Scenic Bernina Express Railway
If you are travelling to Italy by train then the Bernina Express is an amazing way to cross the Alps from Switzerland to Italy. This scenic railway takes you through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges as it makes the journey from Chur to Tirano in around 4 hours.
At its highest point, it reaches 2253 metres above sea level and achieves impressive climbs through the use of switchbacks which also provide marvellous views of the surrounding scenery. The section of the line between Thusis – Valposchiavo – Tirano has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and it truly is a natural wonder.
All aboard for the train trip of a lifetime
The train has both 1st and 2nd class compartments. Both have large panoramic windows so you can make the most of the view en route. As a result, 2nd class is a great option and good value. Service is excellent in both classes. A bar trolley offers excellent coffee. In addition, soft drinks, various liqueurs and prosecco are available for those who prefer an alternative.
Don’t miss any of the highlights of this scenic railway. Details of the route can be found on the tabletop in front of you or download the free app onboard and get detailed information on the trip’s highlights.
The train stops briefly at Alp Grüm station on the border between the German and Italian speaking areas of Switzerland. Get out here and enjoy the amazing views. Gaze in wonder across the Bernina Range, Bergamasque Alps and Palü Glacier.
Later, as you get closer to Tirano, the train makes a steep descent into the valley. It crosses the spectacular Brusio Circular Viaduct. A tremendous feat of engineering which turns around a 360-degree curve. This allows the train to descend into the valley below.
The scenic journey ends as the train runs through the narrow streets of Tirano into the station near the town centre. One of the greatest train trips ever.
What time of year is best?
The train runs all year round and the scenery is spectacular at any time. However, the service is more limited in winter so make sure to check the timetable. In winter the landscape turns white under a thick covering of snow. Later in spring, the snow in the valleys melts to provide an impressive contrast. In summer the temperatures rise and flowers abound. Whenever you travel, you won’t be disappointed.
Additionally, open-air cars are sometimes attached to the regular trains in summer on the line between Tirano and St Moritz. This is a great option for photographers but you’ll need to wrap up as it can be cold.