Destinations - International Train Journeys

Glacier Express in Winter | Fairy Tale Journey in 37 Pictures!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Glacier express in winter is one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world. Normally people do it in spring or in summer when the views are beautiful with green fields, rivers, bridges flanked by mountains all around.

How about Glacier express in Winter? During Christmas season? That’s what we did when we went to Italy in Christmas 2018. In fact, we hadn’t planned for this trip when we left India. After few days in Italy, we realised that Switzerland is so close – 6 hours by train – and we headed to Zurich and then travelled by Glacier Express in Winter from St Moritz to Brig. The route of Glacier Express is St Moritz – Samedan – Chur – Andermatt – Brig – Zermatt.

To term this journey as breathtaking is an understatement. The overall experience of travelling in this train is something every traveller should do once in their life. It is gloriously beautiful! When you take the train ride in snow bound Switzerland and to see the train ploughing through the snow, it is a different experience in itself! The train goes over 291 bridges and through 91 tunnels!!

Join us as we travel on the slowest express train in the world – The Glacier Express in Winter!

We catch a train from Zurich to St Moritz on the previous day. This is on Bernina mountain railway of Switzerland which was awesomely beautiful. More about it in next post. When we arrive in St Moritz it is 5 PM and our hotel is 20 mins drive from the railway station. It is already dusk and very cold with temperatures around 3 degrees Celsius.

St Moritz at dusk 

glacier express in winter

glacier express in winter

Our hotel is nice and modern. The rooms are spacious and clean. After freshening up we come down to the restaurant for dinner. The hotel staff tells us that today is warmer and in the previous week, the temperatures were around -10 degrees Celsius!!

We get up early next day and our cab is ready in front of our hotel at 7.30 AM. It has snowed in the night and we see fresh snow on top of cars. We come out of the hotel and walk slowly on the snow to get into the car. Fifteen minutes drive and we are in St Moritz railway station. This mountain town is well known as the gateway to Davos which hosts World Economic Forum every year.

We reach St Moritz Railway station. It is a small station but a major stop on the Bernina Swiss Mountain Railway. We explore the station and after a cup of coffee in the cafe , we walk to the platform where the Glacier Express is to start from. Some pictures from the railway station before we start the fairy tale journey!

The view of the town from the station….

glacier express in winter

Poorna in front of elegant building of St Moritz station.

glacier express in winter

The driveway to station

glacier express in winter

Brinda in front of snow field and lovely backdrop of the town

glacier express in winter

For keeps sake!!!

glacier express in winter

We get into the train. Poorna cleans the window from outside so that the pictures we take are clear. This is very important. Otherwise the pictures will be blurred.

We leave St Moritz at 9.15 AM. The train is lovely. We booked First Class as Second Class was sold out. It is luxurious with six seats in a row. Two seats opposite each other and cluster of four seats on the other side of aisle. We had booked two seaters. The huge window is the best thing that provides Glacier express an edge over the other mountain trains. The train in which we came from Zurich to St Moritz was excellent except for the windows which were tad smaller.

The train is slow and it goes on many lovely bridges and tunnels. We cross picturesque alpine villages of Switzerland. Many of these villages turn into ski resorts in winter. Join us as the train starts now!

Notice the large window…….and compare it the windows of the regular mountain trains in the background.

glacier express in winter

Everything is white washed! 

Small towns turn into ski resorts….

Sun trying to peep out of the horizon. The road and the river with mountains in the background makes this lovely!

A small village

All cars covered in snow!!

This is how it looks out of the window……

glacier express in winter

180 degree view of the train and how it looks from inside. It is luxurious and spacious.

The fir trees covered by snow with a house in the background!

The bridges on this route are spectacular. You can’t make out the height of these during winter. 

The train taking a turn….

You can ski in front of your home too!

glacier express in winter

This is the famous Landwasser Viaduct……

The Bridge, The road and The snow in Surava!

Take a look at this short video shot by us….

The town of Tiefencastel

The church in the town of Sils im Domeleschg

A castle or is it a church in Rothenbrunnen

This is one of our favourites scenes. A small house, a dried tree and snow covered field in Bonaduz region!!

As the train chugged into Trin and Flims-Waldhaus, the snow is less. We see lovely rivers and mountains…..

We start towards Rueras which is blanketed in snow!

You will find these barriers at many places. These are used to stop avalanches in winter. 

The train chugging in snow!

A lovely church with cemetery……

glacier express in winter

A lovely setting for a church in Bellwald! It is sunny and nice…..

The Train enters the town of Fiesch…..It is sunny and nice….

glacier express in winter

The town of Fiesch….

Now take a look at these professional videos!!

This is how the journey in Glacier Express looks in Summer!

We arrive at Brig around 4.15 PM. Unfortunately, the train is late by 35 minutes and we had to miss our connecting train to Domodossola from where we have to catch the train to Milan. This means we have to wait for next train arriving at 7 PM at Domodossola to Milan . It is cold and we head to get next dose of Coffee and then hop into the train to Domodossola.

The journey in the Glacier express in Winter is one of the most cherished moments of our travel in Europe. Glacier express journey in whichever season is one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.

Travel Tips

  1. You can either go from Zermatt to St Moritz or vice versa as we did. We did not go to Zermatt as we had to catch a train to Milan in Italy. The Brig – Zermatt sector will give you a chance to see the tallest peak in Europe – Matterhorn.
  2. We recommend going by first class. Though it is expensive, it has very comfortable seats and lot of leg space. If you are a couple, then go for two seats row. If you are a family then go for 4 seat row.
  3. Book well in advance. Especially in peak seasons of July-August and in Christmas week. We were lucky to get seats though we booked late.
  4. Opt for all inclusive package including meals. Otherwise you will have to go to “Panorama Bar” and eat.
  5. The “Panorama Bar’ is a nice place with beer and wine. It is a nice place to chill out.
  6. Photographing the landscape in train journeys in Europe requires you to hold the camera very close to the window and click. Otherwise you will get shadows and glare. We strongly suggest you to clean the window where you will sitting. This will provide lot of clarity.
  7. Just enjoy the journey. The Wow!s in this journey will never end! Keep you camera ready.
  8. Don’t sleep on the journey. We saw many dozing off. You will miss out some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
  9. For all details about Glacier Express and booking tickets online, please check this authorised site – https://www.glacierexpress.ch/en/ 

What has been your experience in travelling in Glacier Express in Winter. We would love to know. Leave them in comments below.

Thank You

We thank you for stopping by and joining us in this journey through Glacier Express in Winter. We hope you enjoyed the journey.

May we request you to share this with your friends and inspire them to travel in this lovely train!

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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