3 Reasons to Explore the Swiss Alps with the Bernina Express
The Bernina Express is an incredible way to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Swiss Alps.
This swiss scenic train runs from Chur, Switzerland, to Tirano, Italy, or vice-versa. A shorter version of the journey runs from St. Moritz to Tirano (or vice-versa). Find out why this iconic rail journey through the scenic Bernina Range is not to be missed.
You'll feel like your literally 'on top of the world'
Hop aboard the Bernina Express for an unforgettable ride through the Swiss Alps and a small but beautiful part of the Italian Alps. The 4-hour, 144km journey takes you across an incredible stretch of historic rail, with many stunning sights along the way.
The Bernina Express travels along the UNESCO World Heritage listed Rhaetian Railway (RhB). This seven hour train journey through the Swiss Alps connects the cool north of Switzerland with the warm south.
Departing from Chur the train travels the impressive 61.67km Swiss Albula Railway connecting Thusis to the resort town of St Moritz. As the red train climbs to Upper Engadine, you can’t help notice the numerous man-made achievements as you pass over 55 bridges and through 39 tunnels.
From St Moritz to the quaint mountainside town of Tirano in Northern Italy, you will travel across the Bernina Pass. The rail tracks that traverse through the Bernina Hospiz mountain (2,253 metres above sea level) mark the Bernina Railway as the third highest railway in Switzerland. With inclines of up to 7%, it is also one of the steepest adhesion railways in the world.
The scenery will take your breath away
The Bernina Express is one of Europe’s most scenic rail journeys, with the train’s panoramic windows perfectly showcasing the awe inspiring scenery of the Swiss and Italian Alps.
On your journey you will witness magnificent sweeping glaciers, rushing mountain streams, serene lakes and even a tranquil Alpine garden. As you meander through the phenomenal Alps, you will pass through 55 tunnels and wind on hair-pin bends, making your experience all the more exhilarating.
You will also cross an impressive 196 bridges throughout your journey, including the famous Landwasser Viaduct. The Landwasser Viaduct is an architectural marvel - its 65-metre-high pillars were the first of their kind to be built without wooden scaffolding and have been carrying trains since 1902.
The pillars create stunning arches, which, paired with the beautiful landscape, make the viaduct one of the most frequently photographed features of the Rhaetian Railways.
The Bernina Express runs year round and each season offers its own unique scenic beauty. Travel in winter and you will be treated to magnificent views of frozen lakes, snow-covered mountains and local skiers. While the highest points of the Alps remain snow-capped in the warmer seasons, the rest of the landscape is strikingly different, with vast green fields and vibrant flowers on display.
During the summer season there is also the option of extending your journey, with the Bernina Express Bus. The bus runs through the Italian countryside from Tirano to the Swiss town of Lugano (or vice versa).
On your journey through the picturesque Valtellina valley you will encounter expansive fields, dazzling bays and charming fishing villages along the border of the stunning Lake Como and Lake Lugano.
The bus runs from 25 March to 23 October 2016.
The sensational service
The Bernina Express is more than just a train journey, it is an all-encompassing experience. The entire trip is narrated, enhancing your viewing pleasure and allowing you to fully appreciate the magic of this exquisite expedition. Both 1st and 2nd class coaches are fitted with large panoramic windows, offering spectacular views of the Swiss countryside. The entire train is air-conditioned for your comfort and food and beverages are available for purchase from your seat. While both 1st and 2nd class are very comfortable, 1st class seats are more spacious.
A ride on the Bernina Express is included in selected rail passes, including the Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Travel Pass Flex, Eurail Global Continuous Pass, Eurail Global Flexipass and Eurail Select Pass (must include Switzerland).
Although pass holders do not need to purchase separate tickets, seat reservations on both the Bernina Express and the bus are a compulsory purchase. Standalone tickets for both the train and bus are available for purchase for those without a valid rail pass. Seat reservations need to be booked in addition to these tickets and can only be made up to 90 days from the date of travel.
The Bernina Express is a truly extraordinary train journey and the beautiful Alpine landscapes will stay with you for years to come. This exciting journey is a fantastic way to experience the beauty of this spectacular region and is not to be missed when visiting Switzerland.