Malpensa to Varenna

After all the research, it seems the consesus to get to Varenna after flying into Malpensa is to take the shuttle bus to Milan Central and then train to Varenna. That made sense until I realized it will take an hour just to get to Milan Central. Our flight lands at 8:50am and trains for Varenns leave at 10:20 or 12:20. That means we won't make the 10:20. Any other options? found flytolake.com, but we'd have to wait for the 11:00 shuttle and it takes two hours...thanks in advance for the advice!

Posted by JS
Bay Area
2081 posts

You could rent a car or take the train to Como from Milan centrale and take the ferry ride to Varenna (45 min ). Ck schedules as some days of week schedules are poor or unavailable. I have always done as you noted in your message rdtrip.

Posted by David
Costa Mesa
347 posts

We did this in June and we were so happy we used a service. It is not that economical for 2 but more than that it is worth it in time savings to us. We used Laruscar@libero.it and taxi2airport.com

Posted by David
Costa Mesa
347 posts

if you have 4 passengers it is 185 euro. I did not look how much 4 tickets are for rail to varrena

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Kelly, given your arrival time at Malpensa, I can just about guarantee that you wouldn't be able to make the 10:20 train to Varenna. The Malpensa Shuttle ride only takes about 50 minutes (I timed it recently) however one also has to allow time for waiting for the Bus to depart, collecting baggage, unexpected delays, etc. Are there time concerns regarding your arrival in Varenna? The 12:20 train would get you there at 13:23, which is a good time for Hotel check-in. On my arrival at Milano Centrale this year, I found that the train I had planned to take was "sold out", so I had to wait for the next one. If you do have to wait for any length of time at Milano Centrale, be sure to take a good pair of noise cancelling Headphones. There are large flat screen TV's set up next to the Tracks, playing annoying advert's. After hearing the same advert's a few dozen times, they'll tend to get on your nerves. Fortunately, they can't be heard in other parts of the station (ie: the food court downstairs). Cheers!

Posted by Kelly
Rochester, NY, US
5 posts

Thank you everyone. There are only two of us, so I think a taxi is just too much of a splurge. I was hoping for some sort of shuttle directy from airport to Varenna, cut out the "middle man" of the train station. If we go that route, I know we won't be able to make the 10:20, so we'll shoot for the 12:20. I think you can buy train tickets at the airport, correct? That way we can ensure that the 12:20 won't be sold out and we won't have to wait until the 14:20.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2664 posts

You can buy your bus tickets at the airport but not the train tickets. There are machines for purchasing train tickets at the Milan Central Station - it should just take a few minutes. Hopefully, the train won't be sold out - we have not had a problem in the past.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

You could also check the schedules for the Le Nord train service to Como, with a ferry from there. This is the company that runs the Malpensa Express train into Milan, but you would change at Saronno for Como; www.lenord.it the journey would be this: Take the Malpensa Express train to the Saronno station (before Milan), from there take a train to Como Nord Lago station. From Como Nord Lago station take the ferry to Verenna. The Le Nord trains show up on Trenitalia as well; you'll see that they depart from Malpensa at 9:26 and 10:26. Whether this works mainly depends on the ferry schedule and whether you can make a good connection there.

Posted by David
Costa Mesa
347 posts

Hi Kelly, the rate I gave wa a shuttle directly from the aiport to Varenna and this company had the best rates by FAR. For two persons I understand that is too much but it was so convienient for the four of us and or plane was late so we got into out hotel at 8:30. If we would hve done the bus then the train then another bus who knows what time we would have got in

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Kelly, using the Malpensa Shuttle and then train to Varenna is the simplest option IMO. As someone else mentioned, I don't believe it's possible to buy rail tickets at the airport. You can buy those easily when you arrive at Milano Centrale. ¶ You have several options for tickets. There are Ticket Machines at track level, but I believe these only accept credit cards. If you want return tickets, I found that it was only possible to buy two one-way tickets. ¶ Another option would be the staffed ticket office, which is two floors down via "moving sidewalks". However there's usually a huge queue (since you have a bit of a wait, that might not be a problem). Finally, there are also Ticket Machines next to the ticket office, and those will accept both credit cards and Euro's in several denominations (as I recall, the largest bill the machines will accept is €20). ¶ There's also a small food court near the Ticket Office, if you want to get something to eat. ¶ Be ready to disembark quickly in Varenna, as the train only stops for about a minute. You'll pass through a tunnel just before arriving there, and exit on the lake side. Depending on where your Hotel is, you should be able to walk from the station, but there will probably be Taxi's waiting. BTW, there's a Travel Agency just below the station should you need train reservations or whatever. Cheers!

Posted by Kathy
Concord, CA, USA
17 posts

I just happened to catch this posting today. We also are traveling from Malpensa to Varenna in October and our plane lands at 8:50. Our plan is take the Malpensa Express to Saronno and onto Como (per Lola's suggestion.) From there we will take the ferry or slow boat to Varenna. Has anyone taken this lately? The ferry schedule is a little hard to understand but it looks like the last one to Varenna is around 2:00.