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Zurich To Bellinzona Train: All You Need To Know

(Last Updated On: December 11, 2023)

Bellinzona is a popular tourist destination in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and a strategic location at the intersection of three main north-south routes. St. Gotthard, San Bernardino, and Lucomagno can all be controlled via Bellinzona.

Image of Bellinzona by TouringSwitzerland.com

Here you’ll find some of Switzerland’s best-preserved castles: Castelgrande, Castello di Montebello, and Castello di Sasso Corbaro. Bellinzona is home to these UNESCO World Heritage sites that you shouldn’t miss.

Bellinzona gets a lot of visitors from Italy and Zurich. In this article, we will discuss the train commute from Zurich to Bellinzona. How long is the travel time from Zurich to Bellinzona? How much are the tickets? Read on for more information. 

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

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 (1-month validity) 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.

Using the Swiss Pass, you get unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat in Switzerland. Over 500 museums are also free or discounted, and there are free or discounted excursions to mountain summits.

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Getting tickets from RailEurope is a convenient option if you’re traveling within Europe and/or visiting multiple countries. Having been in operation since the 1930s, RailEurope‘s extensive history, user-friendly website and mobile apps, flexible currency payment options, commitment to customer satisfaction, and strategic partnerships with leading rail operators, collectively establish it as a reliable and trustworthy platform for booking European train travel.

You can obtain from RailEurope the following travel passes:

  • Swiss Travel Pass – choose between continuous or flexible Swiss train passes for 3, 4, 8, or 15 days. The perks? unlimited use in over 90 Swiss cities, free admission to more than 500 museums, and discounts on mountain railways and cable cars. You also get discounts on high-speed Lyria trains between France and Switzerland as well as Nightjet trains that go through Switzerland. See RailEurope for more information.
  • Eurail Global Pass – unlimited train travel to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for non-EU residents
  • Interrail Global Pass – access to 40,000 destinations in 33 European countries for citizens and permanent residents of the EU

How to Get From Zurich to Bellinzona

Image of Bellinzona by TouringSwitzerland.com

Zurich to Bellinzona

You will have several options to get from Zurich Train Station to Bellinzona. These three options are:

  • Through Gotthard Basis Tunnel – From Zurich, take the Eurocity Train or Intercity Train to Bellinzona. These are direct trains that go via the Gotthard Basis Tunnel.
  • Through Gotthard Panoramic Route – From Zurich, take the Interregio Train to Bellinzona. This train will go via the Gotthard Panorama Route. It will take longer but you will see beautiful views as opposed to a tunnel.
  • Via Arth-Goldau – From Zurich, take the Interregio Train to Arth-Goldau. Continue to Bellinzona by connecting trains.

Zurich Airport to Bellinzona

There are no direct trains from Zurich Airport to Bellinzona.

From Zurich Airport, you can take any train which will lead you to Zurich Train Station. From Zurich Train Station, simply board the next train connection heading to Bellinzona. There are one to two train connections per hour.

If you want to find out which train platform you need to go to and what time, you can check the screens and boards inside Zurich Airport. 


Are There Direct Trains From Zurich to Bellinzona?

As of the time of writing (updated December 2023), there are direct trains from Zurich to Bellinzona. One to two trains leave per hour and travel directly from Zurich to Bellinzona.


How Long Is the Train Ride From Zurich to Bellinzona?

The following table shows the train ride duration from Zurich to Bellinzona (updated December 2023):

RouteDuration
Zurich – Bellinzona (Intercity, Direct)1 hour 39 minutes
Zurich – Bellinzona (Eurocity, Direct)1 hour 39 minutes
Zurich – Arth-Goldau – Bellinzona (Not Direct)1 hour 37 minutes
Zurich – Bellinzona (Gotthard Panorama Route, Direct)2 hours 55 minutes
Zurich Airport – Zurich Train Station – Bellinzona (fastest)1 hour 54 minutes

The train ride from Zurich to Bellinzona will take about the same amount of time, regardless of whether you take the Intercity or Eurocity, or whether you change at Arth-Goldau. It is only the direct train to Bellinzona that differs in terms of travel time.

Surprisingly, the direct train to Bellinzona is slower than the other train connections, mainly because it has lots of stops compared to the other Intercity trains. It is also a panoramic train.

I recommend simply hopping on the next train going to Bellinzona. But there is also the option to wait for the next direct train to Bellinzona from Zurich Train Station if that is what you prefer. 


Is the Train Route From Zurich to Bellinzona Scenic?

You have the option to travel from Zurich to Bellinzona with a panoramic train. Although this train travels only once every two hours, this Gotthard Panorama train is a great journey along the historic Gotthard panoramic route from Zurich to Ticino. It takes around 2 hours and 55 minutes to reach Bellinzona from Zurich, more than one hour longer than the faster trains that use the tunnel.

The panoramic train route from Zurich to Bellinzona goes through Arth-Goldau, Schwyz, Brunnen, Flüelen, Altdorf, Erstfeld, Göschenen, Airolo, Ambri-Piotta, Faido, Lavorgo, Bodio TI, Biasca, Castione-Arbedo, and Bellinzona.

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

If you would like to do another scenic experience on a similar route, the Gotthard Panorama Express will take you from Ticino to Lucerne first by train, and then on a steamboat starting Flüelen until you reach Lucerne.


How Much Will the Train Ticket From Zurich to Bellinzona Cost?

No matter which route you take to Bellinzona, the Gotthard Basis Tunnel or Gotthard Panoramic, the price will be the same.

As of the time of writing (updated December 2023), here are the train ticket prices from Zurich to Bellinzona:

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Zurich – Bellinzona61.0030.50
Zurich Airport – Bellinzona66.0033.00

As you can see, if you avail of the Half Fare Travel Card, you can save on your fare for long train journeys. So this is 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.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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