Take Glacier Express Tours to Enjoy the Matterhorn and Zermatt

Take Glacier Express Tours to Enjoy the Matterhorn and Zermatt

If you want to enjoy plenty of beautiful scenery on your next holiday, the obvious choice of destination in Europe is Switzerland. And what better way to see the mountains, lakes, forests and pastures than by booking Glacier Express tours?

Rail is the perfect way to experience Switzerland, thanks to the efforts of some quite brilliant civil engineers who have constructed a network of tunnels and bridges that go right through some of the most unforgiving terrain in Europe. You will travel through and over many of them as you relax on a journey on the country’s most famous train, the Glacier Express.

Also known as the ‘slowest express train in the world’ it takes more than eight hours to complete its 181-mile route between Zermatt and St Moritz, but after enjoying the spectacular scenery on the journey you could be forgiven for wishing the trip took a bit longer.

The locations at either end of the Glacier Express line are both great places to visit, but they could hardly be more different. While St Moritz is an upmarket resort that attracts an affluent crowd, Zermatt is one of the prettiest villages you are ever likely to see – making it the perfect place to begin train holidays.

It is perhaps best known as a winter sports destination, but the most memorable thing about Zermatt is the scenery that surrounds it. Its location in the Matter Valley is overlooked by a number of the Pennine Alps’ tallest mountains, including the 4,634-metre Monte Rosa.

The Matterhorn is shorter at 4,478 metres, but is much more spectacular. The imposing peak is one of the most famous challenges in climbing and you are sure to meet some people who have travelled to Switzerland to tackle it during your stay in Zermatt. There are lots of legends about the Matterhorn, but the fact there is a mountaineers’ cemetery in the village should tell you just how tough its slopes are.

You will discover there are 12 chapels and churches in Zermatt, together with a number of art galleries and lots of good places to eat and drink. But most visitors spend their time in the village exploring the great outdoors, which is as beautiful in the summer as when the winter snow shrouds the landscape.

You can take a relaxing stroll along the banks of the Matter Vispa or try something a little more energetic by walking through the forests on the foothills of the imposing mountain range. Alternatively, you could see the local scenery from the comfort of a train seat by taking a ride on the Gornergratbahnsmall mountain railway to the peak of Gornergrat, which at more than 3,000 metres above sea level is somewhere you are certain to enjoy stunning views from.

Eventually you will have to tear yourself away from the tranquillity of Zermatt, but you probably won’t mind as the journey away from the village is guaranteed to be the highlight of any Switzerland rail travel holiday.

Board the Glacier Express and you will travel through the shadow of the Matterhorn and past picturesque villages like Stalden and Randa before hitting the Rhone Valley and heading towards Visp.

From there you will travel to Brig and Oberwald, before taking a detour from the historic Glacier Express route in order to go through the nine-mile long Furka Base Tunnel towards Andermatt.

While you are sure to marvel at the feat of engineering that was required to build the tunnel, you will be more appreciative of the views on the next section of the Glacier Express journey. The train climbs to more than 2,000 metres as it travels over the Oberalp Pass, through some of Switzerland’s most beautiful scenery.

The last stretch of the route is also packed with stunning views, as the train travels to Chur, through the Hinterrhein Valley and over the arches of the Landwasser Viaduct. There are more tunnels and bridges before your journey takes you past the Cresta Run and into St Moritz station.

A day on the Glacier Express is certain to be time well spent during your holiday in Switzerland, but there are many other things you can add to that trip to make the break extra special. Journeys on the Jungfrau Express and Bernina Express are bound to be memorable and you may also want to explore fascinating towns and cities like Montreux, Lucerne, Brig and Chur.