Bernina Express, Switzerland

The Bernina Express in Switzerland offers visitors probably the most spectacular way to cross the Alps. On 122km you experience a high alpine 4-hour ride from Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy.

The Swiss Bernina Express is a 122-kilometre rail link operated by the Rhaetian Railway between Chur, Switzerland 's oldest city, via St. Moritz to Tirano in Italy. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, the railway line is considered one of the most spectacular ways to cross the Alps and is one of our top 10 sights in Switzerland.


The Bernina Express is the only train connection in Switzerland that actually crosses the Alps (the other two rail routes to cross the Alps go through boring tunnels).

Uphill and downhill ride with a magnificent view

Train service on this line began in 1910. Countless hairpin bends and loops cover a difference in altitude of 1,830 metres, including some of the steepest sections of railway track in the world. It passes breathtaking landscapes and mountains, picturesque villages, cultural monuments and fascinating glaciers.

There is even a circular viaduct on the line, as the height to be overcome cannot be managed otherwise. Normal 1st and 2nd class coaches run. However, there are also the Bernina Express trains in 1st and 2nd class, which require reservations and surcharges. These have panorama cars with glass panes almost down to the floor, which make travelling through the alpine landscape even more unique.

Tip: In the summer months, when the weather is fine, some normal trains (not the Bernina Express trains) have open panorama cars attached. If you manage to get a seat in one of these, you will have a travel experience in the Alps that is hard to beat.

Facts about the Bernina Express

  • 122 kilometres length
  • Journey time approx. 4 hours
  • Single track narrow gauge railway
  • Crossing 196 bridges
  • Crossing 55 tunnels
  • At Brusio there is a circular viaduct to overcome the height difference
  • With gradients of up to 70 per thousand, it is one of the steepest railway lines in the world

Related links:

Official site of the Bernina Express with information brochures, special offers and tickets.