Milan to Venice by train: Italy’s northern charm
A trip from Milan to Venice allows you to see two very different faces of northern Italy. Venice has been attracting visitors for centuries. Its picturesque squares, canals, and gondolas are famous around the world. Milan, Italy’s cosmopolitan shopping capital, sees fewer tourists than the celebrated Venice. However, the city is a major rail hub and is worth a stop on your European itinerary. The two cities are well-connected by train. Your Eurail pass allows you to make the most of the smaller but noteworthy cities en route.
How to get from Milan to Venice by train
Start the day with an early-morning stroll through Milan’s atmospheric Monumental Cemetery. Then, hop on the Frecciabianca high-speed train to Venice. You will arrive in Venice by lunch. To stop at your choice of historic cities in the Veneto Region, choose Italy’s regional trains.
By high-speed train
Every half hour, the high-speed Frecciabianca train travels directly from Milan to Venice. All trains depart from Milano Centrale Station. You’ll get to Venice’s central Santa Lucia Station in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Reservations are compulsory and require a 10-Euro fee.
By regional train
Trenitalia regional trains offer you a slightly slower service from Milan to Venice, but they are free of reservations. They also give you the option of stopping off at a number of interesting cities along the way. These trains also leave from Milano Centrale and only take about an hour longer than the high-speed train. Note that only three daily regional trains cover this route all the way to Venice. However, if you break up the journey to stop at one of the cities described below, you have the option of departing for Venice about once every two hours.
Getting to Milan train station
Nearly all trains leave from Milano Centrale. You’ll want to arrive a little early to take in this masterpiece. It is one of the most impressive stations in Europe. Milano Centrale is a blend of different architectural styles, especially Art Deco. It’s located just north of the center and is easily reached by all forms of public transport. The easiest are probably the tram (lines 5, 9, 33) and the underground metro (line M2 and M3). The station is a 35-minute walk north from the Duomo.
Arriving at Venice train station
Most trains arrive at Venice’s Venezia Santa Lucia train station. Make sure you don’t get confused with Venezia Mestre, the last stop on the mainland. Left luggage (6 a.m. – 11 p.m.) is found on the ground floor by platform one. You can take a waterbus or watertaxi to your hotel or other locations in Venice. However, walking is probably your best bet. It takes about 30 minutes by foot to reach St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). Be careful not to get lost! If you arrive at Venezia Mestre station, just wait for the next train. This will take you to the final stop, Venezia Santa Lucia, across the causeway.
Top 3 stop-overs on the Milan to Venice route
The regional train traces a classic Italian route, passing through stations at the foot of the Alps. Your Eurail pass allows you the flexibility to make a pit stop along the Milan-Venice route. This makes it possible to explore some smaller historic cities of the Veneto Region in just a few hours. The stops listed below are a few of the highlights that will prove a welcome break on the journey from Milan.
1. Padua (Padova)
The small but lively university city of Padua has a couple big sites that merit a visit. Start your trek across the city and follow Catholic pilgrims to the relics of Saint Anthony’s Basilica. Don’t leave without viewing the Scrovegni Chapel. This chapel is considered by many to be the birthplace of modern painting (it’s wise to book a ticket for Scrovegni online in advance). In between, you’ll enjoy walking through the atmospheric grid of arcaded streets. There are only three regional trains per day that go directly to Padua, so plan ahead. Both high-speed and regional trains make the journey without transfers.
Verona was made famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. However, the city has a couple of other interesting attractions. The highlight is the impressive 1st-century Roman Arena. The world’s third-largest amphitheater is still in use today. Besides visiting Juliet’s house, stroll around the World Heritage-designated city. It reveals some outstanding urban structures and architecture.
Another ancient city in Italy’s Veneto region, is Vicenza. It will make an exceptional stop. The old town is a 5-minute walk from the train station. Vicenza is known as “the city of Palladio” because of the many villas designed by the architect Andrea Palladio. The town is a draw for architecture buffs, but the rest of us will also appreciate its brilliance. The city center, including the exquisite Teatro Olimpico, is a good place to start. Venice is only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Vicenza by train. Regional trains from Vicenza leave every hour.
Read more about the Milan to Venice train route on the Eurail site.