With 580km of hiking trails, 400km of mountain bike trails and countless climbing opportunities, Pontresina is a mecca for mountain lovers.
The village of 2,000 inhabitants is located near St. Moritz and Samedan, on the Bernina Pass route that connects the Upper Engadine with the Italian-speaking Val Poschiavo region of Graubünden.
The Piz Bernina (4048.6m), the highest point in Graubünden and the only 4000-metre peak in the eastern Alps, is located in the municipality of Pontresina, on the border with Samedan. It is therefore a paradise for mountaineering, but also for high mountain hiking (580km of marked trails) and mountain biking (400km of trails).
In Romansh, the city is called Puntraschigna, and its inhabitants once spoke Putèr, one of the Rhaeto-Romanic dialects, but nowadays only 8% still speak it, with a large majority speaking German (nearly 60%) or Italian (more than 15%).
Apparently Pontresina means "Bridge of the Saracens" and refers to the attempted invasions in the 10th century: the Muslim colonisers, having set out from Provence where they had established their bridgehead, crossed into northern Italy and, crossing the Alps (so probably the Bernina Pass), reached Chur and even beyond, as far as the gates of St. Gallen!
Pontresina, nowadays, is a rather prestigious resort, with luxury hotels and Gault-Millau rated restaurants, but the village has retained much of its authenticity and picturesqueness, so stopping off or staying here is particularly recommended.