The Bernina Express

This small country (which is smaller than California’s San Bernardino County) boasts four especially scenic rail journeys. Although not exactly on the way home from Venice, we chose to come home via the Bernina Pass, starting in Tirano, Italy.

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We took the train early, early in the morning from Venice to Milan for 2 ½ hours. Then we  changed trains for Tirano in Milano, having one of the best cappuccinos ever in the train station (AND only 1.3 €).


Arriving in Tirano at 13.00, we managed to spend our two-hour layover by eating lunch, having a gelato (since we were still in Italy, that was a requirement), and buying a snack for the train. We would have bought some more stuff at the grocery store, but it was closed for lunch until 15.30. That’s some long siesta.


We had splurged to get into the panorama car of the train. And by splurge, I mean 5 CHF per person. Not only were these windows huge, they were clean. Best splurge for the price in Switzerland. (Except for the Schoggi Tram back in November….)



The train route starts out at 441 m (1,447 ft.) and crosses the Bernina Pass at 2,328 m (7,638 ft) with standard rails (not cog rails). Our four-hour trip was stunning, comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable.


There’s a brochure in four languages to help point out the landmarks as well as the route.


Leaving Tirano


A cute town along the way. One of a handful.

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As we climbed, we saw more snow and some glaciers.

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The four-hour journey goes through some of the terrain we saw when we went cross-country skiing, but we did not mind at all looking at it again. In fact, it would be fun to do this journey in all four seasons, given enough time and money.


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