Glacier Express

Great Hikes from Zermatt to the Villages of the Engadine

Glacier Express route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4695  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Zermatt, Switzerland
Depart: Guarda or Ardez, Switzerland
Lodging: 7 nights hotels
Meals: Breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners included
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: 6 hiking days on easy to moderate mountain trails, 2-6 hours a day, depending on trail option, team of up to 3 Trip Leaders. Note: This trip is rated 2/3, offering Easy or Moderate hikes each day (revised from the rating in the 2014 catalog).


  • Easy to moderate hiking options each day—your choice!
  • The picture-perfect Swiss mountain towns of Zermatt and the Engadine
  • Ride Switzerland’s Glacier Express through an incredible mountain panorama, take the Gornergrat Railway for absolutely stunning views of the Alps
  • Wonderfully atmospheric hotels and terrific food, from rösti to Engadiner Torte

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

The quintessential alpine towns of Zermatt, Pontresina, Guarda, and Ardez, with their whitewashed houses adorned by colorful sgraffitti, are among Switzerland’s most enchanting. We’ve crafted a superb hiking journey linking these captivating towns, with a choice of easy or moderate hikes each day. Taking advantage of efficient Swiss transportation, including the famed Glacier Express, we hike through a magical realm of mountains, glaciers, sun-splashed valleys, and charming villages—the perfect taste of Switzerland!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2

From car-free Zermatt, we hike to Zmutt, with its slate-roofed wooden houses and tiny chapel, or ride the Gornergrat Railway to its top station (10,135'), with breathtaking views of a glistening sea of ice and some 50 peaks including the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, third highest peak in Europe.

Days 3-5
Glacier Express / Pontresina

The renowned Glacier Express brings us to Pontresina in the Engadine, with its diverse alpine flora and shimmering lakes framed by ice-clad massifs. One of our hikes brings us along the lateral moraine of the Morteratsch Glacier for stupendous views of glacier fields and snowy summits.

Days 6-8

Guarda, set on a sunny terrace above the valley of the Inn River, offers hikes past lovely hamlets, farmhouses, and meadows to the dreamy medieval castle of Tarasp, perched on a clifftop 500 feet above the valley. Depart on Day 8.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 2 and 3, Easy to Moderate. (Please note: This is revised from the rating that appears in the 2014 catalog.) We enjoy two hiking choices each day—easy to moderate—so you can choose a hike that suits your interests for the day. Our day hikes vary from 2-6 hours in length, with cable cars, gondolas, and cog and funicular railways taking care of many of the steep ascents and descents. Our support vehicle will transport the group’s luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need for the day (sweater, camera, water bottle), and you are always free to skip a day’s hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle. Hiking experience is recommended (no climbing or mountaineering experience is necessary), and all participants must be in good physical condition. Each evening we return to our comfortable hotels to sample the culinary delights that Switzerland has to offer.

We spend our nights in comfortable small hotels. Although the rooms in our alpine hotels and inns are not always of uniform or international size, our leaders try their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Most lunches will be in mountain huts or restaurants, and most evenings we have dinner at our hotel. Vegetarians please note that we will accommodate dietary needs as best as possible, but it is a good idea to bring along protein bars and other supplements. Luggage space is limited in our van, so we ask that you restrict your luggage to one piece, plus your daypack. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the U.S. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

This is a new Wilderness Travel trip for 2014, developed with the help of one of our most veteran Trip Leaders. As with all new adventures, we ask you bring along a spirit of adventure! Hiking times are noted, but on first departures, and with full groups, these can vary, sometimes dramatically, from the anticipated times. Road conditions and the group’s level of fitness also affect the travel and hiking times.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Aug 30-Sep 6, 2014

Jul 11-18, 2015  Tim Burford
Aug 14-21, 2015
Sep 12-19, 2015  Mike Browder

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$4695 (12-14 members)
$4995 (9-11 members)
$5295 (6-8 members)
Single supplement: $720
Forced single supplement: $520
Swiss transportation pass: $460 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of two Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders
  • Accommodations in hotels and comfortable inns
  • Breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners included
  • Ground transportation throughout the trip
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees on group tours
  • Cable cars, funiculars, and cog rails to and from trailheads for scheduled hikes

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, airport transfers, any meals not specified, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, Swiss Rail Pass (see separate cost above), pre-trip expenses such as immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Hotels in Zermatt

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Zermatt, Switzerland

In Zermatt, we stay at one of the following properties:

Hotel Walther

Hotel Walther

Days 3 to 5 (3 nights), Pontresina, Switzerland

There’s stellar service at this family-owned Relais & Chateaux property, along with beautifully appointed rooms, full spa services, and a ...
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Hotel Meisser

Hotel Meisser

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Guarda, Switzerland

In the gorgeous little mountain village of Guarda, the Meisser is a historic family-owned inn now run by the fifth generation of the same Swiss ...
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Hotel Alvetern

Hotel Alvetern

Days 6 to 7 (2 nights), Ardez, Switzerland

July 20-27, 2014 Departure Only
Some say this is the friendliest mountain hotel in Switzerland! Set right at the top of the lovely ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Mike Browder

Departure Dates: September 12-19, 2015

Mike Browder has worked in outdoor settings all his life, from directing parks and recreation programs in Bend, Oregon, to mountain climbing in North America and Asia (including an ascent of Everest!) to coaching school ski programs. He spent much of the 1990s in Central Asia, guiding, teaching ...
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Tim Burford

Departure Dates: August 30-September 6, 2014, July 11-18, 2015

Tim Burford has written hiking guidebooks to many regions, from Romania to Chile to Alaska, and is the author of the authoritative Travel Guide to Georgia (the former Soviet Union), published by Bradt, UK. Tim’s great passion is for the mountains, trails, and cultures of Central ...
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James Fuss

Departure Dates: August 30-September 6, 2014

James Fuss is a trekking guide, photographer, cyclist, and chef extraordinaire. Born and raised in South Australia, James found his wanderlust early on family camping trips across Australia. His love of the culinary arts is deep-rooted as well, and as a young chef, he headed off to Europe to ...
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