Operated by Rhaetian Railway and in most parts of its route running along the World Heritage Site known as Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, the Bernina Express connects Chur (Davos) and Poschiavo in the country and Tirano in Italy via the Swiss Engadin Alps. It is equipped with panoramic coaches with on-board audio guide in German and Italian apart from English. As its purpose is for sightseeing passengers should not expect it to be a high-speed train. It is highly popular among travelers visiting Switzerland.
In 2008 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Albula and Bernina lines jointly as a World Heritage Site. Bernina Express takes four hours to cross the area housing 196 bridges, 55 tunnels and 2,253 metres above sea Bernina Pass.
Major Stations Where Bernina Express Stops
The Bernina Express originates from Chur station in Switzerland and ends Tirano station in Italy. Before crossing the border the last stop in Switzerland is Campocologno. It only covers single station in Italy. Below are the list of stations where the sightseeing train stops:
Chur | Reichenau-Tamins | Thusis | Tiefencastel | Filisur | Bergün/Bravuogn | Preda | Samedan | Punt Muragl | Pontresina | Surovas | Morteratsch | Bernina Suot | Bernina Diavolezza | Bernina Lagalb | Ospizio Bernina | Alp Grüm | Cavaglia | Cadera | Privilasco | Poschiavo | Li Curt | Le Prese | Miralago | Brusio | Campascio | Campocologno | (Crosses Switzerland-Italy border) Tirano
Bernina Express Journey
From Chur to Samedan near St. Moritz the train shares route of Glacier Express via Landwasser Vladuct. It climbs up to the Bernina Pass from south of Pontresina and passes Monteratsch Glacier. This part results with reaching to the highest point at Ospizio Bernina, which is about 2,253 metres or 7,391 feet above sea level. Descending from here it calls at the village of Poschiavo and thereafter heads toward Tirano running around the famous Brusio Spiral Vladuct. At Tirano it connects to the Rhatische Bahn and tourist can take high-speed trains to Milan and from there to Florence, Rome or Venice.
Tickets for Bernina Express
The basic ticket will cost CHF 64 (£52, €61) in 2nd class or CHF 112 (£90, €106) in 1st class for the entire route from Chur to Tirano. Children under 16 have a discounted ticket by 50 percent. Other non-panoramic trains too run on the same route and the base ticket price is same. For the Bernina Express additional reservation fee is charged and this costs CHF 10 (£8, €9) in winter or CHF 14 (£11, €13) in summer.
The summer time is between 15 May to 29 October and winter time is for the rest of the year.
Bernina Express FAQ
What time is best?
It is best across the year, but note in winter it offers different experience through a snowy wonderland. In summer you can see lush green Swiss meadows.
Which is better, northbound or southbound?
Both are good in summer, but in winter prefer southbound as the train will run the last few hours in darkness in the northbound.
Prefer first or second class?
The scenery and panoramic experience is same in both the classes and the only basic difference is the seating layout like 2+2 in second class across the width of the car and it is 2+1 arrangement in first class. For couples the first class is better as three will be table of just two on one side. The on-board service is same for both classes.