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Which excursion to take on Berlina Express?

Good Afternoon-

I am planning to treat my family to a day trip ride on Berlina Express. I am quite overwhelmed with the choices and want to know which trip excursion to take (departure/arrival city) that will give us the most of what it has to offer. What other tips do you have that would make this more enjoyable? Thanks!

Posted by
18741 posts

Do you mean the Bernina Express from Chur (Switzerland) to Tirano (Italy)?

Posted by
15945 posts

Where are you coming from and where are you going? It is a very scenic way to get from Northern Italy (especially Lake Como) to Eastern Switzerland, or the reverse.

Posted by
2 posts

Yes, that is correct. We will be all over Switzerland so it really doesn't matter too much where we depart from as long it is round trip.

Posted by
5652 posts

Assuming that you are starting from northern Switzerland and not Tirano and want a round trip, know that there are two lines, one starting from Chur and the other from Davos Platz, plus theone starting from St. Mortiz. But you don't need to start from Chur or Davos, but could start by taking a train to anywhere the Bernina Express has a stop. You can find timetable information with a link on the following page:
https://www.rhb.ch/en/panoramic-trains/bernina-express#info

If you wait until you are feet on the ground in Switzerland, you can talk to a ticket agent at a staffed station and they may have suggestions as to an out and back route alternatives that doesn't backtrack the entire route. We started from Klosters (with our first train taking us to Davos Plaz). Our return route took us through the Vereina Tunnel, a 19 km tunnel making it a slightly shorter day trip.

The Bernina panoramic cars require seat reservations.

Posted by
12139 posts

Here is a map of the Swiss rail system so you can visualize things:

https://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/sbb/de/pdf/freizeit-ferien/ferien-kurztrips-schweiz/internationale-gaeste/sts-geltungsbereich_en.pdf

You will see that there are three ways to get to the single line that goes over Bernina Pass, as Edgar mentions. One via Davos, one via Chur, and one via St. Moritz ( which you could reach on the Glacier Express if. you are interested in scenic journeys.). Between Chur and Filsur is the famous and scenic Landwasser Viaduct so I would go that way.

We started the n Zurich, heading to Samedan to spend the night before continuing on. Our ticket allowed us to go either of two ways, via Chur or Davos. The Swiss woman seated across from us heard our discussion and strongly urged us to go via Chur, for the scenery. So we did and were happy with that.

If you are doing it as an out and backs in one day ( which Swiss friends of mine do every year as a ritual) you shouodnnlyngo as far as Tirano---skip the bus connection to Lugano. And it is a long day if you start in Chur. From Samedan, St. Moritz, or Pontresina it would be a nice doable day, especially if you take a few hours for lunch in Tirano or Poschiavo.

You do not need to ride the designated Bernina Express---the regular regional trains ride the same tracks and have the same views. Because this is considered an international journey if you only go as far as Tirano on the Italy border, you can get great fares by booking months in advance on SBB ( look for a Special Offer price) or possibly Trenitalia ( Smart Fare). We paid 32 CHF from Samedan to Tirano.