Day trains between Italy and Switzerland
There are quick direct trains from Milan and other Italian cities to various Swiss towns. These eco-friendly and comfortable trains offer a more scenic way to travel than planes. A flight, including the time to get to and from airports, isn't worth the hassle.
Examples of connections and traveling times:
- Milan-Zurich takes 3h15 (direct train).
- Genoa-Zurich takes about 5h15 (direct train).
- Bologna-Zurich takes about 6h00 (direct train) or 4h50 (with a change in Milano).
- Venice-Zurich is about 6h15 (with a few changes).
- Rome-Zurich takes about 7h10 (with a change in Milano).
Night trains between Italy and Switzerland: only via Austria
There are no direct night trains between Italy and Switzerland. Nightjet trains are available between Munich (Germany) and Rome, Milano and Venice (Italy). But those pass through Austria, not Switzerland.
Scenic route from Italy to Switzerland
If alpine scenery is more important than travel time, the Bernina Express route via Tirano, the Gotthard Panorama Express route via Lugano and the RegioExpress Lötschberger via Domossola, Brig and Kandersteg are beautiful options.
How to get the cheapest tickets
- Book as early as possible. You can book from 6 months before traveling (options vary). Find prices here.
- It helps if your travel date and time are flexible. This makes it easier to get the best price.
- Check if there are promotions.
- If you have a Swiss rail pass, you only need a ticket to the border. Chiasso (Switzerland), Domodossola (Italy) and Tirano (Italy) are common border stations. For example: with a Swiss Travel Pass, there is no need for a ticket all the way from Milan to Zurich, because the leg from Chiasso to Zurich is covered by the pass. Just buy a ticket from Milan to Chiasso.
- Instead of a ticket to the Swiss border station, you can book a ticket for a "passholder fare". That's a ticket for the entire route for people who own a rail pass for Switzerland or Italy. It's cheaper than a regular ticket because the leg covered by the rail pass is free. An advantage of this fare is that it includes a seat reservation for the entire route, not just to the border. Passholder fares are not always available, nor needed: seat reservations are usually not required within Switzerland. If passholder fares are unavailable, you simply book to the border.
- If you have a rail pass that covers both Italy and Switzerland, you don't need a ticket at all. You just need a seat reservation.
Find ticket prices and points of sale.
Is something not clear yet? Just post your questions to the Swiss rail forum and get a quick answer.