The Bernina Express is one of the major reasons why visitors flock to St. Moritz. Traversing through mountains, this north-south link passes 55 tunnels and 196 bridges down to the Italian border. Parts of the line have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
It is worthwhile to stop along the many stations on the line from St. Moritz to Tirano to enjoy the mountain scenery and attractions along the way. Instead of taking the real "Bernina Express", use the more frequent local trains instead, which run on the same tracks but you get much more flexibility. Some of these local trains also have windows that can open so you can take photos from both sides of the train with ease.
My trip begins at St. Moritz station, which is downhill from the main town, but connected via a series of glitzy escalators protected from the elements.
Heading to Tirano, sit on the right side of the train as it heads towards Ospizio Bernina station. While you can walk along the waterfront, I chose the train as the two follow the same route and offer the same scenery.
Alp Grüm station is located at almost 2100m and has a lovely terrace that overlooks the mountains at the station. A short walk away across the track, head uphill for more views of the rail's curvature and the valleys beyond.
The train then takes a long stretch downhill towards the Italian border. Sit on the right side for lovely views of the landscape.
At the bottom of the mountain, exit at Cavaglia station and walk for about 10 minutes to the glacial mills, which were shaped by glacial water rotating stones into the rock over thousands of years.
Down in the valley, Graubünden is Switzerland's largest canton. Sunny Poschiavo looks a bit less Switzerland and more Italian. The small town is great for a stroll with narrow streets, churches, and a river running through it.
With only half a day exploring the many different attractions along the Bernina Express, I could not make it down to Tirano. The entire journey from St. Moritz takes just over 2 hours, but since trains come roughly hourly, you need to plan your times well ahead so you can fit everything in. As I return back to St. Moritz, the blue sky made a comeback, peeking through the snow-covered mountains as a wonderful day draws to a close.
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