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Bernina Express Scenic Train Route

The Bernina Express train route takes you through incredible alpine landscapes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - it's that amazing. Think of all the clichés about the beauty of scenic train travel and multiply them by 1000. You'll end up on this journey through Switzerland.

Find out about the Bernina Express route and how you can experience it yourself.

Bernina Express routes

bernina express_new map

How to get to the Bernina Express route

From Train information
Zurich  You can take the direct Intercity to Chur (1hr 15min), as well as direct regional trains.
Milan You can take a direct regional train to Tirano, which are operated by Trenord and covered by the Eurail Pass.
Austria From Vienna or Salzburg, you can take a train to Sargans (Switzerland). Switch trains here and you'll arrive in Chur in only 30 minutes.
France/Germany From Paris, Munich or Cologne, take a train to Karlsruhe (Germany) or Zurich (Switzerland). There you can switch to a direct train to Chur.

The route in numbers

  • Journey time: 4 hours from start to finish

  • Distance: 76 miles (122 km) of track

  • Top elevation: 7392 feet above sea level

  • Highlights: 55 tunnels; 196 bridges & viaducts

Where does it start and end?

Trains run in both directions, from Chur or St. Moritz in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. There are 25 stops along the route.

To enjoy all the thrilling twists, turns, and views, we recommend riding from start to finish.


Train types

Two types of train

It's good to know that the Bernina Express is the name of the unique panoramic train that runs on this particular route. Standard regional trains also operate on the same route, through the same beautiful scenery!

See how the trains compare

Train type
Regional tra   in
  • Passes through the UNESCO site and mountains

  • Inc luded in the Eurail Pass.

  • Reservation not required.

  • Runs every hour.

  • You'll have to change trains along the way.

  • No panoramic windows.

  • No refreshments on board.

  • No on-board commentary.

Bernina Express

  • Passes through the UNESCO site and mountains.

  • Included in the Eurail Pass.

  • Reservation required for a seat in one of the panorama cars (20 CHF in winter and 24 to 26 CHF in Summer)

  • No reservation required for the regular cars (regular train car without panorama windows)

  • Limited daily services, depending on where you board the train.

  • This is a direct train.

  • Refreshments on board.

  • On-board commentary.


Should I take a normal train or the Bernina Express train?

If you're only traveling this route once in your lifetime, you should make the most of it! The reservation for the Bernina Express train is worth the extra fee.

The Bernina Express train mostly has panoramic cars, more personal space, and an overall better atmosphere. There are also several regular train cars that don't require a reservation. The Bernina Express is a direct train, wheras on a regional train you'll have to change trains and transfer your luggage.


However, the regional train journey is still an amazing trip. You'll see the same incredible views for free! You'll also be able to stop in one of the small towns along the way for a closer look. The choice is yours.

When is the best time to go?

  • The Bernina Express route runs all year round. Visit in spring to see green fields and farming villages in all their colorful beauty.

  • Visit during winter, and frozen lakes, snow-covered mountains, and local skiers are the main sights. In short, any time is a good time to take this ride!

Regional train insider tips

  • Stop along the route to enjoy the small villages you encounter. Simply take another regional train later to continue your journey.

  • In winter, it gets dark quickly. If you want to experience the wonderful scenery on the Bernina Express route by regional train, be sure to board a train earlier in the day.


Reservations information

Reservation costs


Bernina Express panorama observation car

Seat reservations are mandatory.

Prices for 2023-2024:  

  • Short-distance route (St. Moritz – Tirano / Tirano – St. Moritz)
    • 28 CHF
  • Long-distance route (Chur – Tirano / Tirano – Chur)
    • December 12 to April 30: 32 CHF 
    • May 1 to October 31: 36 CHF
    • November 1 to December 14: 32 CHF


Bernina Express regular train car

No reservations needed

Additional bus route

You can also take an additional Bernina Express bus between Tirano and Lugano. The bus rides through beautiful landscapes and past Lake Como. The following reservation costs apply:

  • June to September: 16 CHF
  • October: 14 CHF
  • 1 November to 10 December: 10 CHF

You can find more information about the Bernina Express on the official website.


The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc (CHF).

How to make reservations


With railway carriers

  • Bernina Express (Rhatische Bahn): Only Bernina express scenic trains
    • Go to the Bernina Express website.
    • For a seat on the observation car, choose a route with the Bernina Express symbol.
    • When filling in your passenger details, you'll see a drop-down box called "Reductions". Simply select "Eurail Pass" from the options.
    • You only have to pay for your seat reservation(s) and you can print your reservation(s) at home.

Other platforms

Locally at the train station in Switzerland


Additional information

Conditions for Eurail Pass holders

Eurail Passes are valid on the entire Bernina Express journey. Seat reservations are compulsory only for the special panorama train and bus from Tirano to Lugano (these are 2 separate reservations). The price for a train reservation depends on the season. The regional train that operates on this route is included in your Pass. Eurail Pass holders must have a Pass valid for Switzerland. Although the Bernina Express partly runs through Italy, a Pass for Italy is not required.


You can find more information about summer and winter schedules and fares at the Bernina Express website.


Special features

The Bernina Express offers breathtaking views from the beautiful 1st and 2nd class panorama cars. The train climbs up to the 2253 m high Bernina pass without the help of a rack-and-pinion mechanism. The entire trip is narrated. An optional bus connects Tirano (Italy) to Lugano.


Facilities and services

  • Audio system
  • Shops
  • Shower/WC
  • Snack trolley

Facilities may differ per train and route.

Operated by:

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