to most of them. Therefore, I do think the list is kinda valid.

    All of these destinations are also reachable by train and all of them offer variety of hospitality services to choose from if and when needed. I’ve mentioned the closest SBB stop by name, and especially if clicking the links further to my longer stories of each destination, you’ll find further recommendations and tips for the destination.


    The Best Hiking Destinations in Switzerland

    Tiina Kivelä

    Hiking, Eating and Drinking Well in Alpstein in Appenzell

    Let’s start with my regular hiking spot in the summer of 2018.

    Alpstein in Appenzell in the eastern Switzerland doesn’t exactly belong to the Alps, yet you may very well see them from the higher routes of the massif. Highlights in this area (and very famous from Instagram) include the lake Seealpsee, Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli, Lisengrat and the panorama from Hoher Kastein.

    To experience the highlights and have a great hiking tour, Alpstein offers you a variety of routes to choose from. The several cable cars in the area also save your knees from the steep downhills and make hiking with children and others with limited mobility more pleasant.

    The easiest way to the Alpstein hiking trails is to take the Appenzeller Bahnen train to Wasserauen and continue from there to Seealpsee (about a 1h hike), in example. Another good starting point in the area is the top station of Hoher Kastein cable car (reachable from Brülisau (kastenbahn) with a change from the Appenzell bahn to post bus in Weissbad). You may also start your hike from the top of Säntis (reachable by cable car from Schwägalp) or make any of these your hike’s destination.

    From all of the mentioned, well marked trails for all levels continue all around the Alpstein massif past magnificent views and good restaurants and guesthouses with local specialities.

    And for the add ons to your Alpstein hike,  check the Appenzeller Whiskytrek and make a little detour through Appenzell for the local Appenzell beer (Brauquöll) and Appenzeller cheese (Schaukäserei).

    And if the sceneray isn’t enough for the eyes, there’s also interesting museum in the town – Kunstmuseum Appenzell.

    Jungfrau Region Hiking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Jungfrau Region Hikinh Switzerland

    The Best Panorama In The Alps in Jungfrau Region

    I’ve been lucky – like really lucky – to have been lived in Jungfrau Region for a year.

    It’s a magnificent place and in my less than objective – yet repeated by many – opinion it offers the best mountain panorama in the Alps. And more than plenty of hiking routes to choose from (one summer season wasn’t enough to try even half of them). Therefore, I have many hiking recommendation for this area especially (seen under the menu category ‘Jungfrau Region‘, though above mentioned ‘Appenzell‘ doesn’t come far behind).

    The easiest gate arrival to Jungfrau Region is Interlaken,  around which you already find many amazing trails hike on. Yet there’s also more than good reason to continue the way further, first to the villages of Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, then up to Mürren, Wengen and Kleine Scheideggen and finally all the way up to Jungfraujoch, to the highest railway station in Europe (3454m) and magnificent glacier experience. In this list though, let’s keep to the normal hiking routes which do not require crampons and ice axes and mountain guides. (Though the latter – or at least a hiking guide – can be recommended. Especially if you’re not so experienced a hiker. )

    In Jungfrau region – if you’re into the Instagram famous and the bit more demanding routes – check especially the Augstmathorn on the north side of Interlaken. Or combine your hike with a very vintage train ride up to Schynige Platte from Wilderswill, from where you can continue up to the Faulhorn and then down past the Bachalpsee (a dip allowed) to First cable car station, from where you may take the cable car down to Grindelwald. Or start in the Laterbrunnen side, where you may take the uphill route via Bryndli from Mürren to Schilthorn and from there the cable car back down (see more information behind this link).

    Moreover, if you’re more on the more good views less extreme, start from Lauterbrunnen and admire the magnificent valley with plenty of waterfalls. Then hike along the famous Lauberhorn downhill route (or the Jungfrau Marathon track) past or from Wengen up to Kleine Scheideggen, below the famous Eiger north face. From where you may also find good restaurants and trains going to three directions, one of them all the way up to Jungfraujoch, and the two others going back Lauterbrunnen and to Grindelwald.

    (See more details of hiking around Interlaken behind this link.)

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Famous Zermatt

    This is the one with the magnificent Toblerone Matterhorn and iconic Zermatt village itself. With many famous stories to tell of the pioneers, heroes and tourists of mountaineering.

    And a good hiking destination too. Though free destination reachable only by train, foot or helicopter makes Zermatt a nice and quiet place only in theory. Therefore, be prepared for tourist crowds in the village and on the most famous and easiest trails, especially during the busiest summer holiday months.

    What’s good in Zermatt though  – as in many Swiss destinations – most of the crowds stay in the main streets of the village and/or in the mountain tops reachable by trains and cable cars. So if and when you’re looking for solitude and less crowded mountain trails, there’s also plenty to experience in Zermatt too. But be prepared to see some effort and take the less traveled trail.

    For starters, I would recommend the trails from Zermatt village in the direction of village of  Z’mutt (excellent place for a lunch btw) and the Schönbielhütte (2694 m). On the Gornergrat side of the village, there’s also nice trails all the way from the village to Gornergrat or other way round. Shorter variations available too.

    And of course, when in Zermatt, you can and maybe even should take the train up to Gornergrat. From there, you find the magnificent Gorner Glacier and Matterhorn views. And a good starting point for shorter and longer hikes.

    (You may read my more detailed suggestions for hiking in Zermatt behind this link.)


    Graubünden Hiking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Valley of Engadin (Sankt Moritz) in Graubünden

    First of all, the region of Graubünden where the valley of Engadin (Sankt Moritz) is situated is a huge region offering excellent outdoor possibilities – hiking included – in almost every corner.

    Nevertheless, as I’ve only been really hiking there in two places – Pontresina and Piz Beverin – and since Engadin is simply the best in there, I concentrate on this valley. And there really is a a lot to choose from even just in this valley – according to the official visitor website a network of 580km hiking trails. Quite remarkable, isn’t it?

    For a day tour in Engadin, I suggest you to check Pontresina and the trails passing Paradis Hut. As there’s both excellent views to the valley and glaciers and peaks like Piz Bernina (4049m) and a nice restaurant and sunny terrace for a proper break.

    Psst. Engadin also offers famous resorts like Sankt Moritz for old school luxury hiking. And for the new luxury, there’s a good variation of remote mountain huts and mountain inns and spa hotels to choose from, and to be combined with a multi day hiking tour in the region.

    And while in Graubüunden, you will also find the town of Chur to combine your hiking with an idyllic town stroll (and visit to the nice Bündner Kunstmuseum), and the Swiss National Park. And most importantly, an enormous trail network all around the region, to combine a hiking tour for a day or two. Or even a week.

    Hiking Ticino Switzerland Tiina Kivelä


    Always Sunny Ticino

    Finally – like the perfect after meal espresso – there’s always sunny Ticino region. For hiking, southern european flair and after hike pizzas in Italy. You may also expect this to be a good place for hiking especially in early summer and late autumn, when other parts of Switzerland are rainy and chilly. It’s also easily combined with a trip to Italy, to lake Como or city break in Milan.

    Simple, start by taking the train to Lugano and continue by foot or bus to the trailhead of your choice. Recommended hike in there – from which the above mentioned views (minus the half naked yours truly) – is Monte San Giorgio. 

    And recommended food any pizza on the Italian side.


  • BLOG
  • Graubünden: Pontresina

    Tieläina Kiv

    Finally got myself to Graubünden in autumn and oh boy it’s great. Not just for hiking, but also for biking and skinny dipping and cross-country skiing in winter etc. I really see the potential and understand the hype.

    Last Friday, on my last weekend of the season in Switzerland (where did the summer and autumn go?) I took the train to Pontresina (or Puntraschigna as it goes in romansch, 1805m), past Chur etc. (tip: SBB supersaver day pass). Since it’s been a great indian summer in here I just had to use the last chance and go, even though going to Graubünden for days is way better idea than my few hours. (Take a note).

    Nevertheless, when I finally arrived in Pontresina, I did a little and I really mean little hike up to the direction of Piz Languard, then to the right to Paradis – with the amazing view to Piz Bernina (4047m ) and Morteratsch glacier – and back down.

    I’ve had bit of a flu and overtrained leg, so no big adventures lately and this one wasn’t an exception. Therefore, can recommend this tour to kids and more into easy hikes kind of people as well (or well, cocktail hikes, see the signposts) – and there’s also possibility to take the lift up and/or down to Alp Languard.

    My little day tour in here, about 13km and 700m up and 700 down, 4h).

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    tiina kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Pontresina