Take the slow route to admire the Alpine wilds on the Glacier Express, a train known as much for its panoramic views of high mountain scenery as its exceptional level of service.
You’ll spend the day on a deluxe train with large windows that curve overhead and allow you to see the sights while gliding across narrow bridges, through mountain tunnels and past the source of the mighty Rhine River. Green mountainsides and lush valleys in the warmer months give way to icy rock faces and snow-blanketed villages in winter — no matter when you travel, you can see nature’s drama playing out as you pass through this pristine landscape.
Begin in either St. Moritz or Zermatt, and spend the day winding through canyons, mountain passes and limestone viaducts on this romantic route. The train offers three levels of service, including Excellence Class, which offers a six-course lunch with wine pairings and the services of a professional concierge.
You’ll begin your journey in either Zermatt or St Moritz, boarding the renowned Glacier Express train for a relaxing scenic coast through Switzerland’s pine-dotted, snow-dusted Alpine landscape.
The Glacier Express is so called not for its speed but because it is the only direct train between the two mountain resorts, making it a convenient choice. Known as the slowest express train in the world, the bright-red train glides over 289 km (180 miles) in eight hours, through tunnels in the rock, over mountain passes and past Alpine villages. The train has panoramic windows and a focus on comfort, allowing you to relax and take in the landscape.
You’ll pass over the Landwasser Viaduct, a monumental limestone construction whose narrow arches rise up to the high cliffs from the valley below. The Rhine Gorge, known affectionately as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland, is another highlight, where sheer walls of white-grey rock are carved out by the sinuous turquoise path of the rushing river.
Connecting two Swiss Cantons through the high mountains, the Oberalp pass is a lonely stretch far above the treeline, which in the colder months is snowbound and only navigable by rail. As you curve through the barren landscape, you’ll pass by Tomasee, a frigid glacial lake that is the source of the Rhine.
You’ll spend the entire ride in comfort, with large seats, excellent service and enormous windows so you don’t miss a thing. First class seats offer a three-course lunch with a menu du jour and wine list, but we highly recommend Excellence Class. You’ll get extra benefits like a deluxe carriage with luxe, individual seats, professional concierge offering the highest level of personal service and a six-course lunch with paired wines. You can also follow your journey on a personal iPad with an interactive map.
You’ll finish your day in either Zermatt or St. Moritz, where you can continue your exploration of Swiss resort life.