Living in Lugano?
Public Transportation in Lugano
Short or Long Journeys? Go by Bus
The Swiss public transportation system functions excellently. In fact, many declare that they can set their watches by it. In Lugano, inner-city buses run frequently and are operated by Trasporti Pubblici Luganesi (TPL). Their website is in Italian only, however, this map of the bus routes and this 2018 timetable should be fairly easy to understand even without knowing the language.
Suburban buses operated by the Autolinee Regionali Luganesi (ARL) connect the center of Lugano to the neighboring towns and outlying city districts of Cadro, Canobbio, Davesco, Lamone, Sonvico, Tesserete, and Villa Luganese. Clicking on the Orari section of their Italian website will take you to the various bus timetables. Next to boat tours on Lake Lugano, the Società Navigazione del Lago di Lugano also runs buses from Lugano to Gandria and Campione d’Italia.
The national company PostBus Switzerland operates longer-distance buses as well as some shorter-distance lines in Lugano. It is known locally as AutoPostale. The main AutoPostale ticket office in Lugano is located at Via E. Bossi 1 (Lugano center). One of the company’s most frequented routes is its Palm Express service linking St. Moritz and Lugano.
Additionally, there are three funicular railways serving Lugano: one connects the railway station to the city center; one connects Lugano to Monte Brè; and the last connects Lugano to Monte San Salvatore.
Want to Travel Faster or Further? Use the Train
The SBB CFF FFS is the Swiss national rail network. It has plenty of connections across the country and serves Lugano very well. The Italian company Trenitalia also connects Lugano with cities in both northern Switzerland and Italy (via Milan).
Regional trains running within the canton of Ticino are administered by Treni Regionali Ticino Lombardia (TILO). These trains operate approximately every hour and connect Lugano to Bellinzona (the capital of Ticino) and Chiasso. Some services run to Milan as well.
The scenic Gotthard Panorama Express only runs from May until mid-October, connecting Lucerne and Lugano. While the first-class panorama coach service is aimed at tourists, there is nothing to stop locals from also using the route.
The Fastest Way of Transportation: Flying
Given the excellent international links offered by the Swiss train service, the city’s airport falls slightly short. Lugano Airport, located at nearby Agno, operates mainly domestic flights through Silver Air and Swiss International Air Lines. However, a privately-run shuttle bus service links Lugano to Milan’s international Malpensa Airport, only an hour or so away.
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