Getting from Milan to Venice (and Vice Versa)

by Jessica on April 28, 2009

by | April 28th, 2009  

milanvenice1Even though I tell everyone who asks that they should be flying into Venice instead of Milan or Rome, I know that not everyone is going to pay attention to me. So for those of you who have flown into Milan and only then realize that you really don’t want to spend your vacation in this busy, bank-filled city, here’s what you’ll need to know about getting from Milan to Venice.

I’ve talked to people who do this as a day-trip (one way or the other), which should be enough to tell you that it’s not a terribly long train journey. If you don’t mind the idea of a long day, it’s totally possible to do a day trip to Venice from Milan or vice versa – but keep in mind that if you’re only spending a day in Venice you’re missing out on the city’s real charms.

Venice, even being a completely car-less city, is still quite easy to access via train, bus, and even by car. If you’re driving, just know that you’ll just need to leave your car at the one big lot in the city.

Taking the Train from Milan to Venice


This is your best option for getting from Milan to Venice. There’s a train departing from Milano Centrale for Venice just about every hour, and the trip takes between 2.5-3.5 hours. Although most of the trains will stop along the way at cities like Verona, Vicenza, and Padova, I have yet to find a route that requires you to get off at any point and change trains. You just get to sit tight and wait for your Venice stop.

A 2nd class train ticket will cost you between €14-26 depending on how fast your train is, and a 1st class ticket will range from €21-36. The slowest trains don’t usually require a reservation in addition to your ticket, but the ES and EC trains do. If you’re unsure, ask at the ticket counter. And if you’ve already got a rail pass of any kind, that’s your ticket – all you’ll need to find out is if you’ll need a reservation. If you don’t need a reservation, just make sure your railpass is validated, and hop on your train.

It’s important to note here that there are two train stations with the name “Venezia” in them – you want the one called “Venezia Santa Lucia.” If you get off at “Venezia Mestre” you’re still on the mainland. You don’t want that.

>> Learn more about taking the train from Milan to Venice

Flying from Milan to Venice


Even with the plethora of low-cost airlines in Europe, flying from Milan to Venice is going to be cost-prohibitive for most travelers – not to mention a logistical hassle, since you’d have to get from central Milan out to Malpensa for many of the flights, which is almost an hour-long trip in the wrong direction from Venice! The flight itself is around four hours, so you’re talking about a 4-5 hour journey – longer than the train ride.

If the time issue doesn’t discourage you, perhaps the cost will. When I checked prices for this post, they ranged from €250-350 for a round-trip flight, and €130-150 for a one-way flight. So even though I really love the Marco Polo Airport in Venice, I’d recommend you avoid flying from Milan.

Quick search for cheap flights to Venice:

Taking the Bus from Milan to Venice

milanvenice4Although Italy lacks a national bus company, each region typically has its own bus company that will get you around to cities and towns within that region – and usually not much beyond that. Because Milan is such a big transportation hub, however, there are buses which cross regional lines. Still, I’m unable to find a single bus that goes all the way to Venice. The closest bus I can find goes to Padova.

So, the short answer to the question, “Can I take a bus from Milan to Venice?” is yes. You can. But you don’t want to. The trip to Padova alone is almost 5 hours, and it only runs three days a week from Milan, once per day. A one-way ticket would cost you at least €22-25 (the prices for bus tickets with this company appear to be based on distance covered, and every 12km over 160km gets an additional €1.50 added on). And at that point, you’re still only in Padova.

In other words, the bus – while available – is a longer trip and, in the end, probably more expensive than just taking the train all the way from Milan to Venice.

Driving from Milan to Venice

milanvenice5As you might have gathered, I’m a big proponent of taking the train in Italy, and that’s not restricted to destinations like Venice that are blissfully car-free. Milan is full of cars, but it’s also a pain to have a car in such a busy city.

Still, if you’ve got a car and you’re driving your way around the country, you’ll want to get your hands on a really good driving map – I like Michelin maps – and sort out the best route. The A-roads are the biggest, but generally come with tolls, so keep that in mind. Most of the trip between Milan and Venice is on the A4, which eventually even gets the name “Autostrada Padova Venezia.”

After passing Padova, you’ll begin looking for signs for Venezia, and it’s the E70 and then the SR11 which cross the water out from the mainland onto the island. There is one bridge connecting Venice to the mainland, and it’s both a car and rail bridge. Expect delays, especially during peak season. The only car park in Venice is the Piazzale Roma, just across the Grand Canal from the train station. The road will practically lead you there, and there aren’t many places you can get turned around, so don’t worry about driving in circles or getting lost.

In fact, save the pleasure of getting lost in Venice for when you’ve left your car in the parking lot and you’re walking around the most beautiful city on earth.

>> But do your research on driving laws in Italy before you get in the car!

Now that you’re in Venice…

Here are some posts I’ve written which may be handy:

Quick search for cheap hotels in Venice:

  • If you’re pressed for time, which many people are in this city, then here are my top 10 things to do in Venice – most of which can be done in a day or two.
  • Even though this is a very walkable city, you’ll probably want to make use of the public transportation at some point or another – so here’s my Venice transportation guide.

 

original photos, top to bottom, by: SpeakerX, PeWu, gwenael.piaser, Daisuke Ido

{ 23 comments }

Betsy Schmidt April 26, 2010 at 1:00 am
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You appear to be all about the Milan to Venice. What about Venice to Milan? Which train station in Milan and how do we get from there to Milan Malpensa airport? I wish that I had known what hassle it was going to be. I would have gone back to Rome from Venice and from there to Amsterdam!

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Jessica April 26, 2010 at 7:48 am
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Hi, Betsy:

Going all the way back to Rome from Venice, only to head north to Amsterdam again – *that* sounds to me like much more of a hassle than going Venice-Milan-Amsterdam! (And out of curiosity, do you already have a ticket out of Milan to Amsterdam? Because if you don’t, there are flights from the Venice airport to Amsterdam, too.)

It’s true, this article is primarily Milan-Venice, but the ticket prices and station information remains the same. You’ll be going from Venice’s Santa Lucia station to Milan’s Centrale Station. If you’re going straight from there to Malpensa Airport, the easiest option is to get on one of the big coaches that provides service from Centrale-Malpensa. You can read all about connecting central Milan with Malpensa Airport here:

http://www.italylogue.com/featured-articles/getting-from-milan-malpensa-airport-to-milan.html

Be sure to factor in the amount of time it will take to get from Centrale to Malpensa – based on the schedule for the buses – so that you know you’ll have enough time to catch your flight. My guess is you’ll have to go back to Milan a day early and stay in a hotel there (perhaps at the airport), unless you’ve got a later departure from Malpensa.

Ciao,
Jessica

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Claudia May 29, 2010 at 11:34 am
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Exactly the info I was after! Thank you!

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Jessica May 31, 2010 at 2:26 pm
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I’m glad you found what you were looking for, Claudia!

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Sophie Golden June 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm
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Thanks a lot for this article, hope it will help me. I’m leaving for Milan tomorrow and yes, I am the one who would never listen to your advice, I have to take train from Milan to Venice. Wish me luck!!!

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Jessica June 3, 2010 at 8:32 am
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Ah, Sophie, I’ve disobeyed my own advice in the past, so don’t worry. ;) Have a great trip, I’m sure you’ll do fine!

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Sophie Golden June 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm
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Jessica, I have to thank you for this article. I had an amazing trip to Italy. Venice was like a dream. Oh, and I took the slow train where I got fined “just because” I forgot to validate the ticket (was to tired and numbed of traveling from Bergamo to Milan and all). So, people, never forget to read instruction on your tickets or you’ll get 50 euro fine.

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Jessica June 10, 2010 at 8:32 am
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I’m glad you had a good trip, Sophie, and yes – it’s very important to validate train tickets before you get on board! Sorry to hear you got fined…

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Bev Bowie October 21, 2010 at 10:51 am
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Thanks for clear information.
We are seniors from NZ travelling to Milan,onto Venice to board a cruise ship.
We wish to see Lake Como especially Bellagio whilst in Milan. Could you advise a tour that would stop the night in Bellagion or best way to get back and forth to Lake Como to catch a ferry for the day.
Thanks. Any other info would be appreciated. We have 4 days in Milan and havent been before. Main aim for Milan was to see the Lake area.

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Jessica November 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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Hi, Bev:

I’d suggest you start with my Milan travel guide – http://www.italylogue.com/milan – but if your primary goal is to spend time at the lakes before your cruise, you might want to split your four days between Milan (to see anything in the city you’d want to see) and one of the lake towns (to better enjoy the area as opposed to on a day trip). Here’s my guide to the lakes area – http://www.italylogue.com/italian-lakes

If you do stick with doing the lakes as day trips from Milan, it’s probably easiest to do this via train – you can absolutely do a DIY trip, or you can sign up for a tour (I haven’t taken any myself, so I don’t have one to recommend).

And in case you need it, here’s my guide to the Venice cruise terminal – http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/venice-cruise-terminal-where-it-is-how-to-get-there.html

Ciao,
Jessica

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iya December 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm
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thanks so much for this article very2x helpful ! I am going to italy next month !! I live in Madrid

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Nathalie January 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm
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hi I’m planning a trip around May from Prague to Venice to Milan (como) turns out it looks more interesting to fly to Milan from Prague and then take a return ticket Milan – Venice. ( if you have a better option please let me know). So I wanted to check the time tables and so forth because the cheapest plane from Prague to Milan makes me arrive at 16.15 in Milan, so I wonder at waht time I can get a train and waht time I would arrive in Venice. (don’t really want to waste a night in Milan).
Looking forward to your answer (and happy new year by the way:))

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Jessica January 10, 2011 at 8:58 am
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In addition to the train information above re: the Milan-Venice trip, you can read more about trains in Italy here:

http://www.italylogue.com/train

At the bottom of that post, there’s a link to the official Trenitalia site where you can look up schedules to see when the trains leave from Milan’s Centrale station for Venezia Santa Lucia. Remember to take into account the amount of time it will take you to get from the airport (depending which airport you fly into) to the train station, too.

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Paul May 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm
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Hi Jessica, thanks for the posted article. I’m traveling to Milan and plan to take a train to Venice. I’d check some train website like Eurorail/Trenitalia. This is the first time i’ll be taking a train in Europe and i can’t quite make out what’s the train difference. i don’t mind 1st class but i need help with to choose as in the Eurorail website, they did not stated what sort of train, just train number. Any suggestion? thanks.

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Jessica May 20, 2011 at 10:19 am
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On my trains guide, you can learn about the different kinds of trains in Italy:
http://www.italylogue.com/train

And if you read the train section above on this page, about taking the train from Milan to Venice, you’ll find out more information about this specific trip.

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Isidro Rotenberg May 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm
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Mi señora y yo llegamos con un crucero a Venezia los primeros dias de Agosto
Queremos saber si podemos arreglar con ustedes para que un coche particular nos venga a buscar al puerto y nos transporte al hotel en Milano

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Jessica May 26, 2011 at 11:32 am
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I don’t speak Spanish, but I believe you’re asking for a car to transport you to Milan from Venice? That’s quite a long way – I would guess a private car for that trip (plus a driver) would be very expensive. You can easily take the train (as outlined above) for much less, and then hire a taxi at the train station in Milan to take you to your hotel.

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MaryAnn February 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm
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Hi Jessica,
We are going to be in Milan for just one day upon our arrival from the states and then head off to Venice. There are many walking tours of Milan but we are arriving Easter and leaving Monday. It appears most things are closed Sunday and Monday. The Milan Walking Tours mainly cover The Last Supper. Would it be best to buy our own tickets and just visit Duomo on our own. Then do The Walking Tours in Venice. Also we plan on finishing our trip in Lake Maggiore. We want to catch the train from Lake Maggiore back to Milan Malpensa the day we leave. Is this possible?

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Jessica February 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm
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Visiting a city just over Easter Sunday-Monday will make it tough to do the “normal” things – because, as you said, many things are closed. Here’s information about traveling in Italy over Easter:
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/easter-in-italy.html

Obviously if there are walking tours running, that’s fine – but if not, you’ll need to check on the open hours for the sights you want to see to make sure they’re open so you can visit on your own. Otherwise, you might consider moving the trip around a bit so that you’re there on Tuesday and can see the things you want to see.

As for getting to Malpensa from Lago Maggiore, if you’re driving then that’s fine – otherwise, you’ll need to get back to Milan first. There are coach services to Malpensa from cities other than Milan, but the schedules aren’t as frequent & I don’t know offhand of a bus from Lago Maggiore directly to Malpensa:
http://www.italylogue.com/featured-articles/getting-from-milan-malpensa-airport-to-milan.html

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Maurita Perna June 27, 2012 at 11:43 am
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Thanks for the great post! I certainly loved reading it, you’re an awesome article author. I’m going to be sure to take a note of your blog and will eventually return in the future.

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mei July 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm
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Hi I am thinking of this holiday route and need your expert advice which is the best way to go:-

Spend 6 days in PARIS, then move on to VENICE.
From Venice, we flight back to Singapore either through Rome or Milan international airport.
which is the better way to go from Venice, shorter travelling time to Rome airport or Milan airport?

thanks.

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Puneet October 11, 2012 at 5:05 am
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hi
I am planning a short visit to Italy in mid November from Edinburgh, Scotland. I am getting good (cheap) holiday package from my city to Milan for 3/4 nights by easjeyholidays.
My wife wanted to visit Rome – but there is no direct cheap flight from Edinburgh, we have to fly from London – which is a hassle.
I have few Qs:-
1) Is this good time to be in Milan with Family (wife +2 yrs old daughter)?
2) What is the best way to travel Venice? I assume Train
3) What are other places nearby Milan which we can cover during our stay. Can we cover Rome if there is not much in MILAN, during our 4 night stay?

Thanks

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JOHN February 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm
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you mention low eason and high season for hotels. please define those seasons. thank you.

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