Rail to Italy: the Glacier Express

An exclusive trip to discover some of the most beautiful places of the Swiss Alps on your way to Italy.

The Glacier Express is also known as “the slowest express train in the world”, in homage to a dream journey of seven and a half hours overcoming 291 bridges, cross 91 tunnels and travelling the 300 km of a line that presents very high technical difficulties and which, since 2008, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 41 km stretch of the Albula valley, from St. Moritz to Thusis.

 

Built in 1889, the train made its first complete journey in the summer of 1930, taking tourists from one end of Switzerland to the other. From the Matterhorn and the snow-capped peaks of the Valais to Visp and Brig, the train crosses the Oberalp pass at 2033 meters, between glaciers and mountain lakes, then descends along the Rhine valley and goes up through the Landwassertal to the valley of the Albula and the Upper Engadine.

 

Those choosing to travel on board of the Glacier are in no hurry and have made no commitments: beyond the window, as in a majestic painting, the most beautiful landscapes of Switzerland follow one another. The elegant red livery of the wagons glides silently along sections that are daring engineering works, between powdered slopes of snow, castles, bucolic valleys dotted with chalets, up to the icy realm of alpine glaciers.

 

During the trip, those who wish can hear audio information about the route. For lunch, there is a choice between the à la carte offer, the dish of the day or a three-course menu. Obviously on the train there is every comfort: clean bathrooms, extremely available staff and air conditioning.

Excellence Class

The Excellence Class carriage, a true five-star traveling luxury.

There are only 20 seats, all single seats near the window, in special panoramic carriages with large windows. But what makes the trip an authentic rail cruise is the service which includes coffee, aperitif, five-course lunch served at the place including drinks, assistance throughout the trip, video guides and books, a bar and, in addition, the reception service at the station and luggage transport.

How to reach Zermatt

By Rail

Leave from London Kings Cross on board of the Eurostar and arrive comfortably in Paris Gare du Nord in just 2 hours 16 minutes. A quick jump on the Paris metro to board the TGV Lyria train for the 3 hours journey to Geneva from Gare de Lyon.

 

The last leg of the journey from Geneva to Zermatt is when you start making your way to the Swiss Alps for another 3 hours and 40 minutes with one change in Visp.

 

By Plane

You can reach Geneva International airport from almost any corner of the world. The train station is located 300 meters from the airport arrivals and departures floor, from here you can board the train to Zermatt via Visp.

Where to Stay in Zermatt

Before boarding the 7-hour journey on the Glacier Express we recommend spending a couple of nights in Zermatt, our choice is the Matterhorn FOCUS.

 

Much more than just a hotel: this 4-star Superior property is located next to the Matterhorn Express station – the staff will meet you at the station – and offers rooms with a creative design: each one is different from the other.

 

They featured high ceilings, exposed wooden beams and equipped with flat-screen LCD TV and, in most cases, also with a view of the Matterhorn. All are tastefully decorated by the artist Heinz Julen. The luxurious wellness area is ideal to relax and prepare for the Glacier Express.

Matterhorn FOCUS - Deluxe double room
Matterhorn FOCUS - Deluxe double room

From Zermatt to Tirano, Italy

You will reach St Moritz after a 7 hours journey on board of the Glacier Express, we recommend stopping for a couple of nights at the Romantick Muottas before boarding the Bernina Express to Tirano, in Italy.

 

From Tirano, the first stop is the delightful Varenna on Lake Como. Otherwise, the train route ends in Milan from where you can board the High-Speed Rail to pretty much anywhere in Italy (Venice, Turin, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples).

 

Get in touch for a free quote on a tailor made holiday or get some inspiration from our sample itineraries.

Tags :