A ride on the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) is well worth making at any time of year. Key tip: keep looking out of the window! The Albula and Bernina lines form part of UNESCO World Heritage, so that a trip to Poschiavo or Chur promises an enchanting experience on many levels.
The Engadin is known not just for its mountains, lakes and the magical quality of its light, but also for its spectacular train rides – for example on the Albula line from St. Moritz/Samedan to Chur. This features dramatic viaducts, intriguing spiral tunnels and other sophisticated pieces of engineering – all integrated harmoniously in the wild landscape. The world-famous highlight is the curved 65-metre-high Landwasser viaduct near Filisur, from which trains plunge straight into a tunnel in the cliff.
No less spectacular is the Bernina line from St. Moritz/Pontresina to Tirano in Italy. The highest point, the Ospizio Bernina station, lies 2,253 metres above sea level: here, passengers look out over a landscape of glaciers and bare cliffs. The terminus station, Tirano, lies 429 metres above sea level, where fruit trees, vines and even palm trees grow. Trains conquer this enormous difference in altitude without the benefit of cog traction – a masterpiece of railway engineering, unique in Europe. Along the steepest sections of line, trains master a gradient of 7 per cent.
Together, the Albula and Bernina lines of the Rhaetian Railway make up “RhB UNESCO World Heritage”. The route leads over 196 bridges and through 55 tunnels, crosses the Alps from north to south – and right in the middle lies the Engadin. Starting in St. Moritz, Samedan or Pontresina, you can visit and explore various excursion destinations in “RhB UNESCO World Heritage”:
Although this small railway station with restaurant and sun terrace lies at an altitude of 2,091 metres, you can already taste the south – notably the delicious typical Pizzoccheri. And you can see it, too: the views extend across the wild Valposchiavo to the Alps of the Bergamo region in Italy. The colossal ice masses of the Vadret da Palü glacier tower high above to the west.
The Albula railway museum in Bergün takes railway enthusiasts and families on a journey through the railway history of Graubünden. Exhibits include historical railway equipment, films and models. A simulator offers you the chance to drive the legendary Crocodile locomotive along the Albula line yourself.
A trip to the Diavolezza panoramic peak, with its dramatic ski area, is easy to combine with a ride on the Bernina line. The Diavolezza railway station is just a few steps from the base station of the cable car. At the summit, at an altitude of 2,978 metres, visitors enjoy enchanting views that take in the sparkling glaciers of the Piz Palü and Piz Bernina.
Chur is the capital of the canton of Graubünden. This attractive small city (37,000 residents) has a picturesque Old Town with many cafes, shops and boutiques – as well as a weekly market on Saturdays from May to October. The 800-year-old cathedral is also well worth a visit.
The Rhaetian Railway leads right through Poschiavo, capital of the eponymous valley. In spring and autumn, especially, the large village square is the perfect spot in which to enjoy the warm sunshine, a glass of fine wine and the Mediterranean atmosphere. The impressive “palazzi” bear witness to the valley’s rich history.
It is also well worth making a train ride on the Rhaetian Railway along lines other than the UNESCO World Heritage route – for example, from St. Moritz to Scuol in the Lower Engadin. The journey leads through picturesque Engadin villages and enchanting landscapes. Once in Scuol, you can enjoy a relaxing stint at the “Engadin Bad Scuol” thermal spa or a visit to Tarasp Castle.