How to get to North West Italy: by plane and by car

Written by on October 15, 2020 in Practical Stuff

Magnificent North West Italy

Let us tell you how to get to North West Italy by plane and by car both from Europe and overseas. Arriving to this little treasure box of northern Italy, where you can really experience the Good Life all year around. Magnificent mountains, stylish and beautiful seaside towns and beaches, rich history and culture, medieval castles and villages, not to mention the wide variety of its gastronomy.

By Plane

If you are coming directly into North West Italy on a scheduled flight from the US, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong etc you will be arriving at Milano Malpensa Airport.

Other international airports close to, but just outside Italy which you could also use as an arrival point for our region are Nice Cote d’Azur in Provence, France, which is very handy for Liguria and Geneva Airport in Switzerland, one of the main airports serving the Aosta Valley.

If you are traveling from somewhere else in Italy (from Rome, Florence or Venice for instance) or from elsewhere in Europe you have various airport options, as follows:

Lombardia

Milano Malpensa Airport

The Lombardia region has 3 international & domestic airports all located around Milano. These are Malpensa, Linate and Bergamo Orio al Serio. Passenger flights in and out of Brescia Gabriele D’Annunzio Airport ended in 2018.

Milano Malpensa is the largest airport in the Region, with 2 terminals. It is located close to Lago Maggiore near the town of Gallerate, about 50 km from Milano City Centre. To reach the centre of Milano from Malpensa you can take one of the shuttle buses. The journey takes about 50 minutes. You can buy the ticket on board, online or at the ticket desk at the airport. Buses leave from both T1 and T2 every 60 minutes.

Or take the Malpensa Express train. It runs every 30 minutes from 05.25 am to 11.25 pm. The train stations are located at T1 on the -1 floor (basement floor) and at T2 just north of the arrival hall. Tickets costs 13 euro. The journey takes 45 minutes to Milano Cadorna and 55 minutes to Milano Centrale. Pay attention which train you take as they are on the same line, but with different destinations. If you would like to take a taxi to the centre of Milano it should cost about 90-100 euro and takes 50 minutes.

Malpensa airport at night

Milano Linate Airport

Linate Airport is on the east side of Milano. You can use the bus ATM urban line 73 to the centre of Milano. It takes 60 minutes to get to Duomo from the airport. Buses run from 05.00 am to 0.35 am. If you prefer to use the train you have to use the nearby Milano Forlanini station, which is off site and connected to the airport by bus number 73. Forlanini to Linate terminal by bus takes about 10 minutes. If you prefer the comfort of a Taxi, it will cost about 50 euro to the Centre of Milano.

Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport

Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport is the furthest from Milano. The town centre of Bergamo is a beautiful place to visit, especially its historic ‘Citta Alta’. It is very easy to reach both by taxi and bus from the airport. A taxi ride to the centre of Bergamo costs 15-25 euro and takes about 15 minutes. There is also a bus service called ATB that takes 10 minutes to get to Bergamo’s railway station. From there you can take the train to Milano Centrale, which takes 1 hour. A better bet for traveling to the centre of Milano is the airport shuttle bus transfer from the airport. It takes 60 minutes and goes every hour with cost of 10 euro.

the view from the Runway of Bergamo airport

Piemonte

Piemonte’s main international and domestic airport is Torino Caselle. The second airport in Piemonte is Cuneo Levaldigi Airport, which runs limited international services to Munich and Casablanca, as well domestic services to Bari, Sicily and Sardenia.

Torino Caselle is a very nice newly refurbished airport with an increasing number of international and domestic flights and destinations. It is only 16 km from Torino City Centre. By taxi it takes 30 minutes to the centre of Torino and costs about 30 euro. Alternatively, there is a shuttle bus, SF2 to Porta Susa then change onto Metro to get to Torino Porta Nuova.

Liguria

Liguria’s main airport is Genoa Cristoforo Colombo. It is located about 8 km from Genoa City Centre. It services both domestic and international flights. You can reach the town centre from the airport easily by bus AMT.

La Valle d’Aosta

The Aosta Valley too has a little airport, Corrado Gex, but it is only for small aircraft and runs a very limited number of domestic services. So to reach the Aosta Valley the closest airport to use is Torino, a 1 hour 30 minute drive away.  Malpensa is a 2 hour drive from Aosta town while Bergamo and Linate are both about a 2 hours 30 minute drive. You can also use Geneva Airport in Switzerland, drive-time from Aosta town just over 2 hours on the motorway, via the Monte Bianco tunnel and Chamonix. You need to factor in the cost of the tunnel which is euro 47 one way. There are several mini-bus and taxi airport transfer companies running services from Aosta to/from all these airports.

By Car

From France

Arriving from the Haute Savoie region of France you would drive into Italy via the Mont Blanc tunnel. This brings you into the Aosta Valley at the ski resort of Courmayeur. From the Grenoble and Lyon direction you would take the Frejus tunnel (44 euro) into Torino. From the Cote d’Azur you arrive into Liguria at Ventimiglia. On this route you don’t have to pay for a tunnel. Both via the coastal route and on the inland motorway A10 you can drive all the way from Ventimiglia to Tuscany, passing places like Sanremo, Savona, Genoa, the beautiful Cinque Terra and Portofino.

Direction to Mont Blanc tunnel

From Switzerland

From Switzerland, coming from Geneva direction you would arrive into the Aosta Valley via the Mont Blanc tunnel in France. Coming from Lausanne and Berne direction you would instead use the Gran San Bernard Tunnel (27.80 euro), also into the Aosta Valley. Or if you were travelling from Zurich you would come down towards Como and Milano from the direction of Lugano.

From Germany, Poland & Czech Republic

Coming from Germany and also from Poland and the Czech Republic you would arrive in North West Italy directly via the Swiss Lugano route. Or possibly down through the Brenner Pass from Innsbruck in western Austria into the Alto Adige region. You would then pass Bolzano and Trento on the way to Brescia and Lago di Garda.

From Eastern Austria, Hungary, Croatia & Slovenia

From the direction of Vienna in western Austria, as well as from Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia you would enter Italy at Trieste in the region of Fruili Venezia Giulia. Then travel along the A4 motorway past Venice and Verona to Milano.

Motorways in Italy can get quite expensive. They generally cost around 1 euro for every 19 km. You can calculate the cost of your journey through the Autostrade’s website (please see link below). In North West Italy the motorways are well maintained and the Autogrill services have fresh made panini and always great coffee.

one of the way to get to North West Italy - scenic route driving accross the piccolo san bernardo pass

The scenic route

There are other scenic car routes into the North West region from France, Switzerland and Austria that avoid the motorways, sometimes coming over high mountain passes. Such as the Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo (Little Saint Bernard Pass) which connects places like Val d’Isere and Bourg Saint Maurice in the French Alps with Aosta Valley via La Thuile. At 2,469m the pass is only open from June to October due to snow.

More information about North West Italy

Calculate the toll cost of your journey on the motorway.

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