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Travelling from Zurich Airport to Varese (Milan airport)

  1. what is the best scenic route to take?

  2. I checked on website and the price quoted is 71CHF one way (2nd class) and 122CHF (1st class) train tickets.. quotes the same in EUR. I also assume buying in advance doesn't save on pricing as I checked the prices on different dates.

  3. Final destination is Varese, is it advisable to take Como train and travel by car from there? Or rent a car at Malpensa / Milan airport?

traveling with 2 kids (1+5 yr olds) any tips/suggestions appreciated!

Posted by
18801 posts

You can get all-train connections taking about 5 1/2 hours. gives several routes. The ones going the long way around via Bern, Domodossolo are more expensive (97 chf) less scenic (2 very long tunnels, and the price is only as far as Gallerate, the last leg is on you. Other routes require a change of stations in Milan from Centrale to Porta Garibaldi, a real pain. The best route is the one leaving Zurich airport at 8:47, 10:47, and 12:47, goes through the Gothard Tunnel with lots of switch backs and spiral tunnels before and after, and along the east shore of Lake Maggiore, so scenery will be ample. SBB is showing 69 chf for adults, 1+ yo free, 5 yo 5 chf. It does have 4 changes, at Zurich Hauptbahnhof, Bellinzona, Cadenazzo, and Gallerate.

Posted by
500 posts

When the Zurich-Chiasso train passes through Mendrisio, you are actually only a few kms. from Varese, but there is no direct rail connection and it takes a lot of time to go all the way to Milan and then backtrack to Varese on a different rail line.

Direct buses Mendrisio-Varese run only twice per day, timetable at
For runs stopping at Gaggiolo (the border) there should be a corresponding Italian bus, I suppose the timetable is this:

Frankly, I do not advice to plan your trip around this quite flimsy commuter connection, but maybe you could enquire about a taxi from Mendrisio to Varese. The missing rail link is being built, it is expected to be ready in 2017 when direct rail service Lugano-Mendrisio-Varese-MXP will be possible.