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day trip from Milan to Switzerland by train

Do you need a little change from the vibrant city life in Milan? Do you fancy an escape to Swiss nature, exploring history, and breathing fresh air? You’re right here. In this article, I’ll explain how you can make a day trip from Milan to Switzerland by train.

I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and visited it even on a day trip from Milan. Since I’ve got to explore all the beautiful places, I’ve put together an ultimate itinerary for your 1-day visit to Switzerland.

Follow it and enjoy the highlights. In the end, I also have some organized excursions to Switzerland if you don’t want to plan.

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Can You Make A Day Trip From Milan To Switzerland By Train?

Yes, making a day trip to Switzerland from Milan is possible. Indeed, I highly recommend you go away to the big city for a while.

I suggest you visit Lugano and its surroundings in Switzerland. You’ll be in stunning nature and see crystal-clear Swiss lakes and beautiful mountains. Bellinzona, just 20 minutes by train from Lugano, offers incredible medieval castles with cobbled little streets and cute cafes.

switzerland in winter glacier express ride
Me on a Glacier Express Ride from Zermatt to St. Moritz

How To Make A Day Trip From Milan To Switzerland By Train

The best way to make a day trip to Switzerland from Italy (Milan) is by train. As you know, train connections in Europe are excellent.

So hop on a train from Milano Centrale to Lugano. It’s a direct EC or RE train and takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes. Such a short journey makes a comfortable day trip and gives you time to visit more things in Switzerland.

TRAIN TIME: 1 hour & 15 minutes
TRAIN PRICE: 15 CHF (one-way)

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1. Day Trip From Milan To Lugano & Bellinzona (By Yourself)

During your day trip to Switzerland, I recommend you visit a beautiful Swiss town called Lugano. Enjoy the town, its delicious gelato, and stunning lake views in the morning.

In the afternoon, I recommend exploring Lugano’s surroundings, such as Bellinzona and its castles, Mont Bre, or San Salvatore Mountain.

Here is a detailed description of the best things to do on your trip.

πŸ‘‰ READ ALSO: Best Of Switzerland Itinerary: 8 Days By Train

πŸ“ Visit Lugano

After you arrive in Lugano:

  1. Walk through its tiny streets to the lake.
  2. Get some gelato and enjoy the light breeze around Lugano Lake.
  3. Have a delicious lunch in the center.

Lugano has a very charming atmosphere. So it’ll be enough to stroll through its tiny streets, visit Parco Ciano, and enjoy its lake promenade.

day trip from Milan to Switzerland by train Lugano
Lugano: Switzerland
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Afternoon Excursions From Lugano

In the afternoon, I recommend you do one of the following excursions:

πŸ“ Monte San Salvatore
πŸ“ Monte BrΓ¨
πŸ“ Visit Bellinzona & its medieval castles

PRO TIP: Use the SBB App (the official Swiss train app) to navigate these three excursions. It shows you exact train/funicular departures and timings.

πŸ“ Visit Monte San Salvatore

San Salvatore is one of the most beautiful mountains in Switzerland. To visit it, you’ll take a funicular up to the mountain.

Firstly, take a local train from Lugano main station to Paradiso station (only 2 minutes). From there, walk about 5 minutes to the funicular station. There are signs on the way, so follow them to get to the station.

Once you’re at the funicular station, get the tickets and drive to Monte San Salvatore. A restaurant is on the top so that you can get some snacks. Toilets are provided, too.

You’ll get incredible views of the entire Lake Lugano and surrounding mountains. It’s well worth seeing.

best time to visit switzerland september in switzerland
Me enjoying Switzerland in September

πŸ“ Explore Monte BrΓ¨

To visit Monte BrΓ¨, first, you’ll walk 20 minutes from Lugano Center to the’ Cassarate’ funicular station. Once you’re at the Cassarate station, it’s pretty straightforward. Just follow the crowds.

Buy your ticket, and drive up. You’ll have to change one more time at the Suvigliana station. Then, buy another ticket at the Suvigliana station and drive up to Monte BrΓ¨ with the funicular.

Monte BrΓ¨ offers spectacular views of Lake Lugano and the mountains around. It also has two restaurants. So it’s worth just sitting on the grass after and watching the beautiful surroundings.

day trip from Milan to Switzerland Lugano Lake Lugano Mt. Bre
Me at Monte Brè

πŸ“ See Bellinzona & Medieval Castles

In case you are not into mountain excursions, opt for another one. Take a train to Bellinzona and see its medieval castles.

Go to the central station in Lugano and buy a ticket to Bellinzona. The train ride only takes 20 minutes. Once you’re in the city, just walking through is stunning. Make it to at least two or three castles. But don’t miss out on the Montebello Castle.

You can purchase skip-the-line tickets for all three Bellinzona castles. Avoid standing in lines and make your trip more efficient.

➑ Get skip-the-line tickets for Bellinzona castles here.

Switzerland itinerary 8 days by train Bellinzona
Bellinzona & Castelgrande Castle

πŸ‘‰ READ ALSO: Swiss Travel Pass: Unlimited Travel In Switzerland

Organized Day Trips From Milan To Switzerland

If you want to avoid stress and plan your day trip, you can also do one of these organized day trips from Milano.

Get Your Guide offers amazing trips and guided tours around the world. They have professional guidescomfortable transport, and perfect organization.

2. Milan To Switzerland On A Scenic Train

You can also enjoy this Swiss Alps Bernina Express Rail Tour from Milan. Bernina Express is one of the best panoramic trains in Switzerland. The scenery is stunning, full of glaciers, lakes, and spectacular mountains.

If you’re not sure which excursion is 100% worth itthis is the one. It’s my favorite day trip from Milan and offers the best value and most beautiful places.

Everything will be organized for you. They’ll pick you up from your hotel in Milan, and you can see Switzerland on one of the best panoramic trains within one day without stress. You’ll also get to visit St. Moritz, a luxury Swiss town.

➑ Book The Excursion From Milan For Bernina Express Ride & St. Moritz Here.

3. Day Trip From Milan To Lake Como, Lugano & Bellagio

Another excursion you can make is to visit Lake Como, Lugano, and the beautiful town of Bellagio.

They’ll pick you up from your hotel in Milandrive you to Switzerland, and you’ll visit Lugano, a stunning town of Bellagio, and take a cruise on Lake Como, which is beautiful.

➑ Join This Organized Tour From Milan To Lugano & Bellagio With A Guide.

4. Day Trip From Milan To Interlaken & Swiss Lakes

Another day trip you can make is to visit Interlaken and two of the most beautiful Swiss lakes – Lake Brienz & Lake Thun. Interlaken sits between two lakes, from which it got its name, ‘Inter’ (between) and ‘Laken’ lakes.

On this day trip from Milan, you’ll explore the beauties of this region, cruise on Lake Thun, and enjoy stunning views of the Swiss Alps from Interlaken.

Maybe you can even squeeze in some of these excursions from Interlaken.

➑ Book The Excursion From Milan To Interlaken & Swiss Lakes Here.

5. Day Trip From Milan To Zermatt

Another option for your day trip is to visit Zermatt in Switzerland. It’s a stunning mountain town with beautiful views, the famous Matterhorn mountain, and great hiking trails.

The train ride from Milan to Zermatt takes 3 hours & 30 minutes, so it’s much longer than traveling to Lugano, but it’s still worth it.

So, if that’s something you would be interested in, check out my article about how to make a day trip from Milan to Zermatt by clicking on the image below:

πŸ‘‰ READ ALSO: 11 Cheapest Ways To Travel Switzerland On A Budget

Practical Tips For Your Trip From Milan To Switzerland

Here are some more tips for your day visit to Switzerland. It’ll help you plan your trip in more detail, so check them out.

Best Time To Visit Switzerland From Milan

The best time to visit Switzerland is in June and September. You’ll benefit from fewer crowds, beautiful scenery, and warm temperatures.

In June, Switzerland’s countryside is green and lush with crystal blue rivers full of water from the melting glaciers. Snow still covers mountain peaks, and the temperatures are mild, around 20Β°C/68Β°F.

September brings beautiful autumn colors, and it’s much less crowded than summertime.

Budget For Your Day Trip To Switzerland From Milan

For this day trip to Switzerland from Milan, plan to spend around 100 Swiss Francs, which is about $112. It includes a return train ride, food and drinks, and one excursion from Lugano.

However, the cost will vary on the number of activities you’ll do.

If you only want to visit Switzerland, Lugano, and walk through the town without making any excursion, you can budget 50 Swiss Francs/$56 (including return train ride, food & drinks).

What Currency Is Used In Switzerland?

Bear in mind that Switzerland has the Swiss Franc as its main currency. So you can’t use EURO as in Milan, Italy.

Some places accept Euros, but the exchange rate is not worth it, so don’t pay with Euros in Switzerland. It’s also not worth exchanging your money for Swiss Francs just for one day.

So the best way is toΒ pay with your card.

πŸ‘‰ READ ALSO: Do People Speak English In Switzerland? My Experience

What To Pack For Your Trip To Switzerland

Swiss weather can be unpredictable because it changes a lot, especially in the mountains. When I visited Switzerland for the first time in a month, I had to think about what to pack and prepare for different weather conditions.

So, I’ve created this free parking list for Switzerland to help you decide what to bring on your day trip. Download it for free by clicking on the image below:


To help you plan your visit to Switzerland in more detail, I’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions. Check them out below:

Can I Visit Switzerland From Milan?

Yes, you can visit Switzerland from Milan. The best and fastest way is to take the EC train from Milano Centrale to Lugano. It’ll take you to Switzerland only within 1 hour and 15 minutes. So you can enjoy stunning views of Swiss lakes and mountains in a day from Milan.

Is There A High-Speed Train From Milan To Switzerland?

Yes, there is a high-speed train from Milan to Switzerland. It’s the EC train that leaves from Milan and goes to Zurich. The closest Swiss town to visit from Milan by this train is Lugano, only 1 hour & 15 minutes away.

How To Visit Swiss Alps From Milan?

The best way to visit the Swiss Alps from Milan is to take a train to Zermatt. Zermatt is a stunning car-free village surrounded by Swiss Alps with the famous Matterhorn mountain.

You can make a day trip from Milan to Zermatt (Swiss Alps). It’s one of the best places you can visit in Switzerland from Milan.

How Much Is The Train From Milan To Switzerland?

The train from Milan to Switzerland costs 15 CHF/$16 one-way. This EC train will take you to Switzerland only in 1 hour & 15 minutes. It’s the fastest and most convenient way to get from Milan to Switzerland and fairly cheap.

WRAP-UP: Best Day Trips From Milan To Switzerland

This is the best day trip you can make from Milan to Switzerland. Enjoy it independently or join one of the organized tours, as suggested. While Switzerland is a destination that deserves more attention, and it’s best to spend at least 8 days, if you only have a day from Milan, this day trip is worth it.

If you have any questions or need a customized travel itinerary, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you.

Happy travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

SWITZERLAND: Interested in more articles for Switzerland?
Check out my Switzerland Travel Page.

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