Combining Graubünden and Ticino by Postal Bus
By Pepe Strub, September 7, 2023
We just returned from one of our best experiences ever in Switzerland – exploring Graubünden and Ticino with a brief stop in Italy – all with the yellow Postal Buses which are included in the Swiss Travel Pass and cover a few rides in Italy. We saw gorgeous mountains, pristine mountain lakes and magnificent glaciers.
We started our trip in Davos Platz from where we took postal bus #331 over the Flüela mountain pass to Susch. After leaving Davos behind the shiny yellow bus quickly reached the top of the pass and the Hospiz with the hotel. We stopped for a few minutes before descending into the Engadin where we were treated to more beautiful mountain scenery framing this famous Swiss valley.
Upon arrival in Susch we changed to a regional train which took 7 minutes to arrive in Zernez. From Zernez we continued with Autoservizi Silvestri, the official Italian partner of the Swiss Postal buses in this area, to Livigno (bus #815 from Zernez to Livigno not operating Sep. 1 – Nov. 23, 2023). In Livigno we were surprised by an active vacation town which includes fancy shops where nearby living Swiss do take advantage of lower prices. After taking time to stroll through the main street we enjoyed a supreme Pizza on one of the restaurant terraces for lunch and topped it off with a famous Italian Espresso.
In the later afternoon we continued, again with Autoservizi Silvestri, from Livigno to Hospiz Bernina (hotel) on bus #705. Hospiz Bernina was the absolute highlight of our adventure. Situated on the flat part of the mountain pass and next to Lago Bianco we stayed at the Hotel Bernina Hospiz for 2 nights. Our room had low ceilings and great views of Glacier Vadret dal Cambrena on the other side of the lake. We ate twice at the very tasty Restaurant Cambrena across the street (they have a few rooms too). They serve local cuisine and specialties such as Capuns, polenta with mushrooms, Pizzoccheri, game, cured meat, cheeses from the valley and home-made cakes.
On our free day we took an easy hike from Hospiz Bernina along Lago Bianco to Alp Grüm. Along the 90 minutes walk we saw more stunning mountain scenery and after about one hour we reached the edge of the plain from where we saw deep into the Poschiavo Valley. From there now walking slightly downhill we reached Alp Grüm. Once we reached our goal we were immediately rewarded by the vistas of the incredibly immense and beautiful Palü Glacier. Alp Grüm must be one of the most scenic places in Switzerland! That is probably why the Bernina Express train stops there for 20 minutes so travelers can admire the beauty of the location. We later returned with the train back to Hospiz Bernina.
From Hospiz Bernina we continued by postal bus to St. Moritz. Passing Mt. Diavolezza, the Morteratsch valley and the village of Pontresina, we were again surprised by how scenic this area of Switzerland really is. At the train/bus station of St. Moritz we had enough time to stop at the Migrolino store before taking the Palm Express to Lugano. On this 4 hour ride to Lugano (the only one which requires reservation) with a brief stop in Chiavenna, our driver was talking about and explaining the scenery the entire way – unfortunately just in German!
Upon arrival in Lugano we spent the night at the Hotel Lugano Dante in the historic part of the city before returning to Basel from where we originally started. We returned to Basel via train.
In general it is recommended to use the postal bus reservation tool. That will assure you a seat on the bus. We only had reservations on the Palm Express and otherwise were lucky that most buses were not nearly at capacity. Our ride from Livigno up to Hospiz Bernina was in an 8-seater vehicle and exactly 8 people showed up.