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Milan to Switzerland


My husband and I will be in Milan in August - just as a home base. We would love to visit a couple of towns in Switzerland. Is any one able to provide options that are easily accessible via train for the day only? We'd like to limit our commute to 3 hours or less each way. We enjoy walking, scenery, museums, and old architecture/ruins. We're not into shopping, but do occasionally like to stroll through very old, quaint towns. Your recommendations are appreciated!

Posted by
18810 posts

Belinzona has some old castles and is only about 2 hours from Milan by direct train.

Posted by
8889 posts

salanddeb, Go to the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) website:
Enter from: Milano Centrale, to: Luzern (local spellings), and you desired date an time; then click on search.
It takes about 3½ hours each way. Including going through the 57Km Gotthard base tunnel under the Alps.

A better alternative would be Lugano, as it only 1½ hours from Milan by train (again look up times on SBB website). It is on a lake on the south side of the Alps. Italian speaking You can stroll through the town, and take a boat trip on the lake.
See boat company website here:

Make sure you choose boat that goes via Morcote, one of my favourite places. Short video here:

You can also get a funicular up the mountain next to Lugano. See here:

Posted by
303 posts

I would recommend Lucerne. It is truly quaint, and a boat ride on the lake is lovely. We visited from Zurich, but we reached Zurich from Como San Giovanni train station. I think you would have to take a Tran from Milano Centrale to Como San Giovanni and then a train to Lucerne. You might check for more info.

Posted by
32106 posts


I would normally recommend Lucerne however in this case it's not ideal for a day trip as travel time is 3.5 hours each way. Spending 7 hours on the train will not allow much time for sightseeing.

As others have suggested, Lugano would be a good choice as it's only about 1H:20M from Milan. It's a beautiful city on a lake and while there you could take a cruise on the lake or take a Funicular up one of the local mountains.

You could also consider Locarno, although travel times are about 2.5 hours each way. You could travel one way by train to Locarno, perhaps via the scenic Centovalli Railway from Domodossola, and then take the Ferry back to Stresa and then train to Milan. It would be a long day trip but certainly possible. Locarno is also a beautiful city on a lake and while there you could take the Cable Car up to Cardada / Cimetta.