Milan is an ideal base to not only explore the Lombard capital city but also for various day trips. Want to visit another City, then head to Bergamo, Verona or Venice, want to go to a Lake, then go to Como, Lake Maggiore or Lugano. While Lake Maggiore is famous for its weekly markets, Lake Lugano is a bit different. There are casinos, museums with nice exhibitions and is overall a bit more cultured and sophisticated. Indeed, Lugano is in Switzerland. While not 100% of the shores of Lake Lugano are swiss, Campione d’Italia is a small Italian part, the Lake is a great destination for a day trip from Milan. But keep in mind that quite a lot is more expensive, due to the Swiss Francs (Euros are accepted in every (bigger) store, shop or restaurant!).
How far is Lugano from Milan?
If you want to fly and arrive by plane to Lugano, the best solution might be one of the Milan Airports. Malpensa serves direct flights to almost everywhere in Europe. From Milan’s biggest airport it’s only 20 minutes to Milano Centrale train station, and another 1:15 h to Lugano centrale. By car, the distance between Lugano city and Milano city is roughly 80 km, with a travel time of 1:20 h.
How to travel from Milan to Lake Lugano / Lugano
The easiest way to travel from Milan to Lugano is by train. The EuroCity from Milan to Zurich travels several times a day, usually every 2 hours, and takes you in only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Milano Centrale to Lugano Main Train Station. Prices vary depending on the time or purchase. I just checked the prices for a single trip in exactly 2 months from now, for people aged between 26 and 59, and the price per adult is 29 CHF, or 58 CHF roundtrip. Ideal for a day trip from Milan to another country. You can book the trip on sbb.ch either from the palm of your hands via your phone/tablet or at every train station.
If you have a (rental) car, sure, why not driving? According to Google Maps, the route from Milan to Lugano is 79 km and will take you 1:17 hours. With an average fuel consumption of 8 litres, this roundtrip will cost you around 10 euros (calculated with a price of 1,40€ per litre of super gasoline)
Another option to travel to Lugano from Milan is FlixBus. They just recently entered the Swiss market, offering fares of only 7,99 € for the 1:140 – 1:40 h brief trip from the Lombard capital to the biggest city of Lake Lugano. FlixBus Buses were indeed already crossing Italy in the past but did only stop in very selected cities such as Zurich or Basel. A very affordable way to travel, especially if you are travelling on a budget.