The Swiss train system stretches over thousands of kilometers. And one of the most spectacular ways to discover the Swiss Alps by train is along with the Glacier Express.
The Glacier Express travels 291 kilometers, crosses 291 bridges and overpasses, and passes through 91 tunnels. But it’s not a fast train. On this scenic route between Zermatt and St. Moritz, the train averages 36 kph (22 mph). It’s the slowest express train in the world.
Massive panoramic windows let you enjoy the views that begin shortly after departing Zermatt. It passes through the Rhone Valley on its way to Oberalp. The train then descends into the Rhine Gorge. It passes through the Albula line, a World Heritage Site, on its way to St. Moritz in the Upper Engadine Alps.
The majority of those visitors who will want to experience Glacier Express will come from Zurich. In this article, we will discuss the train commute from Zurich to get to Glacier Express. How long is the travel time from Zurich to reach the train? How much are the tickets? Read on for more information.
On this page, you can find all the information you need regarding the train journey from Zurich to get to Glacier Express.
Booking Glacier Express Online
Glacier Express tickets can be booked online, through various websites. You can also book via Swiss Railways, Rail Europe, or any travel agent that sells tickets for Swiss trains or travel services.
My suggestion would be to book it online on one of the two sites below:
- The Glacier Express website https://www.glacierexpress.ch/en
- The Switzerland Travel Centre of SBB CFF FFS at https://www.sbb.ch/
How to Get From Zurich to Glacier Express
Zurich to Glacier Express
There are several options if you want to take the Glacier Express. You can start the journey from Zermatt or St. Moritz. Or you can also pick another stop in the middle if you do not wish to partake in the whole journey.
In this article, we will cover how to get from Zurich to Zermatt and St. Moritz.
If you wish to do the Glacier Express, it is best to arrive at the starting point one day before. That way, you can easily take the train in the morning. There are either one or two Glacier Express trains per day depending on the season.
How to Get To Glacier Express (Zermatt) From Zurich
- Take the Intercity train from Zurich to Visp.
- Take the connecting regional train from Visp to Zermatt.
- In Zermatt, take the Glacier Express train that leaves at 8:52 AM from Platform 4.
How to Get To Glacier Express (St. Moritz) From Zurich
- Take the Intercity train from Zurich to Landquart.
- Take the connecting regional train from Landquart to St. Moritz.
- In St. Moritz, take the Glacier Express train that leaves at 8:51 AM from Platform 2.
Are There Direct Trains From Zurich toGlacier Express?
As of the time of writing (updated December 2023), there are no direct trains from Zurich to Glacier Express.
How Long Is theGlacier Express Train Ride?
- 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.
Is the Glacier Express Route Scenic?
Yes, the Glacier Express route is one of the most scenic routes in the entire country. Among the highlights of Glacier Express are the following:
- 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
How Much Will the Glacier Express Train Ticket Cost?
The price of your Glacier Express ticket will depend on the legs of the journey you take. Furthermore, there are other things to note such as discounts for Half-price travel and GA travel, 50% discount for children 6 to 16 years of age, etc.
The following are the published prices on the Glacier Express website as of December 2023.
|Full Fare (CHF), 2. Class
|Full Fare (CHF), 1. Class
|St. Moritz to Zermatt
|St. Moritz to Brig
|St. Moritz to Andermatt
|Andermatt to Zermatt
If you avail of the Half Fare Travel Card, you can avail of half-price travel for Glacier Express. The Half Fare Travel Card allows you to save on your fare for long train journeys. So this is something to consider during your travel to Switzerland. You can do simple calculations and decide from there if it will be worth it for you.
Furthermore, seat reservation is necessary when traveling by Glacier Express. This must be paid in full by all passengers, even those holding discount travel passes. Seat reservation costs CHF 44 for short journeys and CHF 49 for long journeys.
Since March 2019, Excellence Class, the new premium coach class on the Glacier Express, has been transforming an impressive panoramic journey through the Swiss Alps into a unique and luxurious adventure.
The current price for Excellence Class is CHF 470.
Do You Need a Seat Reservation on the Train?
Yes, you will need to reserve a seat in case you want to ride the Glacier Express Train. This fee must be paid in full.
There is an extra fee to be paid for the reservation.
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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.