“Welcome to the Slowest Express train in the world” is what the overhead PA system in the train greeted us when we boarded The Glacier Express.
Glacier Express in Switzerland is the most popular train in the world when it comes to the scenic route that it offers. It goes through 91 tunnels and over 291 bridges and covers the journey from St. Moritz to Zermatt in about 8 hours and covers a total of 291 km.
The train makes its way through helical tunnels and viaducts along the Albula line from St. Moritz to Thusis. It climbs a 1000 meters along this route without a rack and pinion arrangement, all thanks to this 20th-century engineering marvel of helical tunnels and this route has been declared as a UNESCO world heritage site. The landscape varies from snow-capped mountains to rolling meadows during the journey from St. Moritz to Zermatt. The train reaches its highest point at Oberalp pass at 2033 m before descending to the lowest point Chur at 585 m.
The Glacier Express is a panoramic train with large windows to provide an unobstructed view of the valleys, passes, bridges to the passenger. The train has both 1st class and 2nd class coaches. The train connects the two famous ski destinations of Zermatt and St. Moritz (from Piz Bernina to Matterhorn ). The Glacier Express commenced operations in 1930 and was named after Rhone Glacier which is near the Furka pass. Till the 1980’s the train used to operate only in the summer months but after the opening of the Furka base tunnel in 1982 the train has been operating throughout the year. The train is a perfect way to enjoy the ever-changing Swiss landscape. So, sit back, pull out your camera and just enjoy the ride.
The Glacier Express has a dining car and you get to order freshly prepared food which is served right onto your seat. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is available for order. The dining car is also stocked with different spirits, wines, ice cream, chocolates, and other snack items. You either pay in cash or card. You have a choice of ordering your lunch while booking your ticket online or you can order it during your train journey itself. Both the quality and quantity of food are good though a bit expensive.
If you don’t want to order you can also pack some food for yourself to munch on whilst your train journey.
COST & HOW TO BOOK
If you have a Swiss Travel pass then you just have to pay for the seat reservation only. The Swiss Half fare travel card can also be used while booking tickets for the Glacier Express. Just select Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card from the drop-down list and carry the discounted card along with your ticket.
You can book tickets for the Glacier Express online here.
Below are the prices in CHF for the different sections of travel in the Glacier Express.
|Section||2nd Class||1st Class|
|St. Moritz – Zermatt||153.00||269.00|
|St. Moritz – Brig||115.00||202.00|
|St. Moritz – Andermatt||85.20||149.20|
|Davos – Zermatt (via Filisur)||145.00||255.00|
|Davos – Brig (via Filisur)||107.00||188.00|
|Davos – Andermatt (via Filisur)||77.20||135.20|
|Chur – Zermatt||119.00||210.00|
|Chur – Brig||81.00||143.00|
|Andermatt – Zermatt||74.00||130.00|
If you don’t want to travel in the Glacier Express but still want to enjoy this route then you can use the local trains, however, you will have to change multiple trains.
We had a great time traveling from St. Moritz to Zermatt in the Glacier Express. The views were insane and you will end up capturing tons of pictures. But honestly, we did find the journey a little tiring by the end of the day.
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