A Scenic Journey Through Switzerland
On The Bernina Express
The Bernina Express – A Gem in the Swiss Public Transport System
Living in Switzerland you get spoilt by the high standards of the railway network – not to mention the frequency and interconnectivity of the whole of the Swiss public transport system. When it comes to scenic railway journeys you are spoilt for choice as there are so many scenic railway journeys you can make. However, the Bernina Express is surely amongst the most stunning!
So Many Famous Swiss Sights in One Journey
The Bernina Express itinerary is pretty amazing – it passes through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges taking you some of the most stunning landscapes in Switzerland. As you lie back in your comfortable seat the views keep unfolding in front of you. It also spectacularly passes over the 65m high Landwasser Viaduct, which is the signature structure of the Rhaetian Railway and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Along the journey, you get to see so many famous Swiss sights all in the space of one day. You can see the Montebello curve with views onto the Bernina massif, the Morteratsch glacier, the three lakes Lej Pitschen, Lej Nair and Lago Bianco, the Alp Grüm and the Brusio Circular Viaduct.
The train’s large panoramic windows allow you to enjoy amazing views whichever side of the carriage you sit on.
As you travel on you go from valley floors right up to the top of the mountains and you just have to marvel at the skill of the engineers who built this line.
Bernina Route to Poschiavo From Chur
The route we went on the Bernina Express went from Chur in to Poschiavo in Switzerland and then onto Le Prese but you can go all the way to Tirano in Italy. It also runs along other routes from St Moritz too. Most of the journey is along the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula, which is a World Heritage Site. In Summer, the journey can be extended from Tirano to Lugano aboard the Bernina Express Bus.
We set off early in the morning from Zurich to Chur by regular train and then at Chur we took the Bernina Express to Poschiavo and on to Le Prese. The train doesn’t have a dining car but it does have a large selection of drinks and snacks on its trolley service. So as we arrived at Alp Grüm just after 11.30 am we went for an early mountain lunch. We ate regional specialities (including the Vermicelle dessert pictured ) on the balcony of the restaurant (which also has rooms) whilst enjoying stunning views over the glacier.
Hike to Cavaglia and the Glacier Garden
Poschiavo and Le Prese
At Cavaglia we boarded the train again, this time to visit the charming town of Poschiavo. We had a wonderful tour round, finishing with a delightful aperitif in the centre of the main square. There is quite a lot to see here so I will cover it in a future post.
Lago di Poschiavo in Le Prese
From Poschiavo it was just a short journey to Le Prese where we were staying at the Sport Hotel Le Prese, and where incidentally they have a great restaurant. Owned by the Raselli family, Le Prese is famous for the Raselli herbs and flowers which are cultivated here and which go to make some of the best teas and herbs for all sorts of purposes, including the famous Ricola sweets.
Bruno Raselli gave us a fantastic tour of the grounds where the herbs are grown and showed us how it is all processed and packaged in the factory.
Return to Chur on the Bernina Express
After our little stay in this beautiful part of the world, it was time to head back to Zurich, by once again taking the Bernina Express to Chur and then the regular train home. In a couple of days we had seen so much of Switzerland, so many landmarks that it really was impressive. The scenery is stunning, the engineering behind it all is unbelievable and its the most scenic way to cross the Swiss Engadin Alps. I highly recommend this train journey as one of the best ways of seeing Switzerland. The best news is that the Bernina Express runs all year long!
When: The Bernina Express runs all year round
Please Note: From 2nd – 7th November there will be a line closure between Pontresina and Poschiavo due to building work but a replacement bus service will be in operation.
Route: From Chur or Landquart to Poschiavo and to Tirano in Italy
Tickets: For tickets please see here. Please note that for the Bernina Express in addition to your ticket you also require a seat reservation.
With Photos by Carmen Sirboiu
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