Between Arona and Stresa

Milano / Milan / Mailand to Bern by train

How to take the rail journey from Milan to Bern

Travelling between Milan and the Swiss capital by train is not only straightforward thanks to the direct rail services, it's also a lovely journey.

Connect in Bern for trains to destinations without direct services from Milan including Biel, Neuchatel and La Chaux de Fonds



From Milano Centrale to Bern

Travel Information

Final Destination: Basel or Frankfurt (Main)

All trains also call at: Spiez (change for Interlaken) and Thun

Trains are usually scheduled to depart from Milano Centrale at 07:20; 11:20 and 18:20.

4 x trains per day


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date - usually.

​​​​Reservations will automatically be assigned when booking tickets.

Check that you're booking for the direct trains - using the journey time to guide you.
Trains usually depart Milani Centrale at 07:20; 11:20 and 18:20.

If the departure/arrival times don't suit, then take trains that have a connection at Brig.

Rail Pass Users:

If you will be travelling with a valid Eurail or InterRail pass, you will have a choice of

(1) paying the reservation fees to travel on these direct trains - our guide to using using rail passes to travel from Italy has all the info you'll need, including fees and step-by-step instructions on how to book.

(2) avoiding all reservation fees by taking the 09:25 train from Milano Centrale to Domodossola and connecting there for another regional train on to Bern, which also happens to take a more spectacular route.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Italia Rail from €29

Italia Rail Guide

Italiarail lives up to its name by selling tickets for rail journeys within Italy and the core feature of its service is that it is primarily designed to be used by international visitors to Italy.
So the English translations of place names are used when looking up journeys and the terms and conditions for using each type of ticket are clearly explained.
It also clearly points out the additional costs of upgrading to other classes and types of tickets while spelling out the additional benefits of doing so.
Though Italiarail will charge a booking fee, typically of around €3.

The Early Bird service

Italiarail has launched an 'early bird' pre-booking service for journeys by Frecce trains.
Tickets can be booked up to a year ahead of travel at a flat-rate price per route, before the tickets have been released for sale by Trenitalia.
If when they are placed on sale, the price is cheaper than what you have already paid to Italiarail, it will automatically refund the price difference.
Conversely, if the price is more expensive, you won't be charged the price difference.
You can also have the peace of mind of securing your seat(s) on the Frecce train(s) when you are first planning a trip.
If before the tickets are placed on sale, you decide to change your plans, you can request a refund; but once the tickets are released for sale, you will then be bound by the terms and conditions of the ticket(s) you have booked.

Trenitalia from €29

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.
Save A Train from €29

Save A Train Guide

Trainline from €29

Trainline Guide

Omio from €29

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.

Rail Europe from €29

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesLake viewsLandscape (Hills / Mountains)Not High Speed

Good to Know

Journey description:

If you're a fan of engineering achievements then this is an awe-inspiring journey.

After Domodossola the train travels through The Simplon Tunnel and after Visp it will travel through The Lötschberg Base Tunnel - both of which were previous holders of world's longest railway tunnel honors.

If your reserved seat is on the right of the train (when facing the direction of travel) the first highlight from a scenic point of view are the fabulous views over Lake Maggiore.
They can be seen north of Arona, but what's worth looking out for is when the train departs from Stresa.

This video was taken when travelling in the opposite direction...

...and shows the beautiful islands in the lake; and it also showcases why ShowMeTheJourney has tried and failed to photograph these islands, they can only be glimpsed through the trees.

The part of the journey between Domodossola and The Simplon Tunnel is also fabulous, as the train will thread through a valley as it approaches the tunnel.

The other scenic highlight is the part of the journey between exiting the Lotschberg Base Tunnel and arriving in Thun station.
The beautiful Thunersee comes into view on the right as the train arrives in Spiez.

Between Speiz and Thun the train travels by the shore of Lake Thun.

The lake is on the right when heading north.
Between Arona and Stresa Between Arona and Stresa
The view over Lake Maggiore The view over Lake Maggiore
North of Domodossola North of Domodossola
Approaching The Simplon Tunnel Approaching The Simplon Tunnel
Between Spiez and Thun Between Spiez and Thun
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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.