Travelling on the Bernina Express, Switzerland's most scenic rail journey. This holiday is a showcase for two things at which the Swiss excel – magnificent mountain scenery and brilliantly engineered mountain railways. Enjoy Switzerland’s scenery at its finest both on foot and from the train.
See what's planned
- Stay in 3 picture perfect alpine resorts.
- Follow the rail route of the Bernina Express by foot.
- Travel in first class on the Bernina Express from Tirano to Chur on your final day in Switzerland.
- Take a guided tour of a traditional cheese dairy.
- Explore the panoramic mountain views and snow peaks of the Diavolezza region.
- Discover the secluded village of Poschiavo and the eastern shores of the tranquil Lagio di Poschiavo.
- Experience the mesmerising traffic free city of Chur on a walking tour with a local guide.
- Head off into remote landscapes away from the Bernina trail to capture even more magical Swiss panoramic views.
As the train leaves the mountain station the only sound remaining is that of cow bells. Stepping out from the village past pristine gardens and window boxes, the meadows are suddenly filled with the smell of freshly scythed grass dotted with wildflowers, spread and rigged to dry in the sun. Snowy peaks shine against the blue sky and mist rises mysteriously from the valley. This is summer in the high Alps, on a journey made possible by the wonder that is the Swiss railway system.
The Bernina Express passes through the alpine wonderland of eastern Switzerland. It is a direct train from Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy, reaching an impressive altitude of 2253m, higher than the Glacier Express. This impressive piece of railway engineering passes through 55 tunnels, crosses 196 bridges and follows many spiral loops, passing a mixture of picturesque alpine and Mediterranean scenery.
Our holiday follows its route from North to South, partly by train and partly on foot. Sometimes our walks follow the rail route, whilst at other times we head off into more remote landscapes away from the Bernina trail.
We base ourselves in three centres and our daily walks are short enough to allow time to soak up the atmosphere in these mountain enclaves. We begin in the oldest city in Switzerland, Chur. We discover this mesmerising traffic free city on a walking tour with a local guide before following a magical walking trail through the impressive Rhine Gorge.
Our second centre is the fairy-tale village of Pontresina, set against the mountainous backdrop of the Bernina Range. A perfect location to explore the Albula Railway and Bergun. We’ll discover a traditional cheese dairy before taking the cable car to explore the panoramic mountain views and snow peaks of the Diavolezza region.
Our final centre is the secluded Mediterranean village of Poschiavo. Only accessible from the Bernina Pass and Italy, this hidden gem is highly influenced by Italian architecture and cuisine. Here we explore the village and the eastern shores of the tranquil Lagio di Poschiavo.
On our last day in Switzerland we catch the Bernina Express from Tirano where you can sit back…relax…and watch the world go by from the comfort of first class on the Bernina Express. We take the train all the way to Chur, where we stay for our final night in Switzerland. The specially designed observation cars have large panoramic windows to allow for continuous views of the spectacular alpine mountain scenery. This really is a magical way to end a unique and memorable Swiss holiday.
- Return flights from London to Zurich
- Airport rail transfers
- En suite accommodation with breakfast
- 4 dinners taken in the hotels
- All local transport costs, entrance fees and tipping to local providers
- Rail journeys between centre's and to/from walks
- Luggage transfers between hotels
- Seat reservation on Bernina Express journey in first class on day 7
- Visit and guided tour of a traditional cheese dairy
- Cable Car Excursion from Lagalp to Diavolezza
- City walking tour with a local guide in Chur
- Entrance and guided tour of the Abula railway museum
- Guided Walking tour in Poschiavo
What's not included?
- Personal Expenses (such as your bar bill)
- Discretionary Tips
- Optional Excursions
- Travel Insurance (you can add this when you book)
On an Adagio Plus holiday, there will be a greater emphasis on getting out into the countryside on half day walks leading to an afternoon sightseeing. The programme on these holidays will have a more active content. Although the walks will be on unchallenging terrain and at an undemanding pace, you will need to be able to walk for longer periods than on the standard Adagio holidays and, for the enjoyment of all in the group, be able to maintain a pace to walk with your fellow travellers.
Our itinerary is expected to follow the daily schedule outlined below but please bear in mind that the order of the days may be amended, or walks substituted, due to weather conditions or changes beyond our control. Distances, ascent/descent and timings are all approximate and refer only to the countryside walking element of each day.
On arrival at Zurich Airport, we transfer to Chur by rail (with a change of train).
Transfer Time = 2 hours
Chur & the Rhine Gorge
Our itinerary is expected to follow the daily schedule outlined below but please bare in mind that the order of the days may be amended, or walks substituted, due to weather conditions, attraction opening times, public transport timetables or changes beyond our control.
We start the day with a city tour of Chur with a local guide where we explore Switzerland’s oldest city and its 5000 years of history. We follow its twisting historical alleyways, walk alongside its vibrant art galleries and boutiques, pass its traditional restaurants and relaxed bars filling the streets with delicious smells of culinary delights, before venturing through its picturesque Altstadt (old town).
We take a short train ride along the Abula line from Chur to Filisur to the start of our walking trail. A path takes us through the woods before leading to an open clearing revealing a panoramic view of the magnificent Landwasser Viaduct. From the viewing platform we have time to marvel at this extraordinary structure, standing 65m high and constructed in the early years of the 20th century. We might catch a glimpse of the Glacier Express passing over this impressive feat of engineering!
Our day continues with a walk through the pretty colourful village of Filisur, with time for some exploration and a chance to visit a picturesque little church before continuing our journey by train to the unspoilt village of Bergun, set at the foot of the Abula Pass, known as the gateway to the Engadine. Our day concludes with a scenic rail journey from Bergun to Pontresina, our centre for the next two nights.
Morteratsch Glacier, Cheese Dairy & Diavolezza
Today we explore the Morteratsch Glacier trail, the third longest glacier in the Eastern Alps. We follow a spectacular walk alongside pine forests and milky turquoise glacial rivers to a viewpoint to capture the magical glacier. There are sixteen information boards educating visitors about the glacier, its history and how quickly it is receding. The information boards also refer to the mystical lifeform of Sabi, a mountain spirit with the important role of guarding all of the secrets of the Bernina’s ancient glaciers.
In the afternoon we visit the Alpine Dairy in Morteratsch where cheese is produced using the traditional methods of open fires and whey baths. We watch the cheesemaker at work and sample some of the finest Swiss cheeses.
We finish the afternoon with a cable car ride with impressive views of the Bernina Pass and the spectacular Diavolezza region. A viewing platform at the mountain station is the perfect stop to capture breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding alpine mountainous landscape.
Lago Bianco to Alp Grum & Poschiavo
We take the train to Ospizio, our starting point for a gentle hike along the tranquil white Lago Bianco to Alp Grum. We ascend through high alpine terrain alongside Lago Bianco towards an impressive dam and pine forests, before reaching an opening with a spectacular view of beautiful Poschiavo, Italy and the glacier Vadret da Palu.
An early afternoon train journey takes us to Poschiavo where we are treated to a guided tour of this scenic village.
The day starts walking a scenic trail from Poschiavo to Miralago along the turquoise shores of beautiful Lake Poschiavo, close to the Italian border.
A short train journey past the Eastern shores of Lago di Poschiavo takes us to Poschiavo for some free time. Maybe explore the glacier garden or the museum of art. The area is famous for its cultural heritage and culinary delicacies so maybe sit back, relax, and try some delicious dishes with a view!
The Bernina Express
Perhaps the highlight of the holiday, we catch the Bernina Express from Tirano where you can sit back…relax…and watch the world go by from the comfort of first class on the Bernina Express. We take the train all the way to Chur, where we stay for our final night in Switzerland. We pass through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Rhaetian Railway. The specially designed observation cars have large panoramic windows to allow for continuous panoramic views of the spectacular alpine mountain scenery. This really is a magical way to end a memorable holiday.
Long before today you will have fallen in love with this beautiful place, but it’s time to say goodbye. After breakfast, we will return by rail to Zurich airport ready for our flight back to the UK.
Walks & Excursions
We use a mix of privately hired vehicles, taxis, and public transport which gives us some flexibility in our itinerary. We have a wonderful programme of walking, sightseeing and visits planned to let you fully experience the area along with opportunities to relax at our wonderful hotel and enjoy your surroundings.
Local transport costs, entrance fees and tips to local providers are included in your holiday price. You may wish to budget for any meals and drinks not included in the holiday arrangements, non-included entrance fees and any optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
Currency in Switzerland
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. The euro is widely accepted in Switzerland, however occasionally change may be given in Swiss Francs. ATMs are widely available in most towns and villages throughout Switzerland.
We include tips in the holiday cost and your Adagio Leader will take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. If you feel that someone has gone out of their way to make your holiday enjoyable or help you in anyway, please feel free to give a personal tip to the person should you wish. If you are having an independent lunch or other service not included in the holiday arrangements, tipping is at your own discretion.
We believe that the best things come in small packages, and our Adagio holidays prove just that. We limit our groups to a maximum of 18 persons, plus the Adagio Leader, so that everyone has the opportunity to mix, share their love of travel and return home with new friendships. Small groups also have less detrimental local impact, allows us to use public transport on some days, eat at small local restaurants and, we believe, offers a better experience.
An Adagio Leader will accompany you throughout the holiday. They are all experienced travellers with a love for exploring and will help capture the true essence of the destination with their stories, knowledge and insights. They are well-organised, pay great attention to detail and enjoy being with people. They are there to help make your holiday as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
Leaders Evening Briefing
Your Adagio Leader will discuss the programme for the following day with the group at each evening briefing. This will be your opportunity to find out more details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. Also, if you have any questions or concerns on clothing or lunch arrangements, this can be discussed then. If you wish to opt out of the organised group programme, this is fine, just let your Leader know.
Visiting historical sites, churches or museums are much more rewarding with a local guide. They give an insight to the local culture, language and traditions and can bring a destination alive. Many of our Adagio holidays include a knowledgeable English speaking guide on at least one of the days. Please refer to your daily itinerary to see where a guide is included.
Getting to your Holiday
We fly from London to Zurich airport and return. Some dates also offer regional flights. The flights duration is about two hours.
Our transfer from Zurich Airport to Chur is by rail and will take around 2 hours. The rail transfer on arrival will serve all flights, we apologise for those who may have to wait. There is at least one change of train on arrival and departure, and you will be responsible for your own luggage on arrival and departure day so we advise that you pack lightly.
During the week we’ll travel on foot, public buses, trains and cable cars. Your luggage will be transferred for you so you are not required to carry your luggage with you to each centre. Please ensure you have a day pack to carry any essential items that you will require throughout the day.
Land only package: This applies if you will be organising your own travel arrangements to Switzerland and travelling to the hotel independently to the rest of the Adagio group. You will still be entitled to receive your rail tickets. This enables you to travel by train between the airport and Chur. To obtain your tickets ahead of your holiday then please email Rebecca Allen at [email protected] at least 6 weeks ahead of departure and we can organise the delivery of your tickets. Please be aware that the tickets are not usually sent to the Adagio office until ten days prior to the departure date, so you will receive your tickets after this time. If you intend joining the party in Chur, we assume, unless you have advised us otherwise, that you will meet and leave the party at our hotel. If this is not your intention, please let us know in writing at least 6 weeks before departure. The leader will provide tickets for those travelling and transferring with the group at the airport on arrival.
If you intend joining and leaving the party in Switzerland, we assume, unless you have advised us otherwise, that you will meet and leave the party at our first hotel. If this is not your intention, please let us know in writing at least 5 weeks before departure.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements
If you wish to organise your own flights from either a non-UK or UK regional airport, or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. If you choose to do this, before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at the hotel. Although airport/train station transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport/train station, depending on your flight/train arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight/train must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight/train to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight/train number, arrival time and departure point so that your Adagio Leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Tickets
When booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday with us, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
Please ensure that the personal details we have on file for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements.
Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to accurately manage your holiday booking are correct at the time of booking (including health and dietry requirements). You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.adagio.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 386700. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport page (with your photo on). Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country. Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
As you are travelling through Switzerland, we’re going to make your holiday even easier. We will take care of your luggage and transport it from hotel to hotel on transfer days. Your luggage will be waiting for you in your next hotel reception. Some transfer days may require you to bring your suitcase to reception before breakfast. Your leader will be able to provide you with more details during the holiday.
All breakfasts are included in the price of the holiday and are taken at the hotels. We include 4 dinners in the price of the holiday, and these are also taken in the hotel’s restaurant.
The Hotel Chur’s restaurant serves organic seasonal cuisine with a selection of traditional and international dishes. A buffet breakfast is provided every morning with a selection of local produce, including fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, and homemade bread.
The Sporthotel serves organic and seasonal dishes from local producers. There are a number of dining options available at the hotel. Breakfast is usually taken in the Arkade and Roseg restaurant where a healthy buffet is served, including wholegrain breads, muesli and cereal.
The Hotel Croce Bianca’s restaurant serves a delicious buffet breakfast with fresh fruit, cold meats, cheese and homemade cakes.
We can expect delicious four course set menu evening meals, sometimes with soup to start and/or a salad buffet. Main courses are usually consist of fish, meat, or vegetarian dishes. Dessert usually consists of traditional delicacies or regional cheese specialities.
All hotels can cater for various dietary requirements and allergies so please advise us at the time of booking.
Three evening meals are not included in the price to allow self-exploration of the local cuisine and restaurants. With its Italian influence, pasta in parts of this region is usually cooked ‘al dente’, meaning ‘to the tooth’ in Italian. Pasta is cooked firmer to the bite, Italian style!
We don’t include lunches in the price of the holiday – normally these can be taken as a picnic or in a local café.
Footwear & Kit List
Comfortable, broken in, walking boots or shoes with a good sole are recommended for this holiday. Walking shoes or other comfortable footwear will be suitable for sightseeing days.
General Kit List
We recommend you bring the following items with you:
- Walking boots or shoes with a good sole and waterproof uppers.
- Waterproof jacket and trousers. It does rain sometimes!
- A sunhat, fleece hat and gloves… to cover all weather eventualities.
- Sun cream.
- Hand sanitiser
- Swimwear in case there is time for swimming if the hotel has a pool
- A water bottle. (see Water-to-Go below)
- A picnic knife, fork and spoon, as required.
- A simple basic first aid kit.
- A daypack to hold all the above.
- Trekking poles (if you usually walk with poles)
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Travel Document Checklist
To ensure your holiday gets off to a good start, please make sure that you bring the following documents and information with you:
- Passport (make sure it's yours and valid)
- Your travel tickets or e-ticket itinerary
- Any visa or electronic travel authorisation (if required)
- Holiday currency
- Credit or debit cards (and separate details of who to call if lost)
- Car parking ticket and car park directions (if prebooked)
- Coach or rail travel tickets (if prebooked)
- Your holiday Booking Confirmation document
- Your travel insurance details
- Alternative form of identification (such as a driving licence)
- Photocopy of the personal details pages of your passport
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if relevant
- Details of any medical condition or allergy your holiday leader should know about
Electricity in Switzerland
Electricity in Switzerland is supplied at 230 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a two prong round pin continental pug adapter which will fit into any three prong receptacle. More information can be found at www.power-plus-sockets.com.
Maps & Guidebooks
Ideal Maps & Guidebooks
Many local libraries stock a selection of travel guides and books which may offer you more information. Apart from any books available in local libraries, the internet is now an excellent resource for information about holiday destinations. You may find the below websites, books and programmes useful.
Maps of the areas we visit (1:200 000 scale) are available locally and at specialist map shops in the UK.
Bernina Express by Bernina Express
Bernina Express by Conrad Ernst
Walder: Glacier – Express and Bernina Express
Switzerland by Rick Steve
Cicerone guide to Alpine Flowers. We like this pocket-sized book on the 230 Alpine flowers you are most likely to come across on a holiday in the Alps. There’s a really interesting introduction to the properties flowers need to survive life at altitude and good clear photos with short descriptions arranged according to the predominant colour of the flower. Order it from Cicerone directly and quote code RAMBWH for a 25% discount.
The Rhaetian Railway
My Swiss Alps
World’s Most Beautiful Railway – The Bernina Express
Bernina Express by Swiss Mountain Music
Channel 5's Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys - One episode focuses on Alpine Railways and visits Switzerland's impressive railway, including the impressive Albula line.
Channel 5’s World’s Most Scenic Railway journeys: Season 1 Episode 6 - Switzerland
Mighty Trains Bernina Express: Season 3 Episode 6
BBC’s Great Continental Railway journeys: Series 1 Episode 4 – Switzerland
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
Tel: 01684 593 146
E-mail: [email protected]
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Find out more
German; French; Italian
2.5hrs from UK
Visas and Passports
No Visa Required
Avg. Rain: 80mm
Avg. Rain: 75mm
Avg. Rain: 83mm
Avg. Rain: 94mm
Avg. Rain: 114mm
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Avg. Rain: 115mm
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Avg. Rain: 86mm
Staying Healthy on Holiday
Health Advice for Switzerland
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Switzerland.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
Further Health Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
It is a condition of booking with Adagio that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
We're committed to operating responsible tours in all our destinations as best we can. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel Ltd’s (inc Adagio) profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public.
In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way.
We welcome all comments about our holidays and value ideas for future holidays. If you have provided us with an email address we will invite you to complete an online questionnaire or to add feedback to our page on the independent review site 'Feefo'.
Please note that this Holiday Information sheet may be periodically updated and reissued.
In most cases the revisions will be minor and the overall nature of the holiday will remain unchanged. Should we make a major change to your holiday arrangements between you booking your holiday and your date of travel we will notify you to specifically draw your attention to any significant change.
We suggest that you may want to review the latest version of this Holiday Information Sheet online prior to travel.
Please note that any advertised offers, benefits or initiatives may be discontinued at any time.