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THE BERNINA EXPRESS
Chur-St Moritz-Tirano

Bernina Pass From the Bernina Express ViewThe Bernina Express connects Chur in the canton of Graubünden with Poschiavo and Tirano in the Italian Veltlin district, with travel across the Bernina Pass, the highest of the Alps passes. The route can travel from sunny summer forested Albula Valley to snow blown heights in the pass and back once again to grassy pasture fields in the course of 2 ½ hours. For my money the Berina Express is the most impressive of the Swiss Scenic train routes, both for the scenery and the marvel of its engineering. It is actually one of the shorter scenic trips in distance, but almost in two worlds, and usually taken as a return round trip. The red liveried train operated by the Rhaetian Railway climbs to 2,253 metres above sea level, where the permanant glaciers cling to the crags between Switzerland and Italy.

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Bernina Express Viaduct BridgeThe Bernina Express offers a most beautiful connection from the cool north to the temperate south on the highest trans-Alpine rail route. Take a seat in one of the very modern panoramic window coaches, and lean back to enjoy the scenery. The Bernina Express passes through the Unesco World Heritage designated viaducts and tunnels which has made this train line one of the world's most fascintating rail trips. The Bernina Express shares part of the same route as the Glacier Express. From Tirano, during the summer months, rather than make the return journay, you can take a bus from Tirano to Lugano in Italian speaking Switzeraland to take the Willhelm Tell Scenic Train and Steamer Route to Lucerne.

 

 

Bernina Express TiranoSeat reservations are required on the Bernina Express. With a Swiss Pass or Rail Pass there is only a seat reservation suppplement. There is no meal service on the Bernina Express, though snack carts with a full compliment of beverages, sandwiches and snacks, pass your seat at the view windows. Kids will likely clamour for one of the stuffed plush mounatin rams which are the symbol of the Graubunden region. The stop in Tirano allows enough time for some sight-seeing and a lunch at one of the restaurants around the station square or near the famous pilgrimmage chuch which you see out the window when the train rolls down the middle of the street in the Italian town at the end of the line. Be sure to have valid entry documents for Italy (Shengen Europe) since you do cross the border. (For US, Canadian ’t require anything extra). This route can also be taken in a standard regional train, sometimes actually connected to the panoramic cars. © sbr


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