The Glacier Express train (orGletscherexpressin German) is considered one of the most beautiful Swiss railway routes in the country.
Often referred to as the "World's Slowest Express Train", this Swiss Alpine train runs between St. Moritz and Zermatt, passing through some of the most beautiful scenery in Switzerland, including mountains, streams, impressive rock formations and, if you are traveling in the colder months, lots of snow.
A Glacier Express tour is often a highlight for many travelers to Switzerland.
What's in this article
Everything you need to know about the Glacier Express train
If you're thinking of taking the Swiss Glacier Express during your trip to Switzerland, this is the perfect guide for you.
In this guide, I cover everything you need to know about traveling on the Glacier train, including the route of the Glacier Express Switzerland, the price of the Glacier Express Switzerland (including Swiss passes that include train travel) and where to buy your tickets.
We also provide step-by-step instructions for booking a seat on the Glacier Express.
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Quick summary of Glacier Express rates
|Einzeltickets||Price from CHF 152||BUY HERE|
|Mit Swiss Travel Pass||Included||BUY PASS HERE|
|Mit Swiss Half Fare Card||Price from CHF 76||BUY TICKETS HERE|
|Mit Eurail-Pass*||Included||BUY PASS HERE|
|seat reservations||Ab CHF 29||BUY HERE|
From Prices based on 2nd class, low season for the entire journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz or vice versa (exclusive day tour option, which only includes the Glacier Express ride between Chur and Brig).
*Eurail Pass must include Switzerland
Find out more about the Swiss Travel Pass and the Swiss Half Fare Card atThis article.
The Glacier Express Route
The Glacier Express runs between the two great Swiss mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt and takes you through the three cantons of Valais, Uri and Graubünden.
During the nearly 8-hour journey, passengers are rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Switzerland, including crossing 291 bridges and passing through an impressive 91 tunnels.
While the journey can take an entire day, it's best to think of the journey in stages.
You have the option of completing all stages in one day or over several days, giving you time to explore the many Glacier Express stops along the route.
Below is a brief overview of each section:
Zermatt para Brig
The Glacier Express Switzerland train journey starts in AlpendorfZermatt, which lies at the end of the alpine valley, just below the world-famous Matterhorn.
Zermatt is a beautiful, car-free mountain village that sits at an altitude of 1,605 meters above sea level and offers fantastic views of the Matterhorn.
The Glacier Express runs from Zermatt to the city of Visp. On this part of the journey, wait between narrow sections with huge rock walls that rise to a height of around 4,000 meters.
The train then descends 651 meters towards the town of Brig, where it makes its first stop.
For this part of the journey, either the left or right side of the train offers stunning views.
Brig para Andermatt
From the town of Brig, the train crosses the Rhône and winds through the upper Rhône valley. The train soon arrives in Oberwald at an altitude of 1,366 meters.
The train then travels through the Furka Tunnel. This tunnel is 15.4 kilometers long and is at an altitude of 1,550 meters at its highest point.
After the tunnel, the train takes a relatively flat route to Andermatt, the second stop.
For this part of the journey, either the left or right side of the train offers stunning views.
Andermatt near Chur
From Andermatt, the train goes uphill over the Oberalp Pass. The route reaches an altitude of 2,033 meters - the highest point of the entire route. From November to April, expect the area to be covered in snow.
The train then makes a long descent along the Rhine Valley. In this section, you'll pass through the Rhine Gorge, where the river is carved into the rocks. The gorge is a breathtaking gorge, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland.
The area is surrounded by cliffs several hundred meters high and the region is covered in forest and teeming with wildlife.
You then arrive at Chur, which at 585 meters is the lowest elevation on the train journey. Chur is the oldest city in Switzerland and the largest city on the Glacier Express route.
On this stretch, the train stops at Disentis and Chur.
For the best views, it is recommended to sit on the left side of the train for this section.
Chur para St Moritz
This section of the Glacier Express route is also covered by the Bernina Express route. In this section, the train travels in the direction of Reichenau, followed by Thusis and Tiefencastel in the Domleschg valley. This area is known for its castles and ruins.
The train continues through the narrow valley before reaching the spectacular Landwasser Viaduct.
It isLandwasser viaductis an impressive single lane limestone viaduct 136 meters long and 65 meters high with six arches (each arch spans approximately 20 meters) crossing the Landwasser between Schmitten and Filisur.
After Filisur, the train travels 1789 meters to the Albula tunnel in several spiral curves. The tunnel takes you even higher into the Upper Engadine before reaching the final destination ofSaint Moritz.
St. Moritz is one of the trendiest Alpine towns in all of Switzerland. This is where the rich and famous vacation. It is not only known as a first-class ski area, but also an excellent starting point for hikes,thermal baths, fine dining and luxury shopping.
In this section, the train makes stops in Tiefencastel, Filisur, Samedan and St. Moritz.
There is also the option to disembark at Filisur and take a connecting train to Davos in the east.
For the best views, it's recommended to sit on the right side of the train for this section.
Glacier Express timetable
Glacier Express runs year-round, except for a short period from late October to mid-December when it does not run.
During the winter months (December 10, 2022 to May 12, 2023), the Glacier Express departs Zermatt at 8:52 am and arrives in St. As of April 6, 2023, there will be an additional service one hour later.
The train also runs in the opposite direction (St. Moritz to Zermatt) from St. Moritz to Zermatt. Moritz at 8:51 am and arriving in Zermatt at 5:10 pm. Beginning April 6, 2023, an additional train will depart from St. Moritz at 9:50 am and will arrive in Zermatt at 6:10 pm.
Please note: Excellence Class is not available for first services from March 27 to April 14, 2023.
During the summer months (May 13 to October 15, 2023) the entire route will be served twice a day. These trains leave Zermatt at 8:52 am and 9:52 am and arrive in St. Moritz at 4:37 pm and 5:37 pm.
On the other hand, trains depart from St. Moritz at 8:51 am and 9:48 am and arrive in Zermatt at 5:10 pm and 6:10 pm.
The Excellence class is only available for the previous service (both ways).
Click hereto view the Glacier Express 2023 calendar.
Glacier Express winter vacation
From October 16 to December 9, 2023, no Glacier Express trains will operate.
Lessons available on Glacier Express Switzerland
There are three different class options available on the Glacier Express Swiss Alps train, including 2ndclass 1stClass and Excellence Class (this class is only available on selected services).
Regardless of the class booked, you can count on the following facilities on board:
- Panoramic window to the roof of the car.
- Route information – in 1ste 2ndThis is done through headphones.
- Air conditioning.
- Food and drinks can be served at your seat.
- Access to an onboard restaurant and bar.
The main differences between 1stclass and 2ndClass is space. Second-class carriages have a 2- and 2-seat configuration, while 1stClass carriages have 2 seats on one side and 1 seat on the other side. It can also be quieter in 1st class due to fewer passengers.
But if you really want to let off some steam, the brand new Excellence Class is another option - it takes 1stclass to a whole new level.
This is what awaits you in the Glacier Express Excellence Class car:
- Only one seat per window - so everyone has a window seat.
- Spacious and luxurious lounge seating.
- Five-course lunch with wines.
- Snacks throughout the day as well as afternoon tea.
- Tablet com Bordinfotainment.
- Luggage compartment with lock.
- Personal concierge to answer your questions and provide information along the way.
- Limited to 20 passengers per car.
- Private bar area.
Glacier Express Price
The ticket price for the Glacier Express varies depending on the section of the route, but for the entire journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz, the Glacier Express costs CHF 152 for 2 peoplendclass and CHF 268 for 1st classstclass and class of excellence.
Yes, you read that correctly, the 1stClass and Glacier Express Excellence Class are the same fares - however the fare difference is due to seat reservation - see below for details.
Read more about Switzerland's fantastic rail network atThis article.
Bilhetes Glacier Express e passes Swiss Rail
Under the following circumstances, the Glacier Express train in Switzerland is fully included or there are discounts:
- With a Swiss Half Fare Card, you can get half-price tickets on the Glacier Express –Click here to buy the Half-Fare Travelcard.
- The costs of the Glacier Express train are fully covered if you have a Swiss Travel Pass or Eurail Pass that covers Switzerland –Click here to buy a Swiss Travel Pass|Click here to buy an Interrail pass.
- If a child is traveling with a parent who has a Junior or Family Card, the child travels free.
Please note that regardless of your pass (including children)Seat reservation is mandatory- See below.
Where to buy Swiss Glacier Express train tickets
If you don't already have a Swiss Travel Pass (you canbuy one here) or do not intend to purchase a ticket, you can purchase tickets for the Glacier Express online.Click here to buy your ticket.
Glacier Express Seat Reservationfees
Unlike most other Swiss trains, all passengers (including children) on the Glacier Express must reserve a seat in advance. Seat reservation for the entire journey costs CHF 39 for 2 peoplendlow season class and CHF 49 for 1stclass in high season.
A seat reservation for Excellence Class costs CHF 470, regardless of season.
The only exception to seat reservations are children under 6 years of age who are traveling in 1st or 2nd class and do not need their own seat.
When can you make seat reservations on the Glacier Express?
Glacier Express seat reservations can be made for travel within the next 2 months. Due to the popularity of this train, it is recommended that you make your seat reservation as early as possible.
How to make a Glacier Express Seat Reservation
The best way to reserve a seat on the Glacier Express is online by following the instructions below.
Visite aGlacier-Express-Websiteand select the booking option in the lower left corner.
Select the service you want to travel with. In most cases, this is the Classic Glacier Express option shown on the left.
Enter your departure and arrival station, date of travel and preferred travel class. Then click Next.
Enter the number of passengers and select the service (schedule) you wish to travel with. At this point, you can ignore the prices shown in the blue box at the top right.
Select the seats you wish to reserve. (Available seats are in light green.) Then click Next.
Add the name and date of birth of all travelers. If you only want to buy a seat reservation because you already have (or will have) a valid reservation.swiss passport, select Reservation Only from the drop-down menu in the Discount field.
if you have oneHalf fare travel card, select the appropriate option and if you do not have a travel document and want to purchase your ticket and seat reservation, select None.
The corresponding seat reservation fee and/or fare is now displayed in the blue box in the upper right corner.
You can now proceed to the next page to complete your payment details.
You will receive a confirmation email from Glacier Express with your seat reservation details. You must print out seat reservations to show the onboard ticket inspector.
Please note: seat reservations are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.
Glacier Express day trips
If you prefer to take a day trip with a private guide on the Glacier Express, you can check the prices by clicking on the links below:
- Glacier Express Day Trip from Bern
- Glacier Express Day Trip from Lucerne
- Glacier Express Day Trip from Zurich
I hope you found this Glacier Express guide useful and can now book your Glacier Express train journey with peace of mind.
Enjoy your journey on the slowest express train in the world.
🇨🇭Don't forget - the Glacier Express fare is fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass.Get yours here!
Learn more about the Glacier Express on our podcast (approx. 1:59 pm). Click the green arrow below to listen.
PIN FOR LATER
ESSENTIALS FOR TRAVELING TO SWITZERLAND
A few things to note: you can only buy base tickets up to two months in advance, but you can buy your reserved seat up to three months in advance.What months does the Glacier Express run? ›
Year-round Glacier Express
After construction began on the Furka Base Tunnel between Oberalp and Realp in 1973, travel through the tunnel was finally possible on 26 June 1982. The Glacier Express has been running all year round ever since!
An individual ticket ranges from 73 Swiss francs to 268 Swiss francs depending on how far you go and whether you're cool with second class or want to get fancy in first class. The seat reservation fee ranges from 39 Swiss francs to 420 Swiss francs.What is the route of the Glacier Express in Switzerland? ›
The Glacier Express route, with it four sections from Zermatt to St Moritz, takes you through the breathtaking Swiss Alps, travelling over 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and climbing to the top of the Oberalp Pass at 2,033 metres.How to get tickets for Glacier Express? ›
Buy tickets at www.glacierexpress.ch
You can buy tickets online at the official Glacier Express website, www.glacierexpress.ch and collect the tickets at the station.
When Should I Take the Glacier Express? The Glacier Express journey is wonderful no matter when you take it. However, in Winter you can enjoy the beautiful snow-capped mountains – making the trip feel that bit more magical. But for clearer views and almost-guaranteed good views, Spring is your best bet.Which route is the best for Glacier Express? ›
The best section of the Glacier Express is from Andermatt to Disentis. This is the area where the train will go over the Oberlap Pass, and you'll see snowy vistas in the winter and beautiful mountains in the summer.Do we need reservation on Glacier Express? ›
The seat reservation is obligatory and will be levied on anyone travelling by the Glacier Express. The fee must be paid in full by all passengers, including children and ohters holding discount travel passes.Which is better Zermatt or St. Moritz? ›
The skiing – Zermatt v. St Moritz. The numbers suggest that both are similar areas, but with Zermatt boasting the highest skiing in Europe and multiple linked areas, it has a huge amount to offer. There is terrain for every ability, excellent snow parks and great off piste.Is food free in Glacier Express? ›
Food and drink on the Glacier Express
In Excellence Class passengers are treated to a complimentary five-course regional menu with wine, along with complimentary coffee, juice, snacks and champagne. Meals are available to book in advance, but there is no need as they are the same price on the day.
Topping our list is none other than the Glacier Express, probably the most iconic and luxurious scenic Swiss rail journey. Known as the 'slowest express train in the world', the entire journey will grant you with undisputed panoramic views of the country's most dramatic scenery, no matter the season.Does the Swiss Pass cover Glacier Express? ›
The Glacier Express & Bernina Express are Switzerland's two most scenic train journeys and these Panoramic journeys are free with your Swiss Travel Pass. However you need to pay a compulsory seat reservation fee regardless of whether you are holding a travel pass or point to point ticket.Which side should I sit on Glacier Express? ›
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.How much is the Glacier Express from St Moritz to Zermatt? ›
The Glacier Express ticket price varies depending on what sections of the journey you take, however for the entire trip from Zermatt to St Moritz the Glacier Express cost is CHF 152 for 2nd class and CHF 268 for 1st class and Excellence Class.Where does the Glacier Express train start and end? ›
The train snakes through the country's iconic alps, on a direct, 8-hour-long, 186-mile voyage from the alpine town of Zermatt (home to the Matterhorn) to the ritzy ski resort town of St. Moritz (or vice versa).What is the difference between 1st and 2nd class on Glacier Express? ›
Glacier Express 1st vs 2nd Class
In first class, there are only three seats per row (a 2-2 configuration facing each other on one side, and a 1-1 on the other side). On the other hand, second class has four seats per row (a 2-2 configuration on both sides).
What distance does the Glacier Express cover? While the journey takes over seven hours, the distance covered is relatively short: 290km (or 180 miles). Travelling at 24mph, the journey allows all travellers to appreciate its scenic route in a truly leisurely fashion.Is Excellence class worth it on Glacier Express? ›
How does one enjoy an 8 hour train ride on a panoramic train between St. Moritz and Zermatt? The famous Glacier Express train now has more than spectacular views on this route on certain trains, their new “Excellence Class”.....and its certainly excellent.How do I book a seat reservation at Glacier Express? ›
You can make this reservation together with your seat reservation or at least one day before the day you travel at email@example.com or call +41 (0)81 300 15 15.What is difference between Bernina Express and Glacier Express? ›
The Bernina Express is a train with panoramic windows running between Switzerland and Northern Italy. One of the world's most scenic train journeys; the whole route is UNESCO ... The Glacier Express is a Swiss train with large panoramic windows that runs between Zermatt and St Moritz.
I find the views of the Bernina Express route slightly better than the Glacier Express route. Remember, this is a personal preference. For me, the views from Albula valley going into Engadine, Bernina Massif, the Bernina Pass, down to Poschiavo and Brusio is fantastic.How to reserve seats in Glacier Express with Swiss Travel Pass? ›
You can reserve your seats on Swiss trains at SBB.ch, SBB Mobile, via SBB Contact Center 0848 44 66 88 (CHF 0.08/min.) or direct at the ticket counter. It costs CHF 5 per seat to make a reservation.Can you take luggage on the Glacier Express? ›
You can take your luggage with you on the Glacier Express. The train has luggage racks in each car and a section under your seat to store bags and backpacks.Is the Glacier Express one day round trip? ›
Self-guided Glacier Express Panoramic Train One Day Round Trip.What is the most beautiful ski resort in the world? ›
- Adelboden, Switzerland. ...
- St Martin de Belleville, France. ...
- Wengen, Switzerland. ...
- Gstaad, Switzerland. ...
- Mürren, Switzerland. ...
- Ortisei, Italy. ...
- Saas-Fee, Switzerland. ...
- Crans Montana, Switzerland.
- The picturesque village of Gstaad in Switzerland has retained its fairy tale Alpine charm, despite it being as one of the world's most expensive ski resorts. ...
- One of the best luxury ski resorts, Gstaad has some fabulous five-star ski hotels. ...
- View our Gstaad ski holidays here.
Gastronomy on the Glacier Express
Only on train 901, between St. Moritz and Tiefencastel and on train 906 between Chur and St. Moritz there is still no service and an offer only on pre-order (lunch bags).
- St. ...
- The alpine village of Zermatt with breathtaking views of the Matterhorn.
- The Albula Line with the Solis and Landwasser viaducts and spiral tunnels.
- The Rhine Gorge, the "Grand Canyon of Switzerland"
- Oberalp Pass.
Below, you'll find all the information you need for a pleasant and stress-free trip. There is a wheelchair compartment and a toilet suitable for use by disabled persons in the 1st class section of every Glacier Express train.
- Book Ticket in Advance. ...
- Split Your Booking. ...
- Look for Cashback Offers. ...
- Use IRCTC Payment Card. ...
- Avail Senior Citizen Discount Quota. ...
- Choose to Travel in Sleeper Class. ...
- Get Online Food at a Low Cost.
The price is variable, cheaper the further ahead you buy it, if you leave it until the day before it could cost CHF 106. No refunds, no changes once you buy it. Buy online at www.sbb.ch or at Swiss stations. You can buy a maximum of 60 days before the day you want it for, right up to the day before travel.Where is the most luxurious train? ›
- British Pullman, A Belmond Train, England.
- Cruise Train Seven Stars, Japan.
- Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe.
- Belmond Royal Scotsman, Scotland.
- Rovos Rail, South Africa.
- Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru.
- Maharajas' Express, India.
- The Presidential Train, Portugal.
There are no senior's rates either for passes or tickets. When making your calculations be aware that the SBB site defaults to half fare. Also consider the 1 month Half Fare Card which usually works out cheaper than any of the other passes.Which pass is best for Switzerland? ›
- Swiss Travel Pass.
- Berner Oberland Pass (previously called Regional-Pass Berner Oberland)
- Jungfrau Travel Pass.
- Tell Pass.
- Swiss Half Fare Card.
- Eurail Global Pass.
And yes you can travel 1st class, buy a route-specific or all-day upgrade for this travel. The upgrade price is half the difference between the 1st and 2nd class fare.Can you hop on and off the Glacier Express? ›
The Glacier Express Route
You can start your trip at either end of this baller journey, or hop on/off at any of the following Glacier Express stops: Brig, Andermatt, Disentis, Chur, Tiefencastel, Filisur and Samedan.
Pick a seat and book a ticket for the Glacier Express
An individual ticket ranges from 73 Swiss francs to 268 Swiss francs depending on how far you go and whether you're cool with second class or want to get fancy in first class. The seat reservation fee ranges from 39 Swiss francs to 420 Swiss francs.
There is only one train per day in each direction, i.e. Zermatt to St. Moritz and vice versa.What stations does the Glacier Express stop at? ›
|Termini||Brig, Zermatt St. Moritz / Davos (change in Filisur), Chur|
|Stops||Fiesch, Andermatt, Disentis/Mustér, Chur, Thusis, Tiefencastel, Filisur, Bergün/Bravuogn, Samedan, Celerina|
This express is operated jointly by two of the private Swiss railways- the Rhätische Bahn (RhB) and the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB). During winters this service dries up as there is only one Glacier train per day in each direction but the number ratchets up to three per day during the summers.Do I need to reserve seat on Glacier Express? ›
The seat reservation is obligatory and will be levied on anyone travelling by the Glacier Express. The fee must be paid in full by all passengers, including children and ohters holding discount travel passes.Which seat is best in Glacier Express? ›
From Zermatt to St. Moritz the views are best out of the right side of the Glacier Express. Travelling the opposite direction, the views would be reversed. I would estimate 85% of the things we wanted to see were on the right side.Which is the best route in Glacier Express? ›
The best section of the Glacier Express is from Andermatt to Disentis. This is the area where the train will go over the Oberlap Pass, and you'll see snowy vistas in the winter and beautiful mountains in the summer. If there is one part of the route you should not miss, this is it.How expensive is Glacier Express? ›
|Individual tickets||Price from CHF 152||BUY HERE|
|With Swiss Travel Pass||Included||BUY PASS HERE|
|With Swiss Half Fare Card||Price from CHF 76||BUY CARD HERE|
|With Eurail Pass*||Included||BUY PASS HERE|
|Seat reservations||From CHF 29||BUY HERE|
As you gaze out at the stunning alpine panorama, you can choose from a range of culinary specialities and traditional dishes. All meals are freshly prepared on board and served at your seat. We offer the perfect regional wines to round off your culinary experience.Does the Glacier Express sell out? ›
However, while booking our train journey I hit a bump when I wanted to get tickets for the Glacier Express. They were sold out! 3 months in advance and I couldn't get a single ticket for my desired travel dates. Not in the first class and not in the second class.Is excellence class on Glacier Express worth it? ›
How does one enjoy an 8 hour train ride on a panoramic train between St. Moritz and Zermatt? The famous Glacier Express train now has more than spectacular views on this route on certain trains, their new “Excellence Class”.....and its certainly excellent.Is the Glacier Express free with a Swisspass? ›
The Glacier Express & Bernina Express are Switzerland's two most scenic train journeys and these Panoramic journeys are free with your Swiss Travel Pass. However you need to pay a compulsory seat reservation fee regardless of whether you are holding a travel pass or point to point ticket.