Milan Malpensa Vs. Linate – Which Airport Should I Fly Into?

Nearly all large cities worldwide have more than one international airport. Indeed, some have as many as eight to choose from. In Milan, there are three airports: Malpensa (MXP), Linate (LIN) and Bergamo (BGY).

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Milan Linate is the closest airport to the city center. Photo: Getty Images

Over the years, Orio al Serio airport at Bergamo has grown to become much bigger than Milan Linate. Indeed, it is now the country’s third-biggest airport, handling 13 million passengers last year. Although Malpensa is often considered the ‘main’ airport, its actually the same distance from Milan, or thereabouts, as BGY. From Bergamo, cheap and easy connections make it a good contender for a visit to Milan.

However, for the purposes of this article, we will be comparing the two traditional airports of the city – Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate. If you have a choice of flying into one of these, here’s what you need to consider.

Malpensa is Milan’s main airport

Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) is located about 50 kilometers (32 miles) northwest of Milan and is the main airport in northern Italy for long-haul international flights. Malpensa is also the busiest of Milan’s airports handling around 28 million passengers per year. This figure makes Malpensa the second busiest airport in Italy after Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO).

Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) is the main airport for long-haul international flights. Photo: GNU via Wikimedia

All non-EU originating flights to Milan arrive at MXP, which is also a hub for British low-cost carrier easyJet. Malpensa Airport has two terminals with Terminal 2 exclusively used by easyJet. All other passengers travel through Terminal 1.

Getting into the city

If you are not traveling with too much luggage, using public transport to get to the city center is the cheapest and most practical option. Local trains run between the airport and the city every 30 minutes, with passengers having the option of going to Milan Central Train Station or the smaller Milano Cadorna.

Tickets cost €13 ($15) each way, with a journey time of 43 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the airport for around €95 ($112), depending on time and day. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes in regular traffic.

Linate is Milan’s business airport

Milan Linate Airport (LIN) is the closest airport to the city center at only seven kilometers (four miles) away and serves mainly as a domestic airport for inter-Italian flights. Its proximity to the center makes it the airport of choice for people traveling on business.

Getting into the city

There is currently no train service into the city, so if you want to use public transport, it means taking a bus. The airport has a shuttle bus service that departs every half hour. Tickets cost €($6) for a single with a journey time of 25 minutes. A taxi from the airport will get you into the centers in 20 minutes and cost around €40 ($47).

What about Bergamo?

As you can see, traveling through Milan Linate Airport is much more convenient than Malpensa, but because of this, tickets tend to be more expensive. Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair operates its flights to Milan using Bergamo Airport (BGY) and, with a similar journey time into the center as Malpensa, is worth considering.

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Ryanair competes with easyJet by using Bergamo Airport. Photo: Getty Images

To sum things up, all three airports offer the same amenities, but you will almost certainly land at Malpensa if you arrive in Milan from outside Europe. For people coming on European flights, easyJet and Ryanair are both very competitive with their pricing.

Which is your favorite Milan Airport, and why? Please let us know what you think in the comments.