In Chur, it’s usually a simple interchange between platforms between Bernina Express and the train to/from Zurich that departs every 30 minutes. Along the way, the landscape never stops trampling passengers. Some of the natural wonders are glaciers, lakes, peaks and flora and fauna. But you’ll also want to take a look at the artificial views Treno rosso del Bernina on the line, including 196 viaducts and 55 tunnels. Considering that even using a day on a Eurail Globalpass would cost 48 per person for seat reservations in the off-season, it’s really an obvious deal. However, these are some of the key differences you should be aware of when choosing between the Bernina Express or regional trains.
If you have any questions about how to do the Bernina Express as a day trip from Milan, please contact us by leaving a comment below! If you follow the steps I describe in this post, you can do the Bernina Express from Milan in one day. It just takes a little coordination on your part, but that’s what this post is for! I think it’s worth the time, and I’ve even included the Bernina Express in my list of the best day trips from Milan. I highly recommend that you be very clear about where you are sitting when booking your seats.
However, I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and will definitely take the same route again in the future. In this post, I will try to explain how to use the Bernina Express, how to book tickets and give you an idea of what it’s like to ride it. However, if you’re a more budget-conscious traveler, you don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket, as there are still plenty of other cost-saving options and tricks! As I said before, boarding in first class is a luxury but not a must, the views are the same anyway. You can also plan your reservation during the low season, where the reservation fee is lower, and combine it with other Swiss travel passes. Normal 1st and 2nd class tickets do not have numbered seats, only panoramic carriages have that.
The Bernina Express train has mainly panoramic carriages, more personal space and a better overall atmosphere. There are also several regular train cars that do not require a reservation. The Bernina Express is a direct train, while you have to change trains and transfer your luggage to a regional train. The Bernina Express train route takes you through incredible alpine landscapes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site is so incredible. Think of all the clichés about the beauty of scenic train journeys and multiply them by 1000.
If you stand on the fence and think “Bernina Express is worth it?”, you can jump off, because the answer is a resounding yes. During the summer season, which lasts from 15 to 29 October, only one Bernina Express train runs north to Chur daily. In winter, the service runs a little later from Monday to Friday, with Tirano departing at 15:00. For updates to the timetable amid COVID-19, read more here. It can definitely be worth taking the Bernina Express one way and returning by regional train, especially since you can decide in your own time how much you want to spend on St. Moritz/whatever your destination city is. And the other good thing about the regional train is that it probably doesn’t have reserved seats, so you can choose your spot/move more easily around the train to find the best place to take photos/open windows.
The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl in winter, overlooking St Moritz and the Engadine Valley. The upper station of the cable car that climbs the mountain from Punt Muragl station is next to the hotel. So I recommend making a Bernina Express seat reservation first and buying a ticket later. Here I will describe a trip north from Milan Centrale to Zurich, but the landscape is exactly the same in both directions. In fact, the excellent Trenord trains connect milan central with Tirano every two hours, with no reservation required, just buy a ticket and hop on.
If you want to experience the beautiful scenery on the Bernina Express route by regional train, you should board a train earlier in the day. Railbookers is a train travel specialist that can customize a European tour or a getaway to Switzerland with train travel, transfers and hotels, all arranged for you, as long as you want, departing on any date you want. They can easily book rides with the Bernina Express to or from Italy or as part of a tour of Switzerland. They take good care of their customers and I highly recommend them.
From train informationZürichYou can take the Intercity directly to Chur, as well as direct regional trains. MilanYou can take a direct regional train to Tirano, which are operated by Trenord and covered by the Eurail Pass.AustriaFrom Vienna or Salzburg you can take a train to Sargans. Transfer here and you’ll arrive in Chur in just 30 minutes. France/GermanyFrom Paris, Munich or Cologne, take the train to Karlsruhe or Zurich. It’s my favorite hotel booking site and I usually prefer to book my hotels here in one place.
If you’re considering a Swiss train trip, be sure to include this trip, for other ideas, check out Janet’s post: A great train trip through Switzerland or my pick of 23 scenic train trips in Europe to add to your bucket list. Anyone looking for a scenic train ride for a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience in 2022 need look no further than Europe, where the spectacularly scenic Bernina Express awaits you. Do tickets for regional trains also need to be purchased in advance or can you buy them when you are in Moritz and ready to return? Therefore, the train makes several stops along the way, such as the highest point Ospizio Bernina or the picturesque and isolated Alp Grüm, because it picks up people using the normal regional train. You can also get out, but you lose your seat (and essentially your money).
Since a return trip on the Bernina Express would take about 8 hours, you can do it in a day if you leave early. But in the case of the Glacier express, it would not be possible to follow the entire route, which takes 8 hours, and return for another 8 hours. There is no noticeable difference if you choose to travel from Chur to Tirano, or from Tirano to Chur. The only factor you have to take into account is daylight.