Scenic train rides- Gotthard Panorama Express

Lugano town from Lake Lugano

Switzerland tourism department has developed some scenic train routes. Gotthard Express or also known as Wilhelm Tell Express is one such journey through central Swiss Alps up to Italy with a Mediterranean climate. The journey begins at Lucerne and ends in Lugano. Lugano is also known as a Sunny spot of Switzerland. Though this trail is equal picturesque, it is not as famous as that of other train routes.

The entire journey is indeed beautiful but the stretch between Fleuelen and Bellinzona is the best scenic. From Bellinzona, one can catch another train to Locarno.

The end destination is Lugano, located on the banks of Lake Lugano. Some part of this lake boundaries is in Italy. Therefore, this journey is said to be ‘scenic travel between Lucerne and Italy’.

There are various boat tours available to explore the lake and the villages around it. On one day trip from Lucerne, I will suggest walking around the old city center, a general boat ride and/or a visit 1 or 2 small villages alongside the Lake and then relax in Parco Civico. If you are staying there for 1 or 2 nights, one should visit Swiss miniature village (fun for kids) and go up the ‘Mont Bre’ by funicular.

If interested, one can visit Locarno (Switzerland), Varese, Como (both in Italy) as a day excursions.

Tips –

  1. Sit on the right-hand side of the train when traveling from Lucern to Lugano for a better view.
  2. One can travel this route without Panorama express also. In that case, you need to catch a regional (slow) train from Lucerne central station to Lugano. There might be direct connections or one might need to switch the trains once or twice, depending on the time you start the journey. The track is the same.
  3. I will suggest selecting Train+boat route. This takes little longer but the train (between Lucerne and Feuelen) doesn’t go along the Lake Lucerne.
  4. One can continue to Glacier express or Bernina express routes from Lugano.

Gotthard Panorama Express