The Bernina train offers one of the most amazing rides on the Alps from Switzerland to Italy
Now that winter is here, it’s time to start planning your next getaway to Italy. Since it’s too cold for the beaches down south, you can travel to the mountains up north. Italy’s northern borders with Switzerland and France is home to famous cities like Milan and Turin, as well as many alpine villages where there’s plenty to do, from skiing to Christmas markets to thermal baths. If you find yourself in northern Italy this winter, one experience you can’t miss out on is the Bernina Express.
What is the Bernina Express?
The Bernina Express is a train that rides along the Rhaetian Railway which was built from 1908 and 1910 around the Bernina and Albula Passes on the Swiss Alps. It begins in St. Moritz, Switzerland, passes through the Valposchiavo, and ends in Tirano, Italy. Its engineering is unique in that the railway effortlessly and harmoniously blends into the natural landscape of the Alps. The train passes under 55 tunnels and crosses nearly 200 bridges, and can easily surpass inclines at up to 7%.
The Bernina Express is a luxury train, so guests can indulge themselves in panoramic, alpine views while also enjoying modern comforts like carriage dining and Internet services. The Bernina Express is the highest railway route in the Alps, and holds the honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For those who want to see more of the Alpine landscape, there are panoramic cable cars that can be taken up the slopes to see the valleys and lakes below, and the snow-capped peaks all around. The train also stops at the Ospizio Bernina, the highest point in the journey, which offers spectacular and unspoiled panoramic views of the Alps. More opportunities for amazing views along the train’s route are the Montebello Curve, Alp Grum, and Lago Bianco.
Where does the Bernina Express Go?
The Bernina Express starts in Tirano, a quiet village in the north of Italy’s Lombardy region and goes through the Alps crossing the border with Switzerland. It reaches the Swiss towns of Saint Moritz, Chur, Davos. Tirano is a three hour car ride from Milan, so guests visiting Italy’s financial and fashion capital can easily make a day trip out of riding the Bernina Express (read more here).
With the Bernina Express, guests can take in striking, majestic views of jagged peaks and glacial lakes before spending an afternoon in St. Moritz. St. Moritz is a luxurious alpine resort town, tucked away in Switzerland’s picturesque Engadin Valley. It is famous for twice playing host to the Winter Olympics, and being the birthplace of alpine winter tourism. Like the Bernina Express route, St. Moritz is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As a luxury Swiss resort town, St. Moritz is abundant in elegance, style, and opportunities for outdoor adventure with plenty of ski trails and ice rinks for winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy. St. Moritz boasts a trifecta of ski trails and snowboard slopes called Corviglia, Diavolezza, and Corvatsch. Guests can also go ice-skating at the Olympic Rink or on the scenic St. Moritz Lake. For those who aren’t that interested in winter sports, the center of St. Mortiz has plenty of luxury boutiques and top-rated restaurants.