The Ticino region of Switzerland sits on the border of northern Italy, putting it in the prime position of allowing travelers access to both countries. It also helps that Ticino is utterly stunning, with breathtaking mountain vistas thanks to the nearby Swiss Alps and national parks that surround it. Waterfalls and lakes abound this region and, despite its beauty, it's one of the most underrated parts of Switzerland.
The Alpine landscape is dominated by its features, with towns that feature waterfalls and rivers prominently running through each. The Italian-speaking villages throughout are nothing short of magical and hold the best of both worlds - Switzerland and Italy - for travelers. The best part of any trip to the Ticino region is the fact that it's easily accessible by train from Milan, making it a must for any European itinerary.
Milan To Canton By Train
The easiest and fastest way to get to Ticino is by train. The railway runs between the Italian city of Milan to Canton of Ticino and can take just over two hours to four and a half hours. The fastest train goes from Milano Centrale to Razzino, and then travelers are required to take a cab (or rent a car) to cover the rest of the distance to Canton of Ticino, just under 30 minutes.
- Ticket Cost: $130-$170, depending on the season
- Taxi Michel
- Grand Taxi Lugano
Milan To Canton Of Ticino By Bus
Traveling to Canton of Ticino by bus will take roughly twice as long as traveling via train, but will save travelers money. Therefore, it's the more cost-efficient option for those who are looking to stick to a budget while also seeing everything there is to see between the borders of Switzerland and Italy.
Bus service between the two cities is operated by Swiss Railways and Swiss PostAuto, departing in Milano Centrale and taking passengers to Gerra. It's best to book tickets for the bus in advance as they can often sell out during weekends and holidays as there are only 40 services per week. The average bus ride is four and a half hours, with the shortest being just over three hours.
- Cost: $47 during the off-season
- First Bus of the Day: 6:43 AM
- Last Bus of the Day: 9:43 PM
Driving From Milan To Ticino
Driving from the city of Milan is the quickest option that doesn't involve public transportation. The drive can be done in an hour and 35 minutes and will take visitors past some of the best sights between the two countries.
However, this is also the most complicated as driving through Milan can be a very foreign undertaking for tourists. Additionally, Italy requires specific passes to drive on auto roads, which is something to discuss with the rental company.
What To Know Once You're In Ticino
Once travelers arrive in Ticino, they'll be happy to know that navigating the region is very easy thanks to public transportation. Even for those who have rented a car from Milan, it's worth it to return the car in Ticino just to take advantage of the ease of bus and train travel in Switzerland. The rate at which trains come and go is frequent and the schedules with Ticino are very easy to follow, making for a practically stress-free vacation. Many of the train lines go straight to tourist attractions and popular overlooks which cuts down the work a traveler needs to do by at least half.
Buses are another great option in Ticino but these operate less frequently than the trains do, so they can be used as a secondary means of transportation if anything. Guests staying at hotels, hostels, and campsites will receive free Ticino Tickets, which are good for unlimited use of all the mainline trains. Additionally, these tickets discount bus and boat fares, as well as providing discounts for popular attractions. These tickets will only be given to those who have rented rooms or campsites and do not apply to houses or other types of vacation rentals.
Railway passes are a great thing to hang onto even if travelers aren't planning on staying the entire time in Ticino, and can be applied to other attractions, as well. Those traveling by car will also be happy to know that most things are just as easily reached by driving; it might be worth it to take the train or bus from Milan and then rent a car once arriving in Canton of Ticino or another city in the Ticino region.