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0630 Arrival in Milan; should I stay or should I go?

I have two days to play with in Milan; I arrive at MXP from the states at a brutal 0630 so obviously I can't check into any hotel. My plan was to go to the lakes for a day/night but as I'm arriving on March 18th weather could be questionable and open accommodations are a bit thin. I am heading to Venice for the V-F-R tour starting on the 20th. Just hanging in Milan seems a bit spendy for two nights especially since I'm really going to want to sleep.

So, should I:

  1. Stay in Milan two nights and day trip to the lakes if the weather looks to cooperate;
  2. Go ahead and book a place in Bellagio and go, no matter the weather, and spend the second night in Milan;
  3. Find something to do at 0700 in Milan, try to stay awake, stay there the first night, then head to someplace pre-Venice?

I've seen reviews for Hotel Garda and Hotel Milano Castella has caught my eye, but again, a little spendy for 2 nights. What are your thoughts, both for "should I stay or should I go" (I really hope that song is now imbedded in your head, as it is're welcome...) let alone stay where or go to where?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
684 posts

From my perspective, you're trying to do too much before the high energy VFR Tour. I suggest just going on to Venice via train, and recover from jet lag there.
Last year, the weather in Lake Como in March was very rainy and windy- and it's a challenge enjoying that wonderful location in poor weather.
Safe travels!

Posted by
16757 posts

You could go to Padua. It has a very attractive historic center great for strolling and a number of good sights; pre-book Scrovegni Chapel, because you cannot buy a same-day ticket. Padua is an extremely short train ride from Venice, and it should offer very reasonably priced hotel rooms by comparison to Milan and Venice.

Posted by
555 posts

Yes, keep it simple and just immediately get the train to Venice --- I've done it both jet-lagged and with no sleep on the overnight plane and it was not a hardship. Stay somewhere in Venice that is not right smack in the tourist zone and it will not be spendy. We loved our apartment in Castello a few yards from the Grand Canal and a 15 minute walk to San Marco. Right in between two vaporetto stops, too. But there are lots of places to stay that are away from the crowd zone.

Your "brutal 6:30am" made me laugh, and reminded me to tell you that early morning is one of the perfect times to get out and walk around Venice --- even San Marco is not crowded then.

Posted by
3980 posts

I would either go straight to Venice, or take acraven's advice and head to Padua. From Padua it's an easy bus or train trip to Venice.

We spent several days in Padua before our Village Italy tour a few years ago, and loved it. We stayed at the Hotel al Santo, for under €90 per night, including breakfast. The tour hotel there, al Fagiano, was not much higher - under €100. Lots to do, lots to see, great market and churches, Scrovegni Chapel, yet a small town vibe.

Posted by
2511 posts

I also think the best move is to head straight for Venice. See if you can reserve at the tour hotel so you don’t lose time checking in and moving from another city. Most of the day-trippers I Venice should be gone by the time you check in. Then explore something in Venice, such as the Guggenheim Museum, that might not be on your tour. It’s a beautiful city with a lot to do. Next day, I would take the short (30 minute) train ride (€4.45) to Padova to visit the Scrovegni Chapel, Basilica, Prato Della Valle and sit at a table in the Piazza Della Frutta and sip aperitivos and munch potato chips. Buy tram tickets at the RR station and save time and save your feet 🦶!

Posted by
4805 posts

You might consider staying in Verona, decent size city, but feels smaller, right on the way to Venice, a good place to relax with some sights to see, probably cheaper than Milan in March. I found Verona more interesting than Padua.

You could get there by mid to late morning, any hotel will hold your bags, have some lunch, a walk, see the sights, Roman and Cheesy Juliet related ones, get a good dinner and a first nights sleep.

If you feel you did the town the first day, take the train up to Bolzano for the day, nice town, views of the mountains, maybe a tram ride up one, the Ice Man museum, a good active day...but maybe a bit cool. Sleep back in Verona and a short trip into Venice.

Posted by
40 posts

Thanks, all! I think I will end up doing some combination of the above. I estimate I'll make it into Milan Centrale around 9:00ish. I can't see entering Milan and not going to into the city center so will probably check my bag and Metro to the Duomo to tick that box... unless I change my mind! I'll then take a train on towards Venice but will probably flip a coin as to where/if to stop. I tend to way overthink, though I'm leaning toward Padova. As in other questions I've posted on this forum, there is really no WRONG answer, just a different experience. FYI, the tour hotel in Venice looks to be available so making a day trip from Venice is getting some serious consideration.

Posted by
1082 posts

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer about where but on arrival day particularly I would want a hotel reservation somewhere! I would not wing it.

Posted by
230 posts

If you decide to stay in Milan, check out the Ostello Bello Grande. It’s a hostel with cheaper, individual rooms and 6-bed dorms that aren’t terrible (for non-youths who would rather not share). They do book up though so reservation is required. It’s also very close to the central train station. If you like to go outside and walk on the first day, the stroll from there to the duomo is long but interesting, and you’d go by Panzerotti Luini to get lunch. (Look for the line).

Milan is a big city but once you get to the center, there is lots to see in an easy walking distance. Certainly plenty to keep you awake the first day, and the metro is convenient when you’ve had enough walking.

Posted by
763 posts

I would go directly to Venice. You basically have 2 days of the tour there. Check-in, acclimate that first day. If you really feel the urge to wander on the Saturday or even Sunday morning, you can take the train to Padua. But, Venice has so much to offer that you will not get to on the tour, I would explore there. I have done the VFR tour twice and would consider it again - maybe branching out more on my own.


Posted by
3355 posts

Hi Christine, I would take the train into Milano Centrale Station and transfer to a second train to arrive at Verona Porto Nuova. A 5-minute bus, and you’re in the center of historical Verona. It’s a great location to get over jet lag, and the area is used to tourists so easy to begin your Italian trip.

We actually did that same thing several years ago, staying in Verona for three nights as our first Italian experience before taking the train to Lake Como for our RS tour. We purchased the Verona Card to see the sites. Another fun activity is to take the city bike tour on your second day (if it’s good weather) to see the sites by bike for a few hours with a fun guide. I used for the bike tour and also a cooking class. (I’m assuming you will already have a cooking class with your RS tour.)

I stayed at Hotel Bologna at Verona last time I was there - a lovely hotel steps away from the Roman Arena. has it for around $200 total for the two nights. My second choice was Hotel Accademia - the hotel where a couple in my bike group stayed and liked it very much, too. I’ve also stayed at Hotel Aurora on Piazza Erbe, but it’s noisier at night, so I won’t recommend for a jet lag night.

Padova is another option where we have stayed several nights, but I think Verona is more interesting & fun. Vicenza would be lower on my list, too. Either of these three would be much easier to navigate than Venice when you’re jet lagged and normally cheaper.

Posted by
7630 posts

Another vote for going straight to Venice! I like to stay in the tour hotel especially if I am jet lagged but I know others don't mind moving. You'll have plenty to fill your extra full day and 2 partial days in Venice before the tour!

Posted by
5 posts

totally different answer here, but the marriott at the milan airport has day rooms for booking. check out before 6pm after a little nappy poo. then go on to milan central. this is exactly what i am contemplating in may. happy travels.