Glacier Express Scenic Train  » Travel  »
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from Zermatt to St. Moritz, Swiss
  • This included a salad, main and dessert and cost 43 CHF (approximately $58CDN)
  • I don't think it was $58CDN good, but by this point, I had come to accept that Switzerland in general was overpriced
  • I found the carrots to be especially delicious - they were just perfectly done and full of flavor
  • Unfortunately, very few pictures from the scenic journey turned out due to the glare and reflections in the windows
  • While my husband and I had a great day together on the Glacier Express Scenic Train, I would not recommend it


by Marley Justine

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    In August 2015, while on our European honeymoon, my husband and I took the famous Swiss scenic train, the Glacier Express, from Zermatt to St. Moritz. This train proudly boasts that it is ‘the slowest express train in the world’.

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • Regardless of whether you travel in first or second class, reservations are required for the Glacier Express Scenic Train and you will have to pay a supplementary (reservation) fee in addition to regular fare.

    We were traveling with the Eurail Global Pass, which is valid in Switzerland, however, our passes were not valid on the Glacier Express Scenic Train. Now, we knew this… sort-of. More accurately, we misunderstood this. For some reason, we were only under the impression that reservations were compulsory (we had that part right) and that we had to make and pay for our reservations in advance (again, we were right). But again, for some reason, we thought that it was just the reservation or supplementary fee that was required. As it turns out, we were very, very wrong.

    The supplementary or reservation fee is the same regardless of whether you are traveling in first or second class.

    During the summer months the fee is 33 CHF (approximately $45CDN) and in the winter it is 13 CHF (approximately $18CDN).

    Thankfully, we had made the reservation, so we had our seats but we had to purchase our tickets on board. On the bright side, our Eurail passes got us a 25% discount!

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • The big difference between the first and second class cars is that in first class, there are two seats on one side of the aisle and one seat on the other. This means there are fewer passengers in the car and a little more elbow room. For me, it also meant that I wasn’t seated next to a stranger all day. I could just enjoy the company of my husband.

    A one-way first class ticket costs 262 CHF (approximately $353CDN).

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • The second class cars have two seats on both sides of the aisle, so they carry a few more passengers. They still offer a panoramic view and the same on-board services as first class but are considerably cheaper (149 CHF, as opposed to 262 CHF).

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • The Glacier Express does offer food and drink services on board and when you make your reservation, you have the option to purchase one of two meal vouchers - either the plate of the day or a 3-course plated lunch - for your journey. When we were making our reservation, we didn’t know whether or not the train would accept credit cards (they do) so we did pre-pay for the 3-course plated dinner. This included a salad, main and dessert and cost 43 CHF (approximately $58CDN). The ‘plate of the day’ only costs 30 CHF.

    I don’t know if the picture does the food justice, but it was pretty good. I don’t think it was $58CDN good, but by this point, I had come to accept that Switzerland in general was overpriced.

    I found the carrots to be especially delicious - they were just perfectly done and full of flavor. And I was quick to say ‘yes’ when they came around offering seconds.

    Just like on other European trains, you are more than welcome to take your own food and beverages to consume on board. Even though we had lunch arrangements, we still brought plenty of snacks and drinks for the seven-and-a-half hour train ride.

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • During the seven-and-a-half hour journey, the Glacier Express Scenic Train crosses over 291 bridges and goes through 91 tunnels.

    When we arrived in Switzerland, I quickly discovered that their plugs are different than the standard Euro plug. So, knowing I would be on a scenic train the next day, I kept my camera and cell phone off to preserve the battery. Unfortunately, very few pictures from the scenic journey turned out due to the glare and reflections in the windows.

    And, on the topic of windows, since this is a scenic train, you aren’t able to block out the sunlight. We had our sunglasses on for several hours and while that helped our eyes, I know it wasn’t long before the bright sunlight beating down on me got old and I found myself very thankful for the dark, cool tunnels.

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • While I think the scenery would be considerably better in the winter when everything is snow covered, I cannot deny that there were several breathtaking views throughout our journey.

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • You can book your reservation for the Glacier Express Scenic Train 90 days in advance. I’ve seen claims that you get a lower price if you book your reservation earlier but I haven’t seen any actual proof. However, you do not want to be spending a fortune on accommodations, I strongly recommend you make your bookings in advance so that you can secure your accommodations in advance. As I said, we started in Zermatt and ended in St. Moritz. We actually ended up getting off the train in St. Moritz and then backtracking to Chur because the only rooms left in St. Moritz were going to cost an arm and a leg.

  • Glacier Express Scenic Train
  • The Glacier Express Scenic Train runs year round with the exception of a short break from late-October until mid-December. During this time, you are still able to travel the route using local trains. You may not be in a panoramic car, but the view will still be the same. Honestly, I didn’t get anything out of the panoramic car. I just used the window the same way I would have on any other train.

    Since no other Swiss train covers the distance of the Glacier Express Scenic Train in a single journey, if you’re covering the route using local trains, you’ll have to create your own schedule. But if you do, take advantage of it. Sure, there are a couple of stops on the Glacier Express Scenic Train where you have the option to get out on the platform to stretch your legs, but you really don’t get to see any of these places. On local trains, you could get out and explore for an hour or two, spend the night somewhere if you wanted to, and then continue on.

    While my husband and I had a great day together on the Glacier Express Scenic Train, I would not recommend it. For us, it wasn’t worth the money and at the end of the day, it felt like a bit of a tourist trap.



-1
Dempsey Cappelle says :

re : While my husband and I had a great day together on the Glacier Express Scenic Train, I would not recommend it
Glacier Express Scenic train is a wonderfull train journey, but it’s Switzerland… so know you will have to buy an expensive train ticket. If you are the active type, than I would suggest doing a hike around Zermatt to enjoy the scenery. But if you’re a tourist working all year for that one trip to a foreign country with the family, just go for it. It’s your holiday, so don’t overthink your expenses and just enjoy the experience :)

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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in October, 2015. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 3813101650080631/k2311a1013/10.13.15
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