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How Long Does Bernina Express Take?

Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by Darla Uhl

Bernina Express – one of the most scenic trains in the Swiss Alps

Image of Bernina Express by
Image of Bernina Express by

It is no secret that Switzerland has a fantastic train network that is made up of thousands of kilometers of tracks. With the Bernina Express train, you can feel comfortable while you explore the Swiss Alps on the rails with all of the splendor they offer.

As a major tourist route in Switzerland, the Bernina Express train serves to provide its passengers with the best views of the canton of Graubünden’s mountain ranges, mountains, gorges, and natural landscapes. The journey starts in Chur (or Landquart) and ends in Tirano, Italy. As the train climbs the Bernina Massif, it descends to the Italian-speaking side of Graubünden before ending in Italy.

How Long DoesBernina Express Take?

Bernina Express takes between 3 hours and 58 minutes to 4 hours and 21 minutes depending on which direction you take.

  • Bernina Express takes 4 hours and 21 minutes from Chur to Tirano. It starts at 8:28 AM in Chur and arrives at 12:49 PM in Tirano.
  • Bernina Express takes 3 hours and 58 minutes from Tirano to Chur. It starts at 2:24 PM in Tirano and arrives at 6:22 PM in Chur.

Bernina Express Route

The highlights of the Bernina Express route from Chur to Tirano are the following:

If you would like to learn more about the Bernina Express Route, you can check our article here: Bernina Express Route: Chur to Tirano Train.

Regular Train vs.Bernina Express Train

Image of the Regular RhB Train in Chur by

Taking local trains is a good alternative for covering only a portion of the route. Trains on the regular commuter rail line provide easy access to the Bernina Express route. Furthermore, the Swiss Pass allows you to travel on regular trains without having to make reservations in advance. 

You do not have access to the scenic carriages that the Bernina Express trains have. On the other hand, the windows can be opened on local trains so that better photographs can be taken. The modern red Rhaetian Railway trains have a section where you can put the huge windows up and down. You can look for the camera image on the train. There are no chairs available in the panorama section of the train.

However, there is one downside to skipping the Bernina Express train and taking the local trains instead: you will have to change trains along the way in Samedan and Pontresina. All the same, there is no issue with train connections. 

It is easy to get off at any stop and explore the area before catching the next train because the local trains run every hour. The busiest routes might even have two or more trains per hour. 

Whatever you choose, enjoy your journey. The Bernina Express train is truly one of the most wonderful experiences of a lifetime.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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