What better way to discover Switzerland, than by train? And even better, the Glacier Express where you can look out gigantic windows at the beautiful scenery rushing past you, well rushing, it wasn’t that fast. Last weekend we traveled with the Glacier Express from Andermatt to Zermatt.
When we still lived in Malaysia, but we already knew we would move to Switzerland, we read about the country on several blogs and watched videos on YouTube. One video in particular caught our attention. Two backpackers booked train tickets for the Glacier Express and traveled for about eight hours through Switzerland. We think eight hours in a train are a long time, so we decided to take a different route.
On Friday afternoon, we took the normal train from Zurich to Andermatt. This is a three-hour ride where you have to change trains in Zug and Göschenen. It was a very relaxing trip during which we feasted our eyes on the scenery with small villages on high mountains and even some snow. Luckily, we had prepared ourselves a bit for this and knew that in both villages it would be a lot colder than in Zurich. This is because Andermatt is at 1447 meter altitude. Once you arrive in Andermatt, you get off at the train station, which is perfectly equipped for skiing enthusiasts. Everything tells you that you have arrived in a winter sports village, the only difference being that at this time of year there is no snow, thankfully!
Slowest express train
On Saturday morning, we checked out and got ready for the four-hour Glacier Express train ride. You can book the ride
for different parts, but the official one starts in Zermatt and goes to St. Moritz and Davos. This journey takes you over 291 bridges and through 91 tunnels and takes a total of eight hours. The Glacier Express is also called the slowest express train in the world, and that name is not a lie. The advantage of this slow train is that you can take in the scenery and enjoy the view.
It was a comfortable trip where you almost feel like you are in a moving restaurant. The menu has plenty of options, where you can even order a four-course lunch. A little too much for us, but what we saw passing by looked good! In addition, the tickets are quite pricey if you don’t have a halbtax card. The first thing you are advised to do when moving to Switzerland is to buy this card, as it will save you an awful lot of money. And the same goes for the Glacier Express. Normally, a second-class ticket from Andermatt to Zermatt costs CHF 122. With the halbtax card, the same ride costs “only” CHF 85.50.
Along the way we encountered countless waterfalls, bridges, streams, mountains, snow, and cows. This train ride was a lot of fun, partly because of the massive windows, the view, the comfortable ride and the friendly staff. You might expect to have seen the view after two hours, but you continue to be amazed by the many waterfalls and mini villages atop a hill. We were lucky with the weather, it didn’t rain, and it was a little cloudy. It can actually get very hot on this train in the summer because of the large windows. I can imagine that four hours in a sweaty train are very long.