The bright-red Glacier Express passes over glaciers, across gorges, and above river valleys through Switzerland’s spectacular mountain scenery. This narrow-gauge line is the only direct service between the exclusive ski resort of Zermatt and chic St. Moritz—and is considered among the most beautiful scenic trains in Europe.
The Glacier Express train is fitted with picture windows and glass skylights so passengers can admire the breathtaking scenery of the Swiss Alps along the panoramic route that winds through the cantons of Valais, Uri, and Graubunden. Much of its track runs along and through the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes.” On its 180-mile (290-kilometer) journey, the train makes five stops, passes under 91 tunnels, and goes over 291 bridges and viaducts; its highest point is the Oberalp Pass between Andermatt and Disentis, which sits at 6,667 feet (2,033 meters). You can take a one-way trip in a single day, or stop off at the towns along the way and stay overnight in Zermatt or St. Moritz for a three-day, round-trip journey. To fully appreciate the stunning landscape and easily manage your seat reservation and connections, book a Glacier Express tour and make the trip accompanied by a private guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Known as “the slowest express train in the world,” the full journey between Zermatt and St. Moritz takes 7.5 hours.
- Tickets for children between the ages of 6 and 16 are half the adult price; children 5 years old and younger are free.
- Tickets must be booked in advance and seats are reserved.
- Lunch is not included in the ticket price.
- Glacier Express trains are accessible for wheelchair users.
How to Get to There
Most passengers board the Glacier Express at Zermatt or St. Moritz, though you can purchase tickets for shorter sections of the route. From Interlaken, take a train to Brig and board the Glacier Express there; from Lucerne or Zurich, take a train to Chur to make your connection. From Geneva, connect to the Glacier Express in Zermatt.
When to Get There
The Glacier Express service runs daily, with the exception of a few weeks in fall when service is suspended. For lush Alpine scenery, take one of the three trains that depart each morning in the summer. For dramatic winter views, book the one daily departure that runs from December to May.
Other Linked Routes
Additional train lines that link to the Glacier Express route run to Davos in the Engadine, and to the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Bernina Express route to Lugano (via Tirano) on the Swiss shores of Lake Maggiore.