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Italy Q&A: Getting from Venice to Malpensa Airport

It’s time for another in my Italy Q&A series. This one comes from Eduardo in Argentina:

I’m planning a trip to Italy and Greece. We would like to get some information about travel in Italy. I was searching how to go from Venice to Malpensa airport and the difficult part seems to be Milan Central – Cadorna (Metro?), in order to board the Malpensa Express. The shuttle bus from Milan Central would be easier, but our Venice train would arrive to Milan at about 9:00 in the morning and we should be at Malpensa by 10:15, so traffic could be a serious trouble in a week day. Can you suggest any ideas.

That’s a great question, Eduardo – because while getting from Venice to Milan‘s city center is easy enough, Malpensa Airport is actually quite far from central Milan. You’ve got a couple of options to get from Milan’s Stazione Centrale out to Malpensa: the train or the bus.

  • Malpensa Express Train – This is the quickest trip from Milan to the airport. The journey only takes about 40 minutes, and the trains leave at regular 30-minute intervals from Milan’s Cadorna station. This means you’ll have to get from Centrale to Cadorna before you can board the train. It’s an €11 ticket.
  • Malpensa Bus Express – The bus departs directly from Milan’s Stazione Centrale, and this journey usually takes about an hour. It’s a little less reliable because of traffic, but it’s also cheaper – €5.50 from Centrale to Malpensa.

There are other bus companies which ferry passengers back & forth between Malpensa and Milan Centrale, but the Malpensa Bus Express is the least expensive and it’s all basically the same thing – a bus taking you from the same airport to the same train station and fighting the same traffic – so why pay more than you need to? You can check out all the bus options if you’d like on this page of the Malpensa Airport’s website (they’re listed only as leaving Malpensa and arriving in the various destinations, but the buses go both ways).

What I’d recommend, however, seeing as how you’re concerned about traffic, is that you take the Malpensa Express train instead of the bus from Centrale. If you won’t have much luggage, getting on the Milan Metro at Centrale and taking the subway to Cadorna to get the Malpensa Express train. It’s a reliable ride, only five stops on the green line, and there’s no traffic to worry about.

With too much luggage, however, even a simple trip on the Milan Metro will be a pain. So your other option is to take a taxi from Centrale to Cadorna. There are always taxis all over the place around train stations, and even if there’s a bit of city traffic it’s not a long distance you’re going.

And because you don’t need to worry about buying your ticket for the Malpensa Express in advance, you can just get to Cadorna (whether by Metro or taxi) and buy tickets for the next train on the spot.

Of course, the other alternative if you’re really concerned about getting to the airport in time and not wanting to worry about traffic is to spend a night in Milan the night before you fly out. And if you don’t want to really visit Milan, you could get a room at a hotel near Malpensa and make things even easier in the morning!

One thing I wanted to mention as another option is that there’s a Malpensa bus that goes straight to Malpensa Airport from Verona – which is only about an hour outside Venice. If you wanted to take a train from Venice to Verona and then get on a bus that would take you straight to Malpensa you could avoid Milan’s city center traffic altogether. The information about the Verona-Malpensa bus is:

  • One way ticket = €50
  • Tickets can be bought online or on board the bus
  • Reservations are required by the day before your departure date
  • Reservations can be made via email to
  • Bus trip is about 3 hours