Looking at a flight arriving in Bologna at 6:05 p.m. What is the best way to transfer to Florence? Best meaning a nice combo of efficient timing and not crazy expensive. I'm willing to pay more for convenience, but not as much as taking a taxi the whole way!
Angela, just get to the Bologna Centrale train station. No train station at the airport. Lots of high-speeds between Venice and Florence stop there. Or, from Bologna, you can take the much slower Regionale train for a much lower fare. Probably 20 such train runs a day.
http://www.appenninoshuttle.it/ Since December there is a new bus service from Bologna airport directly to Florence. Once transfers to the bologna train station are included, it's faster than the faster trains. It's also 21 euros instead of the 31 euro train option (6euro to the station plus 25 euro for the train). The website above will give you the schedule and the option to pre purchase online with a 2 euro Discount.
The bus goes straight from the airport via the Autostrada straight to Florence. The entrance to the Autostrada is very close to the airport. You could take a taxi (approx €20) to the station and snag either the fast trains (plenty of NTV, even more Eurostar, one InterCity) but make sure it stops at SMN (Santa Maria Novella) station. Many, including the IC, call at Refredi (sp?) so as not to have to go into the dead end station of SMN and come back out backwards. There is also the BLQ Aerobus which goes about every 15 minutes to the station for €6. I did this yesterday. It does get caught in traffic and our 30-35 minute journey (to the airport) to 50 minutes. Unfortunately in the direction from the airport it goes via the old centre first then up Via Indipendenzia (sp) to the station as its last stop before it loops back out the triangle to the airport. The advice to get the appennino bus to Florence isn't bad advice.
The only problem with the Appennino shuttle is that when you arrive the bus will have just departed, therefore you may have to wait a while for the next. The bus ride would be only 80 min. But if you have to wait too long for it, the train may be a faster option. Look at the train schedule and bus schedule then decide. From the airport to the Bologna station it's at least 35 min. and the train ride is 37 min. But also in that case you need to see how long you have to wait for the next train (they are very frequent between FI and BO).
Thanks for all the excellent info. Roberto, I had looked at the shuttle bus website and discovered that the timing is not great for my flight. But I am glad to know about that option in addition to the train. Does anyone know if a reservation is recommended for the shuttle bus or if you can just show up? Traveling early Sept.
The airport shuttle bus to the railway station is a city bus and you pay the driver on boarding. It was well signposted at the airport. Here is the timetable, as you will see it is a frequent service. http://www.atc.bo.it/orari/aerobus-airport-railway-station-link
I have taken the appennino shuttle which is supposed to be a Pullman bus, it is in fact an unmarked ( several people nearly missed it ) grey Renault Master van in which most of the seatbelt locks are missing ( 10 out of 13), the speedometer doesn't work ( I was sat just behind the chauffeur), the drivers take mobile phone calls and read the schedule while on the motorway, etc....
In short, it might be cheaper than train and bus, but you should know what you are getting before you book ( not refundable) as it is neither safe nor confortable, although it got me from a to z on time.