Bernina Express from Lake Como | How-To

In this post, I’ll detail how I rode the scenic Bernina Express train from Switzerland to Italy during my stay on Lake Como. 

Bernina Express external

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I owe it to my sister who came up with the idea for this day trip. Honestly, I was pretty lukewarm about it at first, expecting some kind of Polar Express amusement park ride, but it was nothing like that.

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The Bernina Express is operated by Rhätische Bahn, and runs on the Rhaetian Railway through the Swiss Engadin Alps. It’s designed to be a scenic and pleasant ride, with big windows and a quiet, smooth ride.

Bernina Express Seat Layout

We were staying in Varenna, and opted to take the “back way” into Switzerland and start the scenic train in Switzerland and end in Italy (a one-way trip) rather than go Tirano to St. Moritz then back to Tirano on the same route.

The Bernina Express has two lines:

  1. From Tirano (Italy) to St. Moritz (Switzerland)
  2. From St. Moritz to Chur (both Switzerland)

This post will give details for option 1 above.

Steps and Tickets

This trip was taken in September 2022. Prices and exact routes may change over time.

First: Train (Trenord) from Varenna-Esino to Chiavenna (one change in Colico). Buy Ticket on Trainline here.

Next: Bus from Chiavenna to St. Moritz, Banhof (bus no. 4 via PostBus). See bus route map below.

Then: Bernina Express from St. Moritz to Tirano – buy ticket here. We went with 2nd class tickets.

Finally: Train (Trenord) from Tirano back to Varenna-Esino – buy ticket here.

An Alternative

You could simplify this by simply starting and ending in Tirano, which would eliminate the bus from the equation. This would cost you an extra Bernina ticket just to do the same route but in reverse. At the time we did this, the tickets were too expensive for this to make sense.

The Experience

The Bernina Express was probably the most pleasant train I have ever been on. Maybe it was the off-season, but in September the train car consisted of myself, my sister, and a couple. The train itself was very quiet. So between the smooth ride, small crowd, big windows, great weather, I give the experience a 10 out of 10.

Bernina Express seats and window

Bernina Express Views

Bernina Express mountain and lake

Bernina Express - My sister and me
Sis and me at St. Moritz waiting to get on the Bernina Express

That’s All For Now

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