Glacier Express Switzerland Bernina UNESCO

17 Reasons to ride the “DIY” Glacier Express Switzerland

The natural beauty of Switzerland really sells itself.

The Glacier Express Switzerland runs from Zermatt in the south west to St. Moritz in the south east and takes in wine growing valleys and incredible 360 degree mountain views.

The full day trip crosses 291 bridges and viaducts, crossing the 2,033 metre altitude Oberalp Pass and finally rolling up to st. Moritz along the UNESCO protected Albula/Bernina railway line.

But why ride the “DIY” version of the Glacier Express? Rather than the tourist train Glacier Express Switzerland?

The main reason is, on the local trains, you can open the window! Hang out and take amazing photos rather than shooting through the tinted glass of the glacier express tourist train.

train ride switzerland NW-3

And, once you’ve started taking photos, you’ll find it hard to stop! The scenery is simply breathtaking. Especially in May when all the flowers are blooming, the mountains are still capped with snow and the grass has returned to an intense green that seems only possible in Switzerland after the snows have melted, feeding the valleys below.

If you are using a Eurail or interrail pass, then most of the route is free, and the section in the middle that isn’t, is discounted. All in all it works out as a lower price than the official glacier express and you’ll likely have much of the train to yourself. The only downside is you have to change trains at a few locations, though the changes are easy as all the stations are small.

More photos that will inspire you to ride the Glacier Express Switzerland:

glacier express train ride switzerland (DIY Version)

Every little town has it’s own postcard perfect backdrop

train ride switzerland NW

Switzerland-17

glacier express train ride switzerland (DIY Version)

See the architecture pass you by

 

glacier express train ride switzerland (DIY Version) Oberlap pass

Ride all the way into the snow of the Oberalp pass

glacier express train ride switzerland (DIY Version) oberalp pass

The Restaurant at the Oberalp pass rises just a few meters higher than the rail line.

glacier express train ride switzerland (DIY Version) oberalp pass

Riding the local train, you get a little more time to stop at each station and stretch your legs

train ride switzerland last-2

train ride switzerland last-5

train ride switzerland last-4

glacier express train ride switzerland (DIY Version)

Local agriculture in a slow paced rural setting

Glacier Express Switzerland

Would you live here?

Glacier Express Switzerland

You never get bored of all the picturesque little towns

Glacier Express Switzerland Bernina UNESCO

You’ll cross 291 bridges and viaducts on the route. This one is part of the Bernina UNESCO section of the train journey

Glacier Express Switzerland

The sun begins to drop below the mountains as we follow the final leg of the UNESCO Bernina route up to St. Moritz

Glacier Express Switzerland

The tops of the mountains still glow as the valley starts to darken as we head to our final stop in St. Moritz

You can ride the Glacier Express Switzerland From Zermatt to St. Moritz, or in reverse. Either way, you can’t sleep on the train! So you’ll probably want to grab some accommodation at either end as this is a full day trip.

Accommodation Zermatt

Unique Hotel Post

Unique Hotel Post

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Schlosshotel Zermatt

Schlosshotel Zermatt

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Europe Hotel & Spa

Europe Hotel & Spa

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Accommodation St. Moritz

Kulm Hotel

Kulm Hotel

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Kempinski Grand Hotel Des Bains St Moritz

Kempinski Grand Hotel 

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Badrutt's Palace Hotel

Badrutt’s Palace Hotel

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Love this post? Why not pin it to your favourite travel Pinterest board?

The glacier express switzerland winds through perfect mountain scenery from Zermatt, to the Oberalp pass and the UNESCO Bernina express route to St. Moritz

Disclaimer: Our Eurail & Interrail passes were complementary. This article contains affiliate links which we will make a small commission from if you use them. Thank you for supporting our website by using these links. All opinions remain our own.

 

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