What to expect from the famous Glacier Express?

You probably already heard once about the Glacier Express. Well-known as the most famous train ride in Switzerland, for many reasons. In this blog post, we will tell you about the Glacier express, things like what to expect, the prices, the route and more.

Glacier Express
The famous Landwasser viaduct

The Glacier Express is known as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. Why? During the Glacier Express journey, you will see impressive and breathtaking views. The train travels through the Swiss alps. You will experience a full day of magnificent views, during your journey from Zermatt to St Moritz or vice versa.

During this 8-hour journey in the Glacier Express, you will cross 291 bridges and go through 91 tunnels! The Glacier Express is known as one of the slowest trains in the world, for a reason, the train has to go through narrow valleys and has to go through tight curves.

Although this is actually a benefit, because of the slow pace, you can enjoy the landscape which is surrounding you to the fullest!

Ticket price for the Glacier Express

The prices of a ticket for the Glacier express depend on the route you want to follow, so how many sections of the journey you want to experience and the class you want to travel in, first or second class.

This table shows the prices of the first and second class for the Glacier Express depending on your route:

Part of the route2nd class (CHF)1st class (CHF)
Moritz – Zermatt152.00268.00
St. Moritz – Brig114.00201.00
St. Moritz – Andermatt84.00147.80
Davos – Zermatt (via Filisur)145.00255.00
Davos – Brig (via Filisur)107.00188.00
Davos – Andermatt (via Filisur)77.00134.80
Chur – Zermatt119.00210.00
Chur – Brig81.00143.00
Andermatt – Zermatt72.00129.00

So, this is good to know, that you can decide to just join a part of the Glacier Express route. Or hop on the Glacier Express but for several days instead of a full day of 8 hours.

We recommend dividing your Glacier Express experience, in this way, you can explore the cities way more, and this makes it a unique day activity during your stay in Switzerland.

Important: there are mandatory seat reservations necessary. Everyone who travels with the Glacier Express is mandatory to pay the reservation costs, as well as people with passes or discounts. The only exception is children under the age of 6 years.

The following table shows you the costs of the reservation fees, which will be applied, these fees are for the extra service you get from Glacier Express, you can already book your seat months in advance, we recommend doing so.

SeasonLonger journeys 1. & 2. Class (CHF)Shorter journeys 1. & 2. Class (CHF)Excellence Class (CHF)
Low season (06.12.20 – 07.05.21)39.0029.00420.00
High season (08.05.21 – 24.10.21)49.0039.00420.00

The route of the Glacier Express

The route of the Glacier Express is from Zermatt to St. Moritz. These are two famous ski resorts. The route actually goes through three cantons, these three cantons are Uri, Graubunden and Valais.

The duration of the Glacier Express to get from Zermatt to St. Moritz is 8 hours and 3 minutes. This is quite a long time, and we highly recommend taking this trip in sections. So divide the journey into pieces. There are several stops where you could stay and later on hop on the Glacier Express and continue your journey.

It’s way more valuable to explore the places where the Glacier Express stops. Getting off the train at these stops gives you the opportunity to explore the various villages and landscapes along the route.

glacier express
The Glacier Route (source glacier express)

To give you a small overview:

  • The train starts in Zermatt, and from Zermatt, the train heads to Visp, the first stop of the Glacier Express is in Brig.
  • From Brig the train travels through the Furka Tunnel to Andermatt, this is the second stop of the Glacier Express.
  • From Andermatt, the train heads to Disentis and after this stop the train heads to Chur, which is the oldest town in Switzerland.
  • From Chur, the Glacier Express heads towards the alpine ski resort St Moritz. Between Chur and St Moritz, the train stops at Tiefencastel, Filisur and Samedan.

So the train stops at quite some towns between Zermatt and St Moritz. This allows you to get out and explore the towns.

Glacier Express
The Glacier Express

The Glacier Express Train itself

Time to talk about the train itself. Your journey on the Glacier Express will be comfortable. The big advantage of travelling with the Glacier Express compared to a normal Swiss train is that the Glacier Express has panoramic sealed windows to the roof and let’s not forget the comfy seats. This makes enjoying the breathtaking views way more enjoyable.

Via headphones, you can get info about the route, the sites the train is passing and so on. Of course, there is a wifi connection on the train and you can charge whatever you want, for example, your phone. Wifi and charging points are free.

There is an infotainment system, if you are on the train, you can access this system on your phone/tablet or laptop.

Glacier Express
Autumn landscape from the Glacier Express

The big difference between the first and second class is the seats. The seats in the first class are more spacious. This is because there are 3 seats in the first class and the second class are four seats next to each other.

As mentioned above, there is service at your seat. You can order drinks and food and it will be served directly at your seat.

So first-class comes with more space, there is one level higher possible. It’s called excellence class, there are only 20 passengers in excellence class every seat in excellence class has its panorama window, there is a bar for drinks and you get personal guidance.

In excellence class, you get a multi-course lunch as well. The excellence class costs 420 CHF as you can read in the table above.

You can not bring your dog with you, as dining at your seat is available, which makes it impossible to allow dogs on the train.

Best season to hop on the Glacier Express

The best season is the spring season. During spring Switzerland’s mountains are still covered with snow, but the valleys are already magically green. Travelling on the Glacier Express during the spring season will give you a feeling of being in a fairytale.

During the months from March to June, there is still snow on the mountains, but the flowers are flourishing again, which makes it a wonderful time to hop on the Glacier Express.

Because the winter is over, the temperatures are rising again, so you can get out of the train and enjoy the beautiful picturesque towns along the route.

Glacier Express

But of course, summer, autumn and winter have their advantages and specialities as well! To give you an idea of what we mean:

  • Summer: perfect conditions, to stop and explore the towns. Everything is fully green and flowers are flourishing.
  • Autumn: this is a magical season as well, the leaves are changing their colours. This gives the Glacier Express journey a magical touch.
  • Winter: Switzerland is covered under a white blanket during the winter season. This gives it a real fairytale feeling, winter on the Glacier Express gives beautiful panorama views, over the white valleys.


The Glacier Express is a wonderful activity to do on your holidays in Switzerland. The train travels from Zermatt to St. Moritz and vice versa and has several stops in between. It is possible to divide your journey into smaller parts. Above in the tables, you can see the prices for the first and second classes.

Important to remember is that you need to reserve your seat, this is mandatory and extra costs are applied. We hope you will have a lovely experience on the Glacier Express!


Maurits love affair with Switzerland started on his first visit to Switzerland and still continues today. He visits Switzerland often and enjoys writing about his discoveries and sharing his tips with fellow travellers.

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