| |

Glacier Express Review: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Sharing is caring!

Are you looking for a unique and breathtaking travel experience in Switzerland? Look no further than the Glacier Express, also known as the “slowest express train in the world.”

This iconic Glacier Express route takes you through the stunning Swiss Alps, offering panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, charming villages, and picturesque landscapes.

In this ultimate travel guide, we will dive into everything you need to know about the Glacier Express, from prices and different levels to the menu and the best views.

So sit back, relax, and join us on a virtual trip aboard the Glacier Express for an unforgettable adventure through the heart of Switzerland.

Let’s get started with my Glacier Express review!

👉Don’t have time to read the whole article? This is the best Glacier Express Route
👉Glacier Express Panoramic Train Round Trip from Zürich With Private Guide
👉 Glacier Express Train Reservation St.Moritz to Zermatt 1st Class

An Overview of the Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is not just a train ride but an eight-hour journey connecting two of Switzerland’s most picturesque mountain resorts, St. Moritz and Zermatt.

It traverses 291 bridges and 91 tunnels and reaches the highest point at Oberalp Pass, 2,033 meters above sea level.

This marvel of rail travel cuts through the Swiss Alps, serving as a lifeline between the southeastern and southwestern parts of Switzerland.

The train operates daily and passes through the unspoiled natural beauty of a landscape protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The links in this post may be affiliate links.  That means that if you click them and make a purchase, this site makes a commission.  It will have no impact on the price you pay or the experience of your purchase.

Its distinctive red carriages, equipped with panoramic windows, ensure every passenger has a window seat to enjoy the full splendor of the surrounding mountainous terrain, lush valleys, and pristine rivers.

The Glacier Express is not merely a mode of transportation but a bridge between cultures, languages, and histories within Switzerland, providing insights into the country’s rich heritage and breathtaking natural wonders.

As it journeys from the Romansh-speaking region of Graubünden to the German-speaking Valais, we embarked on a voyage that is as much about discovering Switzerland’s diverse cultural as it is about exploring its iconic alpine landscapes.

I can’t say enough how beautiful this journey is!

This experience is further enriched by the train’s slow speed, which allows ample time to absorb the awe-inspiring snow capped peak while crossing one of the world’s most rugged and beautiful terrains.

Glacier Express Review| photos of me with coffee and the train

➡️ Click here for the 10 most Beautiful Villages in Switzerland

Map of Glacier Express Route

Glacier Express Prices

Planning a trip on the Switzerland Glacier Express can be overwhelming, but don’t worry. With a little guidance, it’ll be easy and straightforward.

The cost of your journey depends on several factors, such as the class of service you choose, the time of year you travel, and whether you have a Swiss travel pass.

Consider a first-class ticket if you’re looking for a more luxurious experience. You’ll enjoy extra space, privacy, and a welcome drink to make your journey even more special.

It’s worth noting that these prices are for the ride and do not include the mandatory seat reservation fee, which can add another CHF 39 to CHF 49, depending on the season.

Traveling during the high season (summer months and winter holidays) typically means higher prices and increased demand for seats.

It’s also when the Swiss Alps are most inviting, with lush landscapes in the summer and snow-covered peaks in the winter.

Discounts are available for Swiss Travel Pass holders, but a seat reservation is still required, and fees apply.

Remember, while the price of a Glacier Express reservation might seem steep, it grants access to one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world, complete with unparalleled views and top-notch service.

Those interested in experiencing the Glacier Express should consider their budget, travel period, and class preference to find the best option for their needs.

Additionally, looking into package deals that include onboard accommodations or meals could offer savings and enhance the experience on the Glacier Express.

Glacier Express Service

It provides two levels of comfort and service to cater to passengers’ preferences and budgets. The first and second-class options promise a remarkable journey through the Swiss Alps but differ in space, privacy, and additional services.

If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, first-class or Excellence is the way to go. You’ll enjoy spacious seating with fewer seats per carriage, allowing you to stretch out and relax.

The seats are arranged to maximize panoramic views, ensuring you can comfortably take in the breathtaking landscapes. Sounds impressive, right?

An added perk of traveling in first class is the attentive service, including a welcome drink to toast the beginning of your memorable journey and an exclusive bar for the excellence passengers only.

First-class carriages’ enhanced quietness and privacy make them ideal choices for those seeking a more serene and luxurious experience.

Second class, while more economical, still provides a comfortable and enjoyable ride. The carriages are equipped with clean, well-maintained seats arranged to take advantage of the train’s panoramic windows.

Although the seating is more compact, the experience remains top-notch. Every passenger is guaranteed a window or aisle seat so they do not miss out on the stunning vistas.

The second-class service offers exceptional value, providing access to the same awe-inspiring views and onboard amenities, such as dining options, albeit with a less spacious seating arrangement.

Regardless of your class, the Glacier Express ensures a memorable journey with excellent service but if you want to witness the most spectacular views make sure you book window seats for your party.

It allows travelers to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Swiss Alps while enjoying the comforts and conveniences of modern rail travel.

Glacier Express Mountains in Switzerland

booking the Glacier Express

The Glacier Express is included as standard in all of our Rail tours through Switzerland and the booking process is quite easy.

A three-course menu is included as standard in both second and first class, and Excellence Class is available as an optional extra.

Alternatively, book your trip with Glacier Express with a Swiss or Eurail Pass. A seat reservation on top of these passes is compulsory, which can be booked via our rail planner app by selecting “Reservations”.

2nd Class

  • Comfortable seats in bays of 4 seats, with large tables
  • Large panoramic windows to enjoy the best views
  • Multi-lingual (including English) information about the sights along the route with free earphones
  • Wifi and sockets are available.
  • At your seat service and catering

1st Class

  • 4-seat bays like in 2nd class, or 2-seat bays
  • Quieter atmosphere than 2nd class
  • More legroom and wider seats than in 2nd class

Catering in 1st and 2nd class

1st and 2nd-class ticket holders can book meals alongside their seat reservations beforehand. Alternatively, meals can be ordered while on board, but availability might be limited. Drinks don’t have to be ordered beforehand.

When the Glacier Express is booked as part of one of our rail tours through Switzerland, we pre-book a three-course meal and include it as standard.

This way, you don’t have to worry about anything as you watch the fantastic landscapes glide by while your three-course meal is served at your seat.

Excellence Class

The very limited Excellence Class requires an additional reservation on top of a 1st-class ticket.

Only one coach with ten seats is available on selected trains and can only be booked for the Zermatt – St. Moritz route.

You can book Excellence Class seat reservations via our Rail Planner app or select it as an optional extra on top of one of our Rail Tour package holidays.

On top of all 1st-class amenities, the following is included:

Coach & Services:

  • Lounge seats in two-seat bays with large tables
  • Exquisite five-course meal
  • Exclusive access to the Glacier Bar
  • Tablet with Bordinfotainment
  • Personal concierge as host in the Excellence Class
  • Welcome-Desk & personal check-in on the platform
  • Luggage transport in dedicated lockable sections aboard


  • Seasonal, regional 5-course menu including wine accompaniment
  • Champagne & brioche
  • Apéritif & amuse-bouche
  • Tea/coffee in the afternoon with goodies, chocolate coffret
  • Soft drinks & fruit juices
  • Snacks throughout the day are available.

Glacier Express Menu

Let me tell you about the unforgettable dining experience you can expect on board. Trust me, it’s just as amazing as the breathtaking landscapes!

The onboard menu features Swiss culinary delights, and you can choose from various dishes to suit your taste along with la carte dishes.

I highly recommend trying traditional Swiss cuisine, but international favorites are also available. All the dishes are prepared with a focus on quality and freshness, so you can expect a truly memorable meal.

If you’re traveling in first class, you’ll be treated to a three-course meal served at your seat. This means you get to enjoy the stunning views without any interruption.

And if you’re in second class, don’t worry. You can still visit the dining car or order from a select menu. You won’t miss out on the amazing flavors of Switzerland or the alpine scenery.

No matter what you choose, dining on the Glacier Express is an experience you won’t forget.

Whether you start your day with a hearty Swiss breakfast or indulge in a gourmet meal paired with Swiss wines, it adds an extra layer of enjoyment to this already extraordinary journey.

Click below To View the Glacier Express Menus

Glacier Express breakfast menu
Glacier Express menu
Freshly prepared daily menu
Glacier Express panorama bar menu

Glacier Express Menu
Glacier Express Menu

Glacier Express Views from the Train

The train offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, which changes constantly, with each scene more breathtaking than the last.

You can start your journey from either St. Moritz or Zermatt, both of which provide stunning views of the Swiss Alps.

As the train wends its way through the heart of the Swiss Alps, you’ll be treated to a tapestry of natural splendor that captures the essence of Swiss beauty.

The landscape transitions from deep lush valleys with sparkling rivers to awe-inspiring mountain vistas dominated by the iconic Matterhorn.

You’ll feel like traveling through a meticulously curated gallery, with each scene more beautiful than the last.

As the train ascends towards the Oberalp Pass, the journey’s highest point at over 2,000 meters, the breathtaking scenery shifts dramatically.

In winter, the landscape is transformed into a magical wonderland of snow and ice, with frozen lakes and snow-covered pines and its like the Grand Canyon of switzerland

In summer, the snow melts away to reveal green meadows dotted with wildflowers, and the air is filled with the sound of cowbells and rushing streams.

The journey through the Swiss Alps is captivating in any season due to the dichotomy of landscapes, from verdant summer beauty to the serene quiet of winter along with beautiful winter snows.

You’ll witness notable landmarks along the route, including the Landwasser Viaduct, a marvel of railway engineering that leaps across a steep valley, and the Rhine Gorge, often called the Swiss Grand Canyon, with its dramatic cliffs and verdant scenery.

As you take in the stunning views through the panoramic windows, you’ll have ample time to capture photographs, reflect on the natural beauty, or immerse yourself in the view.

The Glacier Express offers a journey through the Swiss Alps that has inspired artists, writers, and travelers for centuries. You can experience it all from the comfort of your seat.

➡️ Book Your Glacier Express Experience Now!

Is Glacier Express Worth It?

As someone who loves to travel, I can attest that this train ride is more than just a means of transportation. It’s a unique experience that takes you through the heart of Swiss alpine beauty that you can’t experience through any other mode of transport.

For me the Glacier Express is one of the best train journeys I’ve ever taken.

It combines engineering marvels with natural wonders, and although it can be a bit expensive, the unparalleled views, high level of comfort, and unique experience make it totally worth it.

The slow pace of the train is a gift for nature enthusiasts like me.

It allows you to fully absorb the splendor of the Swiss Alps—towering mountains, verdant valleys, and serene lakes—in all their glory.

The region’s natural beauty changes with the seasons, creating stunning panoramas that delight all your senses.

As someone who loves culinary experiences, I was also impressed with the quality and presentation of the meals onboard. They are designed to complement the journey with a taste of Swiss tradition and innovation.

However, if you prefer quick transit between destinations, the Glacier Express’s leisurely pace and full-day commitment may not be for you.

Similarly, budget travelers may need to weigh the experience against the cost. But the journey offers several Swiss cultural and scenic highlights in a single package, enhancing its overall value.

So if you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience in Switzerland, I highly recommend taking the Glacier Express train ride.

Make sure you research your date of travel and book quickly to ensure you get the best available seats.

Glacier Express Travel Pass

The Glacier Express Travel Pass is a convenient and cost-effective way to experience the renowned Glacier Express train route in Switzerland.

Here are some key details about this pass:

  1. Route: The Glacier Express connects the two major Swiss mountain resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz, passing through some of the most spectacular alpine landscapes in the country.
  2. Duration: The full Glacier Express journey takes about 8 hours, covering a distance of 181 miles (291 km).
  3. Inclusions: The Glacier Express Travel Pass includes:
    • Unlimited travel on the Glacier Express train in both directions (Zermatt – St. Moritz and St. Moritz – Zermatt)
    • Unrestricted travel on selected public transportation services in the regions of Zermatt and St. Moritz
    • Discounts on various mountain railways and cable cars in the regions
  4. Validity: The pass is typically valid for a specific number of consecutive days (e.g., 3, 4, or 8 days), allowing you to explore the regions at your own pace.
  5. Flexibility: With the pass, you can hop on and off the Glacier Express as desired, making stops along the way to enjoy the scenic villages and attractions.
  6. Panoramic Views: The Glacier Express route is renowned for its panoramic views of the Swiss Alps, including glaciers, mountains, and picturesque valleys.

The Glacier Express Travel Pass is an excellent option for travelers who want to experience the iconic Glacier Express journey while also having the flexibility to explore the surrounding areas at their own pace.

Consider your travel preferences when choosing between first and second class.

While both offer access to stunning vistas and comfortable seating, first-class provides additional space and service perks. It might be worth the extra cost for those prioritizing comfort and a more exclusive experience. 

When planning your trip, remember to factor in the weather and time of year. The landscapes and views you’ll encounter vary significantly between seasons.

Winter offers a fairy-tale-like snowy wonderland, while summer showcases lush green valleys and vibrant alpine flora. Pack appropriately for the weather to ensure you can comfortably enjoy the journey, including spending time in the open-air viewing areas. 

Research Swiss Travel Passes if you’re exploring more of Switzerland by train. These passes can offer considerable savings on the Glacier Express and other rail, bus, and boat services nationwide.

However, remember that a seat reservation on the Glacier Express is mandatory and incurs an additional fee, even for Swiss Travel Pass holders. 

Finally, explore package deals that include accommodations, meals, or even guided tours at stops along the route. These packages can provide savings and enhance your Swiss adventure.

➡️ Glacier Express Panoramic Train Round Trip in one Day Private Tour from Bern

Additional information

Children of up to 15 years travel for free on a Family Card when they travel with their (grand)parents. This Family Card is for sale at any Swiss train station for 30 Swiss Francs. When you’re travelling on a Pass of the Swiss Travel System this card is available for free.

Dogs are not allowed on Glacier Express trains except guide dogs.

Luggage: there is no luggage limit onboard the Glacier Express. There are dedicated luggage racks and wardrobes for coats. It remains advisable to take items of high value to your seat.

Boarding: board the train at any time before departure. Stewards will welcome you in the train, guide you to your seat and take any lunch reservations.

Please note that the Glacier Express carriages might be coupled to normal carriages for part of the route, so make sure to look for your carriage number or ask one of the train stewards.

Final Thoughts on the Glacier Express Review

As I came to the end of the journey I sat in awe of stunning panoramic views, excellent service, and comfort. I highly recommend the Glacier Express if it has been on your bucketlist.

During the journey, you have the option of choosing between first-class and second-class tickets, depending on your budget and preference.

However, keep in mind that ticket prices may vary by season and class, and seat reservations may require an additional fee.

For me, one of the highlights of the Glacier Express journey was the exceptional onboard dining experience featuring quality Swiss cuisine that perfectly matched the trip.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas, including towering peaks like the Matterhorn, serene alpine meadows, and stunning lakes.

The Glacier Express journey provides a unique perspective on Switzerland’s natural beauty and culture, making it an ideal choice for travelers seeking an unforgettable adventure.

It’s important to plan to secure the best seats and deals, particularly during high season. However, I can assure you that the entire journey transcends ordinary travel and creates memories that will last a lifetime.

So, if you’re contemplating embarking on this remarkable adventure, don’t hesitate. The Glacier Express journey is worth it, and you won’t regret immersing yourself in the natural beauty and culture of the Swiss Alps.

Book your Glacier Express Ride now and immerse yourself in this unique archipelago’s enchanting landscapes and captivating wildlife.

Ready to plan your trip? Grab my FREE  Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!

Travel Guide


7132 Hotel Review in Vals, Switzerland

10 Most Beautiful Villages in Switzerland

Unique Things to Do in Cancun

Are you looking to experience the Glacier Express? I would love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


Why not save this post to your Pinterest board for later? I am also on Pinterest so feel free to follow Passports and Grub boards and get the latest PIN directly.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.