Why We Love Hiking Around Ospizio Bernina

Located along the Bernina Express train route, Ospizio Bernina (Bernina Hospice in English) is known as both a Rhaetian Railway stop and a hotel. At a height of approximately 2,300 meters, Ospizio Bernina is located among the gorgeous Alps and Glacier Mountains of the Passo del Bernina (Bernina Pass).

Ospizio Bernina is the highest point of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) and is considered one of the highlights of the Bernina Express Train Route. Together with the Albula section, it is one of the most beautiful Alpine crossings and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Image of Bernina Pass and Bernina Express by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Ospizio Bernina Hotel

Located near the dark lake Lej Nair flowing north towards the River Inn, and the milky white lake Lago Bianco is the Ospizio Bernina Hotel. These two lakes are only a few meters apart. And yet one of them flows north and ends in the Black Sea via the Inn and Danube. The other flows south toward the Adriatic via Adda and Po.

Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

The hotel called Ospizio Bernina provides guests with rooms for a reasonable price. It is conveniently located between the Valtellina and Poschiavo Valleys and the Engadine Valley of Graubünden. 

The existing Ospizio Bernina dates back to the late 19th century. In those days, it took longer to move from one valley to another, especially during harsh winters. Traders and travelers passing from north to south or vice versa found refuge at the hospice.  

Today, a double room can be rented for CHF 160 per night, while a single room can be rented for CHF 90. 

Hiking Around Ospizio Bernina

Hiking from Ospizio Bernina to Cavaglia

My number one tip would be the hike from Ospizio Bernina to Cavaglia. It is an incredibly beautiful and easy hike that is doable for people of all ages. From the Bernina hospice, a path leads beside Lake Bianco, a beautiful, milky white lake with stunning views in the Po River’s catchment area.

Hiking time:1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty:Easy
Distance:9 km
Start:Ospizio Bernina Train Station
End:Cavaglia Train Station

The hiking trail from Ospizio Bernina begins parallel to the railway tracks where the Bernina Express runs. At the end of Lago Bianco, the trail turns right and continues behind the dam. While the beginning of the trail is almost flat and wide, it turns rocky until you reach Pozzo del Drago at 2,162 meters. 

After passing by Pozzo del Drago, the trail continues through a forest before reaching a spectacular viewpoint in the Restaurant Belevedere (Albergo und Ristorante Belvedere). Here, you’ll be able to see stunning views of the Poschiavo Valley and further Italy.

View of Poschiavo Valley from Restaurant Belevedere. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com.

Continuing the trail will lead you to Alp Grüm, another wonderful place to visit. If you would like to learn more about Alp Grüm, read our article: Experience Alp Grüm At Least Once In Your Lifetime. 

Right after Alp Grüm, it’s a steady descent to Cavaglia through the forest. The descent is not as steep as I had envisioned. And I would classify it as an easy descent that can be done even with young children.

Pluschin’s Whirlwind Journey

If you are hiking with children, you can find the small Bernina Glacier booklets that provide various theme trails in and around the Bernina Glaciers. For the Ospizio Bernina Hike, the booklet is called Pluschins Rasante Reise or Pluschin’s Whirlwind Journey.

An image of the map inside the Pluschin’s Whirlwind Journey booklet is shown below:

Image is taken from my copy of Pluschin’s Whirlwind Journey Booklet. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com

The theme trail narrates the secrets of electricity production from hydropower amidst the mountain landscape between Passo del Bernina and Cavaglia. You have a story in the booklet as well as information boards along the trail. On each information board, there is a red stamp where you will have to stamp the booklet. Each stamp will have a letter.

Once you have all the letters in your booklet, you can present the finished Pluschin’s Whirlwind Journey booklet at the tourist information office in Pontresina, Poschiavo, the Ospizio Bernina, or the Repower train station. You will be then given a prize.

The theme trail is really helpful for when there are children around. They can learn about environmentally-friendly power production, why electricity is important, and various themes around the subject of water, geology, and glaciers.

Alternative: Extend Your Hike to Poschiavo

Image of Poschiavo. Taken by TouringSwitzerland.com.

As an alternative, you can also decide to hike further to Poschiavo after arriving in Cavaglia.

Other Hikes around Ospizio Bernina

There are other hikes that can be done around Ospizio Bernina. These are:

  • Round trail around Piz Lagalb – Through Val Minor and around Piz Lagalb, Lago Bianco, Ospizio Bernina, and back to Lagalb. See trail here.
  • A difficult trail to Diavolezza – Although it begins with an easy trail along Lago Bianco, the trail goes steeper on to the Lej da Diavolezza and Diavolezza itself. See trail here.
  • Include Sassal Mason – Rather than directly reach Alp Grüm, you may want to pass by Sassal Mason (3,032 meters) first. From there, you can enjoy even more spectacular views of the Palü Glacier, the surrounding Alps, and Val Poschiavo. They also have accommodations there should you wish to sleep in (Rifugio Sassal Masone).

Why We Love Hiking Around Ospizio Bernina

We enjoy hiking around Ospizio Bernina because this area has a unique beauty that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, it is easy to reach, child-friendly, and offers spectacular views.

Why is it unique? This hike will provide you with the following:

  • Two alpine lakes that head off in different directions in the globe
  • Rocky terrain in a high-altitude setting
  • A forest surrounded by towering mountains
  • A viewpoint overlooking another valley (Poschiavo) and another country (Italy)

And after you have seen all of that, you are welcomed by another climate (a milder one) and another language (Italian), in one of my favorite places in Switzerland – Val Poschiavo.

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