The Bernina Express train in Italy: a magical tour!
Hey everyone! How are you today? Hope you’re all doing great! What a pleasure having you with us! 🙂 Today we are going to talk about one of the most beautiful tours you can do in Italy: the train ride on the iconic Bernina Express! We will give you the treasure map so you can embark on this amazing tour full of charms and unforgettable discoveries! Are you ready to get on board of the Bernina Express in Italy? Stay with us and make the best of boot shaped country! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
The panoramic train is characteristic for its red color and departs from the very popular city of St. Moritz, Switzerland, reaching Tirano, Italy. It also takes the opposite route: it leaves Tirano passing through some cities in Switzerland and arrives in St. Moritz! The line was built in 4 years, between 1906 and 1910, and was entirely designed for tourism.
In 2008, it became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list, mainly the 122 km that connect Thussis, St. Moritz and Tirano. The landscapes along the way are breathtaking and leave any Hollywood movie to shame! Do you think I’m exaggerating? Then take a look at the video that you will find throughout this post, the video shows the entire route with its main cities!
The route is 61 kilometers long – most of it in Rhaetian territory, and it’s amazing! Starting from Tirano, which is 492 meters high, it reaches 2,253 meters from the Bernina Pass and descends to 1,775 meters from St. Moritz, with its magnificent landscapes between mountains, forests, lakes, and glaciers.
1) The Bernina Express train in Italy: a magical tour! – BUYING THE TICKET!
Before getting carried away by the excitement, remember that you should go with everything organized before your trip, ok?! It is possible to organize yourself without major problems well in advance! To do this, access the website to purchase the ticket clicking here! It is possible to choose the city of departure, the class in which you want to travel and whether you want to buy one way or round trip. On the website it is also possible to see the entire route that the train takes and where it is in real time (2D map). The ticket amount is in Swiss Francs, so check the quote of the day.
However, it is also possible to buy at the same time, as I did, in which case it is important to have the train departure times and arrive at least an hour before.
There are two types of train that make this journey:
The regional train
To use this train, it is not necessary to make a reservation; this train also has retractable windows, but it is almost impossible to get a photo without the reflection of the glass; all carriages are heated; output frequency is hourly; and allows the transport of bicycles.
The Regionale train has windows that can be lowered and that’s great, because even during the winter period it is possible to open the windows and make amazing videos!
Despite being a simpler train than the panoramic one, and costing less, it allows you to get off and on at the various stops, so I advise you to use this train which, by chance, was the one I used for my tour!
The panoramic train that is the Bernina Express:
This train is very elegant, as well as beautiful and comfortable, but it is not the best option for those who would like to make a stop beyond the proposed route, because if you get off you will have to take the next train and, for that, you will have to pay another ticket. , that is: it does not pay!
Not all windows can be opened, as some go from floor to ceiling; stops only at certain stations; it also has heated carriages; it departures only 3 to 4 times a day; and does not allow the transport of bicycles.
Below I tell you which are the stops of the train:
- Tirano: this is the main arrivals and departures station! A must-see around here is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Tirano;
- Le Prese: if you want to make a stop here, be sure to take a walk along Lake Poschiavo;
- Poschiavo: this is the capital of Valposchiavo, which is very famous for its historic center and elegant Renaissance-style buildings. This city is charming;
- Cavaglia: this is where, in fact, the ascent of the train begins! Here you will be able to observe the rock formations called Marmitte dei Giganti, which make up the Glacier Garden of Cavaglia – it is much more beautiful in summer;
- Alp Grüm: this station offers us a beautiful view of the incredible Palü glacier with its namesake lake, the Cavaglia plain and the Bergamo Alps. The cool thing here is that the station has a hotel, which is delicious;
- Ospizio Bernina: it is one of the most famous stops of all, also for its splendid panorama! With its 2,253 meters of altitude, it is the highest station on the Rhaetian Railway and deserves a visit;
- Bernina Lagalb: perfect for skiers;
- Bernina Diavolezza: it is also a great option for those who want to ski, but the highlight of this stop is its incredible view! From here you can climb to almost 3,000 meters above sea level with the Diavolezza cable car;
- Morteratsch: with a 50-minute walk, you can reach the tongue of the Bernina glacier! Prepare the legs;
- Pontresina: the ideal stop for those who want to go to Saint Moritz on foot. Starting from here and following the path that crosses forests, frozen lakes and special landscapes, you arrive at the beautiful Swiss city!
- Saint Moritz: it’s the final stop on the Bernina! It is a very special and world-famous place, as well as beautiful! Be sure to eat a sweetie at the traditional Hanselmann pastry shop.
If you decide to travel aboard the Bernina, choose to take the route from Tirano-Saint Moritz DIRECT, that is: don’t get off on the way out, only on the way back! That’s because if you get off, you “lose” your reserved seat, because when you get off, you can only reboard on a regional train, not on the next Bernina – unless you pay the supplement! Sincerely? It’s not worth overpaying!
2) The Bernina Express train in Italy: a magical tour! LEARN HOW TO GO TO TIRANO!
From Milan, take the train to Tirano. The journey from Milan to Tirano is also worthy of sighs: the train passes by the shores of Lake Como and the trip is very pleasant! (It takes 2h30min). Find out here: Where to stay in Milan?
Tirano has two train stations
Regional trains are operated by Trenitalia, and the Rhaetian Railway, where you board the Bernina Express. It’s all well organized, don’t worry! The Bernina Express leaves the station at 10 a.m., so if possible, spend the night in Tirano the day before, to avoid rushing and possible delays in coming from Milan.
- If you’re going to take a picture through the window, don’t use the flash!
- At the hotel reception in Tirano, ask for a tour folder. Just to add to your excitement!
- BRING YOUR PASSPORT, BECAUSE YOU WILL BE CHANGING COUNTRIES – despite Switzerland being part of the Schengen Treaty, they will ask for your entry and exit control document, ok?!
Visit the cities in the same day or spend the weekend there?
My sugestion? Spend a weekend there! The stops are very charming – besides being several! – and, therefore, offers us plenty of options for views, restaurants, tourist sites. It is important to pay attention to the schedules, as they change according to the season. To check BEX timetables, click here!
If you decide to sleep in Tirano, I recommend the Curt di Clement Eco Mobility Hotel, which has an excellent location, being a very central hotel. To make your reservation, click here!
3) The Bernina Express train in Italy: a magical tour! CONTEMPLE THE LANDSCAPES!
Inside the train it is common to see passengers getting up and walking from side to side to photograph the incredible landscapes along the way: don’t be ashamed and do the same! LOL! During the route, all the information about where the train is passing is given by the loudspeaker (in English and German).
Brusio’s Circular Viaduct
One of the highlights of the tour is when the train approaches Brusio’s Circular Viaduct. It is one of the most beautiful views of the entire trip, although it is very difficult to choose ‘THE’ most beautiful landscape! Then the train passes by Lake Poschiavo, which is right in the middle of the Poschiavo Valley – we are already in Swiss territory (the valley is between two villages of huge beauty: Villa di Miralago and Villa La Prese). Poschiavo, seen from the train, looks all made of miniatures. If the day is clear it is possible to see many details of the small town.
- The train passes through 196 bridges and viaducts throughout the route!
Palu Glacier on the homonymous Lake
Another sight that makes us sigh is that of the Palu Glacier, on the homonymous Lake, at more than 2,300 meters of altitude. Although the glacier is gradually decreasing and significantly, due to the effects of global warming, it retains all its majesty! It is the ‘apple of the eyes’ of the well-known Garden of the Glaciers (Giardino dei Ghiacciai, in Italian).
The next stop of the train is at Alp Grüm, where you can see the Palu Glacier in a very wide way. Following the journey, the train passes two lakes that seem to have come out of some computer wallpaper: White Lake (Lago Bianco) and Black Lake (Lej Nair).
Bernina Lagalp, Bernina Diavolezza and Morteratsch
Then the journey continues with Bernina Lagalp, Bernina Diavolezza and goes to Morteratsch (where another glacier is located), going through the station of the same name in the middle of the forest. Just before reaching the final destination, Engadina, in Pontresina, is the last but one stop before the end of the trip. After a few more kilometers and glimpses of green, you finally reach St. Moritz! Once there, sit on one of the several benches around the city to fall in love with the landscapes that surround the region and take a walk around the center, which is nearby. You will love every minute in there!
The trip takes 2h30! On the way back, the returning train leaves St. Moritz station at about 3 p.m., arriving in Tirano around 5:30 p.m.
- Once in Switzerland, you can use Euro to shop (such as Swiss chocolates… My God, My God, My God!); if you did not want to receive change in Swiss francs, you can also pay using your international debit and credit cards.
How about sleeping in Tirano?
If you want to make your reservation directly at the Curt di Clement Eco Mobility Hotel, just click here!
St Moritz is a very expensive city, so I suggest you remember to bring snacks and water with you to consume along the way.
How to go to Tirano? More options!
1) How to get to Tirano? BY TRAIN
From Milan, from the central station, take the train to Tirano (direct train). Did you know that Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of rail transport in Italy? Find out here “What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. – Plus: buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot! To learn more: “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?”.
2) How to go to Tirano? BY CAR
From Milan take the SS36 and then take the SS38 Milan – Lecco – Sondrio. Read also TRAVELING BY CAR IN ITALY: TOURS IDEAS. If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on our blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition you will find car itineraries tip and we also have everything about road signs, tolls, roads and much more!
Important to Know
If you are driving in Italy, you will need the International Driver’s License. If you don’t have it, don’t drive, as you will have a lot of problems if you are stopped by the Italian police! LEARN MORE ABOUT IT: DO I NEED THE INTERNATIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE IN ITALY?
Traveling by car in Italy
How about if I give you a rental car option? Are you ready for it? If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on the blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signage, tolls, roads and many more tips.
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The Bernina Express train in Italy: a magical tour! Bernina Express is the type of tour that needs to be on your bucket list! The dreamlike atmosphere envelops us so smoothly that it looks like we are not on planet Earth! Yes, this tour worth it!
If you feel insecure or have no time, and need help to organize your trip, do not hesitate to look for me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy. And how can I do that? Continue reading this post until the end and you will understand how can we make your life and journey easier
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