Diavolezza: Highest Fire Pit in Europe!

During our summer in the Engadin, our day at Diavolezza was our favorite. The cable car whisks you up to a lookout over the amazing Morteratsch glacier, with views of the famous Piz Pal and Piz Bernina peaks. Truly breathtaking! It also boasts the “Highest Feuerstelle in Europe,” which was an absolutely irresistible invitation to our crew. It was a short, but a bit challenging hike up to the fire pit, where we had a fun picnic, practically all by ourselves. There were plenty of visitors, but they all stayed at the panorama lookout and didn’t hike, so we had the place to ourselves. Our boys were endlessly entertained stacking rocks in various formations. We loved it so much, we never wanted to leave. There’s just something so magical about glaciers.

Location:   Upper Engadin, Graubünden, Switzerland
Address: Morteratsch 2, 7504 Pontresina
Car: 3 hours from Zurich
Parking: 46°26’31.4″N 9°58’57.7″E
Transit: 3hr45 from Zurich HB
Train stop: Bernina Diavolezza
Adult round trip fare with SBB Half-fare: ~CHF 81
   
Trail: 700m one way, about 30 mins
Condition: rocky trail, no strollers
Skill: moderate
Services: restaurant, picnic area with fire pit 
Open: late June to mid October
Prices 2017: Return adult CHF 36, child CHF 12, under 6 free, discount for multiple children.
SBB Half-fare and Junior cards not accepted.
Included in Engadin Summer Hiking Pass.
More info: www.engadin.stmoritz.ch   www.diavolezza.ch

Overview

Diavolezza cable car takes you from the valley to a mountain viewpoint at about 3000 meters, overlooking glaciers and mountain peaks. From the top, you can hike up a rocky path to the fire pit, only about 700m but it took our family about 40 minutes one way. If you reserve ahead, the restaurant at the top will provide you with wood and picnic supplies.

Getting There

This is too far for a day trip from Zurich, better if you are staying in the Engadin. Diavolezza is about a 20 mins drive from St. Moritz and 10 mins from Pontresina. 

By car: Drive toward Pontresina and continue on the main road south, farther down valley until you see the Diavolezza cable car station and parking lot on your right. 

By public transport: Take a train to Pontresina, then another train to Bernina Diavolezza, which is directly adjacent to the cable car station.

Tickets & Opening Times

The cable car runs every 20 mins from 8:20 to 17:00 (a bit longer in high summer). In 2017, a return ticket costs about CHF 93 for a family of four. Check website for current info.

Note that Upper Engadin mountain resorts do not accept SBB Halb-fare or Junior cards. However, you can purchase a summer hiking pass for 2-6 days that covers mountain transport and all public transportation in the area. They also have a Mountain Railways Included offer, which provides a summer hiking pass for free if you stay at least two nights in a participating hotel.

At Diavolezza and a few other resorts, families get discounts for multiple children. The first child pays the child fare. The second child gets a 30% discount. All other children ride for free. See website for details.

Glacier Overlook

The main attraction at Diavolezza is simply the view of the glacier and surrounding mountain peaks. It speaks for itself. Most people are just lounging among the rocks, enjoying the view. We sat for a long time, sunning ourselves, while our boys built rock towers. There’s also a restaurant with lots of outdoor seating.

Hike to Fire Pit

Most hiking options here are for more technical, serious hikers. Most hikers had rock climbing or glacier equipment and were headed into the peaks. Casual hikers could hike all the way down, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. 

The best option for families is to hike up to Sass Queder, to the “Highest Feuerstelle in Europe!”. It’s a short hike, about 30 minutes, but it’s very rocky and mostly straight up. Definitely no strollers. First you walk for a couple minutes from the cable car station on a wide dusty path (shown above) to the base of Sass Queder, a big pile of rocks (shown below). 

Then you follow the rocky “trail” up to the top of the big pile of rocks called Sass Queder.  You’ll need to keep little kids close and probably hold their hands on most of it. Sometimes it’s hard to even see the trail, but you’ll make it if you just keep going up.

If you’re planning to grill, you can bring everything with you or buy a fire making kit (CHF 8.50) at the restaurant the top of cable car. They also have a small selection of picnic/grill food if you need it. See this order form for details. We bought the fire kit but found that there was lots of wood at the fire pit, making the kit unnecessary. I don’t know if that’s always the case. The kit did have a fire starter and kindling, so that is helpful if you don’t already have your own.

It’s a very nice fire pit, sheltered from the wind and benches to sit on. There’s a grill, so you don’t need sticks (won’t find any either), but you’ll want a knife or other utensil to help tend your food on the grill.

You’ll have a 360 degree view from the fire pit, both of the glaciers and valley below.

Sass Queder is a big pile of rocks, so there are plenty of opportunities to build rock towers.

View from fire pit back to cable car station.

Our boys spent a lot of time adding to this rock shelter that was already in progress.

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Highest fire pit in Europe at this gorgeous glacier overlook. Great for families in Switzerland.

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