Bernina Express day trip is an excellent idea if you stay for a few days in St. Moritz. A picturesque ride through the Bernina Range across the border to Tirano will surely be a highlight of your stay in eastern Switzerland.
Here are our tips for a successful day trip itinerary.
The Bernina Range is one of the highest ranges in the Alps, which stretches from Northern Italy to Eastern Switzerland. Its beauty is undeniable: the rugged peaks, deep green forests, and multiple glaciers glistening in the sun make a trip through the Bernina Alps truly spectacular.
Apart from exploring the Alps on foot or by car, the Bernina range can be admired through the train’s window. Bernina Express is a famous scenic railway enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage and runs on the highest rail tracks in Europe. The line crosses the Alps through the Pontresina and Poschiavo valleys across the border to Tirano in Italy. The two-hour journey allows the passengers to delight not only in the natural beauty of the surroundings but also marvel at the engineering solutions that made this trip possible.
If you’re staying in St. Moritz, take a chance to explore the Bernina route with a day trip: experience the beauty of the Bernina Alps, admire the endless creativity of Swiss engineers who designed this line with its endless bridges, twists, and turns, and, finally, enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere of a charming Italian town of Tirano. Advertised as a route that will take you “from glaciers to palm”, the Bernina Express experience is truly worth it.
Bernina Express Day Trip Itinerary
8:48 Departure from St. Moritz.
Bernina Express leaves hourly from St. Mortiz train station so that you can adapt departure time to your preferences. We recommend leaving earlier to avoid crowds on the train and secure more time to explore Tirano.
8:48-11:00 Bernina Express journey
While the views during this journey are magnificent all around, we recommend sitting on the right-hand side in the direction of travel: it makes it easier to admire the lakes and the Morteratsch glacier. The train climbs up through the Pontresina valley to its highest station, Ospizio Bernina, before starting its descent into the Poschiavo valley. Make sure to pay attention to the fantastic solutions making this incredibly steep railroad possible: numerous viaducts, loops, and tunnels will make you wonder at the human ability to conquer unfavourable terrains and turn them into a fantastic adventure.
11:00-12:30 Exploring Tirano
Now you will have a bit of time to explore this quaint north Italian town. Tirano lies at the crossroads between Italy and Switzerland, merging both cultures into a unique mix of Italian flair and Swiss thriftiness. Though small, Tirano boasts one of the richest old towns in northern Italy and offers many opportunities to explore for history and architecture lovers. A 17th-century Salis palace is a must-see, together with Tirano’s most prominent church, the Basilica of the Madonna di Tirano, with its ornate interiors and rich history. Make sure to visit a local market at Piazza del Mercato and stroll along the banks of Adda, the river flowing through the city’s old town.
12:30-1:30 – Lunch
Let’s not forget about the most important Italian token: the food. Tirano boasts a typical Lombardian cuisine, which you can try in multiple small family-run restaurants and cafes. The most well-known dishes from the region are risotto (it is here where Italian rice has been originally grown for centuries), osobucco, and bresaola, together with Tortellini di Zuca, tortellini with pumpkin stuffing, originating in Mantua.
1:30-3:30 – Siesta and further exploration
Now is the time to digest and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the town. If you like, you can visit the Ethnographic Museum to learn more about the town’s rural roots. Take time to enjoy a cup of coffee, stroll around the street and look for original souvenirs for your loved ones.
3:41 – Departure from Tirano
It’s time to leave beautiful Tirano and embark on a journey back to St. Moritz. We’re leaving the palms behind and climbing up the sky-high Bernina pass. Enjoy this leisurely journey back and look at the landscapes from a different perspective.
Our 12-day Grand Train Tour of Switzerland Rail Tour includes a day trip to Tirano, where we will explore the old town with a guide and eat at a local restaurant. Simply join us for a stress-free train holiday experience.