Lyon and Milan are alluring destinations for any European explorer. Gastronomic and cultural heavyweights, they are compelling alternatives to the limelight-hogging capitals of France and Italy.
Traveling from Lyon to Milan by train is uncomplicated. There are fast and direct services on modern trains, with some eye-catching scenery along the route. Handily, both cities are stops along the primary rail route connecting Paris and Rome.
To help plan your journey, we’ve got all you need to know about catching a Lyon to Milan train. We also look at stopping in Turin, a culinary and architectural gem and an intriguing diversion on the Lyon-Milan rail route.
Lyon to Milan by Train
Both SNCF (French rail) and Trenitalia (Italian rail) operate Lyon to Milan trains. These rival services are a boon for travelers, offering more departure times and healthy pricing competition. It is difficult to separate the services, which closely match each other for cost, time, and comfort.
On balance, the Trenitalia Lyon to Milan trains prevail as their direct trains are consistently available, cheaper, and more comfortable. The services depart from Gare Part Dieu, in the center of Lyon.
Direct SNCF trains from Lyon to Milan are frequently unavailable and only run from the airport station Gare de Lyon Saint-Exupéry, far from the city center.
However, SNCF operates fast yet indirect services from Lyon Part Dieu, offering some welcome variety in departure times.
Two daily direct Trenitalia services connect Lyon Part Dieu and Milano Centrale. There’s an indirect service too, but as it adds over two hours of journey time, it’s one to avoid.
Handily, the Trenitalia departure times include a morning departure that allows time for a quick breakfast (08:35), and a later service (17:20) for some last-minute sightseeing before leaving Lyon.
The route passes through Alpine foothills before flashing across northern Italy. Stops along the way include Chambéry (France) and Modane and Turin across the Italian border. It’s an enjoyable journey, lined with diverting views. And it’s all lifted by traveling on the sleek Frecciarossa 1000 trains.
Fast, modern, and supremely comfortable, the Frecciarossa 1000 Lyon-Milan trains are at the cutting edge of locomotive technology. Literally translated as ‘Red Arrow,’ they look good inside and out.
Customers can expect spacious seating, two armrests (no awkward elbow nudging), USB and power sockets at every seat, and free Wi-Fi. A bar-café car is available for leg-stretching breaks, or you can simply order food directly to your seat.
There are three classes on the Trenitalia Lyon to Milan trains. The congenial standard class can cost as little as €25.00. If you prefer roomier seats with room to recline, upgrade to Business class, where you’ll also be welcomed with a drink and snack. Look out for silent carriages (Silenzio) in both classes, where phone use and loud conversations are vigorously discouraged.
If you crave a little luxury, Trenitalia’s executive class is on a different level entirely. There’s a single carriage with just ten reclining swivel seats judiciously spaced apart. Dinner and drinks are included and served at your seat. You can even pick from a choice of menus. Prices start at €149.00, so you’re certainly paying for those lavish additions.
SNCF trains offer a little less in comparison. But their trains are clean and comfortable, and a mix of departure times and prices keeps them in contention.
The fastest SNCF Lyon to Milan train departs from the airport station, Lyon Saint-Exupéry. You can reach the station in 30 minutes by tram from Lyon’s central station, Part Dieu. Alternatively, you can book an indirect service that includes a local train to the airport.
If you catch the TGV from Lyon Saint-Exupéry, you can expect the usual comforts. Reserved seats, Wi-Fi, luggage storage, and onboard catering. Upgrades are available on all TGV services. They tend to be cheaper than Trenitalia upgrades, but only provide roomier seats: no snacks or welcome drinks to make you feel like a rail VIP.
The major problem is that ticket availability for the direct SNCF service from Lyon Saint-Exupéry is sporadic. The limited availability is odd, as there are three SNCF trains from Paris to Milan that go via Lyon Saint-Exupéry. But the tickets are likely reserved for passengers making the entire journey from Paris to Milan.
Fortunately, there is more availability on the indirect SNCF services from Lyon Part Dieu.
The quickest indirect journey from Lyon Part Dieu to Milan is 5 hours 41 minutes but requires two changes. The journey starts with two regional TER trains before switching to the heightened comforts of a TGV train for four hours (from Chambery Challes Les Eaux into Milano P Garibaldi.) The connections are quick and convenient, which explains why the journey is still comparatively fast.
Alternative Lyon to Milan SNCF trains only require a single changeover at Chambery Challes Les Eaux. But the connection times are longer, extending the journey to nearly 6 hours.
Counter-intuitively, the slower indirect services are more expensive than the high-speed direct services. Consider them only if the timetable fits your schedule better.
For rail buffs and Alpine view seekers, there is an extended route from Lyon to Milan via Geneva in Switzerland. It’s a ponderous 7-hour journey with 2 connections. This scenic detour through Switzerland and the Alps is one to consider if you want to loop Switzerland into your tour of Europe.
Lyon to Milan by Train Details
- Prices: Direct Trenitalia Lyon to Milan train tickets start at €25.00 when booked in advance. This base price (Serenità tickets) has limited availability. Upgrade to business class from €62 and executive class from €149 at Trenitalia.
- SNCF Lyon to Milan train fares are as variable as the routes. The cheapest (and fastest) service leaves from Lyon Saint-Exupéry and starts from €29- €39.
- Indirect services from Lyon Part Dieu start at €60.90. First-class ticket upgrades are often as low as €10 (only applicable to the TGV section of the journey) on SNCF Connect.
- Frequency: Trenitalia Lyon to Milan train times includes a morning and afternoon service. Departure times vary slightly, although the earliest is usually 08:35 (arriving at 13:50.) An afternoon service leaves at 17:20 (arriving at 22:07.) The single direct SNCF Lyon to Milan train departs Lyon Saint-Exupéry at 16:38 (arriving at 21:49). There are 5-6 indirect SNCF services to Milan, departing from Lyon Part Dieu. Note: timetables are subject to change, notably in December when most European rail operators update schedules. Check online for up-to-date info.
- Duration: Trenitalia trains from Lyon to Milan take between 4 hours 47 minutes and 5 hours 15 minutes. The direct SNCF train from Lyon to Milan takes 5 hours and 11 minutes. Indirect services take at least 5 hours and 41 minutes.
Milan to Lyon by Train
Trains from Milan to Lyon parallel the reverse journey in nearly every respect, with only minor changes in journey times.
Once again, Trenitalia has the edge with their two direct trains from Milano Centrale to Lyon Part Dieu. It’s a smooth 5 hours (approximately) journey on the sophisticated Frecciarossa 1000 trains.
There is a Trenitalia Milan to Lyon train in the morning and afternoon. If you enjoy leisurely breakfasts, you might want to skip the 06:25 departure and go with the 15:53 service. Especially as the late service blasts to Lyon in just 4 hours 19 minutes, a time unmatched by any service in either direction.
Catering in the FRECCIABistrò is extensive compared to many rail services, although perhaps not for food-loving Italians. You can check the menu here.
If you prefer to stock up on sustenance beforehand, there is a wide choice of outlets around Stazione Milano Centrale. The celebrated Rovida Pasticceria is a popular port of call for rail travelers.
Much like the reverse journey, traveling from Lyon to Milan by train with SNCF offers no tangible advantages over their competitor. Their USP is more frequent services. SNCF operates 5-6 indirect daily Milan to Lyon services. Despite requiring 1-2 connections, they will still get you from Milan to Lyon in around 6 hours.
Tickets for SNCF Milan to Lyon high-speed trains are elusive, with travelers to Paris apparently prioritized on the booking website.
If you can find a direct SNCF service, it will be from Milano P. Garibaldi to Lyon Saint-Exupéry. It’s effectively an indirect service, necessitating a subsequent 30-minute tram ride into Lyon from the airport station.
If you’re itching to add Switzerland and glorious Alpine views to your journey, SNCF offers tickets via Zurich or Geneva (mixed operators.) They take a couple of hours longer and add Euros to the ticket price. In return, you’ll get some of the prettiest scenery on any European rail route and the chance to breathe plenty of Alpine air.
Milan to Lyon by Train Details
- Prices: Traveling from Milan to Lyon by train with Trenitalia starts at €25. Upgrade to business class from €62 and executive class from €149 on Trenitalia. The cheapest SNCF trains from Milan to Lyon range from €29- €39 for the direct service to Lyon Saint-Exupéry. Availability for these tickets is patchy. It’s far easier to find indirect SNCF Connect services from Milan to Lyon. Prices on those services are invariably higher, starting at €60.90. First-class upgrades start at €10, increasing as seats are sold on SNCF Connect.
- Frequency: There are two direct Trenitalia Milan to Lyon trains every day. The 06:25 (arriving at 11:08) and a departure at 15:53 (arriving at 20:12). There are 5-6 daily departures from Milan to Lyon by train with SNCF. Those services are indirect, with the fastest leaving Milano P Garibaldi and connecting in Chambéry Challes Les Eaux for a train to Lyon Part Dieu.
- Duration: Trenitalia offers the fastest Milan to Lyon train times, ranging from 4 hours 19 minutes to 4 hours 47 minutes. Indirect SNCF trains from Milan to Lyon take at least 6 hours. The slowest services via Switzerland take 8 to 9 hours. The views are rewarding, though!
Lyon to Turin by Train
With an evolved rail network in both countries, every journey between France and Italy offers the chance to bolt on enticing stops along the way. Turin is one of the most convenient, as you don’t need to head off-track to visit this Italian jewel.
The first capital of a unified Italy and the former capital of the Duchy of Savoy, Turin is noted for its diverse architectural styles, layered history, and distinctive Piedmontese cuisine.
Traveling from Lyon to Turin by train is possible with Trenitalia and SNCF.
If you want to jump off and spend time in Turin, you’ll need separate tickets.
Whichever service you catch direct to Turin, there is an abundance of regional trains to choose from when heading onto Milan. This does not apply to the reverse journey, as the trains from Turin to Lyon are limited.
If you plan to stop in Turin and still make Milan by nightfall, consider catching the morning Trenitalia service direct to Turin. It arrives before 13:00, giving you time to explore Turin. There are up to four trains to Milano Centrale or Milano P. Garibaldi every hour, so plenty of options for onward services.
If you want to squeeze as much time in the Capitale delle Alpi, the last Turin to Milan train leaves at 21:20 and takes just 47 minutes. Happily, it’s on our favorite Frecciarossa 1000 trains, so you can complete your journey to Milan in style.
SNCF services are indirect unless you can bag a rare seat on the SNCF service from Lyon Saint-Exupéry to Torino Porta Susa. That’s an evening service, so you’ll be locked into an overnight stay in Turin.
It is worth stopping in Torino for one afternoon? Definitely, as it’s just a 15-minute walk or 12-minute tram ride (line 15) from Torino Porta Nuova station to the itinerary-topping Piazza Castello and Via Roma. In that compact area, you can see the iconic Palazzo Madama — the first senate of the Kingdom of Italy — and visit the extraordinary Museo Egizio, the Egyptian Museum.
There are persuasive reasons to spend longer in Turin, which is brimming with art galleries and cultural attractions, not to mention some renowned restaurants. And if you want to see landmarks like the Basilica di Superga and the stadium of the all-conquering Juventus, an extended stay is essential.
Lyon to Turin by Train Details
- Prices: Trenitalia trains from Lyon Part Dieu to Torino Porta Nuova cost from €25. Onwards trains to Milan cost from €12.45: trenitalia.com/en.html Direct SNCF trains from Lyon Saint-Exupéry to Torino Porta Susa start from €29. Indirect SNCF trains from Lyon Part Dieu to Torino Porta Nuova are decidedly more expensive, starting at €52.90 on SNCF Connect.
- Frequency: There are two direct Trenitalia trains from Lyon to Turin. A morning departure at 08:35 (or 08:42) arrives at 12:45. And a 17:20 service that arrives at 21:18. There are several regional services every hour from Turin to Milan. If you’re traveling in the opposite direction, there are two Trenitalia Turin to Lyon trains (07:11 and 16:41.) Both take under 4 hours. The fastest SNCF service departs from Lyon Part Dieu at 16:08 (arriving at 20:22). Additionally, there are 5 indirect SNCF trains from Lyon Part Dieu to Turin throughout the day.
- Duration: The fastest trains from Lyon to Turin take between 3 hours 44 minutes and 4 hours 10 minutes.
Lyon to Milan by Train FAQ
Is there a train from Lyon to Milan?
Yes, there are direct and indirect Lyon to Milan trains.
Is there an overnight train from Lyon to Milan?
No, there are no overnight trains from Lyon to Milan.
How long is the train ride from Lyon to Milan?
The fastest Milan to Lyon train times clocks under 5 hours. Alternative direct trains take less than 6 hours.
Is there a high-speed train from Lyon to Milan?
Yes. Both the high-speed Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000 and SNCF TGV services operate between Lyon and Milan.
How much does the Lyon to Milan train cost?
The cheapest Lyon to Milan train tickets cost €25 with Trenitalia. Fares increase as seats are sold, so book as early as possible.
SNCF Milan to Lyon train tickets (in either direction) start from €29 but are highly changeable.
When should I book a Lyon to Milan train ticket?
Trenitalia and SNCF both aim to make tickets available 4 months in advance. Book as early as possible for the best fares.