Zürich to Milan via the new Gotthard Base Tunnel, by Sandra Grote

June 24, 2017 — No comments

Author Sandra Grote Recently, my husband and I traveled from Zürich to Milan in Italy. After considering our travel options, we decided to go by train. We found that there are more advantages to traveling this route by train than by air or car.

Zürich to Milan by train

Our favorite! One gets to enjoy the scenery, relax in the diner, or engage in conversation with fellow travelers. The landscape and architecture change from region to region. This train ride takes three-and-a-half hours. We made a seat reservation in advance as this route is highly frequented. Also, we allowed ourselves the comfort of first class.

It took seventeen years to complete the Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) which provides reliable and fast north-south connection through the Gotthard. Trains depart every half an hour. The GBT is 57 kilometers long and is conquered in only twenty minutes. It is the longest railway tunnel in the world! We were so excited to make this our experience.

Over on-board monitors, tourist videos of Switzerland were displayed together with the current speed of the train.

The maximum speed is 248 km/h. I observed that our ride in the tunnel varied from an entrance speed of 127 km/h to a travel speed of 199 km/h. Spectacular and effortless; smooth without any sway, – just rocketing straight ahead!

We arrived in Milan relaxed and in high spirits. Ready for discovery!

Gotthard tunnel facts

By air

There are five ‘Swiss’ airline flights a day from Zürich to Milan. The flight duration is only 55 minutes. However, the Malpensa Airport in Milan is 53 kilometers outside the city. This means a 45 minute drive to the city center. The check-in and waiting times at the airport must also be taken into consideration.

By car

There are two Swiss/Italian ‘highway’ variations. One is four hours and the other six hours. There are toll stations en route. We did not need to use our car in Milan and finding safe parking in the city can be a challenge. The Milan transportation system includes subway, buses, and trams. The hotel we stayed at was in a central location, and so we managed to reach all major interest points by foot.

I hope this account is helpful to you in your trip preparation to travel from Zürich to Milan!

(Ed. An alternative route description of a very scenic drive by car bypassing the Gotthard tunnel you can find in this article here.)

Long train

The limited edition Gotthard watch which you see on the front panel was issued during the opening of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel in June of 2017. Have you traveled this train route yet? If so, please leave your comment below.  

About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust


Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass with friends.  More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »

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Additional Information

All photos & the video: ©SBB CFF FFS or as credited

Gotthard control center
Young passengers
City of Milano, Italy

Photo above: Milano, Italy. Wikipedia commons


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