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Food for the Bernina Express

Hi all,

I am looking for suggestions on how to eat on the day we take the Bernina Express. We have to leave on the 7:07 am train from Zurich. We arrive in Tirano at 12:49 pm, and the following train (every 2 hours) leaves at 1:08 pm. So we don't have time to purchase anything in between the trains, and there is no food sold on the trains. How to people deal with this. I know bringing food is an option, but we leave so early I don't see there is time to purchase picnic items....We have to figure something, it's a long day, we would be arriving at our hotel around 4:00 pm.

Posted by
2063 posts

Clarification- are you starting from the Zurich airport, or a hotel?

Posted by
117 posts

@Pat - We are starting from a hotel (Hotel Adler) some 650 meters from the Zurich HB.

Posted by
2063 posts

If you're leaving before the hotel breakfast, I'm sure the hotel will give you a brownbag breakfast, and could perhaps also do a picnic lunch for additional cost. [When I've had early flights, hotels have always given me a nice sack breakfast.]
I'm not sure when the Coop in the train station opens, but I'm sure folks here know. Also, there are many coffee shops in the Zurich train station that sell limited food. If that doesn't work, I guess it's sandwiches, breads, cheeses from the Coop store the night before. There's a large Coop store very close to the train station.

The Bernina Express sights are exceptional, and whatever you do for nutrition, the journey is quite worthwhile.
Safe travels!

Posted by
13044 posts

I would have breakfast at the Adler ( assuming they serve that early) and plan on lunch in Tirano, then taking the next train after the 1:08.

If the Adler doesn’t serve breakfast that early, head to the train station a bit early and buy a to-go breakfast (coffee or tea and croissant or other bread ) there. Check out your options for food the day before, when you arrive at the station. We found a decent “hot food bar” at the grocery store in the station—-I don’t recall if it is a Coop or Migros—-but we put together a decent lunch to have on the train to Pontresina. If the grocery doesn’t open before 7, there are coffee stands/ kiosks with bakery items that should be open.

Posted by
5782 posts

My pre-COVID recollection is 2nd class had a snack and drink trolley.

https://www.rhb.ch/en/panoramic-trains/bernina-express#info

Just what you're looking for: on the Bernina Express, the roving
minibar has delicacies to suit all tastes. Fine regional snacks and
refreshing drinks are served directly at your seat. You will find the
current Bernina Express menu

https://www.rhb.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/redaktion/Home_Marketing/Service___Souvenirs/Bahngastronomie/Angebotskarte_2021_8-seitig_105x210.pdf

Posted by
2063 posts

FYI-
We were on the regional train for the Bernina Express route, during covid, Sept, 2021, and there was no snack trolley .

Posted by
3797 posts

How about you just wait for the next train in Tirano, and have a proper lunch there?
Then you would just have to worry about snacks for the morning, and it would break the journey.

Posted by
814 posts

Here’s the link to the food places at the Zurich main train station. You can see what interests you and check the opening times. The coop to go opens at 5 am M-F.

Unless things changed a lot since I worked in Zurich a couple of years ago, the snack selection in Coop etc... was not great until about 8:00 am as they would just be stocking up and doing the first baking runs before that.

Posted by
814 posts

How about you just wait for the next train in Tirano, and have a proper lunch there?
Then you would just have to worry about snacks for the morning, and it would break the journey.

This and the places around the station are well used of getting people in and out quickly.

Posted by
11212 posts

Where are you transfering to the Bernina Express? And how long a transfer? You could probably pick up a picnic lunch for the train there.

Nigel has pointed out the food options at the Chur train station.

If you are continuing on into Italy, you will have to change train stations as the one you arrive at is for Swiss trains. Turn right as you exit the arriving train station and is less than a minute you'll be at the other station.

Posted by
117 posts

Thank you all.

To answer some of the questions:
a) if we make the suggested trains on the Seat 61 site, then there is a 11 minute window to transfer in Chur. Unless we decide on an even earlier train.
b) Also according to that site, the trains from Tirano run every two hours, so if we don't take the 1:08 train, we would have to wait until 3:08.

So, I think we will try our best at a picnic. Might buy the bread and such the day before, and leave maybe the cold cuts for the morning of, before we leave.

Thanks again,

Posted by
3797 posts

True, there is a 2-hour gap between trains in Tirano, but that's actually perfect for a restaurant lunch without stress! What is your final destination that day?

Posted by
27709 posts

are you coming back north or continuing into Italy?

Posted by
117 posts

@balso and Nigel,

Our final destination is Milan, to another 2.5 hours on train.

Posted by
3797 posts

Ok, so you have plenty of time to complete the journey and be ready for dinner in Milan even if you take the 3.08.

Posted by
1105 posts

Just ask when you arrive at the hotel. They will either fix you up or send you the night before to a local food store. If not, arrive at the station at 6:30 and you will find plenty of options.