After having reached Blaunca and Grevasalvas in summer time, from Maloja, we wanted to walk to these two magnificent Engadine mountain villages in winter, starting from Plaun da Lej. And this time too it was a wonderful day.
Trekking: Blaunca and Grevasalvas (Engadine, Switzerland), with snow
Some describe them as Heidi's villages. We had discovered them on an excursion a few summers ago (see slidegallery of that trip). Two groups of houses, set on a plateau at high altitude, in isolated and quiet position, with plenty of sunshine, under the austere mass of Piz Lagrev.
The simplest route to reach them in winter starts from Plaun da Lej (1788 metres), a locality along the road at the bottom of the main valley, shortly after Maloja and shortly before Sils. You can leave your car in the large parking lot east of the road, on the shores of Lake Sils, in front of the Hotel Cristallina (see our complete slidegallery). The itinerary coincides with the road that goes up to the two pastures, and starts immediately south of the Murtarol restaurant (see our map below). At the beginning of the road, you have clear signs, and you can't go wrong.
The road climbs with a modest slope, first in the coniferous forest, and then, having reached a first stone bridge over the Ova da Mulin (1877 metres, about 1.2 km from the start), it continues in an open field, with an ever wider view at 360 degrees. If the snow covering the road is compact, there are no problems going up without crampons, and even with children in tow. If the snow is deep and still soft (after a recent snowfall), snowshoes are needed.
To reach Grevasalvas (1946 meters above sea level), it takes about 40 minutes. Arriving at the small mountain village, you cannot help but get lost among the houses, barns and stables, witnesses of the rural life of the past. Many buildings have now been renovated, and are used as second homes. Some renovations are truly remarkable, and from the windows of the open houses (few in winter, many more in summer) you can glimpse comfortable interiors.
We sat on a wooden bench leaning against a house, in the village square where the fountain stands, to enjoy our packed lunch. A warm sun, perhaps too warm for December 24th, made our stop very pleasant, in the silence and peace of the place.
After lunch, we resumed our journey towards Blaunca, which can be reached with another 30 minute walk. From here, the road became increasingly narrow, due to the more abundant snow that had accumulated on the upward side. In some stretches, we cut the slope following some tracks that connected two different points of the road, shortening the route. A pair of gaiters or waterproof boots are required. From this point of view, our AKU boots have done a great job.
Blaunca is smaller, but no less impressive. All around, there are pastures covered with snow, and very sunny. To the north, the mass of Mount Lagrev stands out; towards the north east, in the distance you can see the bottom of the Engadine valley with Lake Sils. To the east, Piz Corvatsch. To the south, Badile and Cengalo tops can be glimpsed. A stream crosses the town, and in summer, it is pleasant to climb to the waterfall above the village. In winter, to walk off the beaten track, without too much effort, you need to be equipped with snowshoes.
After having also enjoyed this second enchanted place, we began the descent towards Plaun da Lej, with the sharp light of the winter sunset which gave the snow-capped mountains and the houses of Grevasalvas beautiful warm colours, which stood out against the intense blue of the sky.
All in all, it was just a nice way to spend Christmas Eve; we highly recommend this excursion.
Good walk. Fabio
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