Glacier Express: can we do part of the journey?

  • Removed user
    52345 posts
    23 June 2015 at 20:52:04 #807443


    I’m planning a 3-5 day trip, arriving in Zurich and departing Zurich. Could someone please help me out with the itinerary. Would like to go on Glacier Express, but is there a way to not do the full 7-8 hour journey?

    I’m counting 3.5 hours from Zurich to Zermatt, then 7-8 Hours Glacier Express and 3.5 hours back to Zurich. As I’m sure it’s beautiful, that is a lot of time on the train in a short amount of time.

    Please help or pass any advice you can, I greatly appreciate the help.



  • Arno
    15042 posts
    24 June 2015 at 11:51:50 #843941

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your question! You can absolutely do part of the trip, either by the regular trains on the same route, or by the “official” Glacier Express. You can still do the whole route but break it in a town along the way, or just do Brig – St. Moritz, or Zermatt – Chur, or any other segment. It depends on when you’ll be traveling and what your interests are. The pages below are useful for preparation:

    Removed user
    52345 posts
    25 June 2015 at 1:55:32 #843942

    Hi Peter,

    Here’s an idea you might like to consider. This route combines sectors from both the Wilhelm Tell Express and the Glacier Express and can comfortably be done as a day trip from Zürich.

    The routing you need for this trip is:Zürich HB – Arth-Goldau – Göschenen – Andermatt – Disentis/Mustér – Chur

    To get this route in the SBB timetable, put Zürich HB as the “from” station, Chur as the “to” station and Arth-Goldau and Andermatt as “via” stations. This trip will take 5-5.5 hours depending on which services you select.

    Between Zug and Arth-Goldau, the train travels along the Zugersee (Lake Zug), with wonderful views, often from an elevated position, of the lake and the mountains on the other side, including the Rigi. Sit on the right.

    The sector from Flüelen to Göschenen is part of the Wilhelm Tell route.

    Between Göschenen and Andermatt, keep a lookout on the left for a glimpse of the Teufelsbrücke (Devil’s Bridge – see attached photos).

    From Andermatt to Chur is part of the Glacier Express route, travelling across the Oberalppass, which is the highest point of the route at about 2,033 metres. This sector can be travelled on the official Glacier Express train, or on local trains – so pay attention to which service you choose.

    If you choose an official Glacier Express service, a reservation is compulsory. This will be shown in the timetable information on the SBB website by a little icon of the letter “R” within a square, and the type of train will be described as GEX. It might be a good idea to mention here in the forum what sort of a ticket or pass you intend to use, as in some cases a small supplement is payable between Göschenen and Disentis-Mustér.

    Both sides of the train on the Glacier Express route have great views, and if the train is not full, you can move from side to side during the trip. (At least, you can do this on the local trains).

    You could have a meal and a wander around Chur for an hour or two before returning to Zürich by the most direct route (passing through Landquart and Sargans), which will only take about 1.5 hours. The tourist information office in Chur railway station can give you a map of Chur with details of the local sights. I have also attached a few photos of Chur.

    By the way, you can also do the Golden Pass route as a day trip from Zürich. To return from Montreux to Zürich, you take the most direct route via Lausanne, which will only take 2.5 hours compared with the Golden Pass route which takes about 6 hours from Zürich. A bonus with the Montreux to Lausanne sector is that it takes you along the lovely Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and through the beautiful Lavaux terrace vineyards.

    Removed user
    52345 posts
    25 June 2015 at 2:03:28 #843943

    Thank you very much for replying. I will look into your advice. Hopefully I can work something out. Was hoping to take a look at Interlaken as well. How is the weather in mid-September?

    Also, what is “Göschenen and Disentis-Mustér.”

    Thank you again

    Removed user
    52345 posts
    25 June 2015 at 3:27:50 #843944

    Hi Peter,

    I haven’t been there in mid-September, so others can better advise you about that.

    Göschenen and Disentis/Mustér are the names of stations /localities. Disentis/Mustér has a double-barrelled official name because it is in the Romansch-speaking area: Disentis is the German name for that locality, Mustér is the Romansch name.

    Most of the experts in this forum will tell you that Interlaken is not worth a visit in its own right, when there are so many more spectacular sights to be seen in the vicinity of Interlaken. The nearby mountain villages of Wengen, Grindelwald, Mürren or a trip to the Jungfraujoch would be a much higher priority for most people!

    The Jungfraujoch can be visited as a day trip from Zürich, although it would be a long day. The way I would do it would be to go to the Jungfraujoch via Grindelwald, and return via Wengen. On the return trip, I would alight at Wengen for a few hours, stroll through the village to the lookout near the church, have an evening meal there and return to Zürich after dinner. As I said, a long day if you are travelling from Zürich – but certainly do-able.

    Removed user
    52345 posts
    25 June 2015 at 3:29:57 #843945

    Perfect, I will look into this. Thanks very much, I will post any questions I have. I am not going until September so I hope I can plan a great trip and that the weather cooperates 🙂

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