The Valley of the Inn (or En, as the locals call it in Romansh) stretches for 97km (60 miles), from the Maloja Plateau (1,786m/5,858 ft.) to Finstermünz. All of the villages here except Sils lie at a higher altitude than the plateau. The highest is St. Moritz, at 1,811m (5,940 ft.).
The Engadine is enclosed by great mountain ranges with meadows and forests on the steep hillsides. The villages are built of stone, originally as a protection against the fires that swept the narrow windy valleys. The whitewashed houses in the villages, known for their larders, often have sgraffito decorations (designs in plasterwork), with mottoes and heraldic devices. The population is of Rhaeto-Romanic heritage and is mostly Protestant.
From the Maloja Pass, the road runs northeast through the Upper Engadine, where the clear mountain skies and dry, light breezes make the area popular in both summer and winter. Since the 19th century, when the Upper Engadine became fashionable for its "air cure," it has developed into a winter-sports resort, highlighted by St. Moritz.
The two major attractions of the Lower Engadine, where the valley is narrower and more heavily forested, are the mineral springs of Scuol and the Swiss National Park, an 89km (55-mile) wildlife sanctuary.
St. Moritz is the major rail terminus for the valley. For information and schedules, call tel. 0900/300-300 or visit www.sbb.ch. From here, you can make bus or rail links to other villages of the Engadine.
Great Express Trains -- From Zurich, the Glacier Express climbs over the Alps from St. Moritz to Zermatt in the Valais. The Engadine Express also goes from Chur through the Swiss National Park into the Lower Engadine. The Palm Express from St. Moritz to Lugano is one of the great train rides in the area, going from the snowy alpine peaks and mountain lakes of the Upper Engadine to the subtropical atmosphere of the Lake District near Italy. The scenery along the way is some of the most panoramic in Switzerland. You have a choice of a 1- or 2-day itinerary, the latter involving a hotel night en route. For information and seasonal availability, call Rail Europe at tel. 800/622-86-00 or visit www.raileurope.com.