Lucerne/Zurich to Milan via Bernina railway

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Sapphire NZ
Sapphire NZ
2 posts
new member
Jul 11, 2019 - 12:13 PM

My Christmas tour finishes in Lucerne at 8am on the 3rd of December. How realistic would it be to then take a train (from either Lucerne of Zurich Airport where the transfer goes) on the bernina railway and through to Milan for my flight home at 6pm on the 4th of December?

6100 posts
expert &
Jul 11, 2019 - 1:02 PM

HI Sapphire NZ, welcome to MySwissAlps!

You could manage to reach Milan within one day if you leave Lucerne soon after 8 am. You'd travel via Thalwil, Chur and Tirano. It's a long journey though, taking 9 to 10 hours and requiring several changes of trains. It's hard to get on an actual Bernina Express train aexpress/gettingthere, as only one such trains runs each day during the winter timetable, but regular regional trains will do the job as well. Of course you can break your journey and spend the night on a scenic location along the route (how about St. Moritz or one of the nearby towns?), as long as you feel comfortable with continuing your journey the next day and getting to the airport in time to catch your flight. You'd best check the options using the timetable at ble.

Note that there's a much quicker option, following the Gotthard Panorama Express route via Zug, Arth-Goldau and Lugano: rdpanoramaexpress. It's scenic as well, especially if you use local trains that avoid the Gotthard base tunnel and run through the mountains instead. You could enter "Airolo" as a via-station to find those connections.

This information may be of interest as well: ickets/italy.

2242 posts
top member
Jul 11, 2019 - 11:30 PM in reply to Sapphire NZ

Yes, quite feasible.

Depart Luzern 08.35, change at Thalwil, to reach Chur at 10.43

Take the 10.58 Rhätische Bahn (RhB) express train (number IR1133) over the UNESCO world heritage Albula line to St Moritz arr 12.58

have bit of a break (mountains all around you) then get the Bernina line train departing 13.48

arrive Tirano 16.23

Italian train connection Tirano 17.08 - Milano 19.40


get off the train IR1133 at Samedan at 12.45 (change for the shuttle to Pontresina arr 12.55)

Pontresina 13.04 - Tirano 15.00 - 15.08 - Milano 17.40

2242 posts
top member
Jul 11, 2019 - 11:36 PM

By the way don't worry about my suggested itinerary not working if you leave late, the same itinerary works at the same times up until the 13.58 from Chur

You could stay the night somewhere along the way. There are some Albergos right next to the railway where it runs through the street in Le Prese, and decent hotels in Tirano (a nice town in itself) for example

6862 posts
Jul 11, 2019 - 11:38 PM in reply to 1960man

It is a nuisance to get from Milano Centrale to the airport (Malpensa).

Figure some time in your schedule for that. An hour or two, if i recall correctly.


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