The Glacier Express may be more famous, but Switzerland's Bernina Express is that train's equal--or better--when it comes to spectacular scenery. In his guidebook for Alpine train travelers, Switzerland by Rail, Anthony Lambert writes:
The Rhaetian Railway's Bernina Express offers a choice of two routes:
Schedules vary by season, with extra trains in summer. Check the official timetables (see links on next page) and book in advance, since seat reservations are mandatory.
When you reach Tirano, you have several choices:
1. Explore the palm-shaded town center briefly or have a quick lunch, then return to St. Moritz or Chur on the westbound Bernina Express.
2. Catch the connecting bus for the three-hour road trip to the Swiss city of Lugano.
3. Continue on to Milan via Sondrio and Lecco, Italy by train. Travel time is about 2½ to 2¾ hours.
The Bernina Express is only one of several trains each day that cover the 38 miles (61 km) between St. Moritz and Tirano. This makes it possible to stop off along the way to hike or enjoy the local sights.
The most popular stopover is Bernina Diavolezza in Pontresina, where you can ride a cable car to a spectacular view and summer hiking or winter skiing. A mountain hotel, the Berggasthaus Diavolezza, has basic accommodations and a restaurant.
The town of Poschiavo in the Poschiavo Valley is also worth a visit if you have time.
Tirano, at the end of the line, has plenty of monuments to interest the tourist, including the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Tirano.
General Information links
SBB CFF FSS
Swiss Rail Passes
- Bernina Line - Pictures
Photos © Swiss-Image.ch.
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