Looking towards the Ovest station from binario 4 in the main station in Bologna

Zurich to Bologna by train

How to take the rail journey from northern Switzerland to Italian cities to the south of Milan

This recently introduced service is the only direct train from Switzerland to a string of beautiful Italian cities; Piacenza, Parma, Reggio d'Emilia, Modena and Bologna.



From Zurich to Bologna by direct train

Travel Information

Final Destination: Bologna Cle.

The train also calls at: Lugano (departs at 08:32) and at Piacenza (arrives 10:59); Parma (arrives 11:31); Reggio Emilia (arrives 11:49) and Modena (arrives 12:07).

The direct train to Bologna is now* typically departing Zurich HB station at 06:33 with an arrival into Bologna at 12:30.
*from Dec 11th

1 x train per day


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings open: 4 months ahead of the travel date

On the Trenitalia website, you will need to enter Zuerich Hb as the departure station.

Rail pass users

If you will be travelling with valid Eurail or InterRail passes, you will need to pay a rail pass reservation fee when boarding this train for a journey to Switzerland (seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets).
Though avoid paying for these reservation fees at a station in Switzerland, because if you do so you will also have to pay a 11CHF booking fee per passenger.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Trenitalia from €45

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 €45

Save A Train Guide

On this journey

Good to Know

If you will be travelling by train from Zurich and Lugano to destinations south of Bologna including Firenze/Florence, Roma and Napoli, the journey will be easier and likely faster if you take one of the other trains from Zurich to Milano Centrale and make the connection between trains at that station instead of Bologna Centrale.

At Milano Centrale station making the transfer simply involves walking from one train to the other, but at Bologna Centrale, this train from Zurich will arrive at a different part of the station to that used by the high speed trains on to the destinations beyond Bologna.

As this EC train doesn't use the high speed line between Bologna, therefore the Frecce trains which do so, can travel from Milan to Bologna twice as quickly, so making the connection at Milano into those trains can be a time saver too.

Journey description:

From the LEFT of the train (when facing the direction of travel) the first highlight to look out for is the view over Lake Zurich, as the train ascends up from the shore.

Then, if the weather is behaving itself, after departure from Zug station comes what is now the highlight of the journey, the view over the Zugersee.
This lake with its mountain peaks on the far shore can be seen on the right for more than 15 mins between Zug and Arth-Goldau station.

The next beautiful vista to look out for comes after departure from Arth-Goldau station, when on the right, the train will pass by the Lauerzersee.

Then just to the south of here, also look out on the right for glimpses of the Luzernsee.

Now that the trains on this route use the Ceneri Base Tunnel the next scenic highlights on the journey
come shortly after departure from Lugano, where there are views over the lake, initially over on the LEFT.

and then the train will cross the lake, which is quite the wow moment!

After the trains have crossed the lake, the best of the views switch to the right.
The Italian section of the journey south of Chiasso is more mundane, despite the trains passing through Como, its namesake lake can't be seen from these trains; and there isn't anything particularly special about the final part of the journey from Milano on to Bologna where the train will travel across flat farm land between the numerous towns.

Looking down over Lake Zurich to the south of the city Looking down over Lake Zurich to the south of the city
 Passing by the Zugersee between Arth-Goldau and Zug Passing by the Zugersee between Arth-Goldau and Zug
The spectacular view of the Zugersee between Zug and Arth-Goldau The spectacular view of the Zugersee between Zug and Arth-Goldau
Passing the Lauerzersee north of Schwyz Passing the Lauerzersee north of Schwyz
Look out for the glimpses of Lake Luzern Look out for the glimpses of Lake Luzern
To the north of the Gotthard Base Tunnel To the north of the Gotthard Base Tunnel
Heading towards Bellinzona Heading towards Bellinzona
Travelling through Lugano Travelling through Lugano
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