Skip to content

How to Get to the Rhône Glacier

Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Darla Uhl

The Rhône Glacier is the eighth-largest glacier in Switzerland, the largest in the Uri Alps, and one of the oldest in the Alps. It gave birth to one of Europe’s most important rivers, the Rhône River, which flows through Switzerland and France before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. In this article, we will discuss how to get to the Rhône Glacier.

Image of the Rhône Glacier by TouringSwitzerland.com

For those who want to visit the Rhône Glacier, logistical concerns will inevitably arise. Visiting the Rhône Glacier by public transport isn’t easy. In this article, we will explore your options to visit the Rhône Glacier.

How do you get to Rhône Glacier, Switzerland? Let’s find out.

Overview: Navigating Swiss Transport

You can start by visiting the SBB website: www.sbb.ch. Using the website, you can type in your departure and arrival destinations. It will then guide you to where and when you need to be. An app is also available for iOS and Android devices.

If you wish to pay half the fare for all your train rides in Switzerland, a Half Fare Discount Card (1-month validity) is available on www.sbb.ch. This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.

Using the Swiss Pass, you get unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat in Switzerland. Over 500 museums are also free or discounted, and there are free or discounted excursions to mountain summits.

728*90

Getting tickets from RailEurope is convenient while traveling within Europe and/or visiting multiple countries. Having been in operation since the 1930s, RailEurope‘s extensive history, user-friendly website and mobile apps, flexible currency payment options, commitment to customer satisfaction, and strategic partnerships with leading rail operators, collectively establish it as a reliable and trustworthy platform for booking European train travel.

You can obtain from RailEurope the following travel passes:

  • Swiss Travel Pass – choose between continuous or flexible Swiss train passes for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days. The perks? unlimited use in over 90 Swiss cities, free admission to more than 500 museums, and discounts on mountain railways and cable cars. You also get discounts on high-speed Lyria trains between France and Switzerland as well as Nightjet trains that go through Switzerland. See RailEurope for more information.
  • Eurail Global Pass – unlimited train travel to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for non-EU residents
  • Interrail Global Pass – access to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for citizens and permanent residents of the EU

How to Get from Zurich to the Rhône Glacier

Image of the Rhône Glacier by TouringSwitzerland.com

If you plan to use public transportation to travel from Zurich, it’s important to note that buses to Furka Pass do NOT run frequently. To ensure you can return on time, I recommend starting your journey in the morning. This way, you can better coordinate your trip and avoid any scheduling issues.

Considering the infrequent bus schedule for this trip, I strongly suggest visiting the SBB website for additional information before you start your journey. This will help you plan your travel more effectively. That said, I strongly suggest either renting a car or staying overnight in Andermatt. This way, you won’t rush through your visit.

To ensure a successful car rental experience, it’s important to conduct thorough research. Browse websites like RentalCars.com to compare cars that fit your needs and budget, and be sure to check for any hidden fees or insurance coverage limitations. Additionally, plan your itinerary and route ahead of time and make yourself aware of local driving rules and regulations.

EN - 728x90

Once you get to Furka Pass, you can easily get to the Rhône Glacier and the Ice Grotto. The glacier and ice cave are only a short distance away from the entrance gate.


How to Get from Zurich to the Rhône Glacier (6:05 AM Departure)

Zurich Train Station
Image of Zurich Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

If you’re an early riser, you’re in luck. The fastest and cheapest way to get to the Rhône Glacier from Zurich is by catching the earliest possible train connection.

  1. There’s a train departing from Zurich at 6:05 AM headed to Göschenen.
  2. In Göschenen, take the regional train to Realp.
  3. In Realp, take Bus 681 (Direction; Oberwald, Bahnhof). Alight at Belvedere Furka.
  4. In Belvedere Furka, go to the Eisgrotte Belvédère am Rhonegletscher and pay the entrance fee to see the Rhône Glacier and the Ice Grotto.

Even though there are other trains and buses later in the day, I think that they might be too late for you to get back to Zurich on time. So, it’s a good idea to stick with the earliest train connection for a safer trip.


How to Get from Zurich to the Rhône Glacier (9:05 AM Departure)

If you can’t catch the 6:05 AM train, there’s another one departing three hours later. Keep in mind that train schedules vary between weekdays and weekends, so it’s a good idea to visit the SBB website to find out the platform’s departure time for your specific day of travel.

  1. In Zurich, get on the IC 2 Train (Direction: Lugano) and get off at Arth-Goldau.
  2. In Arth-Goldau, take the regional train to Göschenen.
  3. In Göschenen, take the regional train to Andermatt.
  4. In Andermatt, take the regional train to Oberwald.
  5. In Oberwald, take Bus 681 (Direction: Andermatt, Bahnhof). Alight at Belvedere Furka.
  6. In Belvedere Furka, go to the Eisgrotte Belvédère am Rhonegletscher and pay the entrance fee to see the Rhône Glacier and the Ice Grotto.

Even though there are other trains and buses later in the day, I think that they might be too late for you to get back to Zurich on time. So, it’s a good idea to stick with the earliest train connection or the 9:05 AM connection for a safer trip.

If you find the schedule and/or transfers too difficult, I strongly suggest either renting a car (check out RentalCars.com) or staying overnight in Andermatt. This way, you won’t rush through your visit.


How to Get from Andermatt to the Rhône Glacier

You can also catch Bus 681 from Andermatt. If you miss the bus that will take you there directly, you may also take the following train connections:

  1. In Andermatt, take the regional train to Oberwald.
  2. In Oberwald, take Bus 681 (Direction: Furka Passhöhe). Alight at Belvedere Furka.

Check out the timetable for Bus 681 to Belvedere Furka from Andermatt and Oberwald VS.

Bus RouteDeparture TimeEstimated Travel Duration
Andermatt to Belvedere Furka8:30 AM52 minutes
Andermatt to Belvedere Furka3:34 PM52 minutes
Oberwald VS to Belvedere Furka9:42 AM26 minutes
Oberwald VS to Belvedere Furka12:20 PM26 minutes

In Belvedere Furka, go to the Eisgrotte Belvédère am Rhonegletscher and pay the entrance fee to see the Rhône Glacier and the Ice Grotto.


How To Get to the Rhône Glacier by Car

Image of the Furka Pass by TouringSwitzerland.com

To get to the Rhône Glacier by car, you will have to drive to the Furka Pass, which is open between late May and early November. You can also use a motorcycle or a bike.

You can reach Furka Pass from Andermatt, Uri or Gletsch, Valais.

If you want to learn more about driving on the Furka Pass, you can check out this article: The Legendary Furka Pass in Switzerland.


How to Get to the Rhône Glacier on Foot

Image of the Ice Cave, Rhône Glacier by TouringSwitzerland.com

You can access all the necessary information for a hike to the Rhône Glacier on the Obergoms Tourist Office’s website: https://www.goms.ch/tour/furkapass-rhonegletscher.

Before embarking on the hike, you will have to make your way to Furka Pass first. In case you have your car, you can park it in the Furka Pass parking lot. From Furka Pass, the 3.64-kilometer circular trail will bring you to the viewpoint over the Rhône Glacier and back.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind that rockfalls can happen near the glacier entrances, the grotto, and the surrounding area. Additionally, it’s important to be cautious when staying on the glacier’s tip and near the lake, as there’s a risk of ice melting or ice collapsing in these areas.


How Long Does the Journey to the Rhône Glacier Take?

The following table shows the journey from Zurich toRhône Glacier (updated December 2023):

RouteMode of TransportDuration (Fastest Connection, Approximate)
Zurich – Göschenen – Realp – Belvedere FurkaTrain + Bus3 hours 15 minutes
Zurich – Arth-Goldau – Göschenen – Andermatt – Oberwald – Belvedere FurkaTrain + Bus3 hours 29 minutes
Andermatt – Belvedere Furka (Direct)Bus52 minutes
Andermatt – Oberwald – Belvedere FurkaTrain + Bus1 hour 29 minutes or 1 hour 7 minutes

How Much Will the Ticket to Belvedere Furka Cost?

As of December 2023, the ticket prices aren’t up on SBB.ch yet. But let’s check out the November 2023 prices to get to Belvedere Furka below:

Route to Belvedere FurkaMode of TransportFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Zurich – Göschenen – Realp – Belvedere FurkaTrain + Bus70.4035.20
Zurich – Brig – Oberwald – Gletsch – Belvedere FurkaTrain + Bus129.2064.60
Andermatt – Belvedere Furka (Direct)Bus26.0013.00
Andermatt – Oberwald – Belvedere FurkaTrain + Bus34.0017.30
Gletsch – Belvedere FurkaBus10.405.20

Am I Allowed to Travel to the Rhône Glacier?

You can get to the Rhône Glacier via Furka Pass as long as the road is open. Furka Pass is only open during the summer, usually starting late May to early November. 

Furka Pass also closes when weather and avalanche conditions are bad. Check https://www.alpen-paesse.ch/ to see if it’s open.

* Disclosure: By clicking on our affiliate links, you may support TouringSwitzerland.com while incurring no additional costs. We appreciate your support!


Related Posts

+ posts

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.

Tags:
error: Content is protected !!