Switzerland is a land of stunning scenery, and the Glacier Express is a jewel in the crown.
The Glacier Express – Switzerland’s Most Scenic Train
The journey takes about eight hours, passing through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges. The train moves through picturesque villages and towns such as Visp, Brig, and Chur, offering a unique perspective of the Swiss landscape and culture. The Glacier Express is considered a top tourist attraction in Switzerland and is highly recommended for those looking for an unforgettable experience.
Compared to other means of transport, the train is the most eco-friendly way to travel.
A Journey on the Glacier Express: The Route of All Four Sections
The Glacier Express travels from Zermatt to St. Moritz and covers a distance of approximately 291 kilometers (181 miles).The train is also referred to as the “slowest express train in the world.” The route passes through some of the most stunning mountain landscapes in Switzerland and can be divided into several sections:
Zermatt to Brig: This section of the route offers panoramic views of the Matterhorn, one of the most iconic peaks in the Swiss Alps. The train passes through fairytale-like villages and forests, as well as traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
Brig to Andermatt: This part of the route takes the train through the Swiss Alps, offering views of snow-capped peaks and glaciers. The train also crosses the Oberalp Pass, which at 2,044 meters (6,706 feet) above sea level is one of the highest points on the train route.
Andermatt to Chur: This area offers more breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, as well as a glimpse of the Rhine River as it winds through the valley. The train moves through the Reuss River valley, which is known for its charming villages and rolling hills.
Chur to St. Moritz: The final section of the route takes the train through the Engadin valley, known for its scenic beauty and the famous St. Moritz ski resort. The train also crosses the Bernina Pass, which at 2,253 meters (7,391 feet) above sea level, is the highest point on the train route.
Overall, the train route offers a unique and unforgettable journey through the Swiss Alps, showcasing the beauty and diversity of the Swiss landscape.
How to Book the Glacier Express in Switzerland
- Online: The official website of the Glacier Express offers online booking services. Simply choose your travel dates, select your seat, and pay for your ticket using a credit card. You can have your ticket sent to you by email or regular mail.
- Travel agents: If you prefer to book your tickets through a travel agent, many travel agencies offer packages that include the Glacier Express as part of a larger tour of Switzerland.
- At the station: If you are already in Switzerland, you can purchase tickets for the Glacier Express at train stations along the route. Just be aware that during peak travel times, tickets may sell out quickly, so it’s best to book in advance.
Note: It is recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially during the high season, as the Glacier Express is a popular tourist attraction and tickets can sell out quickly. When booking, you can choose between first- and second-class seating, as well as various meal options.
All Classes in Glacier Express
The Glacier Express offers two classes of service:
1. First Class: The cabins are spacious and comfortable, featuring large panoramic windows through which you can take in the stunning mountain scenery. Seats are upholstered in high-quality materials and are equipped with adjustable headrests and footrests. The cabins are equipped with tables and reading lamps, and meals are served at your seat. A four-course menu is available in the first-class dining car, featuring regional specialties and Swiss cuisine.
2. Second Class: The cabins are also comfortable, with large windows for viewing the landscape. Seats are upholstered in comfortable materials and are arranged in a 2×2 configuration. Second-class passengers can also enjoy meals and drinks from the dining car, but seating may be more limited during peak travel times.
The price of a Glacier Express ticket varies depending on a number of factors, including the time of year, the class of service, and whether or not you have a Swiss Rail Pass. Here are some estimated prices as of 2021:
- Second class one-way ticket (without a rail pass): approximately CHF 160
- First class one-way ticket (without a rail pass): approximately CHF 220
- Second class round-trip ticket (without a rail pass): approximately CHF 320
- First class round-trip ticket (without a rail pass): approximately CHF 440
It’s worth noting that these prices are subject to change, and that discounts may be available for children, students, and seniors. Additionally, discounts are often available for those who book their tickets in advance.
If you have a Swiss Rail Pass, you will typically receive a discount on your Glacier Express ticket. The exact amount of the discount will depend on the type of rail pass, as well as the class of service you choose.
It’s always a good idea to check the official Glacier Express website or to contact a travel agent for the most up-to-date information on prices and discounts.
Related article: More travel destinations in Switzerland
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