Looking over Lugano towards the lake

Milano / Milan / Mailand to Bellinzona by train

How to travel from Milan to Bellinzona by train

Until recently when travelling from Milano to Bellinzona by train there was a choice of two direct services, but the Regionale trains have now been diverted so that they arrive in Locarno instead.
Therefore the only direct rail link from Milano to Bellinzona is by taking the express EC trains, which will be heading on to other destinations in Switzerland.

Though if you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail pass, you can avoid paying a rail pass reservation fee in excess of €10 to travel by these EC trains, by taking those Regionale trains to Lugano and connecting there for Bellinzona.



From Milano Centrale to Bellinzona

Travel Information

Final Destination: Zurich or Basel

These trains also call at: Lugano

The trains on this route now travel through the recently opened Ceneri Base Tunnel.

The Giruno trains comprise the majority of departures, but on a few departures, particularly the train which is typically scheduled to leave at 17:10, a combination of Astoro and ETR 600 trains can be used.

10 x trains per day


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date

Reservations will automatically be assigned when booking tickets (but rail pass users will need to make reservations prior to boarding at a ticket office - they're not available from the Trenitalia ticket machines)

Trains departing at different times can be cheaper than others leaving on the same day - so you may need to look through the day's departures to find the cheapest fares.

Rail pass users:

Avoid these trains if possible, the rail pass reservation fees on these trains are expensive, for such a comparatively short journey.
Instead take a Regionale train from Milano to Lugano, on a newly enhanced service, and connect there for Bellinzona.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia from €26

Trenitalia Guide

Trenitlalia is the national rail operator in Italy and in addition to its cheaper types of ticket; it also typically offers other discounts available to non-Italians, which include:

  • Group Offers, provides for a discount of up to 50% when 3-5 Adults travel together.
  • Family Offer for when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 11 and under.
  • The Children Free Offer is available for journeys by Frecce trains, when groups of 2 - 5 people are travelling together and at least one of the party is a aged 15 and under.
    Those aged 15 and under travel for free, but the Adults will need to purchase full price 'Base' tickets.
Trainline from €26

Trainline Guide

Omio from €26

Omio Guide

Omio is an online ticket agency which offers tickets for rail journeys in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain.

The three key advantages of using Omio are

  • it offers prices in multiple currencies
  • it usually offers price comparison with other modes of travel including flights and buses
  • when visiting Europe, you can book journeys in multiple countries in one transaction.

The disadvantage of booking with Omio is that it often adds a booking fee to the final price; therefore when it does so without offering a price advantage, SMTJ doesn't tend to offer Omio as a booking option.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesLake viewsNot High Speed

Good to Know

An additional two daily trains including the final departure of the day from Milano to Bellinzona, now leave from Milano Rogoredo station.

Looking over Lugano towards the lake Looking over Lugano towards the lake
Another view of Lugano Another view of Lugano
South of Lugano looking across the lake South of Lugano looking across the lake

The first half of this journey is unexceptional, but things become a tad more fabulous once the train has passed through Chiasso and crossed the border into Switzerland.

Once you're in Switzerland, look out for these three highlights (the video was taken from a train travelling in the opposite direction)

(1) The views from the left over Lake Lugano, as the train nears Lugano.

(2) The crossing over Lake Lugano - with great views from both sides of the train.

(3) South of Lugano station, the views over the lake switch to the right.

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