We're taking the train from Zurich to Venice...and want to stop over for a few hours. But in Lugano or Como? And then... how realistic is it to spend a few hours there, and then continue on to Venice? Grazie!
John, I'm next door in Elk Grove. As for your question, you can do this but you have to think it through. It is most likely that you will be on Eurocity (EC), Cisalpino (CIS) or other high-speed trains. These all require seat reservations. If you are booked through to Venezia Santa Lucia, and you get off, you're ticket is not valid for getting on a later train unless you go and have mucho fun at the ticket office. What you can do, is to carefully book a "seated" ticket from Zurich to either Lugano or Como San Giovanni. Then book a second "seated" ticket from that train station later in the day to Venezia Santa Lucia. With good planning, you can do this.
If you can do that on your train ticket I would do it in Lugano. there is little to see in Como itself eventho it has a dock on Lake Como. However if you have an option to see other towns/villages on Lake Como, Varenna is a great 2-3hr stop to stroll around.
Como itself I found uninspiring but I fell in love with Bellagio - a little town along the lake. To me well worth the visit if you can organise it.