Passo del Bernina

Passo del Bernina, a Road Through History

Passo del Bernina (Berninapass) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.328m (7,638ft) above the sea level, located in the Bernina Range of the Alps, in the canton of Graubünden in eastern Switzerland.

The road to the summit was built in 1865 and connects the resort town of St. Moritz in the Engadin valley -- famous for its 300 plus days a year of sunshine, its skiing slopes, and its hiking trails -- with the Italian-speaking Val Poschiavo, which ends in the Italian town of Tirano in Valtellina. This pass offers travelers breathtaking views and has been in use since the Middle Ages when people would take to the markets their horse-drawn carts filled with goods to sell.
There are 2 routes to reach the summit. Starting from Samedan, the Passo del Bernina ascent is 20.4 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 607 meters. The average percentage is 3 %. And starting from Poschiavo, the Passo del Bernina ascent is 17.5 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.307 meters. The average percentage is 7.5 %. The pass suffers from heavy traffic, and endless tour buses. An important attraction on this mountain is the Bernina Express – the highest long-distance railway in the Alps (reaching 2.253m), and crosses the road on the north side (twice).

The road is paved. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. It is usually closed off from mid-Autumn to mid-Spring on account of the weather, so plan your trip accordingly. It has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, and driving under these conditions, can be extremely challenging. It can often be treacherous, with ice and snow accumulating even in the summer, so exercise caution as you make your way on its winding roads. The drive through the Bernina Pass takes travelers past lakes and windswept terrain. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Don't forget your camera with lots of film/memory, fully charged batteries and an empty memory card! By traveling from northwestern St. Moritz toward Val Paschiavo, visitors will see the Lago Bianco - "White Lake" - on their right for most of the length of the pass. This is definitely one road trip that you want to record with lots of photographs.


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