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Bernina Express

Discussion in 'Europe' started by linked_recoveries, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    Anyone travelled the Bernina Express from Zurich / Chur to Tirano, Italy? I'm trying to get that happening late in February - Sunday, 23 Feb - and I'm looking for some tips and hints around ticketing, etc.
     
  2. Lifes2good

    Lifes2good One of Us

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    I replied in the other thread but happy to answer specific questions here.

    We travelled from Chur to Tirano on the Bernina Express and then on to Milan with Trenord (Italian train).

    Prior to that we had travelled on SBB trains from Basel to Interlaken to Jungfrau and Brig where we picked up the Glacier Express to Chur.

    We purchased SBB half fare cards which meant we paid 50% on most of our train tickets throughout Switzerland (and our two kids travelled free with family cards). I worked out in advance it was cheapest to do it this way.

    There is a terrific website all about Swiss rail which I used for info. I will just look it up...here you go: https://www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/howtotravel
     
  3. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Bernina is a fantastic experience and I am not a train person. The Man in Seat 61
    https://www.seat61.com/BerninaExpress.htm is the absolute guru on the train trip, almost too much information. All the booking options are there. Haven't checked to see whether his prices are up to date. This was basically our only train trip in Switzerland (we had travelled from Paris to Chur via Zurich) and so the various Swiss rail passes weren't an option. We basically paid full tote but there might have been a discount for booking in advance.

    Chur is a lovely little Swiss town and worth spending a couple of hours there if you have time (we had a night there).

    On the train itself, obviously book a window seat looking forward. On our trip, First Class (the front car) was completely empty and so a couple of times I snuck up there to look through the front window. I was up there whent we went across the Landwasser Viaduct and into the tunnel. Mindblowing. Worth it if you are feeling bold. Look out for St Moritz (Samedan/Punt Muragl stations) then you can say you've been there!

    If you are going on to Milan from Tirano the train travels down the east side of Lake Como and even a one night stay at one of the lakeside towns (eg, Varenna) is worth it.
     
    fennekeg, Lifes2good and Zeroz like this.
  4. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's a beautiful trip
     
  5. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    We’ll be approximating the trip shabu_shabu took. Arriving into Zurich from London - either by train or flying. Couple nights in Zurich then a morning train to Chur to grab the Bernina Express at (I think) 8:32am. We’ll opt for the local train (windows that open) over the panorama version, so I expect we can just walk up and buy the tickets all the way along.

    Staying a night in a village along Lake Como might work. I’ll have to sus that out. We have four nights in Verona on the way back to the Venice airport to pick up our ski bags. Venice Carnivale winds up on 25 Feb and we expect the place will be a bit of a mess while they clean it up (we’ve been there during Carnivale on a prior trip) so we’re staying elsewhere-but-close ahead of our flight back.
     
  6. Zeroz

    Zeroz A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Love Euro train travel.

    Regional trains run exactly the same route. The Bernina Express is the nice train with huge windows and commentary.
    Same views. Regionals run more often, cheaper, don't need a reservation, great to get to ski areas/villages.

    If it's a one-off experience then do the Bernina. If want to explore or get to a specific place, then Regional.
     
    fennekeg likes this.
  7. Lifes2good

    Lifes2good One of Us

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    Yes the Bernina express leaves Chur (pronounced ‘koor’ BTW) at 8.32am - you can set your watch by it. But if you are using regular trains the times will be different won’t it?
     
  8. linked_recoveries

    linked_recoveries One of Us

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    Maybe. That Seat61 website included a photo of the panoramic train with some of the local Allegra carriages also attached. Guess we can wait half an hour if that approach fails.
     
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agree. Regular regional trains expecially in Switzerland are great. I haven't done this trip but have been on a regular local train through Ticino heading to Milan. This was before these types of panorama trains were a thing. Have also done most sections on the Glacier express on local trains on different days (stopping off to ski in between). My favourite though I think was the one from Luzern to Interlaken via Meiringen.