The Glacier Express: Switzerland’s Train With a View

Traveling by train is one of the best ways to see some of the most breathtaking sights in Europe. Switzerland‘s Glacier Express—which travels from Zermatt to St. Moritz—offers a stunning view of some of Europe’s most stately mountains. Glacier Express riders can gaze in wonder out of oversized windows at quaint Swiss villages, the ruins of crumbling castles, and towering stone viaducts that may cause those who are wary of heights to get slightly queasy.

Glacier Express

Those who ride the Glacier Express from the start of the line to the finish should expect to spend a little over 8 hours in transit. Thankfully, the Glacier Express offers plenty of refreshments. Passengers are served local wine and food. Those who purchase a ticket in the elite Excellence Class are served a lavish 7 course meal fit for a queen.

Glacier Express

Glacier Express passengers are welcome to get off of the train at any number of stops and explore the surrounding countryside. One of the most popular stops is the ancient town of Chur, which features remnants of settlements which date back to the Bronze Age. Chur is home to many distinctive buildings, including the H.R. Giger Bar. H.R. Giger was a Swiss artist who was famous for designing futuristic sets for the iconic film Alien. Giger Bar patrons are greeted by chairs shaped like extraterrestrial skeletons, floor panels that look like circuit boards from an alien ship, and towering arches that look like a cross between human vertebrae and tentacles.

H.R. Giger Bar

Giger Bar

If unsettling alien decor isn’t your thing, never fear. Depending on the season, the Glacier Express offers boundless views of majestic snow covered mountains, valleys covered in yellow and purple wildflowers, and orange and gold autumn leaves. Certain sections of the railway are so high above the ground that riders feel like they’re on an airplane instead of a train. A window seat on the Glacier Express is the ideal way to get a panoramic view of Switzerland’s soaring mountains.

One of the most stunning vistas that riders can view from the window of the Glacier Express is the Rhine Gorge. The Rhine Gorge—otherwise known as the Ruinaulta—features a towering grey canyon punctuated by dense groves of fir trees with a sapphire-colored river running down the middle. The Rhine Gorge is a hotspot for biking, kayaking, and hiking during the warmer months.

glacier express

The Glacier Express features tablets which update riders on the course of the train, and offer information about the areas that the train passes by. One of the train cars features a large golden compass which is embedded in the ceiling. The compass continually updates so that riders are always aware of the train’s direction.

glacier express

The Glacier Express offers travelers a literal window into the beauty of some of Switzerland’s most celebrated natural spaces. Glacier Express riders can explore the Swiss countryside, or simply recline in their seat while sipping on a glass of Swiss wine as they watch the world go by. The view from the Glacier Express is striking and unforgettable.

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