You are currently viewing Switzerland’s panoramic train promises a breathtaking journey through the Alps

In the background, the Alps rise behind charming little villages as the locomotive winds its way through a snow-covered landscape. You’re not dreaming, we’re in the heart of Switzerland aboard the Glacier Express, the world’s slowest “express” train!

If you’ve always wanted to visit this beautiful country and go on an adventure, you can easily find discounts and savings on flights by visiting the Flytrippers deals page. There are also all kinds of tips to pay less for your tickets by using travel rewards.

Here are all the details on this completely unique transport experience.


The Glacier Express train experience

This 8-hour train journey will take you through 3 cantons — Valais, Uri, and Graubünden — while admiring postcard-perfect panoramas through the almost entirely glass-domed train car…


Now, that’s what we call enjoying the journey.

While aboard the vehicle, keep your eyes wide open to take in every detail of this picturesque landscape: over a hundred bridges standing tall, the Rhine flowing gently at the base of steep cliffs, and turquoise lakes nestled at the foot of the mountains…


Glacier Express train route

Departure is from the pretty town of Zermatt, a well-known destination for skiers and hikers alike. 

At the very end of this colorful journey, passengers disembark in the town of St. Moritz, which even hosted the Winter Olympics on 2 occasions (1928 and 1948).

You can also choose shorter routes, as the train also serves Andermatt, Brig, Bergün, Celerina, Chur, Filisur, Samedan, Thusis, and Tiefencastel. 

The Glacier Express winds its way through some of Switzerland’s most beautiful valleys. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to admire the Swiss Grand Canyon, the Oberalp Pass, the Landwasser Viaduct, and the peaks of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Alps. 

Enough to build quite the itinerary.

Map itinerary (image credit: Glacier Express | Official Website)   


If you prefer, you can also opt for an “Excursion” tour, which includes the Glacier Express train ticket in addition to a private guide and roundtrip transport from Zürich, Switzerland’s largest city.


The 3 classes of travel on the Glacier Express train

The rail company offers 3 different price ranges depending on the chosen class. 

You can opt for:

  • 2nd class seat
  • 1st class seat
  • Excellence package

The more luxurious option promises a complete high-end experience, but all sections are equipped with the same windows overlooking snow-dusted forests. So there’s no need to spend a fortune to enjoy the grandiose. 

While the Glacier Express conductor first uttered “All aboard!” in 1930, the train carriages have been completely refurbished in recent years for greater comfort. 

Of course, ticket prices vary according to the length of the journey and the time of year.

Outside view from the train (photo credit: Glacier Express | Official Website)


2nd and 1st class 

One-way ticket prices in 2nd class range from CHF 77 (~ $119) to CHF 159 (~ $246).

For 1st class, seat prices range from CHF 131 (~ $203) to CHF 272 (~ $421).

The services offered are the same in these 2 types of classes. The only distinction is that 1st class has a slightly different seating configuration, providing passengers with more space and comfort. 

On board, local culinary specialties are offered to travelers at extra cost. Unfortunately for raclette and fondue lovers, no cheese-dripping dishes appear to be on the menu.

Good to know, if you have the Swiss Half Fare Card, you can benefit from a 50% discount on all train, bus, and boat travel in Switzerland for 1 month. It costs US$149 (~ $200). It’s quite worth it if you’re planning to visit several regions of this beautiful country. It’s also applicable to Glacier Express tickets. Be sure to check the available discounts, as there are some promotions for specific age groups.

You should know that for the “Excursion” tour departing from Zürich, you’ll have to pay $1131 for a seat in 2nd class which is an extra $800 or so because transport between Zürich and Chur would cost you $40 roundtrip if you booked it yourself (as is almost always the case, tours and packages are much more expensive).


Excellence package

Since 2019, the company has been offering the exclusive Excellence package. In this car, which seats just 20 people, a window seat is guaranteed.


For around 470 CHF (~ $728), guests can enjoy a tea service, a glass of champagne with aperitif, and a 5-course meal with wine pairing (included in the price). 

The vehicle also has its own bar, the “Glacier Bar”, where guests can enjoy a cocktail while gazing at the alpine horizon. Any questions? There’s even a concierge assigned to this luxurious section to ensure passengers are content.


How to book the Glacier Express train

Reservations are made easily online on the railway company’s website. You can, for instance, buy your ticket without having to select your date and seat in advance.

For the “Excursion” tour, which also includes transport from Zürich, you can book on Viator, one of Flytrippers’ highly-recommended activity websites. Don’t forget that you can also use the Swiss Half Fare Card to enjoy a 50% discount.

Trips on the Glacier Express are available in summer and winter alike, as the white-clad landscapes are transformed into flower-filled valleys. Note that some stops are no longer accessible depending on the time of year. 

Now, all you need to do is get ready to have your breath taken away.


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Featured image: Glacier Express (photo credit: Dominika Trzaska, Glacier Express)

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Françoise Goulet-Pelletier

Françoise is a former Flytrippers team member. Holding a bachelor's degree in writing from the University of Montreal and an international master's diploma in cinema, she has worked in journalism, writing, and research for companies like Narcity Canada, Cirque du Soleil, the University of Montreal, and Productions J. Passionate about travel, she loves exploring the world through seaside Airbnb stays.

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