There are three main airports near Milan: Malpensa, Linate and Orio al Serio (Bergamo). However, it is Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP) that is considered the main airport in Milan, Italy because this is where most long-haul flights are based. Unfortunately, it is located 30 miles outside of the city so you need a plan for how to get from Malpensa airport to Milan.
There are several ways to get from the Milan Malpensa Airport into Milan, and all take at least 40 minutes. This is because the distance from Milan Malpensa to the city is 50 km (31 miles).
You can take the train, coach bus, taxi, or private transfer to Milan city center, and deciding your preferred means has a lot to do with your budget and your willingness to brave Italian transportation systems vs. paying for the convenience of being dropped on the doorstep of your hotel.
How to Get from Malpensa Airport to Milan
Train from Malpensa to Milan
Taking the train from Malpensa Airport to and from Milan is one of the best budget options at the airport. The train from Malpensa Airport to Milan costs €13 per person and takes 50 minutes. Simply follow the hard-to-miss signs at the airport to find your way to the station.
The train is called the Malpensa Express and after leaving the airport, the main stations for Milan-bound visitors are Milano N. Cadorna or Milano Centrale depending on where you are staying. The train from Milano N. Cadorna goes every hour from Cadorna to the airport and every half hour from the airport to Cadorna. The train from the airport to Milan Centrale goes twice every hour and once every hour from Milan Centrale to Malpensa Airport.
The drawback is an obvious one: the train from Malpensa only takes you to the Milan train station. From there you will have to walk, switch to the metro (subway) or take a taxi from the taxi stand outside of Milano Centrale in order to get to your final destination. The amount of bags and the amount of energy you will have after a flight should both be considered.
Here is more on how to buy train tickets in Italy.
Taking the Bus from Malpensa Airport to Milan City Center
Terravison is the way to go if you want to save the most money by taking the bus from Malpensa to the center of Milan. The private bus company offers 68 daily trips with four stops from the airport to Milan Centrale and 79 daily trips from the airport to Milano Cadorna. The cost is €8 to€10 euro a person and the last bus leaves Malpensa Airport at 00:40. The bus is a 45-minute ride depending on traffic. The drive covers about 50 km (over 30 miles) by road.
You can book online via the Terravison website and select your preferred departure time. Buses leave Milano Malpensa Airport every 20 minutes during the day, with the first departure at 5:05 am and last at 0.10am going to Milan Central Station.
There is also a Malpensa Airport to Milan bus operated by Autostradale which runs every 20 minutes from 6:00 am to 00:30 am. Price is also between €8 to €10 and the private bus service stops at either Fieramilano (where there is a link to the metro) or Milano Centrale train station.
Taxi from Malpensa Airport to Milan
Taxis can be found at official taxi stands just outside the arrival terminals at the airport. A taxi from Malpensa to the center of Milan is a set price of €90. The meter is not used, at the fee to any address in the center is set at this price because of the long distance from Malpensa to Milan (30+ miles).
Because taxis are quite expensive, I always prefer to book a Welcome Pickup instead. It is essentially the same price as a taxi, but it comes with a private driver. The driver will be waiting for you with your name on a sign as soon as you exit baggage claim. Everything is pre-booked and pre-paid so the driver already knows exactly where to take you. The drivers tend to speak more English than the average taxi, so it also a great way to get more information about Milan on your way into the city. I always book Welcome Pickups for myself and family, so you can read a review of our experience here.
Car Rental at Milan Malpensa Airport
If you prefer to drive yourself to Milan, you can pick up a rental car at Malpensa Airport. All of the rental car companies can be found in Terminal 1 arrivals. If you happen to land in Terminal 2, there is a free shuttle to take you to the other terminal.
Malpensa Airport is located northwest of Milan and is connected to the city via the Milano-Varese highway (A8).
Ready to go to Milan? Here are some of the best hotels in the city, plus an explanation of how to get tickets to the Last Supper (because you really cannot miss it!)