The Glacier Express train

St Moritz to Zermatt by panoramic train

The Glacier Express & Bernina Express are Switzerland's two most scenic train journeys - which has the edge?  Darned if I know, you'll just have to do both.  Twice, in fact, as they're totally different experiences in summer and through winter snows.  Billed as Europe's slowest express, the narrow-gauge Glacier Express links St Moritz in the Engadin skiing area and Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn, taking 7½ hours to cover just over 290 km (180 miles) at an average speed of 24 mph.  But you won't mind, as spectacular Swiss scenery unfolds outside the panoramic windows while you eat lunch accompanied by Swiss white wine.  The Glacier Express is run jointly by the Rhätische Bahn (RhB) & the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) who also operate the hourly local trains over the same route.  In 2017 they formed a separate company to run the Glacier Express, Glacier Express AG.  There are one or two daily Glacier Expresses in each direction in winter, more in summer.

small bullet point  Glacier Express timetable

small bullet point  How much does it cost?

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  If you have a railpass

small bullet point  What's it like on board?

small bullet point  Excellence class

small bullet point  Travel tips & FAQ

small bullet point  Route map

small bullet point  The journey in pictures

small bullet point  Watch the video

small bullet point  Brief history of the Glacier Express

small bullet point  Hotels in Zermatt & St Moritz  

small bullet point  Glacier Express tours & holidays


On other pages...

small bullet point  Train travel in Switzerland - a beginner's guide

small bullet point  Swiss Passes, Transfer Tickets & Half Fare Cards

small bullet point  London to Switzerland by train - the civilised way

small bullet point  Trains to Switzerland from other European cities

small bullet point  Trains from Switzerland to other European cities

small bullet point  The Bernina Express - another Swiss scenic train

small bullet point  The Jungfraubahn - by train up Jungfrau

small bullet point  Europe by train general information

small bullet point  Railpasses - a beginner's guide

Glacier Express timetable

 Glacier Express eastbound


 Glacier Express westbound

 Read downwards

Winter 2023/24

Summer 2024

Read downwards

Winter 23/24

Summer 2024


Train number:

PE  920*

PE 902

PE 900

PE 902

PE 904

PE 906

Train number:

PE 923*

PE 925

PE 901

PE 903

PE 905

PE 907

0 km

Zermatt depart:







St Moritz depart:







45 km

Brig depart:







Davos Platz dep.







113 km















142 km








Chur depart:







201 km

Chur arrive:














252 km

Filisur arrive















Davos Platz arr.







Brig arrive







290 km

St Moritz arrive:







Zermatt arrive:







Summer = 4 May to 12 October 2024.

Winter = 10 December 2023 to 3 May 2024.

There is no Glacier Express service at all from 16 October to 9 December 2023 or from 13 October to 6 December 2024.

*  Trains 920 & 923 run from 16 December 2023 to 07 January 2024 and from 3 February to 3 May 2024.

f = To/from Davos, change trains at Filisur, using the hourly branch line train between Filisur & Davos.

How much does it cost?

You buy a normal ticket or Saver Day Pass or can use an Interrail pass, Eurail Pass or Swiss Travel Pass.  You then pay the Glacier Express reservation fee on top.

 Glacier Express fares


 2nd class

 1st class

 Excellence class

One-way fare

Zermatt-St Moritz:

 152 CHF (€160)

 Or use a Saver Day Pass

 from 52 CHF 2nd class

 268 CHF (€280)

 Or use a Saver Day Pass

 from 88 CHF 1st class

 268 CHF (€280)

 Or use a Saver Day Pass

 from 88 CHF 1st class

Glacier Express

reservation fee:

49 CHF (€51)

 49 CHF (€51)

 470 CHF (€497)

Children under 6 go free without their own seat.  Children aged 6 to 16 pay half fare but must pay the adult reservation fee.

How to buy tickets

If you've an Interrail, Eurail or Swiss Travel Pass

Holidays & tours on the Glacier Express

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What's it like on the Glacier Express?

The Glacier Express uses modern panoramic coaches specially built in 2006.  It's a pleasure to travel on, clean, comfortable, carpeted and air-conditioned, its most distinctive features are the huge panoramic side windows and glass skylights as well, so you don't miss any of the scenery.

In 1st class cars seats are 2+1 across the car width, with bays of 4 seats around a table on one side of the aisle and bays of 2 seats across a table on the other.  In 2nd class, seats are arranged 2+2 across the car width, with bays of 4 around a table on each side of the aisle.  Apart from more space and fewer passengers per coach, seats are similar and there is little to choose between 1st & 2nd.  Both are excellent and on-board service is exactly the same.  However, for couples a face-to-face table for two is a good reason for going 1st class.  See Glacier Express seat map.

Both classes have power sockets and free WiFi.  You'll get a free printed route guide with an explanation of the key sights and route map.  There are free headphones which you can plug in to listen to the commentary.  Video screens at the end of the car show the train's location and other information.

There is a bar car, but no need to visit it.  Staff come down the train taking orders for tea, coffee, alcoholic and soft drinks & snacks, also for a 2, 3 or 4 course lunch.  You can pre-book lunch, served at your seat on real china with proper cutlery, with a choice of starters, main courses and desserts, accompanied by a good selection of wines.  You can find sample menus & wine list at under Travel planning then Gastronomy. Or feel free to bring your own picnic and bottle of wine.

The Glacier Express at St Moritz   First class seats on the Glacier Express

The Glacier Express at St Moritz.


1st class seats Larger photo.

First class seats on the Glacier Express   The Glacier Express at St Moritz

2nd class seats Larger photo.


Glacier Express 2nd class car.

The Glacier Express at St Moritz   The Glacier Express at St Moritz

Bar & kitchen car.


Bar car.  Those large windows open.  Larger photo.

Lunch starter on the Glacier Express   Lunch on the Glacier Express

Lunch served at your seat in 1st or 2nd class.  A 2, 3 or 4-course lunch can be ordered and paid for in advance when you reserve, or you can order and pay for it on the day.

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Excellence class

Since 2019 there's a premium option called Excellence class,  only available on trains 902 & 903/923.  It's become incredibly popular and gets booked up fast.

Excellence class consists of one deluxe panoramic car with seats arranged 1+1 across the car width, face-to-face tables for two on both sides of the aisle, so everyone gets a window seat.  There's a cocktail bar at one end of the car for Excellence class passengers.  A 5-course regional menu with wine is included in the reservation fee, as is complimentary coffee, juice, snacks & champagne.  A dedicated Excellence class host travels with the car.  See the 360º photo of Excellence class here (please let me know if this link stops working).

To travel in Excellence class you need a first class ticket (or 1st class Interrail, Eurail, Saver Day Pass or Swiss Travel Pass) then you pay the Excellence class reservation fee.  You can make the reservation at and print it out, but I recommend buying a Saver Day Pass separately rather than paying for a full-price ticket, see the prices and advice on tickets above.

Traveller James Morris reports:  "Excellence Class is brilliant.  A professional concierge service helps you with your bags and shows you to your seat.  They are friendly and chatty, nothing is too much trouble.  They are clued up on the food and drink they serve and explain it all to you. They wear white gloves when serving, and know how to open and pour champagne.  I had iced tea all trip with spring water and herbs, best iced tea ever.  I was never without a drink in front of me all trip.  They refill glasses or get you a new bottle of water without a second thought.  For those that do drink.  It was champagne to start, followed by a different wine for each course of the meal. They served a full 7 course meal, amazing food.  The seats are very comfortable with good recline, and full lumbar adjustment.  A shelf by the side of your seat has easy to reach sockets & USB charger.  An IPad was provided to help you follow the journey.  A Glacier Express tilting glass was given as a souvenir at the end of the trip, along with Excellence class branded chewing gum or hand cream.  On arrival, you are told to just leave the train, someone comes on board to carry your bags off. It exceeded my expectations, which isn't bad considering the price.  Definitely a must do if you can afford it."

Glacier Express Excellence Class   Glacier Express Excellence Class

Excellence classPhotos of food courtesy of Ken Childs.


Main course.

Glacier Express Excellence Class   Glacier Express Excellence Class

Fish course.


Excellence class bar, at one end of the car.

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Travel tips & FAQ

Glacier Express luggage racks   Glacier Express luggage between the seats

Glacier Express luggage racks.


Space for bags between the seat backs.

Glacier Express power outlet   Glacier Express luggage between the seats   Glacier Express luggage between the seats

Audio system & power socket by each seat.


Complimentary route guide, headphones & refreshment tissue.

Opening droplight in door. Pinch the two knobs together (indicated by the arrow),

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Route map

Glacier Express route map

European Rail Timetable and mapClick for larger map

Yellow highlighted = Zermatt-Brig-Chur-St Moritz by Glacier Express.  Green = scenic sections of line.   Orange = bus

Dashed railway line (e.g. around Fiesch) = section where train uses rack-&-pinion to grip because of steep gradient.

Dotted railway line (e.g. Furka Tunnel) = tunnel.

Reproduced from the excellent European Rail Map with kind permission of the European Rail Timetable people.  I recommend buying a copy of the European Rail Map for your travels, with shipping worldwide.

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The journey in pictures

St Moritz lake

St Moritz, 1,775m above sea level.  This is the view across the lake from the Hotel Waldhaus am See, the station is visible on the right.

Glacier Express at St Moritz   Glacier Express RhB locomotive

The Glacier Express is backed into the station half an hour before departure.

Scenery from the Glacier Express

The scenery starts almost immediately after leaving St Moritz.

View from panorama car on Glacier Express   Panorama car on Glacier Express

Between Sameden & Filisur

Looking back as the Glacier Express crosses the Landwasser Viaduct

Landwasser Viaduct, looking back from the large opening window in the bar car.  Many publicity photos are taken here.

Glacier Express on the Landwasser Viaduct

Looking forwards when crossing the Landwasser Viaduct.

Solis Viaduct

Crossing the short Solis Viaduct.

Juvalt Castle

Juvalt Castle, dating from 1216.  The castle guards a pinch point in the valley, through which the trade routes pass.

Chur, 585m above sea level.  The train passes Reichenau and reaches Chur, Chur is a dead-end terminus and the train changes direction here.

Glacier Express in the Rhine gorge

Rhine Gorge.  The train leaves Chur, passes back through Reichenau and soon afterwards starts snaking along the River Rhine.

Glacier Express in the Rhine gorge

The train follows the river for quite a way.

Glacier Express in the Rhine gorge

Another shot of the Rhine gorge


Between the Rhine Gorge and Disentis

Glacier Express approaching Disentis

Approaching Disentis.

RhB locomotive at Disentis   MGB locomotive at Disentis

Disentis.  This is where the Rhätische Bahn (RhB) hands over to the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) and the locomotive is changed.  You can stretch your legs here!

Climbing out of Disentis

Climbing away from Disentis.

Mountains near Disentis

Heading for the Oberalp Pass.

Climbing towards the Oberalp Pass

Starting the climb.

Passing another Glacier Express

Passing an eastbound Glacier Express.  Note the rack between the rails, this section is too steep for unaided adhesion.

Summit of the Oberalp Pass

Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the journey at 2,033m above sea level.  The lighthouse is a 2010 replica of one that once stood at Hoek van Holland and is now in the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam.  The source of the Rhine is a stone's throw away from here.

The Glacier Express descends from the Oberalp Pass

Descending from the Oberalp Pass.

Descending towards Andermatt

Approaching Andermatt

Andermatt below

Andermatt and its station are visible way below.

Furka Tunnel car transporter train

Furka Tunnel:  After Andermatt the Glacier Express passes through the 15.4 km Furka Tunnel, opened in 1982.  You may see cars & lorries on transporter wagons being shuttled through the tunnel, especially in winter when the pass over the top is closed.  Year-round service on the railway was only possible when the tunnel opened.  Incidentally, the train is named after the Rhône Glacier on the Furka Pass which is no longer visible from the train since the tunnel opened, although you may see other glaciers high in the mountains at points along the train's route.

River between Andermatt & Brig

Between Andermatt & Brig.

Glacier Express at Brig

Brig, 691m above sea level.  The metre-gauge MGB platforms are in the road in front of the mainline SBB (Swiss Railways) station.

Glacier Express in the Mattertal Valley

The train runs alongside the mainline SBB tracks from Brig to Visp, then heads off on the line to Zermatt ascending the Mattertal Valley.

Glacier Express in the Mattertal Valley   Glacier Express in the Mattertal Valley

Rack and pinion is used on the steeper sections as the train climbs relentlessly towards Zermatt, along the Matter Vispa river.

Mattertal Valley

Getting higher...

Tasch rail terminal

Looking back at Tasch rail terminal.  Zermatt is car-free, road vehicles park at Tasch, from where shuttle trains run to Zermatt.

Glacier Express at Zermatt   Zermatt station

Zermatt, 1,804m above sea level.  The town is car-free, those electric vehicles are taxis.

Matterhorn, Zermatt, at sunset

End of the line:  Zermatt nestles at the foot of the imposing 4,477m Matterhorn.

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VideoA journey on the Glacier Express

Take a winter trip!

The Glacier Express runs all year round apart from a few weeks break from mid-October to early December.  The journey through winter snow is a completely different experience from the same journey past summer meadows.  So you really need to do it twice!  The train is less busy in winter, so it's easier to get seats, too.  Photo below courtesy of David Saville.

Glacier Express in winter

A brief history of the Glacier Express

After the first world war, Switzerland steadily gained popularity as a winter and summer holiday destination for those who could afford it.  Railways grew up to support this tourism, and through services on he metre-gauge line between Brig, Chur and St Moritz started in 1926.  But it was in June 1930 that the first Zermatt to St Moritz 'Glacier Express' started running, initially summer only, and run jointly by the BVZ (Brig-Visp-Zermattbahn), FOB (Furka Oberalp Bahn) and RhB (Rhätische Bahn).  It could not run all year because of the impossibility of keeping the line over the Oberalp pass open in winter.  Construction of the Furka base tunnel started in 1973, and at long last in 1982 all-year operation was inaugurated between Zermatt and St Moritz.  BVZ and FOB merged in 2003 to form the MGB (Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn).  The Glacier Express has been progressively developed as a premier tourist attraction in its own right, and rightly so, though it continues to form an integral part of the Swiss transport network.  More info at

More information

The Glacier Express has its own website,, where you can check up to date times & fares, and the current menu.

You can read more history & background at

Hotels in Zermatt

The Monte Rosa Hotel is the most famous & historic place to stay if your budget allows.  This was the first hotel in Zermatt and it was from here that Edward Whymper set out on the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.  It's right in the centre of the town only 400m from the station, with a superb 9/10 review score.

Otherwise (assuming your budget won't stretch to the other top-notch place directly opposite the Monte Rosa, the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, opened in 1879), a much more affordable and down-to-earth choice close to the station in Zermatt's main street is the clean & comfortable Hotel Garni Testa Grigia.  Or just search, anything with a review score over 8.0 will be great.

Monte Rosa Hotel, Zermatt   Monte Rosa Hotel, Zermatt

The famous Monte Rosa Hotel and plaque dedicated to Edward Whymper, see larger photo.

Hotels in St Moritz

The Hotel Waldhaus am See is an easy 4 minutes walk from St Moritz railway station, see walking map.  It has friendly staff, a cosy, family-run atmosphere and the restaurant/breakfast room has a lovely view over the lake.  It's also about as affordable as hotels in St Moritz get.  Perfect!

Hotel Waldhaus-am-See in St Moritz   Hotel Waldhaus-am-See in St Moritz

Alternatively, the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl is a truly amazing hotel opened in 1907, perched on a 2,454m high mountain with spectacular views over the Engadin Valley, a short ride by train+funicular from St Moritz/Samedan/Pontresina.  I have never seen a more spectacular view out of any hotel window over breakfast.

To reach the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, take a local train from St Moritz to Punt Muragl Staz, see Muottas Muragl train route map, or you can get off the Glacier Express at Samedan (the stop before St Moritz) and take a local train to Punt Muragl.  It's then a 250m walk from either of these unstaffed halts to the bottom of the funicular railway which climbs up the mountain to the Hotel Muottas Muragl.  To check train times, simply use the journey planner at and run an enquiry from anywhere in Switzerland to Muottas Muragl, that's the name of the upper station of the funicular right next to the hotel.

The Muottas Muragl Berghotel in winter

The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl in winter.  The upper station of the funicular railway up the mountain from Punt Muragl station is adjacent to the hotel.  See Muottas Muragl train route map.

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