Glacier Express journeys depart from Zermatt in Valais. After passing through the Rhone Valley, it travels to Oberalp. From Oberalp the train descends into the Rhine Gorge. UNESCO’s route to St. Moritz in the Upper Engadine Alps passes through the Albula line, a World Heritage Site. Bernina Express trains pass through this same section as well.
During theGlacier Express journey, the train covers 291 kilometers, crosses 291 bridges and overpasses, and passes through 91 tunnels. Despite the name, it is not a high-speed train. Rather, the Glacier Express train travels continuously over a distance of 291 kilometers (181 miles). It also skips stops made by commuter trains. Huge panoramic windows enable train passengers to enjoy the fantastic views along the route.
How Long Does Glacier Express Take?
Glacier Express takes between 7 hours and 45 minutes to 8 hours and 19 minutes depending on which direction you take.
- Glacier Express takes 7 hours and 45 minutes from Zermatt to St. Moritz. It starts at 8:52 AM in Zermatt and arrives at 4:37 PM in St. Moritz.
- Glacier Express takes 8 hours and 19 minutes from St. Moritz to Zermatt. It starts at 8:51 AM in St. Moritz and arrives at 5:10 PM in Zermatt.
The following are the anticipated travel times for sections of the route if you find the Glacier Express route too long.
|Glacier Express Route
|Expected Duration (in hours and minutes)
|Zermatt – Andermatt
|2 hours 54 minutes
|Andermatt – Chur
|2 hours 31 minutes
|Andermatt – St. Moritz
|4 hours 43 minutes
|Andermatt – Zermatt
|3 hours 16 minutes
|Chur – Andermatt
|2 hours 47 minutes
|St. Moritz – Andermatt
|5 hours 1 minute
|Zermatt – Chur
|5 hours 33 minutes
|St. Moritz – Chur
|2 hours 3 minutes
Glacier Express Route
During the nearly eight-hour journey, passengers will be rewarded with some of Switzerland’s most breathtaking scenery. Passing glaciers, ancient forests, idyllic mountain streams, and valleys, you will be immersed in beauty for most of the trip. Some of the highlights of Glacier Express include:
- Views of the Matterhorn from the alpine village of Zermatt
- Rhine Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland
- Crossing 291 bridges and 91 tunnels
- UNESCO World Heritage Site Albula Railway Route with its viaducts and spiral tunnels
- Oberalp Pass which connects Graubünden with Uri
- St. Moritz and the Bernina Region
Regular Train vs. Glacier Express Train
Local trains are an alternative for covering only part of the route or completing it in a few days. The regular commuter trains provide easy access to the Glacier Express route. Although you don’t have the scenic carriages that the Glacier Express trains offer, the windows can be opened to take better photos. Furthermore, the Swiss Pass allows you to go on regular trains without booking.
There is one downside to skipping the Glacier Express train and going for local trains: you have to change trains along the way. Still, the train connections function without any issues.
The local trains run every hour, so you can easily get off at any stop and walk around before taking the next train. The busiest routes might even have two or more trains per hour.
Although the journey may be scenic, a Glacier Express train ticket will cost more than a local train ticket. By taking a local commuter train, you could save some money. On the other hand, you will sacrifice some comfort and experience. The decision is entirely yours to make.
Related Posts: Glacier Express
- Glacier Express or Bernina Express: Which is better?
- Glacier Express Route: From Zermatt to St. Moritz
- How to Get To Glacier Express From Zurich
- How to Get To Glacier Express From Geneva
- How to Get From Interlaken to Glacier Express
Related Posts: Bernina Express
- Bernina Express Route: Chur to Tirano
- How to Get To Bernina Express From Zurich
- How Long Does Bernina Express Take?
- How to Get To Bernina Express From Zurich
- How to Get To Bernina Express From Geneva
- How to Get From Interlaken To Bernina Express
- Rhine Gorge – The Swiss Grand Canyon
- Best Zermatt Alternatives to Choose From
- St. Moritz or Zermatt: Which One Is More Impressive?
- How To Reach Zermatt and Matterhorn From Zurich
- How to Spend 1 Day in St. Moritz, Switzerland
- How to Spend 1 Day in Zermatt, Switzerland
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.