Updated August 15, 2020.
Hello, my readers! If you’ve been following along on our travels you know my sweet husband Steve and I recently took a romantic (though altered!) journey through the Swiss Alps! We took the scenic Glacier Express, and while it was a journey to remember, knowing how to purchase our seat reservations was a little confusing! So I sifted through the information for you and have made up this quick guide to making sure you get the right ticket on the right train–you don’t want to miss out on this gorgeous trip!
1. Check Out The Man in Seat 61
Some friends recommended this website to me, and it was really helpful! If you want all the nitty-gritty details, definitely check out this website.
Even more info here: Your Ultimate Guide to Train Travel in Switzerland
2. Get Your Swiss Travel Pass
If you are taking other trains in Switzerland in addition to the Glacier Express (and you probably will be!), you will want to look into the Swiss Travel Pass options. It’s also best to purchase this first because the Glacier Express is included in the Swiss Travel Pass routes! You only have to pay extra for your seat reservation on the Glacier Express. Learn how next!
3. Purchase Your Glacier Express Seat Reservation
My process was a little different than described in the Seat 61 blog, so here is my experience:
A. Go to glacierexpress.ch
Click on the “Booking” icon. This will open a new tab or window
B. Type in Your Start and End Cities, Your Date of Travel, and Your Class of Service
If you want to take the whole route, you will want to go from Zermatt to St. Moritz, or vice versa. You can start or stop anywhere along the route listed below:
Your “Outbound” date is the date of travel, and your class of service should be the same as your Swiss Travel Pass class of service. Ours looked like this:
Need to know: What to Know Before You Visit Switzerland
C. Choose Your Departure Time
There was exactly one train per day in the winter, when we took the Glacier Express. But don’t worry! There are more options in the warmer months. When you choose your time, you will see a chart indicating available seats in your class of service. We were automatically given seats that were neither facing nor next to each other! But don’t fret. You can change your seat assignment. Just click on one of the green seats to de-select them, and choose the seat or seats you want.
D. Fill in Personal Information and Choose Your Discount!
If you already purchased your Swiss Travel Pass, this is a very important step! Fill in your first name, last name, birthdate, and most importantly: REDUCTION. Click on “Reduction” and select the option that applies. For us, it was “Swiss Travel Pass – (-Flex, -Youth, -Youth Flex)”. Your price will be reduced to just the seat reservation cost.
Although Seat 61 indicated in his blog that the winter seat reservation fare was 13 CHF, I think that may be for a week day, or the price has gone up since he last booked the train. We took the Glacier Express on a Saturday, and the fare was 23 CHF per person.
E. Choose Your Meal Option
The full Glacier Express trip in either direction is just under 8 hours, so you will want to eat! You can bring your own food, or you can pay for their lunch options. You can order off the menu on the train if you do not want to purchase a meal in advance.
F. Check Out
Check your details on the next screen and pay online. You will receive an e-mail confirmation with your order information. You’re ready to go!
Be prepared for anything! Our Amended Glacier Express Experience
I hope this was helpful for you if you’re considering a trip on the Glacier Express! Thank you for reading. Interestingly, our actual trip was a bit different due to an unprecedented Alpine winter and an avalanche possibility. Check out my Switzerland Page for more!
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