The Thirsty Travellers love a scenic train ride, and the Bernina Express would have to be one of our all-time favourites.
After spending a week in Tuscany, we were looking for a scenic, relaxing way to cross the Swiss Alps to catch our flight home from Zurich when we stumbled across the Bernina Express, which is regarded as one of the most spectacular train journeys in Europe.
It even has UNESCO World Heritage status due to its high-altitude journey among spectacular glaciers, lakes and gorges.
We departed from an Italian border town called Tirano on the Bernina Express and wended our way over the Swiss Alps to Davos, which is famous for hosting the World Economic Forum every January.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch beforehand that included sharing an affogato – gelato, freshly brewed coffee and chocolate – a first delicious experience for both of us. Add two macchiatos to the equation and we were heavily caffeinated for the trip!
And off we giddily headed on the most glorious train ride. We spent most of the four-hour journey outside our carriage in the corridor, with our heads out the window letting the wind rush through our hair … Until a German bloke complained we were making him “kalt” in his carriage.
We have no idea why he chose to sit right beside the carriage door in a virtually empty train, but he did. And we have no idea how we were making him “kalt” when the door to his carriage was closed. But he wanted those windows shut SCHNELL!
So we went and sat in our boring seats like boring old people for the last hour.
Ginger said wished she could speak German so she could tell him how much joy sticking his head out that little window would bring to his cold heart. We think he’d long forgotten the feeling. Poor, grumpy man.
Ah well, we still had an incredible day on the Bernina Express.
The scenery was insanely gorgeous. So green and sweeping and majestic and wild and … it’s impossible to put into words so we’ll let the photos do the talking …
At our destination, we discovered that while Switzerland is a very beautiful country, it’s also a VERY expensive one. Very, very, very expensive.
You know how your local pub has a $10 schnitty special on Tuesdays? The schnitty at our hotel in Davos was $75. Let’s not talk about how expensive the wine was.
Mind you, it was a rather special hotel, the Intercontinental Davos, which we scored for free on points – here’s what it looked like from a distance:
And this was the view from our balcony:
The taxi to the hotel was another heart-starter: about $35 for less than 2km.
We later discovered our hotel had a free shuttle service. Oh well …
We used the shuttle the next morning to get to the station for our next train ride to Zurich Airport. We decided to skip the $75 per person buffet breakfast at the hotel and went to a cafe in town instead, where the coffees were the bargain price of $8 each.
The train ride was totally stunning again and had us oooohing and aaaaahing the whole way.
There were lakes and mountains and rolling green hills and veggie gardens and Swiss chalets with flower-filled window boxes and grazing cows, at one point a herd of horses and foals ran beside our carriage.
Five stars from us. Add it to your bucket list.