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Centovalli Line to Lugano?

Hi! We are planning our Switzerland two week trip. At one point, we will be traveling from Zermatt to Lugano. I have noticed trains that transfer in Domodossola Italy so we were thinking of stopping to eat a good Italian lunch there. We will then continue our trip to Lugano Switzerland. What is the difference between using a regular train to Lugano, and using the Centrovalli line? I keep reading about the Centrovalli line however I do not see it listed in any of the train timetables. Any info or suggestions would be appreciated!

Posted by
8889 posts

The Centrovalli line is the "regular train" from Domodossola to Locarno, and trains on this route are listed on the Swiss Railways site ( www.sbb.ch ).
There are two possible routes from Zermatt to Lugano See the map here:
1) Zermatt - Andermatt- Göschenen - Bellinzona - Lugano
2) Zermatt - Brig - Domodossola - Locarno - Giubiasco - Lugano
Route (2) is the one including the Centrovalli line. Both routes take roughly the same time (5½ hours)
If you go to www.sbb.ch and enter Zermatt to Lugano for your preferred date and time AND enter via Domodossola, it will only select trains on route route (2). If you don't put a 'via', it will select the quickest route.

P.S., As Domodossola is in Italy, you will need Euros to pay for your 'good Italian lunch', but you realised that of course!

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you so much! This is our first trip hopping on and off trains so I really appreciate your response.

Posted by
32244 posts

jillian,

The CentoValli Railway is a scenic line between Domodossola and Locarno, a trip which takes about two hours each way. The abbreviation of the name of the railway company often elicits snickers from English-speakers. I've travelled that route a couple of times and it's a very scenic trip.

One point to note is that the stations for the CentoValli are underground at both ends, so you won't find the trains on the same platform as the others. When you exit from the station in Locarno, you'll be right next to the "regular" rail station.

If you have the time and want even more of a scenic trip, you could always travel from Locarno to Stresa by boat, perhaps one of the fast Aliscafo (Hydrofoils). From Stresa you can connect with the trains again for the trip to Lugano. If you have time, you could also stop for a day or two in Stresa and tour the beautiful Borromeo Islands. There are all kinds of possibilities.