Staff Review

Zermatt to St Moritz on the Glacier Express

by The Kirker Team

Switzerland is synonymous with many things, from stunning scenery to impeccable efficiency, and for the discerning traveller, it's a country that never fails to disappoint. It's a surprisingly diverse country, considering that it only spans over an area of 15,000 square miles. The country speaks four official languages, with each of those linguistic areas having its own distinct character. The scenery ranges from glorious countryside and towering mountains to metropolitan cities. Although the country is divided by many lakes and mountains, the modern engineering feats have connected the cities by an impressive public transport network where the rail routes utilise impressive bridges and tunnels to connect the major cities through the vast mountain ranges.'One of the most iconic of these rail journeys is The Glacier Express; spanning the Swiss Alps with a 180 mile journey which takes a leisurely day to complete: it is dubbed as The World's Slowest Express Train. The line stretches from St Moritz to Zermatt and travels at an average speed of 24mph - which definitely doesn't matter when you're passing alongside towering mountains and meandering rivers. We were lucky enough to be able to travel on the train between the mountain towns of Zermatt and St Moritz. We boarded in Zermatt and took our seats in the large glass panoramic carriage, which offered (nearly) 360 degree views of the country. After sitting, relaxing, and enjoying the scenery for a couple of hours, we were served a 3 course meal at our seats. This in itself was an impressive feat from the serving staff, not only because of the twists and turns that the rails take, but also that the train also travels up steep slopes (the steepest part being a gradient of 1 in 14).'The two towns at either end of the Glacier Express have very different identities and combine well as a twin centre for the traveller who enjoys the quieter pace of life. Zermatt is a beautiful alpine resort, with cosy wooden buildings and the awe-inspiring Matterhorn peak which can be seen from various different vantage points in the town. In the winter, skiiers flock to the resort to enjoy the pistes that meander down to the town and to enjoy the warming atmosphere that the town offers. Once the snow has melted away, the town transforms itself into a wonderful summer destination with hiking trails and bike routes. For the less energetic, it also provides an excellent base to relax and enjoy the stunning mountain views.'St Moritz is another alpine town, but instead of the staggering Matterhorn, it's focal point is a beautiful lake. In the winter, this transforms into a winter market (and even a polo pitch). In the summer, it provides a beautiful backdrop surrounded by mountain peaks. Although St Moritz is at 1800m above sea level, in the summer months it is set amid open meadows which run alongside the lake to the beautiful town of Sils Maria - the home of the beautiful Waldhaus Sils hotel. Nestled between 2 lakes, it is a traditional family run hotel that provides the perfect relaxing place for travellers looking to unwind.'Switzerland is a beautiful country which experiences the four seasons in such different ways: a wonderful place to explore any time of the year.

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