Bernina Pass – Passo del Bernina

Bernina Pass
  • Scenery and views
  • Worth visiting - without a doubt!


The Bernina Pass rises to over 2300 metres and offers some spectacular scenery.

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4.67 (3 votes)

Another mountain pass to add to our ever-increasing collection – this time the Bernina Pass. The Bernina Pass connects Pontresina in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy. The pass covers a distance of almost thirty-three miles and rises to 2330 metres above sea level. The Bernina Pass will take you towards the tax-free town of Livigno – once a smugglers’ paradise!

Bernina Pass

Snow capped peaks – even in summer!

The temperature at the lower level, in Pontresina was 32 degrees Centigrade. The temperature at the top of the pass was just 19 degree Centigrade, but still very pleasant. There are various places to park and observe the scenery. However, there are numerous signs stating that camping is prohibited.

Bernina Pass

The Bernina Pass runs alongside the Rhaetian Railway

The Bernina Pass offers excellent scenery and features transit along the shores of a couple of lakes – the largest being “Lago Bianco” – see above.  The Rhaetian Railway route runs alongside the pass for part of its journey. The train route is maintained all year round. Incidentally, the Rhaetian Railway is the highest adhesion railway route in Europe. An adhesion railway is the type we are all familiar with – wheels on the track providing traction. Note the open air carriages at the rear on the above photo’!

From the highest point of 2328 metres at the Hozpis, it is a relatively easy descent to the Forcola di Livigno – another mountain pass – this time leading to Livigno where we spent the night.

After a good nights sleep in Livigno, and some time spent tax-free shopping, we took the Forcola di Livigno once more and returned to the Bernina Pass. Heading south now towards Poschiavo, it’s a fairly gentle but long descent. Keep an eye on your brakes! There are places to park for a view of the Lago di Poschiavo.

Bernina Pass

Road and rail share the same route!

…but breathe in!

Bernina Pass Bernina Express

The Bernina Express heads towards us – breathe in!

The Bernina Pass ends in the pretty Italian town of Tirano. The town was very busy this morning, with large numbers of visitors in the main square.

The Bernina Pass is on par with the St Gotthard pass in terms of ease. There are some tight bends, but they are all achievable in “one swing”, with no shunting required!

As with all mountain and alpine routes, check the weather before departure – even in summer! This website is particularly good.


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