This train journey takes you on the route of the Glacier Express through Switzerland. Afterwards, you will follow the route of the Bernina Express all the way down to Italy. You will travel through picturesque countryside with an Interrail/Eurail ticket, which is the best choice in Switzerland. No need to pay anything extra, exept this ticket. You can also get off the train every now and then and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Alps. But now to the route that takes you from Zurich to Zermatt. Via the Galcier Express route to Chur and St.Moritz. There you continue on the Bernina Express route to Tirano. And from Tirano finally by Trenord train to Milan.


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Interrail route Glacier Express and Bernina Express


Note: as the Interrail/Eurail ticket is the best choice for this journey, I will focus on it in my blog post. Of course I will mention as well information to standard train tickets.


Travel to Zurich

You can reach Zurich easily by ICE train from Germany. Depending on the route, you can also change trains in Basel, in the direction of Zermatt.
With Interrail/Eurail you don't need a seat reservation for the ICE train and travel for free.

From France (e.g. Paris) you can travel by direct TGV Lyria. However, this costs 17 EUR for a seat reservation with Interrail/Eurail. Or make use of a regional train via Strasbourg to Basel. These ones are free with your Interrail/Eurail ticket.


Zurich to Zermatt

The journey from Zurich to Zermatt takes 3:15 hours. You have to change trains in Visp. The Intercity from Zurich to Visp takes 2 hours and is free with Interrail/Eurail. From Visp you take the regional train of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn to Zermatt. This is free with Interrail/Eurail. Do not use the original Glacier Express, because you have to pay a reservation of at least 13 CHF.


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The Matterhorn near Zermatt

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Locomotive of the Glacier Express

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View into the 1st class of the Glacier Express


On the Glacier Express route from Zermatt via Chur to St.Moritz

You can travel the entire route of the Glacier Express on regional trains. These are free of charge with the Interrail/Eurail ticket. The windows can often be opened. Make sure you make stopovers in any case. The regional trains are of very good quality and are punctual. I therefore recommend this travel option, which saves you additional costs like the seat reservation for the Glacier Express. You travel at the same speed, have the same sights and can add stops whenever you like the scenery. Just take the next train to continue. A fully flexible journey.


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Regional train

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Seats on the regional train

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Seats on the Glacier Express


The journey time is about 7 hours, depending on the connection you choose. If you get off the train, there is a next train at least every 30-60 minutes, which you can take further. Connections are always kept - that's punctual Switzerland with its great train network.


The route takes you through the following places


- Zermatt to Visp

- Visp to Andermatt

- Andermatt to Disentis/Mustér.

- Disentis/Mustér to Chur

- Chur to Sankt Moritz


If you want to save time, you can skip Zermatt-Visp and directly start from Visp in direction of St.Moritz.

You don't have to pass St.Moritz, you can travel right past it, continuing in the direction of Tirano.


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Glacier Express on Zermatt to Visp route


Highlights of the Glacier Express route


Oberalppass

This is the section from Andermatt up the curves to the Oberalppass. You can follow the train's ascent from Andermatt station, or above from Nätschen station.


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Train journey Andermatt to the Oberalp Pass

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Drive from Visp in the direction of Andermatt

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View from Andermatt in direction Oberalppass

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Ascent of the Glacier Express to the Oberalppass

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Ascent of the Glacier Express to the Oberalppass

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View of Andermatt

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Regional train in the direction of Oberalppass


Rhine Gorge

(german: Rheinschlucht): the best section is around Versam Safien station. Here you can also get off and walk around. These are simple paths that will take you to the river.


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Rhine Gorge, highlight of the Glacier Express

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Rhine Gorge, highlight of the Glacier Express

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Train station Versam Safien


Landwasser Viadukt

This beautiful bridge is a highlight from the train, but also from one of the viewing platforms. You have to get off at Filisur station and walk about 15 minutes in a north-westerly direction.


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Landwasser Viadukt and Galcier Express

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Approach Landwasser Viadukt

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Surroundings Landwasser Viadukt


Example schedule for Zermatt to Sankt Moritz without the Glacier Express


Zermatt dep 08:37
Visp arr 09:46

CHANGE

Visp dep 10:08
Andermatt arr 12:20

CHANGE

Andermatt dep 12:28
Disentis/Mustér arr 13:39

CHANGE

Disentis/Mustér dep 13:44
Versam-Safien arr 14:37 / dep 14:38
Reichenau-Tamins arr 14:49

(or stay in the train until Chur arr 15:02)

CHANGE

Reichenau-Tamins dep 15:09
St. Moritz arr 17:00


Interrail/Eurail seat reservation for the Glacier Express

You can buy your seat reservation for the Glacier Express as follows - unless you want to travel on the free regional trains.

- Go to the Glacier Express website.
- Select the option "Classic St.Moritz-Zermatt".
- Enter your departure and arrival station and your travel date.
- Select the connection and choose your seat.
- Enter your name and date of birth. And select the option "Interrail Pass" as "Discount". Then the price will be reduced.
- Important: you will receive your reservation by email as a PDF document. You don't have to print it out, it's enough if you can show it on your mobile phone or tablet.


Overnight stays and nice hotels on the route of Glacier Express

- Zermatt: so far I have always booked a hotel room one day in advance. I usually found one for about 65 EUR. I guess these ones were cancelled by others at short notice. In general, Zermatt is very expensive, so you better sleep in another place. Overview Hotels in Zermatt.

- Andermatt: I personally like it very much, because you can watch from here the railway winding up the mountain. I can recommend the BnB Bellavista, directly on the Glacier Express line. A very friendly owner.

- Chur: there is a large offer of accommodation. Which is also quite inexpensive for Switzerland. Besides, about half of the route is here.

- Morteratsch: the Gletscher-Hotel Morteratsch is affordable in the low season. It's really nice. Especially if you want to stay overnight in the mountains along the train route.


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St.Moritz


The Bernina Express route from St.Moritz to Tirano

Your journey continues on my absolute favourite route. The Bernina Express train runs from Chur or St.Moritz to Tirano in Italy. The journey time for the St.Moritz to Tirano section is 2:30 hours.


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Bernina Express

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Bernina Express seats

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Bernina Express panorama coach


It is worth getting off at many stations and enjoying nature. Here too, you can travel the entire route of the Bernina Express with good regional trains free of charge with Interrail/Eurail. Take advantage of this and make one or more of the following stops.


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Regional train on the Bernina Express line

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Regional train on the Bernina Express line

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Bernina Express seat


Highlights of the Bernina Express route


Landwasser Viadukt

As above on the Glacier Express route, if you use the Bernina Express from Chur.


Montebello Curve

Shortly after station Morteratsch, comes the aforementioned curve, which is mainly known as a photo motif. Especially with the glacier in the background.


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Morteratsch in direction Montebello curve

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Morteratsch in direction Montebello curve

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Montebello curve

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Montebello curve towards Ospizia Bernina


Ospizio Bernina

A grandiose area with mountains and the lake Lago Bianco. Here I recommend in any case to get off the train at train station Ospizio Bernina and take a short walk. The accommodation in the Albergo Ospizio Bernina is also great.


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Ospizio Bernina and Bernina Express

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Ospizio Bernina and Bernina Express

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Ospizio Bernina and Bernina Express

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Ospizio Bernina and Bernina Express


Alp Grüm

Have a coffee at Alp Grüm, with a view of the glacier and the big curve of the railway line.


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Alp Grüm


Circular viaduct of Brusio

Here the train line runs in a circle and crosses itself. Very nice to experience from the train itself, but also from the outside. Get off at Brusio station and walk south for 10 minutes.


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Circular viaduct of Brusio and Bernina Express


Tirano

On sections, train and car share the road. An interesting matter. The city of Tirano itself is quite nice and is cheaper than Switzerland. Here it is worth to stay for a pizza. Right next to the station I always had a good meal (belongs to the Hotel Bernina).


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Bernina Express Train on the road

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Bernina Express Train on the road

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Railway station square in Tirano


Example schedule for Chur/Sankt Moritz to Tirano without the Bernina Express


Chur dep 08:58
Filisur arr 10:00 / dep 10:02
Sankt Moritz arr 11:00

CHANGE

Sankt Moritz dep 11:48
Morteratsch arr 12:18 / dep 12:18
Ospizio Bernina arr 12:39 / dep 12:39
Alp Grüm arr 12:49 / dep 12:53
Brusio arr 14:03 / dep 14:03
Tirano arr 14:23


Interrail/Eurail seat reservation for the Bernina Express

You can buy your reservation for the Bernina Express online. However, I definitely recommend to travel this journey on the regional trains, which are free of charge with Interrail/Eurail. You can get on and off. Experience this secenic nature - not just by driving through it.

- go to the website of the Rhaetian Railway.
- choose the route and the date of travel.
- select the connection and your seat.
- enter your name and date of birth and select "Interrail Pass" as the discount.
- Important: you will receive your reservation by email as a PDF document. You don't have to print it out, you only need to show it on your mobile phone or tablet.


Overnight stays and nice hotels on the route of Bernina Express


- Morteratsch: as described above in the Glacier Hotel Morteratsch.

- Ospitzio Bernina: high in the mountains in the Albergo Ospizio Bernina. The beds in the dormitory are quite inexpensive.

- Tirano: there are some hotels and you can eat pizza and pasta. Right next to the train stations is the Hotel Bernina, where I already stayed overnight. This one is quite okay.


Tirano to Milan

The stations of the Bernina Express and Trenord train are very close - just 50 metres from the Tirano station square. The Trenord train from Tirano to Milan is free of charge with your Interrail/Eurail ticket. You will arriva at the Milano Centrale railway station.


Example schedule for Tirano to Milano Centrale


Tirano dep 11:08 / Milano Centrale arr 13:40

Tirano dep 16:08 / Milano Centrale arr 18:40


Train connections from Milan

Milan is a railway hub. There are train connections to all of Italy, be it Venice, Florence or Rome. A night train will even take you as far as Sicily. There are also direct train connections to France (Marseille and Paris) and back to Switzerland, or even to Germany (Frankfurt am Main).


Overnight stays along the route

In theory, you can travel the route from Zurich to Milan in one day. But this leaves you absolutely no room for breaks. It's of course up to you to decide where you want to spend the night. You will find some tips in the text above.

- Overview of inexpensive hotels in Switzerland

- Hostels in Switzerland

- Airbnb in Switzerland


Which Interrail/Eurail ticket is best choice for this route?

In general I am a friend of the Interrail Global Pass, which does not stop at national borders. Depending on how you continue your journey, choose one with the appropriate length. The Interrail One Country Pass for Switzerland may also be sufficient for you, as Tirano is included in it, even it belongs to Italy.


And what about normal train tickets?

Normal train tickets are expensive in Switzerland. Therefore the Interrail/Eurail ticket should always be a good choice, especially if you add some more stops in Switzerland. Find train tickest for Switzerland on Trainline, OMIO or at SBB.

Germany railways Deutsche Bahn offers saver tickets called "Sparpreis Europa" to travel from Germany to Switzerland. You can use it got this journey. The ticket price starts from 39 EUR. If you plan this trip, pelase ask in our forum to get more details.



Conclusion and review of this route

For me this is one of the most beautiful travel routes in Central Europe. Especially if you take the opportunity to add some stops along the route. The absolute favourite for me is the section with the Bernina Express: the route from Chur to Tirano.

The Interrail/Eurail ticket is for me the best choice. You are fully flexible and can stop wherever you want. Walk around. Take the next regional train to continue. Travelling with Interrail/Eurail on these frequent regional trains is free. Of course you can use the Glacier and Bernina Express as well, for which you have to buy a seat reaservation.

Standard train tickets in Switzerland are expensive. Except you buy a special offer like the one of German railways mentioned above.

Even Switzerland is expensive, I would recommend one overnight stay. I usually take some food with me, i.e. the classic packet soup or anything else that can be prepared quickly in a hostel or hotel. That way, the expenses are kept within reasonable limits. And then, I get an inexpensive extra pizza in Tirano. ;)

Have a good trip!

Peter :)

Posted 1 month ago

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Peter.Freisberg
Traveller
9231 comments


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Kirill
Traveller
6 comments

Commented 2 weeks ago

Hello Peter! This is a test comment!

And awesome post as always )

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