There really is no better way to explore the beauty of the Alps in Switzerland than by train. All of the country’s best spots and landscapes are train accessible – making them some of the most scenic train journeys in the world. From breath-taking waterfalls to sheer mountain peaks, from wild valleys to luxurious cities, you’ll never get bored on a Rhaetian Railway’s train.
With Rhb you can travel across the Alps from Tirano to St Moritz, from Zermatt to Andermatt, from Alp Grüm to Chur and also cross the UNESCO Heritage Route connecting Thusis to Valposchiavo – admiring the landscape directly from your window.
Book your Bernina or Glacier Express train tickets now and get ready for an unforgettable experience!
The Rhaetian Railway allows you to travel across the Swiss Alps on regional trains or by the wonderful express scenic trains. Keep reading to find out more.
The Rhaetian Railway (Rhätische Bahn or Rhb in German) is the Swiss railway company that operates all train connections in the Swiss canton of Graubünden (Grisons), the largest and most eastern of the 26 Helvetian cantons. The company operates both regional and RegioExpress trains between the cities of Chur, St Moritz, Tirano, Pontresina and other Alpine towns, as well as the two famous scenic trains Bernina Express and Glacier Express.
Besides being one of the most convenient ways to travel around Switzerland to visit Chur, St Moritz, Andermatt or Zermatt, the Rhaetian Railway is well-known for the Albula/Bernina route, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2008. To enjoy the best of views while travelling, we recommend booking a ticket for the Bernina Express red train. Find more information on our dedicated Bernina Express page. If you want to learn more about the Swiss rail network, check out our trains in Switzerland travel guide.
To travel across the Alps, you can choose between two different types of trains – the regional train (R) or the express train (Bex and Gex).
Rhb regional trains are local trains with standard carriages and normal windows instead of panoramic ones. It’s not possible to reserve your seat on these trains (reservation is required only if you’re traveling in a group of at least 15 passengers) and no surcharge applies. These are the oldest trains of the railway (their construction dates to the beginning of the '70s), but all trains are equipped with toilets, heating (during the winter season) and descending windows, perfect for taking great pictures. If you’re planning on hopping on and off these trains, we’d recommend buying a Standard ticket, which is valid for the whole day, meaning you can get off and back on the train whenever you want, without needing a new ticket.
Bernina Express and Glacier Express are direct trains that travel on the same routes as regional trains but guarantee a ‘panoramic’ travelling experience. Don’t fret – even though it’s called an “express”, The Glacier Express is the slowest train in the world! This allows you to enjoy your journey even more, knowing those impressive views won’t fly past without a chance for photos. All trains are equipped with panoramic windows that allow you to admire the landscape in the best possible way. Audio guides are also available on BEX trains. Reservations are required on all scenic trains and a surcharge is applicable.
Visiting Switzerland has never been easier. Find out how to buy Rhaetian Railway Tickets and get the most out of your trip.
To travel on regional trains, you’ll need to purchase a Standard ticket. The ticket is valid for the whole day on your selected route and allows you to alight and get on the next available regional train as many times as you want. Children under the age of 6 travel for free, while children aged between 6- and 16-years may be able to receive discounted fares. You can choose to travel in either First or Second Class.
To travel on the Bernina Express, you’ll need to reserve your seat in advance – remember, tickets run out quickly! You’ll also need to pay a surcharge of ₣14 (Swiss francs) during the summer season and ₣5 during the winter season. To find out how to book your Bernina tickets, see our Bernina Express Booking Guide.
When you travel on Glacier Express trains, you’ll have to reserve your seat. The price of the ticket is fixed and depends on the route you select. You can choose whether to travel in First or Second class. All prices are in Swiss francs. Children under 6 can travel for free, while children between 6 and 16 are entitled to a 50% discount.
The Albula and Bernina routes are the heart and soul of the journey. The Bernina railway was completed in 1910, whereas the Albula route dates to 1903. At that time, the two lines represented the highest expression of mountain railway lines. During the journey on a Rhb train, you can admire the viaduct of Brusio – the symbol of the Bernina Railway and a true masterpiece of railway engineering. Continuing the journey, you’ll pass by the Poschiavo lake, the orobic Prealps, the hospice of Bernina, the Nero lake and the Piccolo lake, reaching the cities of St Moritz and Zermatt – two of the most famous winter destinations for ski slopes and luxury life at high-altitude.
Chur (also known as Coira) is the main city of the Canton of Grisons and the oldest city in Switzerland. According to archaeologists, the city was founded 3000 years B.C, so it will come as no surprise that this city has a lot to tell about the history and traditions of the area. Conquered by the Romans and named Curia Raetorium, Chur has been destroyed several times, especially by fire, and rebuilt with the strength and skills of its inhabitants. The city centre is well-known for its medieval tower, Obertor, the symbol of the city. St.Martinkirche’s Church is one of the main attractions in town – its bell tower is one of the most famous buildings in the canton. If you want to learn more about the local history, check out the Ratische Museum. The Rhb Chur station is close to the city centre and allows you to reach all the main attractions quite easily.
Do you still have questions about how to travel on the Rhaetian Railway? Read our FAQ section to get all the answers you need.
On regional trains you can bring your own bicycle on board, buying a daily bike card. You cannot bring bicycles on scenic trains.
Dogs are allowed, without reservation, on regional trains, paying half the price of a Second Class ticket. No pets are allowed on the scenic trains.
Yes. You’ll need to reserve your seat and pay for the surcharge separately though.
Yes, on regional trains. The First Class carriages offer more comfortable seats for one or two people and a more pleasant travelling experience.