This autumn, the Engadine valley is introducing several new walking trails through the autumn leaves where hiking shoes are not obligatory. On the contrary, they’re banned. The village of Celerina has created four barefoot walks that cross meadows, ford streams and pass through the Staz Forest so that visitors can enjoy the autumnal colours while enjoying an invigorating stroll that engages the senses.
Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the idea as a publicity stunt: the Swiss are renowned for their wellness knowledge and there are significant benefits to barefoot walking. It stimulates blood circulation in the feet thereby improving the body’s circulatory system and activating the immune system, which boosts vitality and enhances the feeling of well-being. Meanwhile, the awe-inspiring autumn colours of the Engadine, which have long been popular with hikers and artists, lift the spirits; the light in the valley is so magical it led the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to believe that he had found “the cradle of all silver tones”.
Ranging in length from 2.8km to 6km, taking between around 45 minutes and two hours, Celerina’s four barefoot trails are suitable for both adults and children. With the ground underfoot alternating between water, meadow and forest path, people of all ages can appreciate and benefit from the tactile sensation of hiking barefoot.
Grand Hotel Kronenhof (www.kronenhof.com) in Pontresina, just 5km from Celerina, has put together a “Golden Autumn in the Engadine” package, valid from 8 September and 19 October, so that guests can sample the barefoot trails. The package includes gourmet dinner, bed and sumptuous buffet breakfast, complimentary use of the hotel’s stunning spa facilities, a 10% discount on spa treatments and unlimited use of all the mountain railways in the Engadine/St Moritz area. Prices start from CHF 415 (approx £275) per night for two people sharing a beautiful double room; guests must stay a minimum of two nights.
For more details and to book, please visit the Grand Hotel Kronenhof website www.kronenhof.com.