Riding the Glacier Express through Switzerland


Switzerland impresses with its nature and mountains. One of the best ways to experience Switzerland is to take the Glacier Express. This is a panorama train that crosses Switzerland from St. Moritz to Zermatt. The Glacier Express runs this 8-hour route daily from May to October. Many travelers make the trip in a day, but here we show you how to turn it into a whole journey.

This trip is excellent for people who love the mountains and nature. The Glacier Express meanders through car-free valleys and leads over passes where there is still snow in summer. Let’s start the journey!

Badrutt’s Palace St. Moritz

Our journey starts in St. Moritz, which is also the departure station of the Glacier Express. St. Moritz is known for its luxurious winter tourism and polo tournaments on the frozen lake. But St. Moritz also has its charms in summer – Hiking in the mountains or glaciers, mountain biking, or wellness. The hotels in St. Moritz have massively expanded their wellness offerings in recent years. So does Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz. The hotel with the turret is the village’s landmark for many and offers its guests 157 rooms. “Palace Wellness” is the spacious spa area that invites you to relax with a view of the mountains. Also not to be missed is afternoon tea in the hotel, a tradition in St. Moritz for more than 120 years.

From St. Moritz to Andermatt

We recommend a stay of 2 to 3 nights in St. Moritz. Then the Glacier Express experience starts. The train station is only a few hundred meters from the hotel, and you get elegantly chauffeured there in a Rolls-Royce. Check-in is easy, and the seats are pre-reserved. If you let yourself fall into the comfortable seat, you can see that almost the entire roof is glazed and thus offers an eaves-like panoramic view. The compartments provide four places with a large table and full restaurant service. At 9.15 am the train starts moving. Shortly after leaving St. Moritz, you can immerse yourself in the mountain panorama. The train travels the Albula route, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight is crossing the “Landwasser Viaduct” – a 65 meter high and 136-meter long railway bridge. Then it goes down to Chur, where the train makes a stop.

The most beautiful part of the route

Now the most beautiful part of the route is waiting. Along the Rhine, it goes through deep valleys framed on the left and right by snow-capped mountains. The most beautiful section of the way begins, which leads to the 2033 meter high Oberalp Pass. A tunnel leads up to the pass – as soon as you come out of the tunnel, you usually find yourself in a winter landscape. The last part of the route leads down to Andermatt.

The Chedi Andermatt

It is 2 pm, and the train is pulling into the tranquil and very traditional Swiss village of Andermatt. It is worth spending 1-3 nights here. The Chedi Andermatt is a 5-star hotel, which is located directly across from the train station. When you touch The Chedi, you immediately feel in another world. Very Asian, a lot of wood and metal and playful light effects – an absolute feel-good atmosphere and something that you don’t expect in the middle of the mountains (and in a village with 1,000 inhabitants). The hotel offers an eaves wellness area, 101 rooms, and two restaurants. In addition to exploring the small village, the place invites you to go on extensive hikes in the mountains – there is an 18-hole course available for golfers.

From Andermatt to Zermatt

After a hearty breakfast and a few lengths in the hotel’s 35-meter pool, you cross the street where the Glacier Express is waiting for you. The last 3 hours are going to Zermatt. Enjoy a nice lunch on board the train and enjoy the mountains scenery. Then it gets dark for 15 kilometers because you drive through the Furka tunnel. After that, you are in Valais’ canton, where you cross the Mattervalley, the Glacier Express at Visp takes its course for Zermatt. The last part goes through the narrow valley along gorges and waterfalls until the train stops in Zermatt at 5 pm.

Grand Hotel Zermatterhof

Zermatt is a car-free village – that’s why golf carts are waiting at the train station to take guests to the hotel. The 5-minute drive takes you through the main street up to the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof. As soon as you arrive at the hotel, you have the first view of the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is the symbol of the region and also of Switzerland. The Zermatterhof has been welcoming guests for 140 years and offers 69 rooms in total. Thanks to the hotel’s central location, everything is straightforward to reach, and you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Matterhorn. It is worthwhile to stay here for 2-3 nights and take excursions to the mountains up to 4,000 meters high with the cable cars.

The journey through Switzerland

The costs of this train journey are – depending on the class – between 200 and 300 USD. Getting to St. Moritz is possible from Milan or Zurich and can also be made by train. After your stay in Zermatt, we recommend taking the train to Geneva and making stops in Montreux or Lausanne. This trip is ideal for guests who have never been to Switzerland or those who would like to experience Switzerland again from a different perspective. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the trip and the various possible combinations.

Guido Graf is Founder of Privateupgrades. Privateupgrades is a global luxury travel club with over 20 years of experience in luxury hotels, ensuring exclusive VIP privileges like upgrades, free breakfast, free nights, rate discounts, free airport transfers, free massages and much more.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.


Comments (8)

  1. John says:

    I’ve done the trip and it is one of the world’s great railway journeys. I did it in summer and a railway guard, who was probably also one of their top salesmen, told me that every season is spectacular and that I ought to come back for autumn, winter and spring views. That would be costly but I’d like to go back for the winter scenes.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      We covered a short section of the route when travelling by train from Zurich to St. Moritz (to stay at Badrutt’s Palace, in fact) a few years ago. Such beautiful scenery. We were back in Switzerland last Summer, and did Geneva – Lausanne – Gstaad by train. I have to say it’s such an easy way to travel around the country, allows you enjoy the amazing views, and isn’t all that expensive (by Swiss standards). Of course, everything runs like clockwork, too, but then you wouuld expect that. :-)

    • Guido Graf says:

      Winter is a lovely time to travel to Switzerland. Then not only the peaks of the mountains are covered in snow, but also the valleys. Unfortunately, this train journey in the panorama car is not offered in winter. However, there are other train journeys during the wintertime (with normal trains) which are also very charming.

  2. Hamish Brown says:

    I’m getting confused. I’m fairly sure that a friend of mine has done The Glacier Express but he said that he had started in Italy. Am
    I losing the plot (again)?

    • Guido Graf says:

      Hello Hamish. You are absolutely right. In addition to the Glacier Express, there is a second panorama train – the Bernina Express. This one starts in Tirano (Italy) and goes to Chur.

  3. Piers says:

    Never done Switzerland but this would be an epic way to get to see what must be a beautiful country. Some first-class hotels to stay in along the way as well.

  4. Guido Graf says:

    Hello piers. You should put Switzerland on your bucket list – especially if you love nature. Switzerland offers wonderful experiences and impressions – paired with a delicious cheese fondue in a rustic alpine hut, this trip will remain an unforgettable memory.

  5. Leonard Hood says:

    I love travelling by rail. I’ve done it in Europe and in Japan. It gets you to more places at a lesser cost. Though it takes more time (you really need to factor in travel times in your itinerary), you get more from it. The Glacier Express is a surprise to me because you can choose to take it as a one-day trip through the country. But it also gives you the opportunity to hop-on and hop-off much like what I did with my Eurorail and Japan trips. I just might consider this adventure on my next trip, hopefully next year! For now, I’m just adding lots of places to my bucket list.

Leave a reply



Your actual name, not your online persona, website name, company name or keywords, otherwise your comment won't be published





Please do not advertise and make sure your comment adds value, otherwise we regret that it won't be published. Comments such as "Nice post. Thanks for sharing." do NOT add value to the discussion! Homepage links (not deep links) are allowed in the 'Website' field only - if you would like to advertise, please contact us for details and we will be happy to help.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

Our readers also enjoyed these posts…