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Switzerland’s hottest Summer Deal: Free cable cars, funiculars and chairlifts

Updated on April 3, 2013
Being close to heaven doesn't have to cost the earth.
Being close to heaven doesn't have to cost the earth.

Cablecars inclusive deal Engadine Valley

If you think that there's no such thing as a free ride, you're wrong!

I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes while vacationing in Switzerland last Summer. It’s rare to get a great package deal these days, especially in a world famous resort like St. Moritz. So what’s the catch? You have to stay for at least 2 nights in one of the 90 hotels that offer the cableways-inclusive deal. They are dotted around the Engadine valley and range from 5-Star resorts to low-cost accommodation .

I can assure you that in a place like this, spending 2 nights is not nearly enough anyway, especially if you like the great outdoors.

Catching a free chairlift ride.
Catching a free chairlift ride.
One of the numerous cable cars.
One of the numerous cable cars.

What’s the deal?

Some 90 Engadine hotels make it well worth enjoying a longer stay: Stay for 2 nights and more and benefit from free travel on 13 cable cars, funiculars and chairlifts and some public transport facilities. The crisp Alpine air is included in the deal.

Now if you still don’t want to believe me that there is such a thing as a free ride, it IS actually FREE! You won’t pay increased room prices either. In the contrary, when we were there last July (peak summer school holidays), we got a last minute deal advertised on a signboard outside a hotel. We paid CHF 130 for a room which included a royal breakfast buffet. Remember, in Switzerland Sales Tax is included in all advertised prices and you don’t have to pay any service charges either. In some tourist regions you will be charged a “Kurtaxe” (tourism charge) but it rarely exceeds a Swiss Frank. More information about the special is available on the St. Moritz tourism website below:

Mountain restaurant at over 3'000 metres altitude
Mountain restaurant at over 3'000 metres altitude

Where is St. Moritz?

For those of you who have never been to the Swiss Alps before, St. Moritz is the Whistler or Aspen of Switzerland. It lies in the Engadine, a long valley located in the canton of Graubünden in south-eastern Switzerland. The valley follows the route of the Inn River from its headwaters at Maloja Pass running northeast until it flows into Austria one hundred kilometers downstream. The lovely valley is protected by high mountains on all sides and is famous for its sunny climate, beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities. Most people know St. Moritz as one of the world’s top ski resorts. After all, the Olympic Winter Games were held here twice, in 1928 and 1948. Due to the high altitude of the valley (around 1800 meters), temperatures can get bitterly cold, even during peak summer, especially in the evenings. Don’t forget to bring a warm jersey and a wind breaker.

And now that I told you all my secrets, may be I can invite you to read my other Swiss hubs

Why are they doing this?

It’s a win-win situation for hotels and visitors alike. One night stays usually generate higher costs for the hotels. If guests stay for 2 nights or longer, the hotels score. In summer, the cable cars have to run according to schedule, notwithstanding if there are 2 hikers or 1’000. You will receive a guest pass which entitles you to free transportation during the entire stay. If you talk to the hotel receptionist nicely, you can probably pick it up in the morning, even though your room may only be ready in the afternoon.

So you can have breakfast on the Corvatsch, lunch on the Corviglia and dessert on the Piz Nair or on one of the many other mountain peaks that have a restaurant at over 3000 metres altitude. Don’t forget to try a slice of “Engadiner Nusstorte”, a local specialty similar to Pecan Pie. Of course if you are more energetic you can do one of the numerous breath taking hikes or take your mountain bike up the mountain and ride down. The possibilities are endless.

So who said that you can’t get a free ride? In the Engadine valley you certainly can.

Being close to heaven doesn’t have to cost the earth!

Map of Upper Engadine

If you can't make it to Switzerland yet, you can experience a funicular railway and cable car ride on this video


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    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      I love Switzerland. Thanks for these ideas! Shared :)