Milan has always intrigued me being that I have an emotional connection with this place. From an early age, I dreamt of visiting this mysterious far away land on the grounds that it is the place of origin of my dad’s ancestors. Last year, we had planned to flight into Milan and then make our way down to Nice. But after the terrible events in Nice, we changed our itinerary and ended up in Switzerland. This year we decided to give this adventure a new try.
When heading to Europe we always flight United for the only reason that we have the United Rewards Card. We collect points and expect to have enough at the end of the year so the majority of our flying costs are covered. So far, we have traveled to Europe three times within three years and only supplemented about $200 dlls per person per trip to buy the tickets or upgrade our seats.
This year we started our adventure in Milan, so on May 28th we flew from San Francisco International to Milan Malpensa Airport with a connection in Frankfurt, Germany. When my husband and I booked this flight, we were given the option of connecting flights in London or Frankfurt. We chose the Frankfurt option because in our personal experience, when heading into the European Union, navigating the Frankfurt airport is somewhat easier than the London airport.
Last year in London, after a very long walk to find our connecting gate, we still had to go through immigration and security check. My husband and I always travel with a carry on bag and a backpack each, both of which got thoroughly searched and tested for explosives in London. We were also asked to fit all off our toiletries into a small baggie provided by security. Even though our liquid containers fitted the required 3 oz size, we were forced to pick and throw away whatever didn’t fit into the baggie. We had flown into Frankfurt twice, and both times our connections have been less complicated; in Frankfurt we have only gone through immigration and the agents are usually very efficient at expediting the whole process. (While in Frankfurt, don’t forget to try a delicious pretzel and a crisp and cold German beer.)
Travel Tip: GIVE YOURSELF AT LEAST 2 HOURS BETWEEN CONNECTING FLIGHTS. I FOUND THAT HAVING ONLY 1.5 HOURS BECOMES A STRESSFUL SITUATION QUICKLY. IF YOUR STARTING FLIGHT IS DELAYED AND/OR THE PROCESS OF GETTING TO THE CONNECTING FLIGHT IS TOO LONG, YOU CAN MISS YOUR FLIGHT.
The Milan Malpensa Airports is located in the comune of Ferno, Italy; about 30 miles from Milan city center. It has 2 terminals and according to Wikipedia, it is the second busiest Italian airports for international travelers, after just the Fiumicino Airport in Rome. It offers four main means of transportation to Milan city center: Taxi, Uber, bus and train. Since the airport is a bit far from town, a taxi ride to the city center costs around 90 €. An Uber ride goes for 130+ € because the only available services from the airport are UberBLACK and UberLUX. The shuttle costs about 10 € and departs every 20-30 min to the Central Station. According to the Malpensa Shuttle website you can take it from terminal 1 at the arrival floor from exit 3 and exit 4, and from Terminal 2 near the parking in front of arrival doors. All the taxi, Uber and shuttle rides take about 50 min to the city center. We decided to take the train Malpensa Express for convenience and cost.
We arrived on Terminal 1 on May 29th and followed the signs for the train station; to reach the Malpensa Express we had to take the elevator down one floor. There were multiple ticket machines and a customer representative that assisted us in the purchase of the tickets. The Malpensa Express ticket costs 13 € and has on 2 routes: Milano Cadorna Station and Milano Centrale Station.
The XP1 Milano Cadorna departs every 30 min and stops at Busto Arsizio, Saronno, Milano Bovisa and Milano Cadorna and takes between 35 – 40 min to reach their destination. The XP2 Milano Centrale departs every hour and stops at Busto Arsizio, Saronno, Milano Bovisa, Milano Porta Garibaldi and Milano Centrale and takes about 50 min to reach the Milano Centrale Station.
We took the XP1 to Milano Cadorna. The train was clean, spacious and comfortable and the ride went smooth. We stayed in the Brera neighborhood at the B&B Brera Prestige, which was only a 10 min walk from the train station. As we passed along the Castello Sforzesco, we got a glimpse of all of the beauty that we were about to experience.