Bernina Express from Zurich in one day

Bernina Express from Zurich in one day

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Jan 26, 2018 - 9:33 AM

In a months time I want to travel from Zurich to Tirano and back in one day using the Bernina Express. What is the cheapest way to do this? There are only 2 days when we can use the Bernina Express (23 and 24 Feb), is it possible to reserve seats on both days for a few CHF but only pay for a ticket on the day we actually travel? If so how do I do this? Does the Zurich pass give me discount on the train from Zurich to Chur?

Where is it best to sit on the train on the way there and the way back?

Lucas
Lucas
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Jan 26, 2018 - 11:10 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Rosy2000 and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, the Bernina Express leaves Chur at 08:32 and arrives in Tirano at 12:49.

The return train leaves at 14:25. You can find these times on the Swiss railways timetable here.

You'll have to leave Zurich on the 06:37 train to make the connection. Technically the 07:07 can work too - arriving in Chur at 08:22 (but no room for delays).

The Zurich Card is for local Zurich transit so it would just cover a few stops outside of Zurich.

You could reserve seats on the train for both days if you can't decide what day to go. But that is a waste of 2 reservations per person (they cost around 22CHF per person per train). Reservations are mandatory.

You can use a rail pass to cover the ticket cost (like the Swiss Travel Pass) but that only makes sense economically if you are planning several days of train travel around the country (the pass is valid for a minimum 3 days).

How much time are you spending in Switzerland?

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Jan 26, 2018 - 12:18 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

Thank you for your comprehensive reply. We are staying in Zurich 22-25 February. your advice on catching the earlier train is appreciated. Do you think it's a big risk going for the 7.07, I don't how big Chur Station is or how often the trains run late?

Where would you advise sitting on the Bernina Express on the way out and on the way back, both in terms of left and right and front, back, middle of the train?

Here's the best place to buy all of the tickets?

Lucas
Lucas
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moderator
Jan 26, 2018 - 1:48 PM in reply to Removed user

Hi Rosy,

Trains normally run on time here without issue but anything can happen! 9/10 you are fine but it is the only departure that day if you miss it.Chur is a pretty small station and the 10 minute connection time is designed to work just fine (and they may hold the train if there are enough of you connecting (let the conductor know if the train is late). Find a Chur train station map here.

I'd also suggest going out on a regional train as another option...something that gets you to Tirano around 2pm (or earlier if you want to have a lunch there) before taking the Bernina Express back at 14:25.

They don't guarantee direction of travel for the train carriages but we suggest to try to reserve the right side typically. You can read the route description and our preferences on our Bernina Express route page.

If you don't have a rail pass you can buy point to point tickets on our Bernina Express page here.

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Jan 27, 2018 - 12:24 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Rosy,

>> Where is it best to sit on the train on the way there and the way back?

For the best view of the Landwasser Viadukt, the glaciers, lakes, and the Brusio circular viaduct, sit on the right heading towards Tirano, and on the left facing backwards heading towards Chur.

You have the best chance of choosing your preferred side of the train if you travel on a regional train that doesn't require reservations, so I would travel at least one direction on a regional train. Take daylight hours into account when choosing your connections.

>> Do you think it's a big risk going for the 7.07, I don't how big Chur Station is or how often the trains run late?

If arriving from Zürich on the 6:37 or 7:07, you will arrive on Platform 9. The Bernina Express departs from Platform 10 - the other side of the same platform.

>> Where would you advise sitting on the Bernina Express on the way out and on the way back, both in terms of left and right and front, back, middle of the train?

If you sit towards the back of the train (heading towards Tirano), you get better views of the front half of the train going round curves, especially when you get to the Landwasser Viadukt and Brusio circular viaduct. Coming back the other way, if you are facing backwards, being towards the front of the train is better.

>> Here's the best place to buy all of the tickets?

You can buy your tickets (Zürich-Tirano) plus reservation (Chur-Tirano) on the Rhaetian Railway website.

Alternatively, you can buy tickets and reservations separately:

  • Tickets on the Rhaetian Railway or SBB websites, or at any station in Switzerland. If buying a ticket from Zürich to Tirano, choose the option Via VEREINA ODER ALBULA.
  • Reservations via the link Lucas has given you, or directly on the Rhätische Bahn website:

www.rhb.ch/en/tickets-travelcards/bernina-express-booking/bernina-express

When making a reservation, if you already have a ticket (or intend to get one separately), choose the reduction "Ticket available". The reservation will cost CHF 10 per person one way.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jan 27, 2018 - 12:27 AM by Removed user
rockoyster
rockoyster
3928 posts
expert
Jan 27, 2018 - 1:59 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi Rosy,

This might work if the dates suit. The Gotthard Bernina Circular Tour is available from 15 February 2018 to 25 November 2018. See www.rhb.ch/en/tickets-travelcards/promotions /gotthard-bernina-circular-tour

Last modified on Jan 27, 2018 - 2:07 AM by rockoyster
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Feb 8, 2018 - 11:36 AM in reply to Removed user

Hi there,

Many thanks that's very helpful. If I reserve the Bernina Express how and when do I pay for the ticket?

Presumably in February the local Swiss train is likely to have capacity and so we can choose our seats when we know which way the train is going?

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Feb 9, 2018 - 6:34 AM in reply to Removed user

>> If I reserve the Bernina Express how and when do I pay for the ticket?

You can buy the ticket any time up until you board the train. Please see the details already provided in my post of Jan 27, 2018 - 12:24 AM above.

>> Presumably in February the local Swiss train is likely to have capacity and so we can choose our seats when we know which way the train is going?

If you catch a local train instead of the Bernina Express, there are no reservations, and you can choose where to sit. February is the height of the ski season, so it's possible some sectors might be busy, especially as you are travelling on a Friday or Saturday.

If you are buying reservations and travelling on the Bernina Express, you can choose a window seat, but there is no guarantee whether you will be facing forwards or backwards, or whether you will be seated on the left- or right-hand side of the train.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Feb 9, 2018 - 6:37 AM by Removed user

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