Milan has two airports, and Linate is more convenient for most short trips because it’s closer to the center of the city. But if you’re flying into Milan from overseas, chances are good that you’re flying into Milan Malpensa. It’s the larger of the two airports, and unfortunately it’s further away from downtown Milan.
There are several ways to get back and forth between Malpensa Airport and central Milan, but my favorite is the Malpensa Express. The Malpensa Express is a train that runs from Malpensa Airport into the city with only a few stops en route. It leaves the airport every half-hour, and speeds your journey into the city. It’s reliable in terms of the amount of time it takes from point to point, because it doesn’t have to contend with traffic, which I like. Taking a bus from Malpensa to Milan is cheaper, but the Malpensa Express is far less expensive than a taxi ride and still what I’d call budget-friendly.
Other Milan & Malpensa Resources:
- There are other options to get between the airport and the city – the details are in this post about how to get from Milan Malpensa Airport into Milan.
- If you’re only visiting Milan for a day before a flight out of Malpensa, you might want to stay closer to the airport than the city. Here are some Milan Malpensa Airport hotels to consider.
Malpensa Express: Routes & Timetables
There are a few stops between Malpensa and central Milan, but unless you’re headed for Milano suburbia there are only two stations you’ll need to know about. Starting in late 2010, the Malpensa Express now serves two stations in central Milan – Cadorna and Centrale. This is excellent news for people like me who love the train, but because the trains don’t stop at both Cadorna and Centrale in one route, you need to know which trains go to which stations before you get on at Malpensa.
Malpensa Express trains depart from the airport starting at 05:26 and the last train each day leaves at 01:30. Trains to Cadorna are more frequent, leaving every 20-30 minutes (depending on the time of day). Trains to Centrale start just after 06:00 and run 1-2 times per hour (again, depending on the time of day) until just after 24:00.
From Malpensa-Cadorna is a trip of roughly 35-40 minutes, and from Malpensa-Centrale is roughly 50 minutes.
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>> To find the most current timetable for the Malpensa Express, click on the PDF linked on this page under the heading “Scarica gli orari in vigore” that’s called “Linea Milano Cadorna/Milano Centrale – Malpensa Aeroporto.”
Malpensa Express: Ticket Prices
Ticket prices for the Malpensa Express are based on how far from the airport you’re going. Assuming you’re not stopping before central Milan in one of the suburbs, here are the stations you’re most likely to want to get to and how much tickets are for each one.
Malpensa-Cadorna or Cadorna-Malpensa
- Adult – one-way €11, round-trip €14.50
- Child – one-way €5.50, round-trip €7.50
- Carnet of 6 journeys – €55
Malpensa-Centrale or Centrale-Malpensa
- Adult – one-way €7 (no round-trip available)
- Child – one-way €5.50 (no round-trip available)
- Carnet of 6 journeys – €55
>> To find the most current ticket prices for the Malpensa Express, click on the PDF linked on this page under the heading “Tariffe” where it says “Scarica file.”
Finding the Malpensa Express Station at Malpensa
Finding the Malpensa Express inside Malpensa isn’t as straightforward as it could be, so here are some tips to get you from baggage claim to the train and on into Milan.
- After collecting your bags off the carousel, exit the baggage claim area into the main hall at Malpensa and turn right. Follow the big hallway along, and begin looking for the signs that say “Treni.”
- Eventually you’ll follow the signs that say “Treni” down some stairs (or an escalator), and you’ll turn left to go to the train station. Go through the station and down an escalator to the train platform.
- There are several places to buy a ticket between baggage claim and the train station – there’s a little automated ticket booth that says “Malpensa Express” at the top, and there’s a main ticket office which isn’t far from the train platforms. According to the official website, the ticket office is open “on working days: from 6.30 to 22.05 – during holidays from 6.35 to 22.30” – so weekend arrivals will need to use the automated system.
- Be sure to validate your ticket before getting on the train – that’s a separate machine en route to the platform. Then hop on the next train to arrive and place your bigger bags on the luggage racks at the entrances of the train cars (so you’re not taking up extra seats during busy times).
- The train will make a few stops at stations in suburban Milan before getting into the city center. As of late 2010, there are two stops in central Milan – Milano Cadorna station and now also Milano Centrale station, the city’s main train terminal. It appears that the Malpensa Express trains that go to Centrale don’t also go to Cadorna, and vice versa, so be sure you’re getting on the Express train going to the station you want to end up in. Both stations have adjoining Metro stations so you’ll be able to get anywhere else in the city you want to go, but if you’re going into Milan simply to get on a train and go to another city then chances are good you’ll want to go straight to Centrale.
>> The official site of the Malpensa Express is here – be warned that some features, including looking up timetables on specific dates, only work if you leave the site in Italian rather than switching it to English.