Guarda is one of those tiny Swiss villages that you are completely happy to find and explore. It is a tiny village in the middle of the Swiss Alps with old Swiss architecture and stunning views of the Alps. It kind of reminds me of two other hidden treasures of the Swiss Alps – Indemini and Soglio.
Let us explore Guarda village and learn how to get there, some Guarda facts, and what to do once you are there.
How to Get to Guarda
What is very cool about Guarda, is that you can reach it by train.
There are quite often trains to go in this direction from Chur city. If you are leaving for Guarda from Zürich, you will need about 2h 30 minutes and you will have to change trains in the before-mentioned Chur.
You can go there by car: you are going to have a very nice drive there, especially once you get closer to the Swiss Alps.
If you are going there in winter, you will have to use the car train from Klosters (pretty close to Davos) as Flüelapass is closed in winter.
Once you get closer to Guarda, there is a Public Parking Space on the left, 400 meters before all the Guarda houses. It should not be a problem to park there at any time, with plenty of space.
Awesome Facts About Guarda Village
Guarda was formerly a municipality in the Inn district in the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland. However, in the year 2015, they merged with Tarasp, Ardez, And Sent to form the municipality of Scuol.
It is necessary to note that Guarda was awarded the Wakker Prize in the year 1975 for the preservation of the architectural heritage of this location, you can really feel it once you are there: it is like an open museum. I personally love such tiny hidden treasures. You sometimes do not even expect to get to such places. It is like a Christmas fairy tale place.
The beautiful deep cut Engadine valley (the most famous place in the valley is definitely St. Moritz skiing resort) in Switzerland originates from the northwest towards the Austrian border and at the foot of Rhaetian Alps in the south of the country. River inn runs along the valley as it enters Austria before joining the Danube. On the northeastern part of this valley is lower Engadine which lies between Martina and Zernez.
While most tourists will visit the famous St. Moritz in this region, there are so many other hidden gems in this area. The little villages tucked in the tiny remote valleys are unique because of a wide array of reasons. Apart from the fact that most of these people speak archaic Romansch languages which is closer to Latin, these villages have retained some of the exceptional cultures of the past. This is not found in any other part of Switzerland.
Guarda is sitting pretty high in the mountains: at 1653 m elevation. Not so far actually from the highest village in Switzerland and Europe called Juf.
The population is just over 150 people, it is a tiny village.
As mentioned before, the biggest part of the people in Guarda speaks this specific fourth national Swiss language: Romansch. There are not so many places left who speak it. It is a mix of Italian and Latin. The other place I have visited which speaks Romansch is Disentis.
What I would like as well to mention is a very interesting Chalandamarz tradition.
In some of the exceptional villages in this area, the tradition of Chalandamarz is observed, mostly just in Romansch speaking villages. Basically, this tradition involves young boys chasing away winter and purported evil spirits by going around the streets and clanking large cowbells, and singing spring songs. The remoteness and somewhat isolation of the villages has contributed to the preservation of culture and their way of life. The region is exceptionally scenic and it is more or less like a fairytale.
What to Do in Guarda
In my opinion, the main two activities which I personally love the most are: stroll around the village (check out the buildings, church) and do some hiking. But the village and surroundings have indeed much more to offer to you, fellow adventure seeker. Let us have a look at what you can see or experience in Guarda village.
There is a public toilet (very important detail for me to show how a village is prepared to welcome the guests)
Many fountains (it gets really hot there in summer)
Information center – to get maps, information about hotels, restaurants, hiking routes, and many more. Always a good idea to visit such a place as information centers in Switzerland provides a looooot of information. Once I was in a small village called Saint Ursanne, and I couldn’t believe how much they can offer in a small village and around. There’s something for everyone.
Schellen-Ursli Museum – this is probably more for Swiss people. It was a famous book about a boy who lived in this village. There is his museum and his house in Guarda.
There is no more spectacular location than the setting of a small village with over sixty heritage houses. The houses are located at 1653 meters above sea level and it is perched high up on the sun-drenched terraces.
The village is closed to traffic, therefore, you are bound to have a unique environment to stay in. the first location that you will come across is the old church which adds to the old charm of this place.
The village is surrounded by beautifully decorated old houses and you will feel that you have stepped into a fairy tale in a book. All you need is to lose yourself and enjoy the maze of cobblestoned streets and narrow lanes that will surprise you at every turn.
The unique feature of the village is based on the magnificent architecture and preserved Sgraffito houses which have beautifully painted facades that date back to the half of the 17th century. These houses are built of wood, lime, and stone and they often have thick coarsely plastered walls washed in light brown, off-white and white colors. This provides an ideal background for murals.
The Sgraffito decorations are often freehand paints and stencils done on plaster. While the plaster is wet, it is scrapped away into beautiful and complex patterns to create beautiful images.
Enjoy a GPS guided power
It is very important and useful to know that you can use a GPS-based Guarda village tour application which is an interactive way to discover the village. This is how this village puts itself to the next level, I love such care of their place and implementing new technological tools just to make a guest more welcome. You can find the app here: Guarda village app. There are over 15 selected locations that provide useful information about the village, the landscape, and any other interesting information about the art and crafts of the village.
You can enjoy a sunny and sparkling day in the swiss village as you walk through the cobbled streets and lanes. Apart from taking a trip in the crisp mountain air, you can drink fresh tapped water from the springs.
Check out traditional Swiss cuisine
When you are visiting Guarda you should try some of the traditional dishes that the region provides. For lovers of meat, you can enjoy white veal sausages, thinly sliced smoked meats, venison among others. For vegetarians you are not left behind because you can enjoy a potato dish served with apple sauce, nut tart is also a perfect dessert choice. You should take time to check the weather patterns of the village before you visit and this will help you seek alternatives for bad weather.
One of the places to do it in Guarda is called Hotel Meisser – one very cool thing about this hotel is that they have a Tesla destination charger. So if you drive electric and care about pristine Swiss Alps nature – have no worries to travel to this isolated small village, you are safe to get some juice.
There are some other small restaurants next to the hotel as well, so you can have a nice dinner in quite many places up there.
Are you a fan of ceramics or would like to learn something new? You can do it in Guarda and take a course in a local ceramics workshop. Life long learning is always a good thing and why not to learn how to deal with precious ceramics art. You can check out all courses and what else they offer right here.
Exploring the village of Ardez
You can spend 2 or 3 hours in Guarda to explore the village and decide to dine in one of the restaurants or carry a meal to help you enjoy the environment and the meal. After the lunch period, you should rest sometime before you hit the road that will take you to Ardez via the village of Boscha. The routes in this village are well marked and you do not have to worry about getting lost. You can never miss the directions because they are clearly marked.
The views are simply amazing and you can check out the local culture and get the residents to teach you some of the traditional values.
The hike is only 5 kilometers long and almost all the time you are going down. So it is an easy walk.
Once you reach Ardez, you can explore it as well as it is a very beautiful Swiss village as well. Once you well-rested, you can head back to Guarda, the hike will be not hard as height differences are not big. Just do not forget to have some fresh water with you, just in case you get too thirsty.
Where to sleep in Guarda
If you decide to spend a night in this beautiful Swiss village, you actually have quite a lot of options – from ferienwohnungen (holiday apartments) to lodges and houses.
In Guarda you can find:
And some more places.
The variety of choices in such a small village shows me how popular and loved this place is.
Where to eat in Guarda
If you want just to get some groceries and make food on your own – you will find a small Volg shop right in the middle of Guarda village.
For a nice and fancy dinner you can always choose a restaurant in Hotel Meisser – they offer a big variety of delicious meals and wines. It is a perfect restaurant after a long day of exploring the Guarda village and the surroundings.
In the end of the village you can as well find a Restaurant Dalet which has a terrace with perfect views to the peaks.
If you are a fan of small hidden historic places which are breathing history and blows your mind with its beauty – Guarda is a place to visit.
Despite its small size, this village has a lot to offer: hiking opportunities are countless, museums, restaurants, great food, a lot of heritage houses, great atmosphere, stunning views of the Alps. What else can be an adventurer be looking for?
So just hop on the train or your car, go to the Swiss Alps, Engadine valley, and visit this exceptional place.
If you are looking for any more information about Guarda, please let me know, I will do my best to help you.