Hop aboard the Glacier Express with your Swiss Travel Pass
The Glacier Express is probably the most iconic and luxurious Swiss scenic rail journey there is! With undisputed views of the country’s most dramatic scenery, you can visit in winter or summer and still be impressed. Apart from glaciers (obviously), you’ll also be greeted by dramatic peaks, villages, fields, rivers and stunning lakes. The train takes you across 291 bridges, 91 tunnels, and 3 cities (canton) from Zermatt to St Moritz.
Duration: 8 hours 3 mins
Covered by the following travel passes: Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Half Fare Card, Eurail Global Pass, Eurial Multi-Country Pass covering Switzerland if it was purchased in 2018
Reservations: Yes, the reservation fee is required for every day of travel, regardless of the distance.
#Klooktip: Travel in Spring if you want to see the perfect combination of green valleys and snow capped mountains.
Getting tickets for the Glacier Express
The Glacier Express trains take you from Zermatt to St Moritz and a single trip can cost quite a bit but they are surely worth the price tag! We’d definitely recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass just for rides on this scenic train. With the Swiss Travel Pass, you’ll just need to make seat reservations for the date you choose to visit. You can head over to the Klook website and make your seat reservations.
The penny pincher option would be just to take a leg of the trip and not the whole journey. You can do this too via Klook! Pre-booking on Klook saves you the hassle of heading to the station and purchasing because you can print out these E-tickets from the comfort of your home. Simply key in the city you’d like to start your journey and where you’ll like to arrive at and make sure you select the Glacier Express trains not a regional train.
Both 1st and 2nd class coaches have panoramic sealed windows all the way to the roof and there is also a trolley serving snacks, drinks and souvenirs.
The newest addition to the train is the Excellence Class coach which have a bar area, personal travel guidance and a premium multi course lunch! The seas are a single window seat on each side, giving you more space and legroom.
Part 1: Zermatt to Brig
Starting at the village of Zermatt, the train first takes you from the Matterhorn to the Matter Valley where you’ll be greeted by 15000 food high peaks and meadows and streams below. You’ll also find the highest vineyards in Europe as well as the Rhine Gorge, which many call the Swiss Grand Canyon.
We recommend staying for a night and taking the time to explore the Rhine Gorge by rafting boat or bike if you visit in the summer.
But before heading away from Zermatt, you definitely can’t miss a trip to the Matterhorn. Zermatt lies at the foot of the highest mountains in the alpine range, with the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Monte Rosa all in close proximity.
Head to the Gornergrat, a 3KM mountain ridge with a viewing platform offering the best views of the mountain. If you’re into winter sports, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise the highest summer ski region and is open 365 days a year! Who says you can’t ski in summer?
Part 2: Brig to Andermatt
From Brig to Andermatt, the train crosses the river Rhone and into the Upper Rhone Valley. The Glacier Express then heads through the Furka Pass over to Realp and to Andermatt. We recommend sitting on the right side of the train for this route to enjoy slightly better views.
If you’re a fan of nature and the great outdoors, then you’ll definitely want to take a hike along the Aletsch Glacier. The hike will take you slightly under 3 hours and includes 2 cable car rides for you to catch a breather. Starting off with a cable car up to the Bettmerhorn, you’ll find yourself walking parallel to the Aletsch Glacier and as you continue on your path, you’ll find the Lake Marjelen.
Afterwhich, continue to the larger Lake Vorder and cross the 1km dark pedestrian tunnel to reach the Fiescher Glacier, Fiescher valley and Upper Rhone valley. You can then choose to take a cable car up to the Eggishorn for a different view of the Aletsch Glacier.
Part 3: Andermatt to Chur
The town of Andermatt is located at the foot of the Oberalp Pass, linking Disentis to Andermatt. This leg of the train journey is truly the highlight as you traverse through the highest point present on the Oberalp Pass at 2033 metres high. It then descends to the lowest point at Chur.
Part 4: Chur to St. Moritz
The Landwasser Viaduct is the most amazing construction between Thusis and St Moritz and probably one of the most iconic photos you’ve seen. This natural stone viaduct extends in a curve over the Landwasser valley and into a tunnel on a rock wall.
Upon arriving at St Moritz, the glamorous mountain resort town, there are some things you have to check out. First up, head to Muottas Muragl, an outlook on the southern side above the Upper Engadin Valley and its lakes. If you’re up for a hair raising time, be sure to hop onto one of Switzerland’s fastest Toboggan runs, descending you down 718 metres in 4.2 km, twists and turns included.
If you’re on a budget, Lake St Moritz is a great option! One of the best free things to do is to take a walk around the shore of the resort’s own lake. The trail will take you slightly over an hour or two if you stop for plenty of photos.
The Alpine wildflowers, dark forests and 3000 metre peak Piz Rosatsch will definitely have you stopping all the time. You can even rent a stand up paddleboard or canoe over the lake.