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The Glacier Express

My wife and I are going to europe in Septenber, my wife insist to take the Glacier Express in Switzerland and I think that it's not worth it, since it takes almost the entire day inside a train. Please help us decide!!

Is the Glacier Express worth it?

Posted by
8995 posts

The Glacier Express is considered one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Whether it is worth it depends on few factors: How long will you be in Switzerland? If only a few days, I wouldn't waste an entire day on it. If you're in CH for a couple of weeks then you should work it into your itinerary. If you prefer hiking and doing other outdoor activities, Switzerland is perfect for that. If your less mobile, the Express is a great way to see the Alps and country side with minimal effort. The train ride is also "weather proof", it goes through so many different areas that you may start the trip off in rain but an hour later the sun will be out, and an hour after that it could be snowing etc.

Posted by
852 posts

Hi Gil,
We've taken the Furka Oberalp "Glacier Express" train from Brig CH to Göschenen CH twice - and the scenic experience was "worth it" both times ... and not all-day trips, either. Last time, on the train, we bought a videotape of the complete Glacier Express run - and have since enjoyed it enough to say it was worth the price, too. (There's probably a DVD now ...). Gute Reise! P

Posted by
6898 posts

For almost two decades, I kept a video of the Glacier Express run that was shown on PBS. I just loved what I saw. The fascinating bridges and tunnels. When we got to Switzerland, it was a must. We rode the Glacier Express on my birthday.

What we found is that you really don't see the bridges and tunnels the way the helicopter did. You ride over most bridges and you go through all of the tunnels. Sorry, missed it. The scenery in the alps and over the Oberlap pass is very scenic but you can see similar scenery on other train runs.

It's really a long day from Brig to Chur or the reverse. RS describes both cities as ugly industrial cities that have great train transfer points.

It's really out of the way from the rest of Switzerland. We were staying in Lauterbrunnen and it took us 2 hours to get to Brig to pick up the G.E. and over 2 hours to get back.

If you have a short visit to Switzerland, I would think twice about the Glacier Express.

Posted by
7205 posts

You can take the same "Glacier Express" route without riding on the actual "Glacier Express" train. Other trains are faster than the actual GE.

Personally I wouldn't waste my time on it. Switzerland has many many beautiful destinations...and they don't require you to be pinned to your train seat the whole day.

Posted by
710 posts

You don't have to ride the WHOLE train route. We had to ride part of it when we went to Zermatt. We took a regular train from Zurich and then made the connection (I don't remember the name of the station) and took the ride up to Zermatt.

Posted by
6898 posts

You can ride the that route of the Glacier Express that goes west to Zermatt. You catch the train at Brig. Much shorter ride overall and also very scenic

Posted by
279 posts

I have traversed the entire route of the Glacier Express on local trains, in various sections, a little bit at a time. Never the entire route in a single day.

Depending on how many days you will be in Switzerland, and what other regions of the country you will be visiting, it may be more realistic to cover just a small section of the route on one of the local milk runs. Also, rather than taking the train up and then doubling back, you can take the train and use the Post Bus to make a ciruit trip. Check out the map at this link:
http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/download_sts/uebersichtskarte_en.pdf

the yellow lines are buses, and red lines are trains.

In general I would agree with the others, don't spend your whole day on the train. There is to much to experience, and a lot that you won't see if you simply pass by on the train with other tourists.

Kevin

Posted by
2723 posts

Hi Gil,
We did the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt. 9 hours. You do stop a few times along the waybut...I wouldn't do it again. The scenery in most all of Switzerland is spectacular. My opinion, skip it and enjoy being out and about in the Alps instead of viewing from a train window.

Paul

Posted by
13218 posts

Where in Switzerland will you be that one day? Or where are you coming from and heading to next? That will help people answer your question.

Posted by
74 posts

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the feedback, I truly appreciate your info. Base on our itinerary we only have one day in Switzerland. Any thoughts, ideas? should I strech it to 2 days?

Posted by
29 posts

We have taken both the Glacier Express and also the Bernina Express out of Chur......handsdown I would select the Bernina Express from Chur to just over the Italian border roundtrip 1 day.....it has so much better views

have fun...