SWITZERLAND TRAIN TRIP FROM BASEL TO MILAN
After my first trip to Switzerland in 2020, I was lucky enough to get back a second time. It had to be a low budget trip. I flew to Basel for ten Euros on Friday night and back from Bergamo for another ten, on Sunday night. The plan was to spend the Friday night in a hostel in Basel. I chose the Hyve Hostel. It was clean, affordable, relaxed, and I could have a hot, long shower. Nothing else to wish for. The next morning, at 06:03, I hopped on a train to Airolo. Switched trains at Arth-Goldau. From there, I got a train directly to Locarno. It was raining buckets so I could not do too much. I turned on my Grindr (and more) and got invited for a coffee at a guy's place. It was fun, the weather cleared up, and I walked back down into town. But, first I passed by the pilgrimage Madonna del Sasso. I saw palm trees and even banana trees. I never expected to find this in Switzerland, of all places. But after all, Locarno is on the Lago Maggiore, which is shared by Switzerland and Italy.
Then, I took another train to Lugano. For that, I had to switch at Bellinzona. There are plenty of trains on the track to Lugano. After getting to Lugano, it was still quite a walk down to the boulevard on te lake. This is Lago di Lugano, stretching into Italy on both sides as well. There had been huge rainfall, so many chopped off trees were on the lakeside. It showed the immense force of nature. But, today it was all quiet. A great walk along the lake with a good podcast, walking through the center, and back up to the station. Then made the drive to Chiasso, which is the border with Italy. There's actually a border post. I walked through it, but there was no check. Then, on the other side, took a Trenitalia train to Como.
In Como, I took my first coffee at the station. It was 1,30EUR, again a fair price for coffee. Enjoyed the cappuccino and walked into Como. This is, obviously, on Lake Como. Not too much to do, a nice Duomo (cathedral). The lake had overflown and water ran onto the square. Then eventually, I hopped on the train to Milan, booked a cheap hotel near the station and had some dinner. The restaurants were open, which was really nice. On the next morning, I had a date, then took a train to Verona. But I found it was quite far. Instead, I hopped off the train at Desenzano del Garda. A little walk around the town, not too much to do. Took a bit of pizza, another cappuccino, and a bus to Sirmione. This is quite a special town. A fortified peninsula, reaching into Lake Garda. Quite special. And from ther, a direct bus goes to Brescia. A bit of an industrial town, but nonetheless a couple of nice piazzas with old buildings. Took a bus to the airport of Bergamo, and that was my trip. A short but quite packed weekend.
In terms of train travel, I took the train from Basel to Locarno by taking a Swiss railway ticket. I booked it online. Easy and affordable. But best is to book far ahead. The prices vary day by day - as the differences are significant, it really pays off to look into buying tickets in advance. The more difficult part of the journey came after Locarno. I needed to get to Milan. As far as I understood, I could use the train service of TILO. This is a train service shared through the areas of Ticino (Switzerland) and Lombardy (Italy). I expected this to be a lot better organized, but was unpleasantly surprised. Information was very hard to find, and I couldn't actually take a day pass from the TILO or Arcobaleno website. So, I took my day card (Arcobaleno-TILO Day Pass) from this subpage of the Swiss Railways. You should be careful, Switzerland works with a lot of special railway tickets. I expected it to be far more efficient, it turned out bureauctratic, unclear and time-consuming. Oh, and very expensive. But, I took the day ticket for the Ticino and Lombardy regions for about 50EUR. It's still unclear whether I was allowed to travel all the way to Milan with it, but I did and did not get checked.
Below the pictures are my travel videos!