Whether you're based in Switzerland or travelling through Europe, with trains from Switzerland to Italy you can quickly and cheaply cross the border and see the best of these beautiful countries. Journeys by rail mean you can enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Swiss-Italian border in comfort and explore exciting destinations, including Geneva, Zurich, Milan and Tirano.

Switzerland to Italy train travel time

The journey time on train trips from Switzerland to Italy depends on your specific start and end points. To take a popular example, trains from Zurich to Milan can take as little as 3 hours and 20 minutes. Geneva to Milan train trips can be as short as 4 hours and Chur (Coira) to Milan can be accomplished in around five hours. Direct Eurocity trains depart throughout the day, with the earliest typically leaving before dawn and the latest far into the evening.

Of course, if you're travelling between border towns, your train trips will likely be short and sweet. Trains from Lugano to Como take just half an hour, for example. This is an ideal way to see another country while staying in Southern Switzerland, taste an entirely different cuisine and take in the sights of somewhere new. Longer train journeys, however, have the advantage of bringing you on something of a tour of Switzerland and Northern Italy. Often cited as being the most beautiful scenery in Europe, it's a trip well worth taking.

Scenic trains from Switzerland to Italy

To take the route from Geneva to Milan as an example, you'll travel through a diverse range of geographies on your train trip. Pass alongside the crystal blue waters of the mighty Lake Geneva before heading through the alpine border region of Switzerland and Italy. Then, you'll move through the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park. This is a typically Swiss stretch of green hilly land where you'll have plenty of opportunities to take amazing photos. Finally, enter and then emerge from the Val Grande National Park in Italy to arrive in chic Milan.

You can also plan your trip to take in multiple cities along the way. Stop at Bern, Switzerland's capital, where you can see the Parliament Building and stroll through the Old City. This is easily achievable as a slight detour from Geneva or Zurich. You can also head to Como in Northern Italy, a favoured locale of the celebrity jet set.

From Chur to Tirano by train

Train travel from Chur to Tirano can be achieved in as little as four hours on direct trips with Bernina Express. The history of quaint Chur in Switzerland dates back to its settlement in prehistoric times. Today, the town's traditional houses and winding streets sit below mighty green hills, and the town features a range of beautiful parks to explore. Active travellers will adore the opportunities to hike and even ski nearby. This is a marvellous place to experience authentic Switzerland, among peaceful and attractive surroundings.

When you arrive in Tirano, you'll discover another charming little town, sitting at an important crossroads of Northern Italy. Breathtaking views of waterfalls and miles of forest will inspire you to explore the area. There are beautiful old churches in and around the town. Salis Palace and Museum feature stunning architecture, with magnificent artefacts and frescoes to admire. A trip from Chur to Tirano is an opportunity to reconnect with nature, as well as experience the traditional side of both countries while on holiday.

From Geneva to Milan by train

Trips from Geneva to Milan are among the most popular ways to cross from Switzerland to Italy. Geneva is one of Europe's, and indeed the world's, most important political centres. It's here that you'll find the UN's Palace of Nations, as well as the United Nations Office and the HQ of the Red Cross. Witnessing these institutions up close is a wonderful way to appreciate the way countries interact with each other, which is particularly appropriate on a multi-country train trip!

Milan is famous as Italy's capital of fashion. There are many places to shop for designer brands here. The Quadrilatero d’Oro, or Golden Rectangle, is made up of four streets of high fashion and chic boutiques. Milan's innovative fashion spirit extends to less costly brands too, with outlet shops like DMAG offering beautiful low-priced clothing. The outstanding Duomo di Milano, or Milan Cathedral, is a Gothic beauty that's well worth seeing during your stay. Most trains arrive at Milan Central Station.

From Zurich to Milan by train

Starting your journey from Zurich, you can pass through much of the beauty of Switzerland before arriving in Italy. As the financial capital of the country, Zurich is an impressive and surprisingly traditional city. Strikingly different in appearance to, say, Frankfurt, you'll find prime examples of attractive and classic Swiss architecture, such as the Fraumünster Church. The Swiss National Museum will also bring you closer to the origins of this unique and gorgeous European country.

Zurich to Milan is one of the quickest city-to-city routes from Switzerland to Italy and will allow you to see many of the best sights of both countries. The rural scenery is equally breathtaking to the journey from Geneva to Milan, with the border crossing at Mount San Giorgio being a particular highlight. Pack the good camera, or perhaps just allow yourself to sit back and take in these dramatic and dazzling landscapes. Before you know it, you'll be at your destination and it will be time to check out a new city.

The best of Switzerland and Italy by train

Train travel has many advantages when travelling from Switzerland to Italy. You'll have the opportunity to truly take in the incredible scenery Switzerland and Northern Italy are famous for. Plus, train travel is quick and cheap. You can easily take day trips across the border before heading back to Switzerland, or perhaps make a spontaneous decision spend a few days or longer at your destination to really take it in.