February 15th 2013
 - TOP Alpen-Sites




period opened


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GPS - coordinates

the whole year


Pontresina - Tirano


N 46°24´40”    E 010°01´42”



detailed pass road map  detailed pass road map

picture collection  picture collection


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Panorama View Berninapass summit

The above shown panorama picture can be loaded as a self rotating picture file by clicking on it

view towards Morteratsch glacierThe Bernina Pass leads from the Swiss Upper Engadin valley with its lakes and Sankt Moritz over to Italy in to the valley Valtellina and the endpoint, the city of Tirano. Just a view curves behind the pass summit, on the south side, the Forcola di Livigno exits to the left which leads over into the valley of Livigno. A tax free zone, which was in the past a smuggling region.

The Bernina Pass has its begin in the north, in Pontresina and runs broad and well built, useable the whole year in light bends upward, always accompanied by the Rhaetian Railway. The Rhaetian Railway transports, protected by avalanche galleries during winter time the uncountable skiers up to the pass and the numerous ski resorts. During summer time the train is normally filled with Japanese tourists that wave, especially in the lower part of the track, where the railway runs parallel to the road. About four kilometers behind Pontresina opens on the right hand side an impressive view and gives access to the mighty Morteratsch glacier. It is fed by two ice giants, the Piz Bernina (4.049m) and the Piz Palu (3.905m).

The road crosses the railroad tracks just after a curve and then follows the railway up to the hospice. Very well built, wide, in long curves, it leads through a glaciated valley, flanked by several cable stations. The actual pass summit is not at the hospice. To reach the Bernia pass summit you still need to continue uphill for about 300m. Up here at the lake named Lago Bianco, you have a magnificent view over to the Piz Palu and in the southwest and the Laggalb (2.995m) in the northeast. This summit is usually during weekends a popular meeting place for bikers from all nations.

Towards the north, several glaciers are sneaking down from the Piz Palu and Piz by Varuna, whose bright green glacial water runs down into the Lago Bianco. When you avert your view to the east, you can spot already the valley that leads over to the Forcola di Livigno and identify the pass road over to Livigno. The view to the south, extends far into the valley of Poschiavo. Up here, always a strong wind blows since the southern end of the pass road is located south in the sunny Italy in Tirano. The northern end of the pass road is located in the Engadine valley at an altitude of at least 1,800 m.

Berninapass Lago BiancoThe south ramp of the Bernina pass road is also well developed, slightly narrower and fitted with many serpentines. Six curves behind the pass summit you may exit this pass road to the left and enter the pass road of the Forcola di Livigno. After this exit, we are leaving the timber line and dive into the first forests. Thanks to the excellent road surface you can dive through the curves with maximum hang off. Then the first villages appear and you will immediately notice that you are approaching the Italian border with its influence of architecture and the behavior of the local people. Farther down, we pass the village Poschiavo with its associated lake before we reach the border to Italy. Shortly thereafter the city of Tirano is reached.

Two things you should not miss on the south side of the Bernina Pass. One is the Lake Poschiavo, especially in autumn and second the Rhaetian Railway. This railway track runs in several places right on the street. So you should not be astonished when suddenly behind you a shrill whistle sound tells you that you should speed up. You also should pay attention during rain, since the tracks on the road become slippery and you should drive carefully in the middle of the track. Several warning signs for motorcyclists show this risk very clear.

Recommended regional links about Berninapass