of an express train. What do you picture? A race from A to
B? Snatches of scenery blurred through the window? The Glacier Express
proves that travel isn’t simply a means to an end. Aboard
Switzerland’s most fabled train – and indeed, the slowest in the
world – “express” doesn’t mean speed but “special delivery”.
Winding between the snow-sports havens of Zermatt and St Moritz,
this eighthour, Unesco-protected Alpine route is a destination in
itself – and not merely considered so among binocular-toting
railway enthusiasts. Some might say you don’t “do” the Glacier
Express, but experience it. Take a panoramic pew in Excellence
Class where floor-to-ceiling windows frame mountains scored by
ribbon-like streams and a clued-up concierge will keep you
entertained with expert insights into the rip-roaring valleys
For more than 90 years, the Glacier Express has invited guests
to glide through Valais, Uri and Graubünden, skimming over 291
bridges and needling through 91 tunnels as they go. Bookended by
the Matterhorn and Piz Bernina, it passes through world-class
scenery: the Rhône Glacier, the vertiginous Oberalp Pass, the
curvaceous Landwasser Viaduct and the Rhine Gorge – the “Grand
Canyon of Switzerland”.
This eight hour, Unesco-protected Alpine route is a destination in itself – and not merely considered so among binocular-toting railway enthusiasts
Of course, the Alps taste as good as they look. As a guest in
Excellence Class, expect a culinary journey in itself – one
speckled with flutes of champagne and fragrant cocktails. As you
soar through the icy diorama, you’ll indulge in five courses of
crag-to-carriage bounty conjured from the foothills while clinking
glasses of wine from some of Europe’s most exclusive vineyards.
Meals on wheels? If you say so.
It’s only right that time spent discovering the Alps by train
should be flanked by days skiing across those perfectly powdered
pistes. St Moritz and Zermatt might draw a coterie of A-listers,
but they aren’t merely refuges for winter-sports lovers. Spiked
with gabled chalet hotels, these are destinations for gastronomes
with a local-first mentality.
Before hitting the hills, we’re acclimatising at design-led
hotels in Zurich and Geneva, two squeaky-clean cities where
crystalline lakes lap against the thrum of busy urban life and the
promise of Alpine adventure hovers tantalisingly in the near
The best way to get from city to mountain and back again? Snag
one of the Switzerland Travel Centre’s all-in-one Swiss Travel
Passes and take your pick of any bus, boat or train. It’s what the
This is A to B, with a whole lot of see.