Best Time to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur
Who has not seen the famous photograph of the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur when the red train of the Rhätischebahn is passing over?
I have wanted to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur for quite some time. But every time I had a small opportunity, something came in between. Either we had not enough time or simply the weather was not on our side when passing by Filisur.
This time we planned it correctly and made sure that the weather was good and that we hit the best time to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur.
Where is the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur?
Filisur is a small village in the biggest Canton of Switzerland, Graubünden in the very eastern part of the country. When you drive by car, check on Google maps “Parking Landwasser Viaduct”.
The off street gravel parking place is on your left side before Filisur when coming from the direction of Chur. You can find all the important places to photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur on my map and photo below.
If you are travelling by train, you would have to exit in Filisur-Station and head to the upper south view point, reachable on foot in about 30 minutes. Beautiful views of the viaduct and the rugged Landwasser awaits.
Next a path leads you to the two other viewpoints which I have listed here in this article. The two by the river, which are under the Viaduct in the valley, and then at the north lookout point. You need about 2 hours to complete all four viewpoints.
We have not been to all of them but you can see on the photomap below the four photography places marked for you.
Best Place to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur
We visited during low season at the end of October. I love this time of the year for photography. It just gives you this special light you cannot get in any other time of the year.
When we parked at the gravel carpark, we quickly realised that during peak season this place must be full, and the locals, quite rightly so, make the most out of it.
We saw stands indicating that farmers sell local products, and at the lower Landwasser Viaduct viewpoint we noticed that there is even a buvette (snackbar).
These were all closed when we visited. But, just be prepared that it can get busy there during peak season.
There are four main places to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur.
- North viewpoint
- River front viewpoint
- South upper viewpoint from Filisur village
- Behind the Viaduct on the valley floor.
I suggest to firstly go to the NORTH Viewpoint . After having parked at the aforementioned car park, follow the straight gravel path until you cross a bridge and find a signpost. You need to take the single track, which leads up through the forest passing another small Viaduct. When we visited in late October 2020 it was under reparation with scaffolding and netting all over it.
Just follow this path all the way to the viewing platform, which you will reach in less than 30 minutes.
There is not too much space on the wooden deck, and I can just imagine in peak times it is quite full. So, choose wisely especially if you want to do some long exposure photography and need the deck not to be shaking.
You might then be better off at the upper viewing point which is just 5 metres above the wooden deck.
River Viewpoint (Bottom)
If you come here to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur, then you should also plan to head down to the bottom viewpoint by the river. It gives you a completely different perspective and it is here where you get the feel of how large this Viaduct actually is.
Walk down from the viewing platform until you have reached the valley floor and head left on the gravel path.
This path would also be possible with a pushchair or for kids on small bikes. Allow maybe 20 -30 min from the top viewing platform down to the river. If you go here straight from the car park then this will only take you 10 minutes to walk.
You will find a large open place, and it was here where we saw the buvette, although closed. You can also have your picnic here, wood is provided to light the large BBQ grill.
When planning to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur do not miss to walk behind the Viaduct, by crossing the bridge over the river and walking a short way into the valley. The photograph below was taken from there.
The fourth photo spot is, as mentioned above, when you walk from the Filisur Station through the Village. You can read about it under “Where is the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur, By Train “ above. You will get a similar view like to the photo below. This one was made with the drone close by the South Viewing Platform
Best Time to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur
"As always in photography, it depends on what you are aiming for. What kind of shot you are hoping to get"
But another factor of this particular photography spot is the timing of the train. Of course, you can shoot just the Viaduct, but the train is adding a special effect. Having said that, as you can see on my photo shot from behind the Landwasser Viaduct at sunset, the train is missing. But I feel it is ok, the sunset was more important to me for that particular shot, and if I have waited for the train on the Viaduct, I would have missed the sunset.
I would definitely suggest when you Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur from the front, on any of the three viewpoints,
to get the train in your photograph.
Remember you have 2 possibilities per hour.
- Each hour there are normally 2 trains, one from each direction. And they are following each other within 5 minutes or so. It is normally just before the hour and the 2nd one coming out of the tunnel just past the hour.
There might be a possibility to have a third train within the hour, but this is not always the case. Just check the timetable well.
You need to check the train time table therefore you can better organise to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct.
Depending on the time of the day you are there, and the time you have to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct, you have enough time after the 2nd train, to pack your camera gear and walk down to the bottom viewpoint.
Although you need to make the choice of photographing the Viaduct with the train from the front or from behind (inside the valley). The time is too short to do both. Or you just have to stay for another hour.
Where is the sun
During the afternoon the sun is shining perfectly onto the Viaduct, meaning you will have it on your back.
But careful, during late autumn (October) the sun is no longer shining onto the Viaduct as of around 16h00.
These photos here on our article Best time to Photograph the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur, have been taken between 15h00 and 16h30.
A bit of history about the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur
When photographing such a beautiful place you should also know a bit about its history, right?
The 63 kilometres long train stretch between Thusis and St. Moritz has many photogenic places. But without a doubt the Landwasser Viaduct is the most spectacular one. It has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage list since mid-July 2008 – as the first of three railway lines worldwide.
The construction of the pillars took place in 1901/1902 without scaffolding and two cranes were solely used. Needless to say this was considered a huge architectural feat.
Only 106 years later, in 2009, the masonry and tracks over the viaduct needed some repairs for the very first time.
Facts of the Landwasser Viaduct in Filisur
The walls are of natural dolomite limestone and are 142 meters long and 65 metres high. It extends in a curve over the rugged Landwasser Valley and into a tunnel, where the entrance is on a vertical rock wall.
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I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning to visit the Landwasser Viaduct and you will get the Best time to Photograph the Viaduct.
If I have left anything out or you have a question, please ask your questions in the comments below so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries also.