Gotthard Day Trip - Ticino

A train ride through the mountains to Mount Rigi

View of Wassen Church from the Gotthard Panorama Express
About Gotthard Day Trip

Available: 20 April-20 October, Tuesdays-Sundays

Example travel costs

Swiss Travel Pass: From Lugano/Locarno FREE for holders of a 1st class Swiss Travel Pass; 20 Sfr one way with a 2nd class Pass

Half Fare Card: From Lugano/Locarno: 28 Sfr for holders of a 1st class Half Fare Card; 48 Sfr one way with a 2nd class Card

Optional trip to Mount Rigi: FREE with Swiss Travel Pass, 39 Sfr return with Half Fare Card

Must be booked in advance with us. Compulsory Gotthard Panorama Express seat reservation fee: 24 Sfr

*** Highly recommended for those with a Swiss Travel Pass ***

A chance to enjoy the historic rail route through the Gotthard region, on the slowly looping tracks that take you up and down the mountains. The scenery along the 3 hour route is superb. Your journey takes place in the first class carriage, with a snacks and drinks service, a travel guide at your seat and an English speaking representative to point out the highlights and answer your questions. The journey takes you to Arth-Goldau, which is a convenient spot from which to visit Mount Rigi, 'Queen of the Mountains'. Your journey back to Lugano is via the mainline service, taking around 1 hour 20 minutes.

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Contact us to book your holiday

Call us on 0800 619 1200 or email us at


Bellinzona and Biasca

Leaving Lake Lugano and travelling northwards in your comfortable 1st class carriage, the first stop is Bellinzona. This is where passengers coming from Locarno may join the train. From the panoramic windows you can see the historic Bellinzona buildings and look out for the three medieval castles which make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Bellinzona, the train travels through Ticino valleys, with their Mediterranean feel. You will pass the railway village of Biasca, still only at 301m above sea level. Above Biasca on a rocky terrace stands the little church of Santa Petronilla.

Looping up to Airolo

The journey between Biasca and Airolo is both scenic and fascinating as you wind your way ever upwards. There is a series of four spiral tunnels inside the mountains, an ingenious engineering feat of the 1870s. There are also scenic waterfalls to enjoy, while the vines and Italian style buildings give this Swiss valley the evocative appeal of its close neighbour.

The Gotthard Tunnel

The original Gotthard Tunnel cuts through the heart of the mountains in this dramatic landscape. The 15km tunnel opened in 1882 and transformed travel and trade between northern and southern Europe. Work began on both ends in 1872 and it took eight years to pierce through the Gotthard massif.

The train slows down while you are in the tunnel, so that you may enjoy sound effects and projected film to help you appreciate the Gotthard story. On emerging from the tunnel you'll notice that signs are in German: you have left the Ticino region and entered Central Switzerland.

Wassen and Erstfeld

The train meanders gently now, with fabulous views of the icy River Reuss flowing beside you. At the village of Wassen, the railways track has to loop back on itself 3 times as it negotiates the mountain, giving you 3 different views of the pretty Wassen Church.

The train now descends sharply, with fabulous views to the left of the Schossberg Glacier. You'll arrive in Erstfeld, known as the 'railway-man's village' for its historical connections with the Gotthard route.


It's a short way from Erstfeld to Flüelen, on the shore of Lake Lucerne. This is a historical exchange point, where hauliers used to load their wares from barges onto pack mules to continue their journey through the mountains. It is a very pretty spot in its own right, with fabulous views of the sparkling lake and the high Alps.

Arth-Goldau and Mount Rigi

The train follows the shore of the lake until you reach Brunnen, then turns inland via historical Schwyz and finally arrives in Arth-Goldau, in the heart of Central Switzerland. Alight here in time for lunch or a walk around the town.

A recommended activity for the afternoon is a visit to Mount Rigi. Known as 'The Queen of the Mountains', Rigi is a fantastic place for walking and taking in the beautiful lake and mountains views. The journey from Arth-Goldau is via cogwheel railway up to the mountain, departing every hour. 

After your delightful afternoon, there are regular departures on the mainline train back to Lugano. 


Board the train at Lugano at 09.18 for a direct journey. If you are staying in Locarno, take the local train to Bellinzona and board the Gotthard Panorama Express at 09.53 

There are standard hourly departures from Arth-Goldau back to Lugano and Bellinzona (for the connection to Locarno). If you would like to travel on the Panorama train again, it departs at 13.15. 


Request your holiday quotation

Call us on 0800 619 1200 or email us at

Wattinger Curve on the Gotthard Panorama Express

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