Bernina Express to/from Italy

Bernina Express to/from Italy

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suzilee
suzilee
5 posts
new member
May 22, 2015 - 1:21 AM

Hello. We are essentially travelling in Italy in Sept 15 and have three days (poss 4) to see a bit of Switzerland. We will be in the Lake Garda area. We just happened upon info about the Bernina Express to St Moritz which sounds so interesting and beautiful!. We have two nights to spare and are wondering which would be a good place to stay?? (St Moritz sounds too expensive to overnight). Also, without having to backtrack into Italy on the same route, is the route from Switzerland to Lake Como interesting or is there another route worth travelling. Thank you so much.

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
May 22, 2015 - 3:30 PM

Welcome to MySwissAlps, suzilee!

The Bernina Express is a beautiful train ride indeed. All details can be found at www.mywissalps.com/berninaexpress. You could stay overnight in one of the smaller towns close to St. Moritz, like Samedan, Bever or La Punt.

An alternative ride back to Italy is the bus route from St. Moritz towards Lugano (close to Como) via Maloja and Chiavenna. A bus ride may not be quite as comfortable as a train ride, but the landscape is certainly beautiful as you'll pass the scenic Bergell valley. There are some direct bus connections between St. Moritz and Lugano. You can find them in the timetable by entering St. Moritz as your departure station, Lugano or Como as your arrival station and Chiavenna as via station.

Depending on your exact travels in Switzerland, it will be worth looking into a rail pass. The Swiss Half Fare Card may be a good option for your trip. It doesn't cover all viewing points near St. Moritz (and it's definitely recommended to visit some of them if weather is clear), but note that many hotels in the Engadine offer the "Mountain railways inc luded" option if you book for at least two nights. This means you're entitled to free traveling on local mountain railways and cable cars.

I hope this helps you plan for your trip to Switzerland!

lkdf62
lkdf62
17 posts
new member
May 22, 2015 - 9:52 PM

suzilee,

We traveled on the Bernina Express returning to Pontresina from Tirano a couple of years ago. Except for one night in Tirano we stayed at the Schweizerhof on the Via Maistra for the better part of a week. The hotel is a very nicely renovated property with a very nice continental breakfast and, being centrally located there is a easy walking access to several other hotels and restaurants for other meals. The train station (Pontresina) is less than a ten minute walk and bus service to St. Moritz is conveniently only a short walk away - less than five minutes! The regional train service from Pontresina allows you to stop off at places like Morteratch, Grum Alp, Diavoleza, etc. and then get on the next train. St. Moritz is a very upscale town and well worth a few hours of your time.

Hope this info helps.

Arno
Arno
7726 posts
expert &
moderator
May 23, 2015 - 10:49 AM

Good tips lkdf62, thanks for sharing that!

DeAnne
DeAnne
4 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 2:04 AM

I am trying to find a train ride that is only 2-3 hours round trip that encompasses some of the more dramatic scenery around/through the Bernina Pass/Landwasser Viaduct area. We won't really have the time to invest a whole day to this activity so we are looking for the most spectacular route to take in a shorter time frame. Any suggestions?

lkdf62
lkdf62
17 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 2:30 AM in reply to DeAnne

DeAnne,

Without knowing your starting point for the "round trip" it is difficult to give specific advice.

Perhaps if you looked at the SBB train schedule you would be able to select a route from your starting point to either of these locations that fits into your time frame.

Search for the "SBB Timetable 2015".

Sorry I could not be more helpful.

DeAnne
DeAnne
4 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 3:16 AM in reply to lkdf62

We will be in the Chur/Davos/St Moritz area and are willing to drive to get to the best starting point for a route. We want to take the train trip just for the scenery, not as a means to get from point A to point B. Does that make sense?

lkdf62
lkdf62
17 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 5:18 PM in reply to DeAnne

DeAnne,

To see the Landwasser viaduct you would have to travel from St. Moritz to Thusis. The SBB timetable shows a 1:35 trip from St. Moritz to Thusis. A round trip would be approx. three hours not including connection time in Thusis. To see the Bernina portion your could travel from St. Moritz to Poschiavo. The SBB timetable shows a 1:50 trip ffrom St. Moritz to Poschiavo. This trip would require about 4 hours not including connection times.

There is a lot of information on the SBB timetable to help you plan your trip and buy tickets and reservations. There is an app for your smartphone but I would suggest you become familiar with the desktop version for a better planning experience.

Good luck.

DeAnne
DeAnne
4 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 5:37 PM in reply to lkdf62

Thanks so much lkdf62! That is very helpful information. Have you been on either one of those routes before? If you have just curious as to which one you found more scenic. I really appreciate your time :)

lkdf62
lkdf62
17 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 6:48 PM in reply to DeAnne

DeAnne,

The Albula line route is very old and the tunnels and rail bed are marvelous feats of engineering with very tight corners and precipitous drops. The forest is very dense.The route from St Moritz to Bernina pass is more open being nearer to the tree line for part of the time. The view of the Landwasser viaduct is very short in duration - perhaps a total of about one minute. The views of the mountains and valleys on the Bernina section is a bit more open. Look here for a more complete description: www.myswissalps.com/be rninaexpress/gettingt here

DeAnne
DeAnne
4 posts
new member
May 26, 2015 - 9:00 PM in reply to lkdf62

I think he Albula Line is probably more so what I am looking for. I have been looking everywhere to try and find the information you have given me so thanks again. :)

suzilee
suzilee
5 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2015 - 12:51 PM

Hello and thank you for the info to my original post. I have been reading all the info about the Bernina Express and got myself so confused as to using a pass or not, and which one, etc, etc. Anyhow, there are now 6 of us travelling and I think the best way is to just book the BEx , a hotel in Sameden, and the Bus back into Italy (destination Milan).

To put me on the right track...(no pun intended), how far ahead can I book the BEx? I read somewhere it was 3 months. I tried to book it for September through the SBB website and it seems like it was only 1 month ahead. Also, does the BEx actually stop at Samedan?? The route map show that it goes right through Samedan, but the timetable showed that you had to get off the train at Pontresina, then BUS to Samedan. Can someone also please give us some idea which cable cars in the St Moritz/Sameden area that are worth going on??

Thank you Annika for the tip about the hotels offering free 'Mountain Railways' if you stay two nights or more. Does this mean the cable cars??

Thanks for putting me out of my miserable confusion. :) Kind Regards.

lkdf62
lkdf62
17 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2015 - 5:20 PM in reply to suzilee

suzilee,

The RhB website (https://www.rhb.ch/en/ panoramic-trains/bernina-express#timetable) automatically changed the inputted travel date to August 3o, 2015 (from September 15, 2015) so I think the advance booking is probably 60 days. Also when I selected a route from Samedan to Tirano the website did not indicate a change of trains.

The Piz Nair cable car is certainly worth riding. It does offer a very nice view of the city and the lake and it is only about a ten to fifteen minute walk from the train station.

As far as your "miserable confusion" - you are not alone! As I'm sure you have noticed the topics almost always include the phrase "best pass", "cable car". Without MySwissAlps.com so many travelers would be hopelessly confused. Thanks to MySwissAlps for all that they do directly AND for operating this forum to supplement the railroad, hotel, and mountain trains with actual travelers knowledge and experience!

You are so close to becoming an experienced traveler on the Bernina Express. I hope you share your knowledge on this forum if an opportunity presents itself!

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 1, 2015 - 5:26 PM

Thanks for your kind words, lkdf62!

Suzilee: a trip report would indeed be very welcome. Other travelers love such practical experiences.

You can get your seat reservations on the website mentioned by lkdf62. E-mail them if it does not work for you, they should be able to have the reservations ready for you to collect at a local rail station.

The Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano does not stop in Samedan. There's a Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Tirano too. It also stops in Pontresina.

Last modified on Jun 1, 2015 - 5:32 PM by Annika
lkdf62
lkdf62
17 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2015 - 9:05 PM in reply to Annika

Well you certainly deserve credit. I was unable to recognize that the BE does not stop in Samedan. Indeed, we did ride the BE from Pontresina! I certainly did not intend to mislead suzilee.Thanks for providing the correct information.

suzilee
suzilee
5 posts
new member
Jun 1, 2015 - 10:38 PM

Thank you both for your info. Much appreciated. To put my mind at rest, I'm kinda sensing that when you're talking about the BEx, Anneka, you could possibly be meaning the Regional trains that also run the Bernina Exp tracks?? So when I come to book this trip, I'm actually wanting the red train with the panoramic windows. It's also been suggested to book in 1st class. How will I know its the correct train? Also, will the bus portion from Pontresina to Samedan be part of the fare? To the uninitiated, it kinda doesn't make sense that the train passes Samedan station and yet we have to catch the bus to get there. ???

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 2, 2015 - 4:36 AM

Hi,

I was talking about the actual Bernina Express, but there are indeed regular trains as well. The timetable shows all the trains. The Bernina Express trains are marked 'BEX'. If you click on that it will show you all the stops. The Bernina Express is an express train. That's why it does not stop at all the stations, including Samedan. This is common when traveling by train: express trains may pass by your station, so you get off somewhere else and change to a local train or bus.

You can take the 10:03 Bernina Express from Tirano to St. Moritz. Then get off in Pontresina and take a bus or a train to Samedan. The timetable may suggest a bus if it happens to depart before the train, but there are trains as well. For example: if you take the 14:03 Bernina Express it will arrive in Pontresina at 16:00. The bus to Samedan departs 16:14, and you would change to another bus in Celerina. There are also direct trains to Samedan at 16:02 and 17:02. The two minutes are too tight to assume you make that connection. Another option is not to get off in Pontresina but in St. Moritz. Then take a train to Samedan from there. The timetable suggests this too. That's the more comfortable option.

And finally there's the 14:26 Bernina Express to Chur. It also does not stop in Samedan so you'd also change in Pontresina.

Last modified on Jun 2, 2015 - 4:38 AM by Annika
suzilee
suzilee
5 posts
new member
Jun 2, 2015 - 5:20 AM

Thanks Annika. OK, the penny's dropped now! It's a new place to discover and all the names didn't make sense, but we're getting there! Now to book it. Thanks.

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