Board the Bernina Express for the most spectacular Alpine crossing! From Chur to Tirano in Italy, in four hours the train takes its passengers through a staggering variety of landscapes, from the high Alps to the Mediterranean Tirano with palm trees. You will travel through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges, gasp for a breath on the 65-m-high Landwasser Viaduct, catch a glance of Morteratsch Glacier, see the stunning Alpine lakes and the dramatic Bernina massif. Although the Bernina Express moves slowly, it reaches an altitude of 2253 m, higher than the Glacier Express!
Departing from Chur, the Bernina Express heads across the stunning canton of Graubünden, famous for its spectacular ruins and castles, to the small ancient village of Tiefencastel. From there the express continues south crossing the beautiful Landwasser viaduct and after the Albula tunnel enters the upper Engadine Valley renowned for its winter sports resorts. The town of Pontresina is one of them. Surrounded by pine forests this small picture perfect town has been welcoming tourists since the 19th century. Its architecture is a harmonious mix of traditional Alpine houses and elegant Belle Epoque style hotels.
Only 10 minutes from Pontresina lies the Morteratsch glacier, one of the highest peaks in the canton, from there the train starts ascending towards the majestic Bernina Pass. At the small station of Ospizio Bernina the express reaches the highest point of the route, at 2253 m. Curve after curve, past the stunning Palü glacier, the train begins the descent to the Poschiavo valley. You will see the landscape changing, from the Alpine peaks to gentle green Mediterranean valleys. The Bernina Express stops in the small Swiss town of Poschiavo where everyone speaks Italian. Poschiavo has several beautiful churches, Baroque palaces and medieval tower-houses. The train continues on to the famous spiral Brusio viaduct from there. Shortly after that, you will cross the border and arrive to Tirano in Italy.
In summer, the journey can be extended by taking the Bernina Express Bus from Tirano to Lugano.
Photos by: Michael Holler/Flickr, David Gubler/Wikimedia Commons