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The Glacier Express Rail and Hike

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.5 Read 2 reviews
  • Ride the Glacier Express, one of Europe's most beautiful train journeys
  • Enjoy classic walks in the shadow of the Matterhorn and Piz Bernina
  • Experience the glamorous and iconic alpine town of Zermatt
  • Stay in peaceful Pontresina in the lush Engadine Valley
  • Feast on Swiss mountain food such as raclette and fondue
Cross the Swiss Alps on the famous Glacier Express, a direct train from St Moritz to Zermatt; considered one of the most stunning rail journeys of the world. Get closer to the typical wooden chalets and sounds of Alpine cow bells on foot with a selection of walks from both Zermatt and Pontresina. Start with 3 nights in Pontresina, a peaceful village nestled in the authentically Swiss Engadine Valley. Choose walks through tranquil forests, alpine meadows and lakes. Take the Glacier Express to stylish Zermatt for four nights and choose from a selection of walks in the shadow of the Matterhorn. By night enjoy the exclusive town and its array of restaurants and bars.

What To Expect

Perfect for those looking to experience two classic, yet distinct, Swiss walking destinations on a twin centre walking holiday. Travel from the foot of Piz Bernina to the lower slopes of the Matterhorn with an epic 8 hour panoramic train journey through the Alps . Rated easy-moderate, there are a selection of walks to choose from, ranging in difficulty and length. Stay in comfortable 3* hotels in both Pontresina and Zermatt.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Rail & Hike | See more of a destination by mixing train travel with walks accessible from the rail-line. Travel inn-to-inn by train & enjoy hikes from each stopping point. Train fare inc- no baggage transfers.

This trip is suitable for:

Families, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, First Timers, Avid Adventurers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Foodie Adventures
  • Elegance & Unique Stays
  • National Parks & Trails
  • Mountains
  • Special Occasions

Activity Level & Terrain

This trip is graded ‘easy—moderate’ overall, as the walks are around 4-15km, and quite varied. Most walks are on the easy-moderate end of the scale however there are some walks like the Hoernliweg which are difficult. The beauty of this trip is that you can make it as easy or as difficult as you wish and a grade is assigned to each walk. Please be aware that earlier/later in the season there may be some residual snow lying in patches, but this will not require any special equipment or skills; walking poles are recommended. 

Navigation

All trails are very well way-marked, and together with access to our GPS-following app and maps, you will have no problem finding your way on our suggested walks.

Accommodations

Stay 7 nights in 3* standard hotels. The accommodation we normally use is detailed below however it is subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is not available to solo walkers. If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you but there is a supplement payable.

Included
  • 7 Nights in 3* hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Train ticket and reservation from St Moritz to Zermatt (second class)
  • 1 Lunch (on the Glacier Express)
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • A list of suggested walks with maps, GPX tracks and access to our navigation smartphone app
  • The Engadine Valley travel pass which gives free access on most local bus services and cable cars/funiculars
  • 24-hour emergency telephone assistance
Excluded
  • Flights to and from Switzerland
  • Travel to/from Pontresina/Zermatt
  • Cable car/funiculars/public transport in the Mattertal
  • Travel Insurance Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program
Extras
  • Extra nights in Zermatt/Pontresina

When To Go

This trip is available to start any day of the week, from the end of June to the middle of September. The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and mid-September when the wild flowers are in bloom and the weather is generally fair. Please be aware that earlier in the season there may be some residual snow lying in patches, but this will not require any special equipment or skills.

Getting to the Start

Fly into Zurich or Bern then continue by train, with a couple of changes, to Pontresina (3.5 or 4.5 hours) Train timetables and details of public transportation in Switzerland are available via the excellent travel planner at www.sbb.ch.

Getting from the End

From Zermatt train station you can get to any major European destination easily. Trains to Zurich airport take about 3.5 hours, to Bern it is 2.5 hours and to Geneva 4 hours. For more information check https://www.sbb.ch/

Travel During the Trip

Public transport in Switzerland is seamless and runs like Swiss clockwork. Most of the walks on this tour in the Mattertal and the Engadine require a mountain train/funicular/cable car/bus  journey to the start or from the end of the walk back to your hotel for the night

Engadine Valley Travel Pass

At your hotel in Pontresina you will be given an area pass for public transport and mountain railways (issued at check-in and collected at check-out) including use of all chairlifts/cable cars/funiculars in the Engadine Valley. NB: Area pass excludes the ‘Bernina Express’ panoramic train, but includes the public train which runs on the same Bernina

Unfortunately no similar scheme exists in Zermatt and all use of cable cars/funiculars etc. is payable locally.  Here is an approximate guide to costs if you complete the walks as outlined in this brochure.

Day 5: Zermatt– Sunnegga 24CHF return

Day 6: Zermatt—Schwarzsee 50CHF return, Furi—Zermatt 17CHF single

Day 7: Zermatt– Gornergrat 47CHF single,  Sunnegga—Zermatt, 16CHFsingle

General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items,for example, proper rain gear (jackets and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking shoes or boots, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Pontresina Day 2 Bernina Bahn and Circular Walk to Alp Grum 4.5 miles / 7 km Day 3 Walk the Valley Roseg or the Klimaweg 8 miles / 13.5 km Day 4 Glacier Express to Zermatt Day 5 The Five Lakes Walk 6.5 miles / 10 km Day 6 The Hoernliweg, Matterhorn Trail or walk to Zmutt 9 miles / 15 km Day 7 The Naturweg (Nature Trail) 4 miles / 6.5 km Day 8 Onward Travel

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