The largest airport serving the city of Milan, Malpensa Airport, is also Italy’s second-busiest after Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. What that means is that even if Milan wasn’t on your list of places you absolutely had to see on an Italy trip, you may find better deals on airfare into Milan than you will into smaller airports.
Malpensa is a little more than 30 miles from Milan’s city center, so when you get to the airport your first task is to get into the city. If you aren’t spending any time in Milan at all, you may be able to skip this step by getting a bus from the airport to your destination in the surrounding area – the lakes, perhaps, or even Turin. Getting into central Milan, however, gives you access to the city’s main train station, which leaves you well-connected to the rest of the country by high-speed rail.
Oh, and remember that this information works the other way, too – if you’re in Milan at the end of your trip and need to get out to Malpensa. The fares and transit times will be the same.
There’s a handy express train that connects Malpensa with Milan called – unsurprisingly – the Malpensa Express. Tickets are €12 one-way to either Cadorna Station or Centrale Station, so it’s not much more than the slower and more cumbersome buses. For me, the Malpensa Express almost always wins (except when it’s not running in the wee hours from the city center out to the airport, which is when I take the bus).
The Malpensa Express operates between the hours of 05:26 and 00:26 (just a few hours after midnight when the trains don’t run), and trains bound for Cadorna Station leave the airport every 30 minutes. Trains for Centrale are less frequent. The trip to Cadorna takes 30-50 minutes, and to Centrale takes 50-90 minutes (it varies depending on the time of day). These trains do not serve both stations – they go to one or the other – so be sure to check the schedules before getting on board.
The train station is in the lower level of Terminal 1 at the airport, which is where most international flights arrive, and you can buy tickets on the Malpensa Express website, or even via the Malpensa Express app. At the airport, you can buy tickets in the dedicated Malpensa Express ticket kiosks (very helpful staff, but not open all hours) and self-service ticket machines (located just before the ramp to the train platform). As mentioned, adult tickets are €12, children are €6, and a family (two adults and two children between the ages of 4-18) ticket is €30.
Don’t forget to validate your ticket before descending onto the platform, and hang onto the ticket for the duration of your trip.
There are too many buses that connect Malpensa Airport with the rest of the country – including central Milan – to list them all here. I’ll focus on the main coach services into central Milan, and if you want to go elsewhere (or you just like reading about Italian buses) you can consult the list on the Malpensa website here.
The good news is that Milan, like many other cities around the world, has a fixed price fare on the taxi trip between Malpensa and the city center. The bad news is that fixed fare is €90. That’s no small amount of money, so I’d strongly recommend using one of the aforementioned methods to get into the city – unless you’re traveling with a family and/or a lot of luggage and the convenience of a taxi outweighs the money savings. In that case, the taxi queue at Malpensa is outside Terminal 1 on the ground floor at Gate 6, and at Terminal 2 at Gate 4.
Also note that even if your destination in Milan isn’t within a short walk from Cadorna or Centrale stations, you can take the train or a coach into the city and get a taxi at the station – there are taxi queues at both stations – so you won’t need to schlep your bags through the Metro.
Here’s my Milan travel guide with some basic (and important) information about Italy’s banking and business capital.
Here are my tips on what to do in Milan.