From glaciers to palms
The Bernina Line between St. Moritz and Tirano links northern and southern Europe. It runs past mountains, lakes and glaciers down to the palms of Valtellina. The famous panoramic route is a true landmark which has UNESCO World Heritage status.
From cosmopolitan St. Moritz, the Bernina Line snakes its way up to the top of the RhB, the Ospizio Bernina, at 2,253 metres above sea level. The train masters gradients of up to 7 per cent with ease. The views of the Morteratsch Glacier and the world-famous Montebello Curve demonstrate in exemplary fashion that the railway pioneers kept tourists in mind when designing the route. The train continues on its way past the lakes of Lago Bianco and Laj Neir up to Alp Grüm, a restaurant unique in being accessible only by railway.
Following a zig-zag course, the train starts its descent towards Valposchiavo. It's worth making a brief stop in the picturesque village of Poschiavo: the attractive "Spaniolenviertel" neighbourhood boasts grand palazzi and a charming village centre. You then take an extra spin on one of the best-known testimonials to the pioneering achievements: the Circular Viaduct near Brusio. In Tirano you will discover palm trees and a Mediterranean flair.
You absolutely must try: the fine pizzocheri at Alp Grüm – the only restaurant that can only be reached by train.
There are numerous highlights on the Bernina Line: make sure you take time to get off the train and explore.
The Albula and Bernina section of track is a masterpiece in terms of civil engineering and routing. Landscape and railway blend into one: in wide radiuses, ingenious man-made structures punctuate rugged valleys. The Landwasser Viaduct, the helical tunnels between Bergün and Preda and the Brusio Circular Viaduct all stand testimony to the early, pioneering days of the railway.
Elegance, style and class: St. Moritz is not simply a holiday resort. This is the place where Alpine winter holidays were born in 1864. Nowadays, fabulous restaurants and internationally famous hotels welcome guests from around the globe.
The highest point on the RhB is situated 2,253 metres above sea level. The watershed between Lago Bianco and Lej Nair is also the language frontier between the Romansh-speaking Engadine and the Italian-speaking Valposchiavo. The Bistro Albergo at the railway station was renovated in 2013 and serves tasty snacks at teatime.
During the Ice Age some 11,000 years ago, the Palü Glacier formed a glacial hollow here. The glacier mills at Caviglia are ten metres deep and five metres wide. The ice has left behind a fascinating landscape full of natural sculptures, which can now be reached directly by rail. Experts will guide you round, providing fascinating details.
The picturesque village of Poschiavo is dominated by three towers: the Romanesque tower of the Catholic Church, the Baroque tower of the Reformed Church and the medieval tower of the town hall. The landlords of the typical Graubünden restaurants in the village take pride in their delicious Pizzoccheri. A glass of Veltliner will also stand you in good stead. Viva!
Situated in Le Prese, this fairytale lake is a popular destination for walkers. A flat, 7km hiking trail leads around the lake. The lake was formed by a prehistoric landslide and its turquoise waters and pretty coves are truly spectacular.
Reaching the border: the little Italian town of Tirano is a customs post and the southern point of departure of the Bernina Line. The pilgrimage church of Madonna di Tirano dominates the romantic Old Town. The Italian way of life is reflected by the palazzi and ice cream.