Geneva To Locarno Train: All You Need To Know 

Located in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, Locarno is a popular tourist destination. Along with its neighboring town of Ascona, Locarno stands out for its proximity to the gorgeous valleys of the region, its location along the shore of Lago Maggiore, its magnificent climate, and its stunning old town. 

Image of Locarno by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

Geneva is the starting point for many international visitors. After all, it’s where Switzerland’s second-largest airport is located. There are a few specifics to be aware of if you are planning to travel via train from Geneva to Locarno.

How do I get from Geneva to Locarno by train? Is the ride scenic? How much does the ticket cost?

On this page, you can find all the information you need regarding the train journey from Geneva to Locarno.

Overview: Navigating Swiss Trains

You can start by visiting the SBB website: www.sbb.ch. Using the website, you can type in your departure and arrival destinations. It will then guide you to where and when you need to be. An app is also available for iOS and Android devices.

If you wish to pay half the fare for all your train rides in Switzerland, a Half Fare Discount Card is available on www.sbb.ch. This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.

How To Get From Geneva to Locarno

Image of Geneva Train Station by TouringSwitzerland.com

Geneva Train Station to Locarno

The fastest train route between Geneva and Locarno alternates between Olten and Zurich.  Please check sbb.ch to see whether you should go via Olten or Zurich. 

The best way to go from Geneva to Locarno is to do the following:

  1. Take the Intercity train to Olten or Zurich.
  2. In Olten or Zurich, take the Intercity or Eurocity train to Bellinzona.
  3. In Bellinzona, take the Regional train to Locarno.

Geneva Airport to Locarno

The fastest train route between Geneva Airport and Locarno alternates between Olten and Zurich.  Please check sbb.ch to see whether you should go via Olten or Zurich. 

The best way to go from Geneva Airport to Locarno is to do the following:

  1. Take the Intercity train to Olten or Zurich.
  2. In Olten or Zurich, take the Intercity or Eurocity train to Bellinzona.
  3. In Bellinzona, take the Regional train to Locarno.

Are There Direct Trains From Geneva to Locarno?

As of the time of writing (November 2022), there are no direct trains from Geneva to Locarno. You will have to go via Zurich or Olten.


How Long Is the Train Ride From Geneva to Locarno?

The following table shows the train ride duration from Geneva to Locarno:

RouteDuration (Fastest)
Geneva – Olten or Zurich – Locarno 4 hours 59 minutes
Geneva Airport – Olten or Zurich – Locarno 5 hours 9 minutes
Locarno – Olten or Zurich – Geneva5 hours 2 minutes
Locarno – Olten or Zurich – Geneva Airport 5 hours 11 minutes

Is the Train Route From Geneva to Locarno Scenic?

The train route described above isn’t scenic. It’s the fastest way to get from Geneva to Locarno, and it already takes 5 hours.

Gotthard Panorama Express Train

Image of the Gotthard Panorama Express Train from wikimedia

There is a panoramic train called the Gotthard Panorama train that travels along the historic Gotthard panoramic route until Ticino. However, it will add 90 minutes to your journey. You can get from Geneva to Locarno in 6.5 hours if you take the Gotthard Panorama train.

This train route goes through Arth-Goldau, Schwyz, Brunnen, Flüelen, Altdorf, Erstfeld, Göschenen, Airolo, Ambri-Piotta, Faido, Lavorgo, Bodio TI, Biasca, Castione-Arbedo, Bellinzona, Giubiasco, Cadenazzo, Tenero, and ends in Locarno.

Through this train route, you will get to see the small church in Wassen, as well as the lakes Zurich and Lucerne.

Other Scenic Trains in Switzerland

In case you would like to check out other scenic trains, then there are more scenic trains recommended below. These are the Golden Pass Line, the Glacier Express, and the Bernina Express. Another interesting train is the Historical Train that goes from Davos to Filisur.

Image of Bernina Pass and Bernina Express by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Your other options in detail are the following:

  • Golden Pass – Golden Pass departs from Lucerne. You would take a train from Geneva to Lucerne, then change to Interlaken. This is sometimes referred to as the east end of this route. The Golden Pass has panorama coaches and is scenic.
  • Glacier Express – Glacier Express is a long journey that starts from Zermatt, home of Matterhorn. It then traverses 291 bridges and 91 tunnels before stopping in St. Moritz. Both Zermatt and St. Moritz are beautiful mountain resorts worthy of a longer stay. The Glacier Express passes by several idyllic mountain villages.
  • Bernina Express – Bernina Express is another train route that begins in Chur. Chur is the oldest alpine city in Switzerland and definitely worth visiting. This train route spans 196 bridges. It goes through 55 tunnels and passes 20 beautiful villages in Switzerland. 
  • Historical Train Davos to Filisur – May through October, vintage carriages are pulled by the century-old crocodile locomotive from Davos Platz to Filisur. The train line covers a total length of 4,200 meters through 14 tunnels and 28 bridges. Its scenic highlights include the Wiesen Viaduct and the Zügen Gorge.

If you would like to experience a more scenic train, I recommend going for either Glacier Express or Bernina Express.


How Much Will the Train Ticket From Geneva to Locarno Cost?

As of the time of writing (November 2022), here are the train ticket prices from Geneva to Locarno:

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Geneva Airport – Locarno136.0068.00
Geneva – Locarno132.0066.00

As you can see, if you avail of the Half Fare Travel Card, you can definitely save on your fare for long train journeys. So this is definitely something to consider during your travel to Switzerland. You can do simple calculations and decide from there if it will be worth it for you.


Do You Need a Seat Reservation on the Train?

No, there is no need to reserve a spot on the train. But you can always add this option if that is your wish.


Am I allowed to travel from Geneva to Locarno?

Yes, there are currently no restrictions for traveling from Geneva to Locarno.

Can you drive into Locarno?

Yes, you may drive your car from Geneva to Locarno. You also have the possibility to rent a car from Geneva Airport if you wish to and drive this to Locarno. Check with the car rental agency for more details.

Is Locarno car-free?

As opposed to ZermattWengen, and Mürren, Locarno isn’t car-free. The city has a variety of transportation options: buses, bicycles, cars, and trains. 

If you are interested in visiting car-free villages in Switzerland, you can check out our article: 12 Charming Car-Free Villages in Switzerland.