Travelling on the Bernina Express train
At a glance
- Scenic train
PLEASE NOTE: You can't book the scenic Bernina Express journey on our site at the moment. We do, however, sell tickets on the same beautiful route, between St. Moritz and Tirano but for travel on board a normal passenger train.
Traversing the great Bernina mountain range on the Bernina Express from Switzerland into northern Italy is one of the highlights of rail travel in Europe. Operated by Rhaetian Railway and opened in 1910, the iconic red carriages of the Bernina Express serve the narrow-gauge rail route between St. Moritz and Tirano. There are also once-daily through-services from Chur and, in summer, from Davos. The rail route between Thusis and Tirano is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Slowly climbing from St. Moritz towards the Bernina Pass, enjoy superb Alpine views through panoramic windows. The highest point on the journey is at Ospizio Bernina station (2,253m). After glaciers aplenty and a feast of wild mountain scenery, the line drops down steeply towards Poschiavo, where the demeanour is altogether more southern. This is the finest north-south route through the Alps, and the only one where the train goes over the mountains rather than tunnelling through them.
Trains branded as Bernina Express are usually luxurious observation cars or a mix of normal Rhaetian Railway carriages and the upmarket observation cars. In low-season, however, the Bernina Express services are commonly combined with regular local services. A great photo opportunity is provided by the Brusio spiral viaduct between Poschiavo and Tirano.
The Bernina Express runs all year long and in summer, an optional bus connects Tirano in Italy to Lugano, Switzerland.
Before you board
Ensure you have valid entry documents when going through Italy as the Bernina Express leaves and re-enters Switzerland via Italy on its route.
Carriages onboard the Bernina Express are comfortable and air-conditioned.
One of the highlights of travelling onboard the Bernina Express is the train’s panoramic windows from which you can see the sweeping Alpine vistas roll by.
Luggage racks are provided in every Bernina Express carriage.
At some stage while onboard, train staff come through the Bernina Express with a trolley offering snacks as well as hot, cold drinks and souvenirs. You can always bring your own food and drink onboard too.
Booking and printing options
Bernina Express scenic train tickets are open for bookings 90 days in advance. Journeys on the Bernina Express are included when you buy a Swiss Travel Pass. However, Swiss Travel Pass holders do require a seat reservation.
Seat reservation is obligatory on the Bernina Express (but not on the local trains following the same route) and is not included in the price of your ticket.
Get the lowest prices on normal passenger trains between St. Moritz and Tirano by booking early and don’t wait until the last minute as cheaper seats sell out quickly.
Classes of service
The scenic trains branded Bernina Express provide two classes of service: Standard Class and First Class. Note we will soon be selling Bernina Express trains on our website, so for now we do sell tickets on the same beautiful route, between St. Moritz and Tirano, for travel onboard a normal passenger train.
Bernina Express First Class
Upgrading to First Class on the Bernina Express gains you more legroom and the comfort of a leather seat. It might also help to avoid crowds during the busy summer season. Seats are arranged in groups of four or two seats around a table.
Bernina Express Second Class
In Bernina Express Standard Class, seating is arranged in pairs of seats across a central aisle, with each group of four seats sharing a table. You don’t need to upgrade to First Class in order to get a great view through panoramic windows on the Bernina Express and the landscape that slips by is just as wonderful. Sit back, relax and enjoy the final run through the streets of Tirano.