Pontresina is situated at 1,805 metres above sea level in a side valley, very close to the Bernina Range that includes the two most famous peaks of the Engadine: Piz Palü and Piz Bernina. The latter, at 4'049 metres’ altitude, is the highest peak in the Eastern Alps. This mountain village, steeped in history, excites from the moment you set foot in it, with the beauty of the traditional Engadine houses and the elegance of large hotels of the Belle Époque immediately transporting you back to a time in which time and everyday life play a secondary role.
If the melodious singsong of Pontresina locals sounds a bit like Spanish to you, you are not entirely mistaken: the local language of Romansh, like the Spanish and Italian languages, belongs to the neo-Latin languages. It is considered one of the oldest languages still spoken, and is one of the three official languages of the Grisons. Today, Romansh is in decline – only around 70,000 people still speak the language. Romansh also exists as a written language, but it is mainly spoken – in five different dialects that are so different from each other that Romansh speakers may well not be understood by one another. In the Upper Engadine and in Pontresina, the Puter dialect, which is even taught in schools, is common. Thanks to the live stream of "Radio Romansh", it even finds its way into the big wide world.
Origin of the name Pontresina – Like the Romansh language, Pontresina also enjoys a long history. Coins found here indicate that the Pontresina area was already populated during the Bronze Age. Pontresina was first mentioned in the Gamertingen document in the years 1137 – 1139. Interpretations of these first written references still cause much controversy, with some historians believing that the name Pontresina originates from the name "Saracen Bridge", suggesting a connection to the Arab invasion of Switzerland in the 10th century; and others believing that Pontresina was named after the bridge’s builder, Saraschin "Ponte sarasinae".
350 km of panoramic downhills, resplendent in the sunshine.