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Roadtrip from Milan to Zurich by Car on Swiss Motorways

How far is Milan from Zurich and how to travel in between

by european travelblogger Lisa


Undoubtedly, there are plenty of reasons to travel from Zurich to Milan, or vice versa. May it be for business, both cities are important financial hotspots, or for touristic adventures, both cities have plenty to offer. Milan and Zurich are, as well, each connected via an excellent train network, with multiple national and international connections. For example, there is a direct EuroCity train, connecting both cities on average seven times a day. If you want to complete the trip by car on a roadtrip, there is quite something to consider. What exactly is concluded below for you.

How far is Milan – Zurich by air

The direct distance by air, not taking any mountains or roads on land into reference, is 217 km or 134 mi. Find below how to travel in between those both important cities.
If you are flying in to Zurich, and want to directly continue your journey to one of Milans Airports, it might be considered time-savy to continue flying and board another plane towards norhtern Italy. However, on a individual journey-basis I can definitely not recommend flying from Zurich to Milan or flying from Milan to Zurich. It’s just not worth it, I can highly recommend taking one of the multiple direct trains a day for this trip!

Travel from Zurich to Milan by Train

Probably the most convenient option for your travel from Zurich to Milan, or the trip from Milan to Zurich, is by Train. Enjoy the scenic landscape of Switzerland and northern Lombard, whilst having all the free time. No need to concentrate on traffic and being stressed by it, just sit back and relax. There are up to seven direct trains per day, connecting Milan Central Station with Zurich HB main station. Those trains are equipped with second and first-class carriages, as well as a dining car (including at the seat service in first class). The travel time is about 3.5 hours at the moment, which will soon be cut even shorter due to the inauguration of the newly built Ceneri base tunnel. Thanks for the completion of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel the travel time has already been cut short, a few years ago.
You can either book your ticket for this journey, no matter the direction, via Trenitalia or SBB. Tip: due to swiss francs, tickets are usually cheaper if bought directly in Euro via Trenitalia.

Travel from northern Switzerland to Italy by Car

When driving from Zurich to Milan by Car, you have two options. One is more expensive, the other is more time-consuming. In Switzerland it’s obligatory to buy a “Vignette” sticker for your car, which costs around 40 euros per car per year, in order to use their motorways. Swiss motorways allow a maximum top speed of 120 km/h, otherwise you have to take country roads which will not require the purchase of a sticker, but will take so much more time. The direct route from Zurich to Milan by car is 280 km or about 4 hours depending on traffic on the motorway, or 338 km and at least 6 and a half hours on country roads and through cities.

Overall, I can recommend traveling by train towards Milan. It’s not only the better option for your climate, emission-wise, but also more comfortable. You can just sit back and relax, without any hustle nor stress from boarding a plane or having to drive a vehicle for yourself. Just enjoy the scenery, buy a nice beverage or snack from the on-board service and arrive in the city centre at Milano Centrale.

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1 comment

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[…] Before you can even attempt to park your car in the heart of the city of Como, you will for sure need to get there in the first place. Arriving at Como by Train is fairly easy, just leave Como S. Giovanni train station and within a few hundred metres you are at the shores of the lake. By car, however, there are a few possibilities. Como is fairly well connected to a few (tolled) highways, allowing you convenient drives to and from Milan in Italy as well as Lugano/Ticino in Switzerland. There are also toll-free “Strada Statale”, federal roads, allowing direct rides from the directions of Varese and Bergamo towards Como. As Como is situated right by the border next to Chiasso in Switzerland, you will find Como on most signs. Especially on the highways, in case you are driving without a navigation system or navigation app. Otherwise, there are also some country roads in Switzerland, allowing toll-free rides to Como, but keep in mind you will pass every small village on the way. In Switzerland, you should definitely invest in a Vignette. […]

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