Bernina ExpressSwitzerland Trains

Bernina Express: 14 Things You Need To Know Before Riding

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The Bernina Express in Switzerland is one of the best train rides in the world! On this magical ride you’ll traverse 2 countries, Switzerland and Italy, while seeing some of the most scenic vistas you can imagine.

Is the Bernina Express Worth It

As one of the most inexpensive scenic train rides in Switzerland, the Bernina Express is completely worth the cost of riding. There is no question if you are visiting Switzerland you should plan to include the Bernina Express in your travel plans. The views and cost make the Bernina Express a better bargain than the more famous Glacier Express.

The Bernina Express is Totally Worth It!

Where Does the Bernina Express Start and End

The Bernina Express starts in the beautiful Swiss town of Chur. From Chur you’ll ride south to Tirano, Italy where the Bernina Express ends. You could also ride in the opposite direction if you want to get back to Chur, or ride regional trains with the same views back.

Chur Switzerland train station
Chur Station

How Long is the Bernina Express

The Bernina Express is a 4 hour trip between Switzerland and Italy that covers 90 miles. On this thrilling journey you’ll be exposed to 196 bridges and 55 tunnels including the world famous Landwasser Viaduct and the exciting Bruso Viaduct that turns the train 360 degrees.

Can You Do Bernina Express In One Day

The Bernina Express can easily be done in one day. The ride is 4 hours from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy. Many passengers who do not wish to leave Switzerland ride it both ways in the same day, round trip from Chur.

What Is The Difference Between the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express

The difference between the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express is comfort and service. The Bernina Express is more of a bare bones scenic train ride than a luxury experience. On the Glacier Express you are paying for upgraded seating, more staff, and better food options. The 2 routes overlap part of the way, going south from Chur, Switzerland.

Can You Get On and Off the Bernina Express

Seat reservations are required to ride the Bernina Express, so you cannot hop on and hop off whenever you want. You’ll need a ticket or a Swiss Travel Pass, as well as a seat reservation every time you want to get on and ride the Bernina Express. There is a stop in Alp Grum where passengers can get off to stretch their legs and take in the views for about 10 minutes.

Stopping on the Bernina Express

Which is More Scenic between the Glacier Express and Bernina Express

The Glacier Express is slightly more scenic than the Bernina Express. The best section of the Glacier Express is from Andermatt to Disentis, while the best section of the Bernina Express is in southern Switzerland from Alp Grum to the Brusio Viaduct. The two routes share the middle section of track from Chur through the Landwasser Viaduct.

Is the Bernina Express Worth It In Winter

The Bernina Express is absolutely worth riding in winter. In fact, it is the best season to ride through Switzerland on trains as you’ll get less crowds, cheaper prices, and snow covered landscapes on the entire trip.

Can You Take Luggage on the Bernina Express

Luggage racks are available on the Bernina Express. There is more space on the luggage racks in second class than in first class, as in first class some of the space is taken up by a library. If you are traveling with large amounts of luggage, second class might be the best choice for you.

Bernina Express Luggage
Bernina Express 2nd Class Luggage Racks

Is There Food on the Bernina Express

Food is available on the Bernina Express, but it is just basic food bought from a cart than comes through the car a few times. You are allowed to bring your own food on board, so we recommend you pack a lunch to bring with you on the trip.

Bernina Express Food
Bernina Express Food Cart

What is the Difference Between First and Second Class on the Bernina Express

There is very little difference between first class and second class on the Bernina Express. The main difference is that in first class you can get a seat for 2 facing each other with nobody beside you. In second class the seats are situated in groups of 4. Due to their being 1 less seat in first class the seats are slightly bigger. Both classes have amazing picture windows to view the landscape.

First Class on Bernina Express Single Side
Bernina Express First Class
First Class Bernina Express Double Side
Bernina Express second class
Second Class on the Bernina Express

Which Side of the Bernina Express is Better

Traveling south from Chur to Tirano, you ‘ll want to be on the right side of the train. Going north you’ll want to be on the left side of the train.

What is the Best Time to Take the Bernina Express

The best time of year to ride the Bernina Express is in winter, when the views are all spectacular because of the landscape being covered in snow. During winter you’ll also have less crowds and cheaper prices, making it an ideal time to ride the Bernina Express.

Bernina Express
Bernina Express in Winter

What is the Best Section of the Bernina Express

The best section of the Bernina Express is from Alp Grum to the Brusio Viaduct. The famous Landwasser Viaduct is in the Albula area, so make sure you have your camera ready as you pass over. Ospizio Bernina is also beautiful.

Bernina Express
Landwasser Viaduct
Robert Marmion
Rob is married to Allie and together they have been traveling the world for the past 2 years. Rob is one of the most published photographers in the world, having published over 750,000 images in the last 15 years. He enjoys doing landscape and astrophotography while on the road.