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train from switzerland to the lakes in Italy

We are flying into Zurich and planning 3 to 4 nights in Switzerland. Suggestions for must sees welcome. We are interested in spending a few nights at one of the lakes, but online train schedules are confusing. Do we have to bus several hours or is there a train directly to one of the lakes? We also need to get from the lakes to Milan to catch a train to Vernazza. The online schedules show only a few options, but I thought there were hourly trains. I may have chosen the wrong Como as our starting point. Would getting from the lakes to Vernazza be doable in one day? We are ending our trip in the Emilia Romagna region before flying home from Milan. Any suggestions for places to stay at any of our destinations would be appreciated.

Posted by
6898 posts

Where will you be spending nights while in Switzerland? If you are in Lucerne, there is a direct train from Lucerne to Milan that stops a Como S. Giovanni which is at the south end of Lake Como. You can reach Varenna and Bellagio by ferry. If you are in the Berner Oberland, it's a bit more difficult to get to any part of the lakes. For that journey, it's best to take the train to Milan and then back up to where you want to be on the lakes. Vernazza is a 3.5hr train ride from MIlano Centrale. From Como S. Giovanni, you are less than an hour away from Milano Centrale. More choices could be available if we know where you are staying in Switzerland.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you. We haven't decided where to stay in Switzerland....trying to pick a spot to use as a base and do day trips. Would Lucerne work for that?

Posted by
20339 posts

Luzern would work just fine. There is a direct train every hour from Zurich airport that takes 1 hour.

Posted by
16894 posts

If you have extra time just for scenic joy-riding, then travel from Luzern to Tirano takes 6 - 7.5 hours with several connections, and trains south from Tirano to Varenna-Esino on Lake Como take 1.5 hours. The Tirano-Varenna-Milan schedules are at or, probably published through June 14 at this time. Otherwise, the train from Luzern to Como is a faster, more direct route, still including mountain scenery.