Are you planning to travel from Milan to Venice? This is the first of a series of posts showing you the best, hassle free way to get from Milan to the coolest cities in Italy. Let’s start with Venice!
Are you travelling to Italy for the first (or the tenth) time? Chances are you’ll be heading to Venice – the city may be direly suffering from over tourism, but its canals, Carnival celebrations, and sparkling domes of Piazza San Marco are truly a sight to behold.
Venice airport is great, but it’s quite small. Depending on where you’re travelling from, you may find much better deals flying to Milan, my hometown – which is also worth visiting! To get you started, have a look at our weekend in Milan post, or at our mega post about 35 free things to do in Milan!
The purpose of this post is showing you the best ways to travel from Milan to Venice. You can head to Venice from Milan on a day trip, but we recommend spending at least a couple of days – there’s nowhere more magical than Venice at night!
If you’re set on the idea of a Venice day trip from Milan, have a look at these two options:
Here are a few of our favourite Venice hotels – if you’re doing the trip in the opposite direction, go and check out our Milan hotel post!
- Cà Maria Adele – stunning boutique property in secluded Dorsoduro
- La Villeggiatura – airy and bright (a rarity in Venice!) steps away from Rialto bridge
- La Corte di Gabriela – my favourite place in Venice! Only 10 rooms, excellent breakfast, and industrial-chic decor.
- Novecento Boutique Hotel – luxury just around the corner from San Marco, and a warm family welcome
- Palazzo Venart – a truly special stay in a Venetian Palazzo
How Far is Milan from Venice?
Milan and Venice are about 270 km away from one another if you’re travelling by car, 245 if you travel by train. Distances are measured from the centre of Milan to the centre of Venice – travel time varies depending on which kind of transport you’re going to take.
Let’s start with Milan to Venice by train, the most common way to travel between the two cities!
Milan to Venice by Train
There are countless trains between Milan and Venice (and vice versa) every day, at least two or three per hour, starting at 5 AM until 8.45 PM. You have a choice of high-speed or regional trains – just bear in mind that only high-speed trains travel directly between the two cities, if you wish to travel by regional train you’ll have to connect in Verona.
Most departures are from Milano Centrale, and in Venice don’t forget to get off at VENEZIA SANTA LUCIA, not VENEZIA MESTRE, the station on the mainland.
Milan to Venice by High-Speed Train
High-Speed trains are DEFINITELY the best way to travel between Milan and Venice, and more often than not, they’re also the cheapest! Travel time is only 2 hours 20, making Milan to Venice doable as a day trip, and there are plenty of departures to choose from.
There are currently two companies that offer high-speed train connections between Milan and Venice – Trenitalia and Italo.
Trenitalia is the national railway provider, and offers 2/3 hourly departures between Milan and Venice on Frecciarossa trains. Most departures are from Milan Centrale, and trains travel all the way to Venice with a few stops in between – generally in Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, Padova, and Venezia Mestre.
There are four different levels of service – Standard, Premium, Business, and Executive. Seats in higher classes are wider, carriages are generally more silent and less crowded, and you’ll be offered free snacks and drinks. Keep a look out for deals as sometimes seats in Premium are just a euro or two more than the Standard fare, and you’ll be way more comfortable!
Italo trains are quite similar to Frecciarossa in terms of travel time and comfort. There are fewer daily departures, about one every 2/3 hours from 8 AM to 8 PM, and there are three levels of service – Economy, Prima, and Club.
Milan to Venice tickets on high-speed trains range from under €20, for Standard/Economy tickets booked a couple of weeks or so in advance, to €80 if you want top class and you’re buying your ticket just before hopping on the train.
Don’t forget to buy tickets in advance when travelling on high speed trains all over Italy. Reservation is compulsory on these trains, and if you hop on a train with no ticket, you’ll get a hefty fine. If you’re travelling with an Interrail/Eurail pass, you’ll have to purchase separate seat reservations.
Milan to Venice by Regional Train
If you’ve left booking your high-speed Milan to Venice train too late, and all tickets are expensive, there’s another solution! You can travel by regional train!
To reach Venice from Milan by regional train (or vice versa) you’ll have to connect in Verona. Travel time varies between 3.5 to 5 hours, but the upside is that tickets are ALWAYS €20.70 (as of August 2019) – in Italy, regional trains are always the same price, whether you book them 6 months ahead or 6 minutes.
Another upside of regional trains is that they don’t require reservations, giving you more flexibility – if you buy a paper ticket from the station or a machine, you can travel on any train on the day of your choice, but you’ll have to remember to VALIDATE your ticket.
Also, regional trains can be taken with Interrail/Eurail passes, and require no extra action. Just hop on and enjoy your trip!
If you buy your ticket online, it comes already validated, and you can take any train within a 6 hour period (handy if you’re like me and tend to miss trains!)
How to Buy Milan to Venice Train Tickets
There are two main ways to buy train tickets in Italy – online, via the Italo or Trenitalia websites, or in person at the station.
In the first case, you’ll get a PDF ticket sent to your email. It’s not necessary to print it, just show the PDF to inspectors when they come around to check. For high-speed trains, reservations are compulsory and included in your ticket price – you can select your seat when you buy your ticket online.
If you buy your ticket in person at the station, the easiest way is to head to one of the self-service ticket machines found all over Milan Centrale and Venezia Santa Lucia. Instructions are available in several languages, and they accept cash and cards.
You can also go to a ‘regular’ ticket office, but queues are often long, and the attendant may not speak English!
Milan to Venice by Car
Are you road tripping around Italy? If that’s the case, you may be considering the idea of driving from Milan to Venice.
Driving to Venice is not a very practical solution – the entire town is off limits to cars, so you’ll have to leave your vehicle at the big car park in Piazzale Roma, Tronchetto or Mestre, which will be pricey.
However, if you have a vehicle and are set on driving to Venice from Milan, here’s how to do it. Take the A4 motorway, drive two and a half hours (approximately, depending on traffic) until you hit the turn off for the A57, always following directions for Venezia.
If you choose to park in Mestre, there are plenty of places to choose from – it will be far cheaper than parking in Venice itself, and you can easily reach the canals with a quick 10 minutes train ride, with frequent departures.
Otherwise, it’s time to leave the mainland to reach the historic centre of Venice. You can’t get lost – follow the SR11, eventually turning into the only bridge linking Mestre to Venice. Then you can leave your car in the only car park in Venice, located in Piazzale Roma, just across the Grand Canal from the train station.
If you don’t mind driving a little further to save some cash, or if you have a van/motorhome, you should park at Tronchetto, a larger car park located on an artificial island connected to Venice.
Milan to Venice by Bus
It is possible to travel between Milan and Venice by bus. Travel time is about 4 hours, and Flixbus has several daily connections between the two cities, with tickets as cheap as €7.90 if booked in advance.
Booking last minute you can expect to pay between €15 and €25, about the same as a regional train.
In Milan, all buses leave from the big bus station at Lampugnano M1. Be careful, though – this is a big, confusing place, with few signs and announcements, and finding your bus may be a challenge.
In Venice, some buses stop in Mestre, from where you’ll have to continue by train, while others stop at Tronchetto, located on the edge of an artificial island connected to Venice, from where you can reach the canals by water bus or people mover (a driverless tram).
Milan to Venice Flights
Once upon a time, when high-speed trains didn’t yet exist, you could fly direct from Milan to Venice and vice versa with Alitalia. Now, there are no direct flights between the cities – you’ll have to travel via Rome, which makes no sense.
If for some strange reason you have your heart set on flying from Milan to Venice, bear in mind that travel time is about three hours including connection, and you’ll have to add the time needed to make your way to and from the airport. Tickets start at €150 one way and can reach upwards of €300 – honestly, take the train instead!
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