Italy Suggested Travel Itinerary - Milan and the Lakes Region to Venice
Short trips to Northern Italy's top historic cities by train
Unlike many suggested itineraries, this section of northern Italy is packed with interesting cities; you'll spend less than two hours travel time between cities in our suggested itinerary of Northern Italy. The distance between Milan and Venice is a mere 175 miles or so, less than three hours train time, and if you follow all the steps of the suggested itinerary, you'll stop and experience four fabulous cities between the two with an optional stop at a lake. Use our clickable map to find information on any of the cities.
Northern Italy Map, Showing Milan to Venice Train Routes
Click each city name for travel information on that Italian City
Italy Itinerary Map 2006 by James Martin, Europe for Visitors
The Travel Itinerary
You are most likely to fly into Milan Malpensa Airport. Malpensa is located northwest of Milan, and is actually closer to Lago Maggiore than central Milan. From Malpensa, you can take the shuttle to Milano Centrale train station (Malpensa Shuttle departs every twenty minutes from early morning to late at night) to start your journey or to find a hotel (there are many around the train station). If you're coming from the smaller Linate, which is east of Milan, you can take the shorter shuttle to Milano Centrale.
Milan Travel Resources:
Brescia - (1 day) Brescia is often overlooked, but it's worth a night. From its Roman ruins to the civic museum inside the Monastery of Santa Giulia with its three churches, you might be surprised at Brescia's charm.
Verona - (2 days) known for Shakespeare's setting for Romeo and Giulietta, Verona has been called the Florence of the North for its art. Get tickets for anything at the 2000 year old Arena (but get them in advance) and rub the right breast of bronze Juliet for luck before heading to Vicenza.
Vicenza - (1 Day) Famous architect Palladio is from here--you can see his work in town and out.
Padua - (2 Days) One of my favorite smaller towns on this route, Padua is one of the prettiest cities in Italy, with the oldest botanical gardens in Europe. I sometimes stay in Padua and take day trips by train to Venice.
Venice - Everyone knows Venice. You could spend a month here, but I'd recommend 5 days minimum. Better to rent an apartment and stay a week, with day trips to Treviso or Ferrara. If you're on a budget and like peace and quiet, while still living in a city with canals, you might try staying in Treviso and taking the short train ride into Venice.
Getting back to Milan
The EuroStar Italia makes the journey from Venice Mestre station to Milano Centrale in two hours and 45 minutes or so, which is probably faster than a flight from Venice to Milan, considering the time to get to the airport and the hassles with luggage. If you still have some time left before your flight, you can take the train to Como or Stresa on Lago Maggiore in about an hour. Malpensa can be reached from Stresa. Take the train from Stressa to the Gallarate station, then taxi or bus to the airport. Or, you can do the whole trip by "ALIBUS" which departs from Milan Malpensa Airport - Terminal 1 - bus stop number 12 every day.
Rail Resources for the Milan to Venice Itinerary
Trenitalia has information on all state run trains in Italy. You can do this itinerary by buying point to point rail tickets along the way. Italian trains are fairly cheap, although the Freccia is a premium train--if you want to go fast you will pay a supplement and the required seat reservations. For more on riding Italian trains, see How to Travel on Italian Trains