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Fastest way to travel from Lugano to MXP Airport

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17 posts
new member
Jun 29, 2022 - 5:23 PM

Hello everyone,

On Friday, September 2nd, my husband and I (and our luggage) will need to travel from Lugano to Milan Malpensa Airport to catch a 3pm flight. Unfortunately, it's looking like the easiest/most reasonable way to get there is by train. The train journey will be just short of 2 hours, and may or may not be direct. Not so convenient, and it's really not pleasant to think about 2 hours on a train, followed by 3 hours in the airport, followed by a ~10 hour flight. If that's what it takes, though, we will do it.

That said, I was hoping there might be a better way... I see a car ride is only about an hour from Lugano to the airport. The Ticino website (www.ticino.ch/en/commons/details/Shuttle-bus-Lugano-Malpensa/43909.html) shows some shuttle bus services. However, the websites it links to seem very old, so not sure if all are operational. Also, while io parlo un poco italiano, the non-English websites are a little difficult for me to understand all of the details. Finally, it seems like the bus station might actually be a bit outside of town, so we would still need to take a train to get to the bus. Do I have that right?

It seems Uber and the like are not an option for this journey. Additionally, it looks like taxis are quite cost prohibitive - something between 100-200 CHF, and maybe more.

I guess I am wondering if I am understanding all of my options correctly, or if there is a smarter or better way to make this connection. Like, can I take the train to Como station and catch an Uber from there? Not sure what that would really save me in time or money. Do most people who do this journey just take the train? I appreciate your insight!

2498 posts
top member &
Jun 29, 2022 - 7:14 PM in reply to Elana

Hi Elana and welcome to MySwissAlps.com!

Most people travel by train. I, personally believe that this is the most comfortable way of travelling, as I can stand up whenever I want and also there is the toilet during the trip. The train station is right at the airport, so no other type of transportation is needed. If you decide by train, this page helps you to find the best rail ticket: www.myswissalps.com/traintickets/italy.

I understand that you have a long flight after it, and this will be a very long day for you. Maybe if you arrive there 1 day before?

You can also take Uber from Como, although I am not sure how much it would cost. I think it would be quite expensive as it is 55 km away.

You can rent a car if you want, with a different pick up and drop off location. For renting a car in Switzerland, have a look at www.myswissalps.com/car/carrental.

I hope you'll find a solution ,


17 posts
new member
Jun 29, 2022 - 7:26 PM in reply to Ildiko

Hi Ildiko, and thank you for the reply! Unfortunately, arriving to Milan a day early is not really an option for us. From my research, it seems like we will probably have to take the train from Lugano to MXP. I pretended to book an Uber from Como station, and the cost looked comparable to booking a taxi from Lugano. Is there an Uber equivalent company that has a presence in Lugano (for instance, I have heard of an app called FREE NOW)? Or will prices for private transportation run about 100-200CHF, no matter what company is running the service?

Still interested to hear if anyone on the forum has had success with one of the shuttle bus companies.

Finally, it looks like there is no direct train to the airport from Lugano? The fastest routes I found all switch over to another train in Mendrisio. Is it easy enough to make that switch, having no familiarity with that station and with our luggage in tow?

Thanks again!

4331 posts
Jun 29, 2022 - 11:19 PM in reply to Elana

There is a direct train from Lugano to Malpensa. It is route S50 of the cross-border 'TILO' suburban train network. S50 trains depart Lugano at 06 minutes past each hour and arrive at Malpensa at 41 mins past the next hour, for example Lugano depart 11.06, Malpensa arrive 12.41.

I'm afraid that the railway is a network of local commuter trains so the train is not an express. However, the situation now is many many times better than it was a few years ago (there was zero public transport to Malpensa when I first used it 45 years ago!)


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