Milano / Milan / Mailand to Zürich / Zurich by train

How to take the rail journey from Milano/Milan to Zurich

An expanded service of trains between Milan and Zurich is in place on new timetable, which exploits both the new trains which have been introduced to the route and the recently opened Ceneri Base Tunnel, which has enabled the fastest ever journey time between the two cities.

Though this remains a journey which showcases the best of European rail travel.
The smart new trains have restaurant cars, the engineering achievements to enable the journey time are phenomenal and despite the epic, recently opened rail tunnels, most of the journey is still fantastically beautiful!



From Milano Centrale to Zürich HB / Zurich main station

Travel Information

Final Destination: Zurich
Connect in Zurich for destinations without direct trains from Milan including Chur, Munich, St Gallen and Stuttgart

These trains also call at: Arth -Goldau (change for Luzern) and Zug

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.

8 x trains per day from Milano Centrale


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date

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.

When looking up journeys on Trenitalia enter Zuerich (city) as the Arrival station.

Promotional fares are occasionally offered for this journey; when they are available the price can drop to €19.

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.
Trainline from €29

Trainline Guide

Save A Train from €29

Save A Train 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

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

Looking over Lugano towards the lake Looking over Lugano towards the lake
The descent to Bellinzona The descent to Bellinzona
North of Bellinzona heading towards the tunnel North of Bellinzona heading towards the tunnel
After exiting the tunnel After exiting the tunnel
Look out for the views of Lake Lucerne Look out for the views of Lake Lucerne
Passing the Lauerzersee Passing the Lauerzersee
North of Arth-Goldau station North of Arth-Goldau station
Descending down to the shore of Lake Zurich Descending down to the shore of Lake Zurich

The first hour 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 highlights:

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

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

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.

After departure from Arth-Goldau there are some beautiful views over Lake Zug - also on the left.

(All of the videos were taken from a train 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.