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Scaling the Heights with Ease

The Facts

The journey between St. Moritz and Zermatt aboard the Glacier Express can be made at any time of year, though hotels, and the train itself, are more crowded at the height of summer and winter.

The Glacier Express
A one-way ticket costs $181 plus a $9 reservation fee; round-trip, $360. A better value is the eight-day Swiss Pass ($316), which allows unlimited trips on all Swiss Railway trains and discounted tickets on most private mountain railways and funiculars. For information and reservations, call a travel agent or Rail Europe (800/438-7245, fax 800/432-1329). Reservations are required for lunch in the dining car (make them when you buy your ticket); $45-$75 for two.

Hotels
Hotel Albana
6 Via Maistra, St. Moritz; 41-81/833-3121, fax 41-81/833-3122; doubles $160-$200. Old-world coziness and good value, in the heart of the upper village.
Badrutt's Palace Hotel
27 Via Serlas, St. Moritz; 41-81/837-1100, fax 41-81/837-2999; doubles $385-$730 (opens for summer season June 26). Grand in every sense, from the palatial interiors to the views of St. Moritz Lake below.
Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
Bahnhofstrasse, Zermatt; 41-27/966-6600, fax 41-27/966-6699; doubles $235-$320. In this village with no street signs, the Regency-style Zermatterhof is one of the few hotels not designed like a chalet. The luxury is obvious but understated, the rooms large and comfortable.
Alpenresort Hotel
Zermatt; 41-27/966-3000, fax 41-27/966-3055; doubles from $135. Cosmopolitan flair with small-hotel intimacy. All guest rooms have balconies and Matterhorn views.

Side Trip
The Gornergrat-Bahn
This narrow-gauge train, a popular excursion from Zermatt, meanders through deep pine forests and past waterfalls, through tunnels and around horseshoe bends, while serving up continually shifting perspectives of the Matterhorn and its sister peaks. The round-trip fare ($42) is almost as steep as the train's 4,500-foot climb. A restaurant and viewing platforms at the 10,145-foot-high terminus (the highest open-air railway station in Europe) make for a pleasant half-day outing. Trains leave frequently from the Gornergrat-Bahn station across the street from Zermatt's main station.

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