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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 29 May, 2023

Europe’s most popular tourist train never leaves the mountains of the Valais and Graubunden in Switzerland, yet it passes through an astonishing variety of landscapes: snow-covered peaks that dwarf the train, the broad Goms Valley, desolate moors above Andermatt, the limestone cliffs of the Rhine gorge, and the breathtaking climb to the Albula Pass through spiral tunnels and horseshoe curves.

The narrow-gauge train carriages have panoramic windows and headphone commentary.

Price from: £140
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around
Duration: 7.5 hours

Getting there & doing it

The Glacier Express runs between Zermatt and St. Moritz – both directions are equally popular – and it takes aorund 7.5 hours one way. Opportunities for breaking the journey are fairly limited given the few stops made by the Glacier Express (compared with other services).

Lunch at your seat is provided as an optional extra and there is a buffet car open throughout.

When to do it

The Glacier Express runs all year round, seven days a week, with one daily train running in winter and four in summer.

The journey is spectacular in any season. Clear winter days with snow everywhere are magical, autumn is good for leaf colour and June for spring flowers.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Backstage Hotel Vernissage

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland[0.4 miles]

A cosy 19-room bolthole in the centre of Zermatt. Each unique room is a modern art gallery, with luxury to match.

Official star rating:

The Omnia

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland[0.6 miles]

A remarkable hotel in an extraordinary location, renowned for its stunning architecture, gorgeous indoor-outdoor pool and flawless service.

Official star rating:

Riffelalp Resort

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland[2.6 miles]

A superb 5 star, ski in ski out resort hotel, set in a hamlet on the mountain above Zermatt, with jaw-dropping views of the magnificent Matterhorn. Ski luxury at its best.

Official star rating:

Iglu-Dorf Zermatt

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland[4.2 miles]

An igloo hotel located at 2,700m, offering incredible views and a real sense of adventure.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Some of the best off-piste skiing in the world, buzzing nightlife and fantastic scenery – this charming resort has been enchanting mountain lovers for 150 years.

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Valais, Switzerland

Beguiling atmosphere, sensational scenery, skiing for all levels – a world-class mountain resort that’s as busy in summer as winter.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

The Matterhorn

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland[8.8 miles]

One of Europe’s highest, most recognisable and  most beautiful mountains with an iconic jagged-tooth form, soaring to 4,478m.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free | 1 night

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Overview >

Aiguille du Midi Cable Car

Chamonix, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[68.1 miles]

One of the world’s most spectacular cable car rides – and the highest in Europe – taking you 2,700m from the centre of Chamonix to a height of 3,842m under the shoulder of Mont Blanc.

Best for ages: 8+ | £65 | 2 hours

Round-ups that include this experience