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Bernina Express (Trenino Rosso)
Riding the Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Tirano (or vice versa)
Take the famous Swiss red train and ride from St. Moritz, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy, where you descend from the alps into the Valtellina valley below with vineyards galore. The breath-taking Bernina Express ride takes you by immaculate Swiss towns, past the Lago Bianco and Lake Poschiavo, providing views of glaciers, and traveling down into the valley until you reach the city of Tirano, Italy. The train ride from St. Mortiz to Tirano is 2.5 hours.
* Insider Travel Tip – When buying your tickets for the Bernina Express:
-The Glacier Express – means the train cars are closed with larger and higher windows for prime viewing. The Glacier Express option is ideal for winter/fall when weather is cold or rainy. Note that tickets are a bit more and reservations/assigned seats are required.
-General train tickets – normal Swiss red trains with no assigned seats. This option is ideal for photographers and nature enthusiasts as you can open the windows, lean out (with care!) and get a 180 view.
One of the main highlights is the viaduct at Brusio. It is just a stunning sight to see the train climb the curving track; from anywhere on the train you can look out the window and see the train as it climbs up or down the spiral ramp. The viaduct is a UNESCO World Heritage spot. The numbers on the viaduct: viaduct opened for railway service in 1908, is 110 meters (or 360 feet) long, has a slope of 7%, curvature of 70 meters, and has nine spans or arches that are each ten meters (or 33 feet) in length.
If you are heading to St. Moritz from Tirano: After the viaduct the train passes by Swiss towns and a lake and after Poschiavo it starts the climb from about 429 meters (above sea level) to 2253 meters at Ospizio Bernina station. The Alp Grum station gives a beautiful panoramic view of the glacier of Palu. The train then passes Lago Bianco, which is stunning in the summer or winter as you can see many peaks and glaciers while the train snakes along the lake’s perimeter. You will see the mountain, Piz Bernina, which is also the highest summit of the Eastern Alps at 4,049 meters or 13,284 feet. This point is also where you will also see the glacier of Morteratsch.
You can make a day trip out of riding the Bernina Express by doing a round trip with a lunch break of a few hours at either end. This is also a great activity to do with kids. The general train tickets have trains with one complete open car in the back during the summer which is ideal for kids too!
The Bernina Express is a must see while traveling in Switzerland, add it to your list of things to do!