Those Little Red Trains
Klosters is a great place for exploring the eastern mountains and valleys of Switzerland and there really is no
better way than traveling on the Rhaetische Bahn railway, a line which only runs in the Swiss canton of
Graubünden (Chur, Davos, Klosters, St. Moritz). The Rhaetische Bahn is famous for
being the only line in Switzerland using narrow gauge. The
railway lines don't close in winter and heavy snow doesn't stop the
trains. Passing trains often look like the Transsiberia as they rush
through the deep snow.
Klosters station, which is 15 minutes walk from the
apartment, is a junction with trains running in three directions. You can take a short trip to Davos and walk back
over the mountains, or go through the Vereina tunnel to St Moritz or Scuol which has beautiful thermal baths.
You can even go to Engadine valley, enjoy a day walking, biking or
kayaking and still be back for dinner in Klosters. The Vereina tunnel also has a car-rail service which is great if you want to hop over to St Moritz with your car.
If you have stayed in our house in the west of Switzerland www.agia.ch/chalet you will know that we recommend one
day-trip above all others, that is the trip to the top of the Jungfrau railway, the highest railway station in
Europe with guaranteed all-year-round snow and ice. Well, here in Klosters, the Jungfrau is a bit too far for a
day trip but the journey over the Bernina Pass and down to Tirano in northern Italy is just as magnificent (see below).
Of course, being Switzerland there are
plenty of trains so you won't have a problem getting back again on the same day. You can go the whole hog and
reserve places in the observation car. This route is an unforgettable experience in summer or winter but make
sure you pick a fine day for this trip as the views will be quite stunning.
Roller-coaster with a difference… Alton Towers, Disneyland Paris and Europapark have nothing on the Railrider! The Rhaetische Bahn railway run special trains each Sunday throughout July and August using open carraiges on the line between Filisur and Preda. The journey time is around 50 minutes each way with an hour's break in Preda is you plan to make the return trip (downhill…). In 22 kilometers you climb over 700meters as you clatter along at up to 60km/h over a dozen viaducts and through 21 tunnels (6 of which loop around to allow the line to gain or lose height. The return trip costs 27.- SFr for adults and 17.- SFr for children, singles cost 16.- and 11.- SFr respectively. Getting to Filisur is easy enough by car (45 minutes) or train - the 09:28 to Davos connects nicely with the Glacier Express and gets you to Filisur at 10:37. The Railrider leaves Filisur at 11:30 and returns at 13:19. If you prefer you can hire scooters at Preda and roll back down to Bergrun (about halfway) or walk along the Railway History Trail to Bergrun which follows the course of the railway and affords good views of the line. The walk is about 8km and takes around 2 hours - its 400m descent. …but of course, you will probably find that the children would prefer the return trip on the Railrider!
Over the Bernina Pass to Tirano in the Italian Alps
For this trip, you'll need to take your passport if you plan to go all the way to Tirano. If you go by train and want to make use of the panorama coaches on the Bernina line (costs extra - see below) then your best connection is the 09:03 from Klosters to Samedan (takes you through the Vereina tunnel) where you connect with the Bernina-Express at 10:08 (2 minute connection which will wait in the highly unlikely event that your Klosters train is running late). Now you can sit back and relax for a couple of hours as you enjoy one of THE most scenic railway journeys in the world. The train arrives in Tirano at 12:20. If you wish to return in the luxury of the panorama-coaches of the Bernina-Express your train leaves at 14:34 and as on the outward journey you will only have to change at Samedan. If you would like to wander around Tirano a little longer then you have a choice of trains to return to Klosters but note that the last one with through connections leaves at 17:40 and you will need to change at Pontresina and Saglians, arriving back in Klosters at 21:24. A 1st class return ticket costs around 160.-SFr for this trip. Note that the train times may change so its best to check at the railway station in advance for train times, special rates and also if you wish to reserve places in the panorama-coach. The line is open all year round.
If you prefer you can drive over the Bernina Pass which is kept open all year round. If you have time you may wish to make a stop at Station-Diavolezza where you can take a cable car up to Diavolezza where the views to Piz Palu (4068m), Piz Bernina (3898m) and the Morteratsch glacier are fantastic. You'll want to allow an hour or more at the top to enjoy the view and maybe a meal at the restaurant. You can of course walk up is you prefer. The trail, as always, is well marked and takes around 4 hours (we recommend you come down by cable car…). In summer the Fluela pass from Davos to Susch is open so you can easily drive from Klosters to Tirano in around 3 hours. Since 1999 the Fluela pass is no longer kept in winter as the Vereina
railway tunnel provides a good alternative. You can take your car on the train from the Selfranga car terminal which is 5 minutes from the apartment on the road
to Davos. In the winter it costs 40.-SFr one-way (car with up to nine
passengers). The car-trains run twice an hour and take just over twenty
minutes. Since both the terminals are right at the tunnel entrances you won't
have much of a view but its quite an interesting experience. Once you are
through the tunnel take the road for St. Moritz and then Pontresina. Enjoy the
A trip to the baths at Scuol
Scuol lies at the northern end of the Engadine valley. It is famous for for its hot baths which are open all year round. There are the usual range of bathing pools for young and old including
hot & cold baths, a salt bath, steam bath and an out-door heated pool with
lovely views of the surrounding mountains which can be enjoyed all year around.
Water jets and jacuzzi complete the picture - a perfect place to relax. If you
want something a bit special there are the Roman/Irish mineral baths which are only open to adults (over 16). You need to allow 2.5 hours for the full course of baths
here and you have to hand over your bathing suit at the entrance in exchange
for a towel. You can take a direct train to Scuol from Klosters throught the Vereina tunnel. The journey time is under 45 minutes and the 2nd class return ticket is just over 40.- SFr. Trains run hourly with the last return train leaving Scuol around 21.30.
As with the day-trip over the Bernina Pass you can easily take the car to
Scuol via the Vereina railway tunnel - it's only a twenty minute drive up the
valley once you get off the train.
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