Join date: Sep 6, 2022


Over the Alps through Gotthard Bernina Round Scenic Tour on the Bernina Express

Linking Northern and also Southern Europe, the Gotthard Bernina Round Tour is one of the most magnificent method to go across the Alps by rail. It's a wonder of engineering, utilizing a mix of 55 tunnels and also 196 bridges, mixing into the landscape so effectively that it's been acknowledged by UNESCO as well as is commemorating the 10th wedding anniversary of its World Heritage award.

I fly right into Zurich as well as take the train to Lugano, a route only made possible when the Gotthard Passage opened in 1882. There's currently a new passage, the 2016 Gotthard Base, which cuts 30 minutes off the time, reaching Lugano in just over 2 hrs.

The Bernina Line

It was a Dutchman, Willem Jan Holsboer, that initially proposed a train line from Landquart to Davos in 1888. His partner was hospitalised in an Insane asylum and he grew tired of journeying by horse as well as cart. In 1895, Holsboer changed his firm's name to the Rhaetian Train and also began broadening. The Bernina Line was lastly completed in 1910 and links St Moritz to Tirano in Italy, going across the Bernina pass at 2,253 m.

Resting on the shores of the attractive lake the town became developed as a resort in the 19th century when train vacationers started getting here. There's also an area called Paradiso, preferred with the Brits, which has a funicular as much as the top of Monte San Salvatore with its glorious sights.

There's no time to linger as I need to catch the Bernina Express. It starts in Tirano, 130km to the east, yet unfortunately there's no straight rail link from Instead I take the special Bernina Express Bus into Italy, previous breathtaking Lake Como, and right into the Valtelinna Valley, lined with orchards, chestnut trees and also wineries before coming to the station. I just have adequate time to enjoy an outstanding Italian lunch before boarding the train.

The big breathtaking windows give me a great sight of the Valposchiavo as the train climbs up, adhering to the centuries old path which brought a glass of wine to the tables of Graubünden and Vorarlberg. The very first landmark is the Brusio spiral viaduct, most likely one of the most spectacular building and construction on the Bernina Line, opened up in 1908. Its 9 rock arcs sustain a single track which curves 360 levels to limit the gradient to just 7%. Anything higher than that after that the train would certainly slip on the method up or come to be uncontrollable on the way down.

As we reach Lago di Poschiavo, I leave at La Prese to take a boat journey to check out the lake. The Sassalbo is 100 years old and also was brought right here from the River Aare in 2015 over the mountain passes.


Aboard, they serve neighborhood sausage and cheese with a glass of Valtellina white wine, as you cruise pass fishermen trying to capture the abundant char and trout that inhabit the waters here. It's feasible to employ a rowing watercraft and join them. If you succeed, then the resort will clean up and vacuum pack your fish, so you can take it residence.

One stop up the line, I invest the evening in the town of Poschiavo which strikes above its weight, packed with large houses in the Venetian design integrated in 1860's. Its riches stems from its position on the path going across the Bernina Pass as well as the old mentoring inn, the Hotel Albrici, still receives tourists in its lavished restored rooms. Opposite the church there's an instead macabre display of skulls, accumulated from the catacombs below the church.

Following day, I'm back on the train, this moment in an open carriage at the back, permitting me to get the full benefit of the spectacular sights, with the wind surging with my hair. It's noisy as the wheels squeal as they browse the tight turns, but exhilarating. I pick up lunch at Alp Grüm, at 2,091 m only available walking or by rail. Below me is Lago Palü and in front is Piz Palü and its icy glacier, with the Bergamasker Alps distant. The dining establishment has typical neighborhood Swiss meals and also you can stay the evening below Vectrex Carts, delighting in the tranquillity once the trains have ceased.

It's now also cold to ride in the open so rather I take a timeless Pullman carriage, recovered in the art deco style of the very early 20th century. The spacious elbow chairs, bay windows, and teak fittings include a suitable layer of deluxe. We pass along with Lago Bianco, fed by glacier water, prior to reaching Ospizio Bernina, the summit at 2,253 metres. This is the watershed-- to the south, the waters flow right into the Adriatic and also to the east, into the Black Sea. It's currently downhill completely to Pontresina where I'm mosting likely to be investing the evening in preparation for the celebrations commemorating ten years of the railway's UNESCO Globe Heritage honor.

This is a day for fond memories, a delight for railway lovers. At Pontresina station there's a collection of classic rolling stock and a working heavy steam locomotive which pulls us for 15 minutes to the following terminal at Samedan. In fact the entire day is committed to the age of heavy steam and it's back to modern-day times as I take the normal Bernina Express, going across the spectacular Landwasser Viaduct, to Chur, after that back to Zurich. Certainly the celebrations are distinct however a few times a year, the Rhaetian Railway runs unique image safaris drawn by heavy steam engines. It's a train watchman's dream.

Read Also:



More actions