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Time between arrival at Malpensa and catching train to Varenna

Time between arrival at Malpensa and catching train to Varenna

Old Feb 5th, 2014, 09:58 AM
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Time between arrival at Malpensa and catching train to Varenna

We will be arriving at Maplensa at 12:25 pm on a flight from the US connecting though Frankfurt and are wondering how long it will likely take to deplane and get through customs so that we can catch the earliest possible train to Milan Centrale and on to Varenna. We will only have carry-on luggage. Thanks for your expertise!
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 10:45 AM
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Don't have any exact info, as times vary. However, as a rule of thumb I allow an hour from when the plane lands til I'm out of the airport. Maybe 45 minutes with carry-on only. Your biggest delay will be at customs and immigration.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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The first assumption is that your plane will be on time, but I believe you would have gone through passport control in Frankfurt.

Over multiple trips, our experience at Malpensa has been pretty good and getting through the arrival process has been fairly quick. However, on one trip as we were taking the shuttle bus from the plane to the terminal, a woman fainted. The driver stopped the bus, called for medical assistance and for a back-up bus. I think we were delayed about 15 minutes. So you just never know.

From Malpensa you actually have two options to reach Bellagio (which I believe is your final destination). You can take the bus or train to Milano Centrale, then train to Varenna and, finally, a ferry to Bellagio. Since the bus operates more frequently than the train, you could choose how you get to Centrale after you clear the arrival process. The other way to go is train to Saronno (one of the stops on the way to Centrale) and change to a train to Como Nord Lago (north end of that line). From the Como train station, it's a short, level walk to the ferry dock where you'd catch a regular or fast ferry to Bellagio. I've done the trip both ways, via Centrale and Como, and the overall journey time is comparable. On a nice, sunny day, I prefer the Como option.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 11:02 AM
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If you do the Como option, make sure you're on a train heading to Milano Centrale. Only the trains to Milano Centrale stop at Saronno. The ones heading to Milano Nord Cadorna make no stops.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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Are you sure that you don't mean LH252, FRA dp 12.25 - MXP ar 13.35?
As it's a intra Schengen flight, there will of course be neither customs nor immigration.
Trains to Milan with connection to Varenna start at 13.19 and 15.19. Leave MXP 1/2 hr earlier if you can, you will then have 45 min for the train change at Milano Centrale, instead of 15 min.

The walking time from the plane up to the railway station is something like 20-30 min, depending on the arrival gate of your plane. Count enough time to get your ticket at the airport railway station.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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neckervd - Right you are! I took a quick glance at the schedule and read it incorrectly. We will try to get away from MXP as quickly as we can. Would this be a good place to purchase some Euros rather than waiting until we get to Milano Centrale?

Jean - Point well taken about the flight being on time. Several years ago when I visited my daughter while she was studying n Athens, I was late getting to CDG in Pairs and raced to try to make my connection, which, fortunately at that time, was running a couple of hours late. On the return,I had to wait in the Athens airport all day and change airlines to get a flight out, missed the last flight home out of JFK, and was advised to take a taxi to LaGuardia, where I could get a flight to Atlanta and fly home from there the next day. Fortunately my husband had Marriott elite status at the time and was able to get a very nice room for me in Atlanta. But that was all due to February snow storms, and we will be flying in May, so we hope weather won't be an issue.

I'm glad to hear you say you enjoyed the ferry from Como as someone else recommended against it. I have all of the possible train schedules but am waiting for the spring/summer ferry schedule to come out, which it hadn't the last time I checked. And I'll check on the bus from MXP to Milano Centrale. I don't do well trying to figure these things out when I arrived jet-lagged and sometimes without sleep, so I like to have all the possibilities laid out before I leave.

<If you do the Como option, make sure you're on a train heading to Milano Centrale. Only the trains to Milano Centrale stop at Saronno. The ones heading to Milano Nord Cadorna make no stops.>

Are you certain about needing to go from MXP to Milano Centrale and then on to Como? When I checked the schedule, it shows trains from MXP directly to Saronno with train change to Como Nord Lago; or MXP to Milano Nord Cadorna, with train change to Como. I just tried to recheck that but the English site is down apparently.

Thanks again for all the help!
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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Jean's point was that trains from MXP bound for Milano Nord Cadorna do not stop at Saronno, so you MUST take a train with the destination of Milano Centrale if you want to get off at Saronno. You don't go all the way to Milano Centrale.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 06:28 PM
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Thanks for the clarification! I pulled up google maps aerial view and I see why that makes sense!
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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This may be a silly question, but if our plane arrives very late, since the last train with connections to Varenna leaves at 19:43, can anyone suggest a cheap place to stay overnight near the airport or between the airport and Milano Central in case we get stuck there? Or are there other options like a transfer service?
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 07:16 PM
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Jumping in for a 2 cent opinion! I went to Bellagio for the first time in the fall and really enjoyed the long and beautiful approach on the ferry from Como. It's so tiny when you first spot it, and the excitement and anticipation builds as it comes into view and you debark. I'm sure the locals get over this but for me, it was a great way to begin the trip.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 07:24 PM
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LotsaPasta - I am beginning to hope that our plane arrives in time to do this! Thanks for sharing your perspective. I can picture what you described!
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 07:52 PM
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Just another note of caution. When we took the train from Milano Centrale to Varenna for the ferry to Bellagio in late September 2012, we found that the ferry was on a few-hour strike. We had the option of waiting for the ferry or getting a private "taxi" across the lake to Bellagio. Since we were two couples and dog-tired (having taken an early train from Venice that morning), we opted for the latter. More expensive, but a VERY nice way to make our entrance to Bellagio!

This is all to say - flexibility has been the key for us in travels for quite some time. It's good to know schedules, but even better to be flexible.
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 03:00 AM
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dchris:
You asked for connections to Varenna. For other places, there are other itineraries and other timetables.

For example for Bellagio:
MXP Terminal 1 dp by train 14.26 - Saronno 14.43/15.04 - Como Lago 15.43/16.12 - Bellagio bus station ar 17.17
resp
MXP dp 15.19 - Bellagio ar 18.20
MXP dp 15.43 - Bellagio ar 18.50
MXP dp 16.43 - Bellagio ar 19.20
MXP dp 17.43 - Bellagio ar 20.50
MXP dp 18.43 - Bellagio ar 21.25

Other timetables for Menaggio (more buses).

If you don't want to travel 3 hrs after a overnight flight, you can just go from MXP to Lake Maggiore, as beautiful as Lake Como, but only a few miles from MXP (take a taxi to Arona and you will be in your seafront hotel less than 1 hr after landing).
http://www.maggiore.ch/?lang=en
http://www.illagomaggiore.com/?set_language=en&cl=en
http://www.lagomaggioreturismo.it/ing_home.html
http://www.lagomaggiore.net/uk/
http://www.lagomaggioreonline.com/?newlingua=UK&
http://www.ascona-locarno.com/
http://distrettolaghi.eu/en/
http://www.vareselandoftourism.it/
http://www.borromeoturismo.it/scripts/home.php?lang=en
http://www.cannero.it/uk/index.asp?a=0&b=0
http://www.museo-ogliari.it/
http://www.provincia.va.it/santacaterina/
http://www.villataranto.it/
http://www.gignese.it/museo/
http://www.giardinoalpinia.it/
http://www.mottarone.it/
http://www.comune.ortasangiulio.no.it/
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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Thanks to all again for your time and information - all recorded and saved!

neckervd - Can you post a link to the bus schedule and give some advice on how to read and use it since I have only seen bus sites in italian? I will check out the links on Lake Maggiore but that will likely have to wait for another trip as we have accommodations set in Bellagio and I have spent so much time researching the sights.

It's good to have options, so exploring one last one, just to know I have covered them all - I have checked on renting a car from Malpensa and returning it in 3 days and the price seems reasonable. I checked google maps and it says the drive to Bellagio can be done in about 1 1/2 hours. I have read that the roads in the Lake Como area are narrow and challenging to drive and wonder if someone could offer more specifics. This option would be last on our list but at least I can say I have checked them all out!

Thanks again. You are all wonderfully helpful!
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Here's a video of the drive from Como to Bellagio.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22FRNobC2WU
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 07:13 PM
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ellenem - that was very helpful! And it makes me hope we can take the train! It reminded me of some of the mountain roads we have driven in the US, except some of those had no guard rails. I was always scared! I would rather not arrive in Bellagio shaken!
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 08:26 PM
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The Airport Bus from Malpensa to the Central Station in Milan takes 50 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.
You can buy the bus ticket before you leave the terminal. There is an ATM in the terminal where you can get Euros.
You can buy your train tickets at the Airport or at the Central Station.. the line at the station may be longer the train station at the airport is on a lower level than the bus

While traveling in the Spring, you may still encounter flight delays.. thunderstorms etc..if all goes smoothly with your flight to Frankfurt and transfer to Milan, you may make all of the bus and rail connections.. if you think you would rather spend the night in Milan and then continue on the next day.. the Hotel Michelangelo is very convenient ,,its is basically across a large bus area/parking lot of the Central Station.. its a business hotel with fairly good rooms and a good breakfast.. though I found the pillows were hard. if you reserve in advance you will get a better rate

the airport website has info in English about traveling into Milan and elsewhere
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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As for buying euros, just get them from an ATM. Any European airport of any size has a bank of ATMs near the arrival/baggage pick-up area.
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Old Feb 9th, 2014, 02:34 AM
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Timetables (bus only):
Malpensa - Milano Centrale railway station
http://www.autostradale.it/pdf/festi...%20%283%29.pdf
Como -Bellagio: http://www.sptlinea.it/Portals/5/Doc...linea%2030.pdf
Como - Menaggio: http://www.sptlinea.it/Portals/5/Doc...modificato.pdf

Translations:
si effetua: runs on....
Fer6: Monday - to Saturday
Fer5: Monday to Friday
Scol: during the school period
Sco5: Monday to Friday during the schhool period
Invernale: winter
Estivo: summer
Fer: weekdays
Fest: Sundays and holidays
Como San Giovanni: railway station where the trains from Milano Centrale arrive
Como Lago: railway stgation where the trains from Saronno arrive

BTW: the Como - Bellagio road corresponds to most secondary raoads in the area. Those going to the mountain villages have usually more and tighter bends. There is a fast highway Milan - Lecco - Varenna - Sondrio, however. So, MXP - Varenna can be done all on motorways. Car ferry Varenna - Bellagio - Menaggio.
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Old Feb 9th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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be aware of the parking restrictions in Bellagio.. there are lots where you can park for free, and there are lots where you pay,,, and if you will be there on a Sunday the town center is pedestrian only as it is all summer long. if your hotel is in the center you may have to register the vehicle with the police so you can park there
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