The easiest option for a rail journey from Milan to Luzern/Lucerne is to take the daily direct train.
Final Destination: Basel
Train also calls at: Lugano and Bellinzona
Note that two types of train are used on this route, on some departures an Astoro and an ETR 600 train are joined together.
2 x direct trains per day
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date
The daily direct trains from Milano typically depart at 08:10 and 10:10, but if these timings don't suit, there are easy cross platform connections at Art-Goldau station from the Milano to Zurich trains into trains on to Luzern/Lucerne.
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)
Travelling with rail passes
Though Eurail and Interrail pass users can easily avoid paying the comparatively expensive rail pass reservation fees on this train, by taking one of the regional trains from Milan to Lugano, connecting there for a Swiss IC train on to Luzern.
The regional trains which usually depart Milano at 08:43; 12:43; 14:43 and 16:43 have good connections for trains on to Luzern.
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This daily direct trains typically depart from Milano at around 08:10 and 10:10, but if the timings of this train don't suit, there is a straightforward alternative.
The Milano to Zurich EC trains all call at Arth-Goldau station and from virtually all of these trains, guaranteed connections are available into trains to Luzern.
Making the connection is as straightforward as it could possibly be as all you have to is walk across the platform, from one train to another.
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.
After departure from Lugano, the train will now travel through the new Ceneri Base Tunnel.
After departure from Bellinzona the train will enter the world's longest railway tunnel, The Gotthard Base Tunnel - so long that it takes the train around 14mins to pass through it.
Despite the fact that this train now travels through The Gotthard Base Tunnel this is still a scenic journey through the Alps.
After the train has exited the tunnel and travelled through Schwyz, there are views on the left over Lake Luzern, which aren’t available when heading south on these trains.
Then shortly afterwards, before Arth-Goldau, also on the left there are views over the Lauerzersee.
The final journey highlight comes after departure from Arth-Goldau there are some spectacular views over Lake Zug, which can be seen on the right.
The two videos above were taken from trains travelling in the opposite direction.
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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.