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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Go on Captivating Swiss Rail Holidays on the Bernina Express

Bernina Express near PontresinaImage via WikipediaBy Dipika Patel
If you are seeking truly iconic Swiss rail holidays, you may find that there is no need to look any further than the Bernina Express.
Hopping onboard this continental route for holidays by rail will provide you with the opportunity to take in a wide variety of stunning alpine scenery.
And as you get to see it all from the comfort of your train seat, you will find heading off on such a Grand Tour Europe excursion provides you with plenty of chances to take some fantastic photographs. These can serve as a memento of the captivating sights you saw and the fun you had on holiday and are sure to make all your friends and family members jealous upon returning home!
The Bernina Express travels from the Swiss town of Chur, making its way south. And as you travel you will be able to track the ever-changing natural landscape, which ranges from majestic valleys and some of the highest mountains in the Alps to enchanting lakes and woodland.

And if you choose to take the train route during the winter, you will see how Switzerland turns into a winter wonderland, blanketed by snow.
However, if you opt to travel outside of the colder months then you will still discover that there are plenty of things for you to see and do.
While the iconic Bernina Express offers a significant opportunity for you to capture captivating natural scenery on film, there are lots of other attractions that you will simply find mesmerising.
And this will certainly prove to be the case when you arrive in Chur. The starting point of the Bernina Express, Chur is the oldest town in the country so if you're something of a history buff then you are certain to find plenty of things to keep you entertained.
Why not visit the cathedral? Built in the 12th century, the stunning religious building contains a mixture of gothic and Romanesque styles of architecture.
Meanwhile, the Bundner Naturmuseum - or Natural History Museum in English - and Camana Safier Local Museum provide you with the chance to get a closer insight into the region's past.
You may also want to spend time walking around the streets of the old town, savouring the atmosphere and getting a sense of what life was like here hundreds of years ago.
After you've taken in all that Chur has to offer, you hop onboard the train, departing southward. The destinations you can take in will vary depending on what route and what time of year you travel, so you may well find yourself ascending the Albula Pass.
In travelling along this section of rail, you will go through a range of tunnels and bridges, as well as viaducts. Perhaps the most famous of these overpasses is the Landwasser Viaduct, which sees your train disappear into the sheer rock face as you climb the Engadine Valley.
The Bernina Express was awarded Unesco World Heritage status in 2008, so as you go along the captivating rail route, you can be confident of taking in stunning sights while travelling on what is a feat of modern engineering.
And this can certainly prove to be the case as your train makes its way to the peak of the Oberalp Pass. Upon reaching the top, you will be some 6,670 ft above sea level - the highest point of your trip. By travelling on the Bernina Express you can truly feel like you are on top of the world.
You may also get such a sensation upon arriving in Zermatt. This pretty little village is nestled in the heart of the Alps and as it is overlooked by the Matterhorn, so you will be able to see one of the largest peaks in the mountain range - it stands some 14,700 feet tall.
Other destinations you will be able to stop off at while on the Bernina Express include Lucerne - the most populated city in central Switzerland - which has a stunning 13th century Franciscan church to take in, as well as the nearby lake.
However, the rail journey is not merely limited to Switzerland, as you will pass over the border into Italy. Your trip terminates in the northern village of Tirano but it does not mean that your holiday is over once you have arrived at the station. You might want to stop by the fascinating Madonna di Tirano Catholic shrine.
The Bernina Express offers so many captivating sights that you could well want to travel on Swiss rail holidays for several years to come.
Taking holidays by rail can be a great way to get away from it all. And those who are keen to go on a Grand Tour Europe may want to look into taking the Bernina Express.
Such Swiss rail holidays give the opportunity to take in some breathtaking natural scenery and stunning towns.

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