Winding its way one hundred and eighty miles through the magnificent mountains of Switzerland, the Glacier Express is one of the most iconic trains in the world.
The Glacier Express is undoubtedly Switzerland's best known train. The 181 mile trip from Zermatt to St Moritz lasts around eight hours winding its way through some of Europe's most beautiful scenery. Beginning in Zermatt, the Glacier Express glides northwards from under the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn and follows the Matter Vispa River and the Rhône Valley to Visp. The train then heads to Brig, before climbing through Betten, Grengiols and Oberwald on its journey to the Furka Base Tunnel.
The train emerges and makes its way to the village of Andermatt, before beginning its ascent towards the Oberalp Pass which at 6,670 feet (2,033m) is the highest point on the line. It then makes the steep descent towards Disentis, where the train is attached to an RHB locomotive. From here we pass the historic town of Ilanz, descending to the stunning Rhine Gorge where we continue on to the attractive cantonal capital of Chur.
Highlights of the journey
Highlights of the route include the ascent of the Oberalp Pass, the highest point on the line at 2,033 metres above sea level, the stunning Rhine Gorge through which the train travels alongside the river and the remarkable - and famous - Landwasser Viaduct, a vast and curving limestone structure of six arches which spans the Landwasser River sixty-five metres below and leads the Glacier Express directly into the adjoining Landwasser Tunnel.
The only times at which there is little of interest to observe from the Glacier Expressis when the train is passing through one of the ninety-one tunnels which lie along its route. Otherwise, passengers enjoy a constantly-changing vista of Switzerland's most breath-taking landscapes as they traverse imposing snow-clad mountain ranges, skirt the shores of vast lakes and pass through rolling Alpine wildflower meadows.
Read on below...