Bernina Pass

***The Bernina Pass is one of the world’s great roads – really worth doing. And then do it again on the train. We journeyed north to Alp Grüm (a fun ride, with great views throughout). Then south, to the Brusio Viaduct – a full 360 turn. Hiking wasn’t much of an option when we visited due to snow (beginning of April – I’d expect this area is open in late May, even mid-June). Also note that the trains aren’t always willing to stop for you at the smaller stops.


Very few lifts, very long runs, high elevation. Very steep and very fast. Combine with St. Moritz – it would be worth it as a combo trip.


Near the end of the epic Bernina Pass, **Poschiavo is a nice low-key weekend destination. I’d do as a round-trip train adventure in the winter (potentially stay in Pontresina to have easy access to skiing in Diavolezza and St. Moritz), or overnight in the summer with some hiking thrown in. It’s popular with the fleece and backcountry crowd.

Poschiavo itself is a cute, walkable town. It was built in rather grand scale, with each house having a large kitchen garden attached. This strategy largely remains, making for a very green and open feeling in the historic center.

In the early 19th century Poschiavo was a poor rural village. Many of its citizens left to seek their fortune. In the 1850s enterprising Mayor Lardelli commissioned an Italian architect to lure these wealthy families back to Poschiavo. The brief to architect Sottovia, was to design some palatial state-of-the art residences (in the popular Spanish-influenced style of the time). They were south-facing, with bathrooms and running water. 

We stayed at the **The Hotel Albrici, a historic Swiss hotel, dating back to 1683. The newer annex is very modern and a bit limited in personality. It was an okay experience overall, nice staff, appears to be the nicest place in town. Food is just okay.

There’s an Ossuary of note just beside the church in the main square. Documentation is limited, but it appears to be a collection of bones that were found during renovation of the church. Interestingly the skulls have been part of an academic study to improve age assessment techniques for historic remains.

***Museo Casa Console is a surprising gem – a lovely collection. Worth the time.

Just past Poschiavo, on the lake, is the **Hotel Prese. It’s a nicer option, trying hard to be a grand hotel (without quite succeeding). Room 64 is a corner room with great views. The menu is complex and interesting. There’s a small spa, and a lovely patio that would be very nice in the summer. The walk around the lake is excellent.

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