day trip from Milan to Switzerland by train

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Table of Contents

How Can You Make A Day Trip From Milan To Switzerland By Train
Visit Lugano
Afternoon Excursions From Lugano
Visit Monte San Salvatore
Explore Monte Brè
See Bellinzona & Medieval Castles
Organized Day Trips From Milan To Switzerland
Swiss Alps Bernina Express & St. Moritz Tour From Milan
More Tips For Switzerland Travel

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 do a day trip from Milan to Switzerland. I’ll also give you several tips on what to see and do in Switzerland so that you have a comfortable journey worth the time.

So let’s dive into our options for a day trip from Milan to Switzerland.

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

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

I suggest you visit Lugano and its surroundings. You’ll be in stunning nature, 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.

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

The best way to do a day trip from Milan to Switzerland is by taking a train. As you know, train connections in Europe are excellent.

So hop on a train from Milano 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 around Lugano.

Take EC or RE train from Milano Centrale (main station) to Lugano. The journey takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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.

If you want more inspiration on what to do in Lugano, check out my 8-day Switzerland itinerary. I write about things to do in Lugano on the first day of this itinerary.

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.

Lugano: Switzerland

Afternoon Excursions From Lugano

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

  1. Monte San Salvatore
  2. Monte Brè
  3. Visit Bellinzona & its medieval castles

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

1. Visit Monte San Salvatore

To visit San Salvatore, 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. You don’t have to be scared. There are signs on the way. Or ask for directions if you’re unsure.

Once you’re at the funicular station, get the tickets, and drive up to Monte San Salvatore. A restaurant is on the top, so 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.

To sum it up, follow these directions to get from Lugano to San Salvatore mountain:

Lugano main station – train to Paradiso – 5-minute walk to the funicular station – funicular ride up to San Salvatore

2. Explore Monte Brè

Getting to Monte Brè takes slightly more time, but it’s equally worth it. I visited this mountain in Lugano and can only recommend it.

First, you’ll walk 20 minutes from Lugano center to the funicular station called ‘Cassarate’. Take McDonald’s (on the Riva Giocondo Albertolli 1 Street) as the initial point for your walk. Then walk through the famous Parco Ciani, and connect to the main road passing by the Lugano beach (Lido di Lugano) until you reach the Cassarate funicular station.

Then 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 with the funicular up to Monte Brè.

Once you’re at the Cassarate station, it’s pretty straightforward. Just follow the crowds.

Monte Brè 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.

To sum it up, you’ll get the following way from Lugano to Monte Brè:

Lugano McDonald’s – walk 20 minutes to Cassarate funicular station – Suvigliana stationMonte Brè

Day trip from Milan to Switzerland by train: Me at Monte Brè

3. See Bellinzona & Medieval Castles

In case you are not into mountain excursions, opt for another one. If you want to see medieval castles, take a train to Bellinzona.

Go to the main station in Lugano and buy yourself 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 the Montebello Castle.

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


Making a Swiss day trip from Milan city is a great idea. You’ll for sure not regret it. Bear in mind that Switzerland has the Swiss Franc as its main currency.

So exchange Euros for Swiss Francs once you arrive or try to do so even in Milan. Some places in Lugano accept Euros, but it’s always cheaper to pay with local currency.

Or pay with your card if you don’t want to exchange money.

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 guides, comfortable transport, and perfect organization. Even better, you’ll see more places within the day than if you go by yourself.

So check out these day trips from Milan to Switzerland and choose one if you want to be more comfortable:


Swiss Alps Bernina Express & St. Moritz Tour From Milan – Organized & Stress Fee

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. 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.

It’s one of the best tours you can do from Milan to Switzerland, because you’ll see almost half of Switzerland just within one day.

Day trip from Milan to Switzerland by train

More Tips For Switzerland & Italy Travel

Looking to visit more places in Switzerland? Check out my related articles:

Switzerland Itinerary For 8 Days: Explore the highlights

Northern Italy Itinerary For 10 Days

Top 5 Switzerland Paroramic Trains – Best rides through the Swiss Alps

Swiss Travel Pass – Unlimited travel in Switzerland

8 Best Mountains In Switzerland To Visit

22 Amazing Day Trips From Interlaken

23 Incredible Things To Do In Jungfrau Region

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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.

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