The Majestic Bernina Express Train Journey
One of The Top Swiss Rail Journeys in Switzerland
Looking for a breathtaking train journey through the heart of the Swiss Alps? You really can’t go wrong with a trip on the renowned Bernina Express – it’s one of the top Swiss rail journeys in Switzerland. In fact many say that the Bernina Express, is the crown jewel of Switzerland’s extensive train network, famed for its scenic voyage through the Swiss Alps. This unique rail experience allows you to enjoy the captivating vistas of Graubünden’s mountain ranges, gorges and picturesque natural landscapes, promising unforgettable adventure. It is a wonderful experience any time of year and is equally popular with both visitors and Swiss alike.
The journey begins at Chur, the country’s oldest city and the gateway to the picturesque Graubünden region and it ends in Italy, in the charming town of Tirano. As you travel along this iconic route, you will view some unique and very stunning sights such as the Landwasser Viaduct, the Bernina Massif, Ospizio Bernina, Alp Grüm, and the intricate spiral of the Brusio Viaduct, among others. In fact on this route the Bernina Express will take you on a unique journey through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges.
If you’re coming from Zurich, there are plenty of trains from Zurich main station to Chur. However, many international travellers, will begin their journey to the Bernina Express from Geneva and enjoy some additional scenic views along the way as they pass through the south western, French speaking part of Switzerland.
Bernina Express: An Unforgettably Scenic Journey
Embarking on the Bernina Express, you are promised an immersive experience through cultural and natural wonders. Here are some of the highlights you will view on your journey:
Historical City of Chur: The starting point, Chur, offers a blend of historical richness and access to one of Switzerland’s most stunning regions.
Landwasser Viaduct: An architectural marvel on the Albula Railway Line, this viaduct presents an awe-inspiring entry into a tunnel etched into sheer rock.
Bergün/Bravuogn: Situated in the Albula Valley, this village’s beauty perfectly encapsulates the enchanting Swiss countryside.
Bernina Range: You will enjoy scenic views for miles alongside soaring peaks and expansive glaciers in one of the Alps’ highest ranges.
Ospizio Bernina: At 2,253 meters above sea level, Ospizio Bernina stands as the pinnacle of the Rhaetian Railway, providing unparallelled mountainous views.
Alp Grüm: This scenic spot offers a panoramic view of the Palü Glacier, Lagh da Palü, and the sweeping Poschiavo Valley.
Brusio Viaduct: See for yourself the engineering genius at this spiral viaduct, enhancing your descent towards Italy.
Plan Your Bernina Express Adventure
To travel on the Bernina Express you need a seat reservation to ensure your place on this popular journey. Book your seat through the RhB website or over the phone (+41 81 288 65 65), or at any Swiss train station. Please note that you will pay an additional fee for the reservation.
Where to Book Your Swiss Train Tickets and Bernina Express Tickets
You can book everything in one place on the SBB website (www.sbb.ch), where you can effortlessly plan your journey. Enter your departure and arrival points, and you will be given a complete travel schedule. Another tip is to use the SBB mobile app, on your phone so that you have all your travel information at your fingertips.
Discounts with Half Fare Cards
For budget-savvy travellers, consider investing in a Half Fare (Halb Tax) Discount Card which you can also buy on the SBB website. This card, valid for visitors one month, and for residents, (at a different price), for one year, grants you half-price travel across SBB routes and most other railway networks in Switzerland. For the ultimate travel companion, opt for the Swiss Pass, which gives you unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat within Switzerland, complimentary or discounted museum visits, and reduced-price mountain excursions. Again, this is available for both visitors and for residents.
Duration and Scenery
Expect a travel time of approximately 4 hours and 21 minutes from Chur to Tirano, with the route acclaimed as one of the country’s most scenic, endorsed by UNESCO’s recognition of the Albula / Bernina landscapes.
Regular Train versus Bernina Express
If flexibility is a priority, local trains provide a viable alternative, covering segments of the iconic route. While they lack the specialized scenic carriages of the Bernina Express and the wonderful “all in one” experience of the Bernina, some of them compensate with windows which you can open for unobstructed photography – you will see the camera symbol on these trains. However, local trains require transfers at stations like Samedan and Pontresina.
Whether you opt for the luxury of the Bernina Express or the flexibility of local trains, your journey through the Swiss Alps is bound to be an unforgettable experience, combining the comfort of world-class travel with the raw beauty of Switzerland’s natural landscapes.
The Bernina Express
Where: Beautiful routes Chur to Tirano Italy and via St Moritz
When: All year round (with exception of scheduled maintenance closures)
Tickets: You can buy tickets here
Swiss Railways SBB: More info on www.sbb.ch
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