Riding the Bernina Express Train in Switzerland

Route:St. Moritz / Pontresina – Tirano, Italy
Duration:2 hours (1 direction)

We finally got to experience the Bernina Express train and I must say it was AMAZING. Crossing over the Swiss Alps on this little red train (UNESCO World Heritage railway) is a wonderful way to soak in the sights of beautiful Switzerland. The Bernina Express is the highest-altitude train in Europe climbing over the Ospizio Bernina at 2,253 meters.

Map from Rhaetische Bahn

We boarded the train in Pontresina and rode it to Tirano, Italy. The train ride is a 2 hour journey one-way. Since we were staying in Pontresina, we returned in the evening, making the Round-trip 4 hours. I must say we were entertained by the splendid views practically the the whole ride. Almost every other moment I was standing up to take pictures, it was breathtaking.

Bernina Express Tickets:

Tickets:Pontresina – Tirano
First Class:
49 chf one-way, 98 chf return
Second Class:

28 chf one-way, 56 chf return
Seat Booking Fee:10 chf per ticket
Discounts:Junior cards, GA and Half-fare cards are
accepted. You still have to pay 10chf seat
reservation fee for the children.

We purchased First-class tickets to Tirano and Second-class tickets returning to Pontresina. There are a few advantage to this:

  1. Will save money on the tickets (First-class/ Second-class)
  2. Enjoy the panoramic First-class seats one-way
  3. In Second-class you are able to open the train windows, which is a plus.

*Tickets need to be booked in advanced and window seats are the first to go. You can book directly on the Bernina Express Website.

We decided to ride the train all the way to Tirano because we wanted to cross the famous Brusio Circular Viaduct. The viaduct makes a full 360-degree circle. It was built in 1908 to limit the railway’s grad (maximum of 7%), quite fascinating to ride around.

We boarded the train in the snowy village of Pontresina and ended in the snow-less town of Tirano. In the wintertime the scenery was gorgeous, I imagine during the summer the green hills are even more stunning.

Lago Bianco (White Lake) was one of my favorite points to pass on the train. The frozen lake against the blue sky with was magical. I would love to return during the summertime.

Have I convinced you to catch a train ride on The Bernina Express? I think it is a magnificent way to experience the true beauty of the Swiss- Alps.