Without a doubt, the Glacier Express is Switzerland's best-known scenic train. It offers breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps and takes passengers on a memorable journey through the Alpine heartland of the country. The railway line was built to connect the world-class resort of Zermatt, home to the iconic Matterhorn, with St. Moritz, a famous alpine resort in the Engadine region.
The development of the Glacier Express began at the end of the 19th century, when interest in experiencing a scenic train, grew significantly The Swiss decided to popularize the tradition of luxury trains, and it was not until 1930 that the complete line from Zermatt to St. Moritz was completed. The journey lasted around 11 hours and it was partially pulled by a steam locomotive. And It was in 1983 that it was called for the first time, “the slowest express train in the world”. Today travelers can enjoy this extraordinary Swiss mountain train excursion in 8 hours, traversing 3 cantons, 291 bridges and 91 tunnels on the entire stretch which is 181 miles long.
After passing the Urseren Valley Switzerland's Glacier Express train gains in height up to the Oberalp Pass, close to the Rhine spring. Later you will pass a gorge close to Flims where one can see the rockslide which happened shortly after the ice age. Then from Thusis the red and white train continues the rail journey on the Albulabahn tracks which has been designated a UNESCO heritage site. The highlight is the Landwasser viaduct where the train drives over a 142 meters long bridge and curves right into a vertical rock wall which is the tunnel. Coming from Chur/Tiefencastel you want to sit on the right side of the train.
The diversity of the journey is an adventure itself! After passing the Urseren Valley, the Glacier Express gains altitude to the Oberalp Pass, close to the Rhine spring. Further on, you will pass through a gorge near Flims where you can see the rockfall which happened shortly after the ice age. Then from Thusis, the Glacier Express follows its course along the Albula Railway tracks, a UNESCO heritage site. This section continues to impress between Bergün and the tunnel in Preda. Turning in the middle of the valley with twisting tunnels it is easy to lose orientation. Then you reach St. Moritz, one of the most famous Swiss resorts and base of the Glacier Express Switzerland.
In general, the Glacier Express provides a premium travel experience offering an exceptionally high level of comfort and service. In winter 2019, the Excellence Class category was launched – a premium wagon that sets new quality standards for Europe’s rail system. Turning the impressive panoramic journey through the Swiss Alps into a unique, luxurious experience. Travelers in Excellence Class get pampered by a personal concierge during the entire trip and have a guaranteed window seat thanks to the comfortable lounge seating.
Its history and evolutionary background makes the Glacier Express one of the most successful and best-known tourist trains in the world!