Travelling to Lugano

Lugano is located in the Southern part of Switzerland (Italian speaking) not far away from the Italian border and Milano. [Google maps]

By train

Lugano is a stop on the main European North-South route and can be reached from many cities in the northern and southern part of Europe by direct day or night train connections.

By plane

  • The quickest way to get to Lugano from most places abroad, will be through Milano. There are frequent direct bus connections from Malpensa airport to Lugano (takes about an hour to get to Lugano): Malpensa Express and LuganoServices Shuttle buses will officially stop at the Railway station, but it seems that they continue sometimes to the city center (“autopostali” or “Via Balestra”). Ask the driver.
    There is also a train connection (~every 30 minutes), but you will have to change trains at Mendrisio (immediate connection to Lugano) [Tilo, Regional Trains TIcino LOmbardy, lines S40 (Malpensa-Mendrisio) and S10/S50 (Mendrisio Lugano).
    If you visit the city of Milano before, you could take one of the frequent trains (regional and Intercity) to Lugano (an hour from Milano Centrale with the fastest trains)
  • Lugano has a small airport currently only served by Swiss (Zurich). Since Darwin Airlines went bankrupt in december 2017, there are no other connections as of now.
    From the airport you can take a shuttle, leaving just outside the airport [Shuttle Bus] . It brings you right into the centre of the city; if flights are on-time, it is (at least was in the past) possible to ask the driver to drop you at your hotel. You can of course also take a taxi (follow the sign; you will have to walk 200-300m)
    If you fly to Lugano, try to leave or arrive during the day, as the flight and the approach to Lugano airport is quite spectacular, as it means flying over the center of the Alps and then within a couple of kilometers come down to 200 meters above sea level….weather permitting of course.
  • As an alternative you might consider flying to Zurich or Basel and use the train to travel to Lugano; this would be a 2-3 hour ride through some of the most scenic parts of Switzerland (Central Switzerland). [Now a bit less scenic; the new Gotthard base tunnel avoids the mountain part…] There is at least one fast Intercity train every hour directly from Zurich Airport to Lugano. There are also frequent Intercity trains from Basel main station. Geneva airport (an Easyjet hub) is farther away, train connections are good, but there are no direct trains.

By car

Lugano is on one of the main European North-South routes and can be reached from most European cities without leaving the motorway; this is, however, not necessarily the most rewarding experience. Although the scenery is fantastic, the number of trucks and private cars (a substantive part of the northern European population moves up and down this route during Summer) can turn the experience into a nightmare.

Useful links