Flying to Milan
Milan has superb transport links. It is served by three international airports and an excellent rail network. Three major airports serve Milan: Linate (LIN), Malpensa International Airport (MXP) and Orio al Serio (BGY).
Linate is the most convenient, Malpensa the biggest and, though Orio al Serio may well be the cheapest, you may lose in land transport what you make in flight savings.
Where are the airports?
Offically called Airport Enrico Forlanini, Linate (02 232 323; www.sea-aeroportimilano.it/en/linate) is by far the most convenient of the three, only 8km (5 miles) south-east of the city centre.
Malpensa (02 232 323; www.airportmalpensa.com) is one of Italy’s largest airports and is actually right next to the town of Varese in the Italian Lakes, 40km (25 miles) north-east of Milan. Allow up 1.5 hours for the road journey, depending on the time of day, and 40 minutes by train.
The third airport, Orio al Serio (www.sacbo.it) is even further afield. It's near Bergamo, about 45km (28 miles) north-west of Milan.
Getting to the city from Linate
This airport is only 8kms from the city centre and blissfully easy to get to and from in comparison to the other options.
Taxis: This is the easiest way to get to and from Linate. As it’s so close, the fare is an affordable 15-20 euros. The journey takes 15-20 mins, dependent on time of day.
Trains: There are no trains to Linate.
Buses: Starfly (02 5858 7237) runs an airport shuttle bus from Milan Central Station. The number 73 runs every 10 mins between the airport and piazza San Babila.
Getting to the city from Malpensa
The airport is around 40km out of Milan, a few kilometres from Varese.
Trains: The Malpensa Express runs between Cadorna Railway Station in central Milan and Terminal 1 at Malpensa every 30 minutes. Trains also stop at Milano Bovisa, Saronno and Busto Arsizio. The journey lasts about 40 minutes (02 8511 4382 (7am–8pm); www.malpensaexpress.it).
There are also trains from Centrale to Gallarate Railway Station, with a connecting bus service to both terminals (for information on the trains telephone 892 021 or visit www.trenitalia.com and for the connecting bus service telephone 0331 258 411.
Buses: There’s a choice of airport buses, with services running to Milan Central, Cadorna and Fiera Rho, as well as shuttles between the terminals and to Linate. The journey into the city centre takes about one hour, but allow a little longer at rush hour. Services generally run from around 6am to 12.30am.
Taxis: A taxi to or from central Milan is a very expensive and a potentially slow option. Plus it's horrendously expensive – expect the bill to be upwards of 90 euros. Make sure you take a taxi that's licensed to operate in central Milan.
Getting to the city from Orio al Serio
The airport is around 45km out of town, a few kilometres from Bergamo.
Bus: The easiest way to get between city and airport is the airport bus. There’s a direct bus from Milan Central Station, running every 30 minutes between 4am and 11.30pm (02 3391 0794). There’s also a regular shuttle bus from Bergamo station between 5.20am and 12.13am.
Trains: There are no trains direct to the airport, but you can cut costs down by taking a train from Milan Central Station to Bergamo, then taking a bus or taxi to the airport. For train details, go to the Trenitalia website - www.trenitalia.com or telephone 892 021. A connecting bus leaves from Bergamo between 5.20am and 12.13am.
Taxis: A taxi is very expensive – expect to pay upwards of 110-120 euros. The journey takes about one hour. A taxi from Bergamo station will be 10-15 euros and takes about 10 minutes.
Getting to Milan by rail
Getting to Milan by air is very easy – three airports, many options for low-cost flights and virtually every major scheduled airline in Europe flying in there. However, before you rush to buy your ticket, look at one other option, which is all too often overlooked: rail.
With fast day and night services, connecting with Eurostar in Paris from the UK, prices start from as little as £126 return, it may only take a couple of hours longer than the air connection by the time you’ve got to the airport, got through check-in and security and got to your destination at the other end. This is city-centre travel between architectural masterpieces – from London St Pancras to Milan Central Station, a splendidly OTT celebration of Art Deco extravagance with a touch of Fascist grandeur. The option may not work for you, but it is an option. Contact Rail Europe, www.rail-europe.co.uk, for information and bookings.