“There is no place I love as much,” wrote the German philosopher Nietzsche more than a hundred years ago. He was referring to Val Fex in Engadine, one of the highest continuously populated valleys in Switzerland. The area is well worth exploring by carriage.
The car-free valley is an ideal starting point for hikes in the vast, sun-drenched landscape. “Val Fex” lies south of Sils in Upper Engadine and takes its name from the Romansh word “feda”, meaning sheep, as the people of Bregaglia once brought large herds of sheep to the valley.
Starting from Sils-Maria at the entrance to the valley, there are two small settlements on the way into Val Fex consisting of just a few houses. The sunny side is virtually free of trees but abundantly covered with high Alpine flora, whereas vast stone pine and larch forests extend into the valley on the shady slopes. The valley ends at the Fex Glacier, surrounded by the Piz Tremoggia, Piz Chapütschin, Piz Fora and Piz Güz.
Now a picturesque destination for tourists, the valley was once a starting point for small-scale smuggling over the mountains to and from Italy. Those who appreciate the seclusion of this place today will certainly agree with Nietzsche.