Besides its many kilometres of skiing slopes, Scuol in Canton Graubunden is also home to Switzerland's oldest Roman-Irish bath. Mineral water and wellness enthusiasts can reach the Bogn Engiadina Scuol by the Rhaetian Railway, straight through the Vereinatunnel and past Schellenursli's hometown Guarda.
When the fog barely clears during the winter months, the lack of sunlight makes it increasingly difficult for Swiss Unterlander (people from the lowlands) to recharge their energy reserves. However, as Swiss Bundesrate (politicians) advised in the 19th century, a trip to Scuol-Tarasp and its mineral baths can help to regenerate lost energies and replenish vitamin D reserves.
The journey to wellbeing really begins in Landquart (Canton Graubunden), where the Aqualino line of the Rhaetian Railway awaits travellers. As the name suggests, the Aqualino came into life upon the opening of the Vereinatunnel in 1999, which brought the Lower Engadine and the thermal bath Bogn Engiadina Scuol into much closer reach. While I enjoy the mountain scenery through the window, I listen to information about the region through the loud speakers on the train. Twenty minutes after rushing into the 19,042-metre long Verainatunnel in Klosters, the train emerges into sun--and the imposing mountains of the Lower Engadine welcome us in Sagliains. Passing Lavin and Guarda, the fictional stage of famous children's book Schellenursli about the Engadine pagan festival Chalandamarz, the train finally arrives in Scuol-Tarasp.
Switzerland's first Roman-Irish bath
The thermal bath Bogn Engiadina Scuol (BES) is then just a short bus ride away and immediately impresses me with its colourful, modern design and fantastic views of the Lower Engadine Dolomites. The natural fountains around Scuol-Tarasp were first mentioned in 1369. Favoured by their geological position, the so-called Unterengadiner Fenster (window into the Lower Engadine), more than 20 mineral and thermal springs originate in the region. BES uses many of these springs, which have therapeutic qualities, in its mineral-rich baths.
However, apart from these baths and the accompanying sauna area, the main highlight of BES is its traditional Roman-Irish bath. The first of its kind in Switzerland, it was built in 1993 based on Roman and Irish principles. The Romans used to enjoy the relaxing effect of different warm steam baths, while the old Irish favoured the healthy effect of dry, hot air. In the...