Is the hype around the Bernina Express really worth it? Having been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, it has been described as being “Europe's most scenic train ride.” Bernina Express is the best train ride one could ever take. The hype is definitely worth it and first-hand experience is absolutely necessary!

It Will Surpass Expectations!

The hype the Bernina Express has gained is partly due to the incredible shots which numerous, patient photographers have taken while on the train ride. All the pictures and stories about the Bernina Express may not be enough to prepare one for the breathtaking scenery to be witnessed along the pass. The Bernina Express is a panoramic train experience from Switzerland to Italy through the Swiss alps.

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What To Expect On The Trip

The cost for the train can be quite steep (200 CHF) during the peak season compared to the other panoramic train rides in Switzerland. The 122 km train ride from ice-cold Switzerland to warm, sunny meadows in Italy is worth every penny. The splendid train ride passes through:

  • 55 tunnels
  • 196 bridges
  • Steep alpine gradients
  • The Bernina pass
  • The highest point of the journey is the Ospizio Bernina which is over 7000 feet above sea level.

Highlights Of The Bernina Express

With its start at the historic settlement of Chur, one of Switzerland's oldest settlements. The breathtaking, electrifying 8-hour journey from glaciers to palm trees begins.

The narrow-gauge track passes through Domleschg valley, which is well known for being the site for several castles, after which it descends to reach Filisur. From Filisur the train ascends up several spiral loops to the entrance of the Albula Tunnel.

The train will then pass through the amorous, rugged Albula valley, where the world-famous Landwasser viaduct is located. The Landwasser Viaduct is a 65 meter high, single-track, curved limestone portion of the Bernina Express.

The train then ascends past the Morteratsch Glacier to reach the highest point at Ospizio Bernina. After which it begins a dramatic descent of about 6000 feet to Tirano, Italy.

From Opsizio Bernina, the train passes through alp grum station, where there are spectacular views of the Palu glacier. Taking a detour in Alp grum can add to the excitement of the trip. There are several remarkable destinations which include the Alp grum hotel and the Cavaglia GlacierGardens.

From the AlpGrum station, the train gradually descends while traversing through numerous curves into the Poschiavo valley. While it is still in Switzerland the local villagers in Poschiavo valley are Italian speaking.

From the valley floor, the train passes through Lago di Poschiavo (Lake of Poschiavo) where it descends to the prominent Brusio Spiral Viaduct. After about 15 minutes, the train crosses the Italian border and arrives in Tirano, Italy.

The Most Remarkable Part Of The Route

The only unremarkable parts of the journey are when the train passes through the tunnels. That's only because it’s dark! Besides that, the entire journey is fascinating, there will be a temptation to take the trip twice. Time may be a limitation, and exploring the whole pass may not be feasible, it is best to pick the route which is closest to r base town.

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Which Time Of The Year Is Best To Visit The Bernina Pass

While the route runs all year round, the time of the year to visit mostly depends on the season which intrigues the visitor most.

  • Summer - Magnificent green fields with mesmerizing flowers embedded elegantly, is what to expect during this time.
  • Winter - Glassy, frozen lakes and mountains draped in dazzling snow and the enjoyable sight of skiers are some of the sites to expect. Most of the terrain is covered in snow during this time of the year.
  • One drawback of visiting in winter is that the sun usually sets quickly, so to ensure a fully satisfactory experience, boarding the earlier routes is advised.
  • Spring - a combination of dazzling green fields with a colorful pop of color from the blooming flowers, countered with partially snow-draped mountains are to be seen.For those who want the best of both worlds, spring is the best season to schedule the trip.

First Or Second Class?

Travelling first class certainly has its perks, the Bernina Express first class is no exception. While both first and second-class coaches of the Bernina Express have incredibly wide panoramic windows sealed up to the roof, first-class seats have substantially more legroom.

Why Choose The Bernina Express Over Regular Trains?

  • The Bernina Express’ most sought-after feature is the panoramic windows, which allows for a more detailed scenic experience of the landscape.
  • Route information is also available digitally through phones and tablets
  • Free wifi is also available.
  • The entire train is air-conditioned and snacks will be served conveniently via a trolley, these luxuries are not found on other trains.
  • Lastly, the Bernina Express is the only train that provides a direct route between Chur and Tirano without the need to switch trains.

A trip on the Bernina Express is certainly one of the top-adds for a bucket list for anyone traveling to or visiting Switzerland. The extra cost will certainly be worth it!

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