Transport Info

This page contains detailed information on the specific airports in Italy, France and Spain. At the end we provide some suggestions for smaller or "low-cost" airlines that you might try when searching for flights. Keep in mind that airlines and schedules change surprisingly quickly, so your best starting point is with the airport website of your destination. If you've found the perfect flight into a European hub, you may find a connection to a harder-to-reach destination with a smaller airline. For example, you can connect to Sicily via Amsterdam, or to southern Turkey from Paris, or to Corsica via Brussels. Regarding European trains, here is a useful website: Trainline. For information on train travel in Italy, please see our blog post:  Italy's Train System Made Easy.


ARRIVING IN ITALY:  Most intercontinental flights arrive at Rome's "Leonardo Da Vinci" airport or at Milan's "Malpensa" airport, although Venice also recieves some intercontinental flights. Many regional airports, such a Florence, Pisa, Venice, Verona, Bologna, Rome Ciampino, Naples, Bari, and Catania are served by frequent flights from Rome and Milan as well as from European hubs.

AIRPORTS: Below you will find information about various Italian airports as well as information about getting to and from those airports. Following that will be information on French and Spanish airports.

Rome “Leonardo Da Vinci” Airport is also known as “Fiumicino". You can either take a taxi or train into the city. If you are a group of two or more and have lots of luggage (and it is not rush hour!), then it is probably easier, faster, and only marginally more expensive to take a taxi. There is also a very handy airport train called the "Leonardo Express" which leaves from a terminal right across the street from the airport. You can even take your luggage cart with you from one to the other. Exit the Arrivals terminal and follow the signs for the train station, which is directly across the street. Follow signs to an underpass under the two-lane road and then up an escalator one floor to the train platforms. There is also an elevator if you have a lot of luggage or the escalator is out of service. There is a ticket office in the terminal as well as automatic machnes where you can buy your ticket to Rome or other destinations (you can even buy your ticket online in advance, as long as you indicate which day you will be traveling; regional trains are no longer open-ended). Tickets to Rome cost €14. Children under 12 travel free if accompanied by an adult. This train makes no intermediate stops and goes directly to the Roma Termini train station. If you are going to a different train station (like Tiburtina), take one of the regional trains that leave from a different platform and stop at a variety of stops. The Leonardo Express runs every thirty minutes (every 15 minutes at peak times) and the trip takes about a half hour.

Leonardo Express train schedule:
* Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini departures at :23 and :53 past the hour, runs from 6:23 a.m. to 11:23 p.m. (in peak hours also at :08 and :38 past the hour)
* Roma Termini to Fiumicino Airport departures at :05 and :35 past the hour, from 5:35 a.m. to 10:35 p.m. (in peak hours also at :20 and :50 past the hour)

Rome Ciampino Airport: This is Rome’s second airport, which you may fly into if you are connecting from a European city on one of the budget airlines such as Ryan Air. There is no train service to Ciampino, but there are two bus companies that offer service to the Roma Termini (central) train station, as well as to other parts of town:

* "Terravision" bus service (see their website here):  €5 (€9 if you buy round-trip). Buses run every 30 mins and are timed around flight schedules. Journey time 40 minutes.  Note: you MUST PRINT your ticket before boarding (tickets on phones will not be accepted), and you must print both outbound AND return if you have purchased round-trip.

* Buses operated by the "SIT" company (see their website here). Ticket price is €5 and you can buy it online. There are departures every 20 minutes and it drops you at Via Marsala, in front of the Roma Termini train station. There should also be wifi on board. It's not clear whether you need to print your tickets beforehand.

Taxis have a fixed price and will cost about €30 for destinations in the city center, or €50 if you need to transfer to the Fiumicino airport. See the Ciampino Airport's website here for the most current information.


Milan “Malpensa” Airport:  Please note that there are two airports in Milan. Most international flights fly into Malpensa. To get into the city you can take a taxi (€95), bus, or train.

Bus: the “Malpensa Shuttle” bus departs every 20 mins and goes to the Central train station. The trip costs €10 (€16 if you purchase round-trip) and takes about 50 mins (free wifi on board!). There are also buses into town with the companies Terravision and Autostradale, so take whichever one works best with your schedule.

Train: the “Malpensa Express” train also goes to Milano Centrale (journey time 52 minutes, and operated through the Trenord rail line, not Trenitalia) as well as the Cadorna and Porta Garibaldi train stations. It departs every 30 minutes (from Milano Centrale on the :25 and :55 past the hour) and costs €13 (€20 if you purchase round-trip online and valid 30 days), and goes to both Terminals 1 and 2. Milan is a central rail hub for all of Italy, with frequent fast trains to other cities. The high-speed Frecciarossa train now takes only 1 hr 40 mins to reach Florence and 3 hours to reach Rome. For information on both airports, see:  http://www1.seamilano.eu/landing/index_en.html.

Milan “Linate” Airport:  Linate is about 7 km (4 mi) from Milan, and the Central Train Station is easily reached by airport bus (in front of the Arrivals terminal). "Starfly" buses depart every 30 minutes (every day, from 6 a.m. to midnight), and the fare is €5. You can buy tickets on board. There are also buses with "ATM," Monday through Friday only. The buses stops at the Lambrate Train Station in Milan before reaching the Central Station. Taxis to the center cost about €30.


Florence “Amerigo Vespucci” Airport:  There are several flights to Florence airport from other European cities. From the airport you can take a 20-minute taxi ride to the center of Florence (about €25). There is also a bus that runs from the airport to the main bus station (right next to the main Santa Maria Novella train station). The service is called “Vola in Bus” and is operated through the Busitalia/Sita service. Departures leave (both to and from the airport) on the hour and half-hour. The journey takes 20 minutes and costs €6 one-way. Tickets can be purchased on the bus. For more information, see:  http://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/en/


Pisa “Galileo Galilei” Airport:  Pisa has many connections to major European cities such as London, Paris, and Frankfurt, and is the main airport for low-cost airlines serving Tuscany. There is a new light-rail train shuttle (the "Pisa Mover") that goes directly from the airport to the "Pisa Centrale" train station (it takes 5 minutes and they depart every 5-8 minutes from 6 a.m. to midnight). Trains to Florence take about an hour and there are several departures per hour. You can also take a bus to Florence (see the "Autostradale" website for schedules or our blog post about finding the bus stop), with departures every hour, and the trip takes just over an hour. A taxi all the way to Florence costs about €120, depending on the amount of luggage.  See the airport's website at http://www.pisa-airport.com/index.php?lang=_en for more information.


Venice “Marco Polo” Airport:  Venice is connected to all major European hubs, and also receives three direct flights per week from the U.S. (Atlanta and JFK) with Delta. From the airport you can take the “ATVO Fly Bus” to the Venezia “Mestre” railway station or into Venice itself, arriving at Piazzale Roma in the heart of the island. Both cost €8 and take about 20 minutes. You can get tickets online in advance (a bit cheaper that way), or at the ticket counters at the airport (they also have information on day-passes and ferries around the city). If you want direct transport to the historical city center (including Piazza San Marco or over to the Lido), you can take the “Alilaguna” hyrdrofoil service (aliscafo in Italian): exit the airport and turn left, walk about 3 minutes to the dockside (darsena in Italian) and take the red line. See the Alilaguna website for more information, or http://www.veniceairport.it/en/ for more information about the airport, or the ATVO site for info on buses.


Bologna “Guglielmo Marconi” Airport:  This is now the 3rd busiest airport in Italy, with standard and low-cost flights from all over Europe. For a complete listing of flights, see the “Flight Information” category in their website http://www.bologna-airport.it/en/travellers.aspx?idC=61676&LN=en-US. The airport is only 6 kilometers from the Central train station, accessible by “Aerobus” for €6. Of course you can also take a taxi for around €15-18. They also have bus service to nearby cities such as Ravenna, Ferrara, Rimini, Modena, and even Florence.


Verona “Valerio Catullo” Airport:  there are daily flights from cities around Europe, many of which only run in peak season, however. Currently there are connections with London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. There is a shuttle bus from the airport to the main train station with "Aerobus," departures every 20 minutes. The journey takes 15 minutes. See their website at http://www.aeroportoverona.it/en/passeggeri_t5/.


Treviso Airport: there is a small airport in Treviso, about 40 kms north of Venice. Try here for connecting flights from European hubs if you can’t find what you want to Venice:  http://www.trevisoairport.it/en/  Currently there are Ryan Air flights arriving from Berlin, Frankfurt, and London Stansted.


Bergamo-Milan “Orio al Serio” Airport: this small airport is the base for Ryan Air’s flights to northern Italy, so you can find all sorts of connections to European destinations. Currently there are flights in from London, Frankfurt, Munich, and many others. See their website for more information:  http://www.sacbo.it/Airpor/portalProcess.jsp?languageID=

Torino Airport: Torino (Turin in English) is well connected to many European hubs such as Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Amsterdam, and London. You can get to the city center by bus, train, or of course taxi. The bus stops at various places in town including the main railway stations, and the journey takes about 45 mins (you can buy the ticket online or on the bus for one euro more). See the complete bus schedule here or at the airport website transport page. There is also a train (called "GTT") that goes to the Dora railway station in just 19 minutes, and from there you can take the "Dora Express" bus to the busier Porta Susa train station. For more information on the train, see here. More information can be found at the main airport website.


Genova "Cristoforo Colombo" Airport: Genoa is connected to the major European hubs (Paris, London, Frankfurt) with national airlines as well as low-cost companies. To get to the city center you can take a taxi, which should cost around €20-25, or else the "Volabus," which goes to the Genove Principe or Genova Brignole train stations in about 30 minutes and costs €5. See the airport website here: http://www.airport.genova.it/en/to-fly/


Perugia “S. Egidio” Airport:  this small airport in Umbria now has connections to London, Frankfurt, and Brussels with Ryan Air. See their website for details: http://www.airport.umbria.it/en


Naples "Capodichino" Airport: Naples is well connected to all of the usual big European hubs (London, Paris, Frankfurt, etc.) with national carriers but also low-cost airlines like Ryan Air, EasyJet, Volotea, and Vueling, so be sure to shop around to get the best flights. Taxis to the city center are on a fixed fare and it should cost around €20, or you can take the "Alibus" shuttle bus to the central train station. You can also get a taxi to some of the tourist sites nearby, also on fixed prices (that you can see here).

See the airport's website here: http://www.aeroportodinapoli.it/homepage 


Catania “Fontanarossa” Airport:  There are frequent flights to Catania (Sicily) airport from other European cities, especially from the many low-cost airlines that have sprung up in recent years. There are also frequent and cheap domestic connections with other Italian cities like Milan, Rome, Pisa and Florence. Please see the airport's website for the most recent flight information: http://www.aeroporto.catania.it/?lang=en.  Upon arrival you can take a taxi for the 10-20 minute ride into the city, or take the airport shuttle bus: AMT Alibus Service, departs every 20 minutes from 5.00 am to midnight, and goes to the city center as well as the train station. Metropolitan bus fare applies.


Bari “Palese” Airport:  there are a number of low-cost airlines that now serve Bari airport, like Ryan Air (from London and Frankfurt); TuiFly (from Paris, London, Amsterdam, and others);  Volareweb (from Milan); as well as Alitalia, British Airways, and Lufthansa. A taxi into town will cost about €25. See the airport website at: http://www.aeroportidipuglia.it/homepagebari 


Olbia Airport (Sardinia): there are regular flights into and out of Olbia with Alitalia, the Italian national carrier, but you will also find connections with low-cost airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet, as well as flights to other European destinations. See most current flight schedules, and more information here at the Olbia Airport website. A taxi into town will cost about €15, or you can take a public bus (no. 2 on weekdays, departures every 30 mins; or no. 10 on weekends and holidays, departures every 45 mins) to Via Gabriele D’Annunzio.

Innsbruck (Austria) airport: you can fly into Innsbruck from several European hubs, like London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, etc. From there you can take the F-bus to the downtown train station. The journey takes about 20 minutes. See the list of airlines that service Innsbruck at:  http://www.innsbruck-airport.com/en/airlines/

AIRPORTS in FRANCE: the main international airport in Paris is "Charles de Gaulle," while the smaller "Orly" airport has mainly internal or European connections. There are shuttle buses connecting the two airports but give yourself at least an hour of travel time alone if you need to switch airports.

Paris Roissy “Charles de Gaulle” airport to downtown Paris:  If you want to go into Paris upon arrival, you can take a taxi, bus or train. If you are traveling with someone else and have lots of luggage (and it is not rush hour!), then it is probably easier, faster, and only marginally more expensive to take a taxi (though it could be as much as €50-80).  Or, for information on public transport options from the airport, see the site:  http://easycdg.com/

* The RER into Paris:  The RER is a light-rail commuter train run by the “R.A.T.P.”, which is the sign you follow to get to the train station (accessible from terminals 1 & 2).  Take any RER line B train into the city, then you can switch to the metro system at the following stops: Gare du Nord, Châtelet-les Halles, Saint Michel-Notre Dame and Denfert-Rochereau. Travel time to the Gare du Nord is about 35 mins. and it costs €10.30. See this site for complete information on using the RER and Paris metro system.

* Buses into Paris:  There is also bus service into the city, but it's quite a bit slower and even costs more. It might be slightly easier to navigate, however, if you have a lot of luggage. “Le Bus Directe” has direct bus service to three points around the city: the Eiffel Tower (via Porte Maillot, Place de l’Etoile/Champs-Elysées, and Trocadéro), the Gare de Montparnasse railway station (via the Gare de Lyon), and Orly Airport. They depart from both terminals 1 & 2 and take about an hour to get to the Eiffel Tower and the Gare de Montparnasse, fare is €17 (€21 to Orly airport).

From Paris airport directly South:  If you are not going to stop in Paris but wish to head straight to southern France, go directly to the TGV train station in Terminal 2, which is easily accessible by shuttle bus from other terminals (look outside the Arrivals terminal for the small free bus called “ADP Navette”). They leave every 8 minutes. Once in Terminal 2, follow signs for “Gare TGV” (= high-speed train station). You can buy your ticket from the ticket office there and get a reservation (all TGV trains have a mandatory seat reservation) or you can get your ticket in advance at the SNCF website.


Lyon "Saint Exupéry" Airport:  Lyon is very well-connected for flights within Europe, and is quite handy for our Provence tours. Avignon is only an hour away by high-speed train, and Montélimar (the start of our bike tour) is just 1.5 hrs to the south. It's a 2-hour train ride south of Paris and a beautiful city in its own right. From the airport into town or for rail connections, take the Rhônexpress, which goes to the Lyon Part-Dieu station. Departures every 15 minutes, and it takes about a half hour, cost is about €10. There is also a TGV (high-speed) train station right at the airport, a 5-minute walk from the airport terminal. See their website for more details: http://www.lyonaeroports.com/eng


Marseille “MP” Airport:  Marseille airport has grown in recent years and now receives flights from all over Europe, including low-cost carriers like Ryan Air and Easy Jet. A taxi into the city center will cost about €50, or you can take a shuttle bus or train to the main "Saint Charles" train station. The bus costs around €8.30 and takes 25 minutes. There is also a train station near the airport ("Vitrolles-aéroport Marseille Provence"), and you can take a 5-minute shuttle to get there. You can get a direct train to Avignon from there (1-1.5 hrs), or to Montélimar (the start of our Provence bike tour) in 2-2.5 hours. For more information see the airport website:  http://www.marseille-airport.com/

Marseille “MP2” Airport: a new terminal (called “Marseille-Provence 2”) mainly receives flights from low-cost airlines throughout Europe. For the moment the website is only in French but it’s pretty easy to figure out. Just look under “Destinations” and you’ll see a list of airlines that fly there, including EasyJet (London), Ryan Air (everywhere!) and Vueling (Barcelona). Transport options are the same as the airport above. See: http://www.mp2.aeroport.fr/ (only in French!).


Nîmes – Arles Airport:  Ryan Air flies into this airport daily from London (Luton), Brussels (Charleroi), and London Stansted. From there you can get a shuttle bus into Nîmes center (25 mins., €6.80) and then transfer by train. See their site at: http://www.aeroport-nimes.fr/home


Bordeaux airport:  you can now fly into Bordeaux from almost every major European hub, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, London, Rome, Paris and even Montreal! The "30'-Directe" bus goes from the airport (Terminal B) to the central "Saint Jean" train station every 30 to 60 mins and costs €8 (€7 if you're over 60). The trip takes about 30 mins. And of course you can get a taxi. See the airport website at: http://www.bordeaux.aeroport.fr/en


Bergerac Airport:  a small airport just five kilometers from Bergerac, it receives daily flights from London Stansted and other cities in the U.K., Brussels, Rotterdam, and Nice. See their website at: http://www.bergerac.aeroport.fr/en/



Seville “San Pablo” Airport:  Seville is well-connected to the rest of Europe via hubs like Madrid and Barcelona, and also with London and Paris with low-cost carriers like Ryan Air, Easy Jet and Vueling. See the airport website for more information. There is a shuttle bus from the airport to the main bus terminal that runs every 30 minutes and costs €2.10. A taxi from the center of Seville to the airport takes about 20 minutes and should cost around €30. For general information about all Spanish airports, see: http://www.spanish-airports.com/.

Granada “Federico Garcia Lorca” Airport: Granada is mainly connected to Madrid and Barcelona, with the occasional flight to London, Milan, or Paris-Orly. See current information on the airport's website. You can also take a 2-hour bus to Malaga, which has a much wider choice of destinations and low-cost flights. Check out this site for lots of info regarding flights and also transport to/from Malaga:  http://granadainfo.com/cheap_flights.htm.


Malaga "Costa del Sol" Airport:  Malaga is well connected to a variety of hubs and receives a lot of low-cost flights from the rest of Europe. From the airport you can take a 20-minute taxi ride to the center of Malaga (about €20). There is also a bus (the "A Express") that runs from the airport to the main bus station. It takes 15-25 minutes, and costs €3, and run every 20-25 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on the bus. If you're traveling onwards by train, there is a train station right at the airport (Terminal 3). Take it four stops and transfer at the Maria Zambrano Station for high-speed Renfe trains to Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona. Check out this site for lots of info regarding flights and also transport to/from Malaga:  http://granadainfo.com/cheap_flights.htm.


Madrid “Barajas” Airport: If you are a group of two or more and have lots of luggage (and it is not rush hour!), then it is probably easier and faster to take a taxi, which should cost around €20-25. The other choice is the metro, which is handy since you can take your luggage cart with you from the airport terminal to the station. There are actually two metro stops at the airport ("T1-T2-T3" and then again "T-4"). There is a ticket office here where you can buy your ticket to Madrid (around €5). Take the subway to the Atocha train station in Madrid for rail connections to other cities. Please see the website www.metromadrid.es for further information on the Madrid subway. For more information on the Madrid airport, please see their website.


León Airport:  this regional airport serves the starting point of our Camino de Santiago tours. At the moment there are only connections with Barcelona, but see the airport's website for current schedules.


Santiago de Compostela Airport: is about 12 km outside of the city in the town of Lavacolla. Taxi from the center of Santiago to the airport is a fixed €21, but you can also take the local bus which costs €3, runs every half hour, and drops you at the airport. There are many more direct flights to/from Santiago, including London (RyanAir & EasyJet), Paris (Vueling), Frankfurt (RyanAir), Milan (RyanAir), as well as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Zurich, Dublin, etc. See the airport website for the latest flight possibilities.


AIRLINES – Aside from the major carriers, there are many low-cost airlines now connecting cities around Europe.  Their schedules (and even existence!) change so frequently that we can't keep up with them here. They also change depending on the season, so please see the website of the companies below, or the website of your destination airport to see flight schedules:

* Alitalia – Italy’s national airline
* Air France – France’s national airline
* Air Dolomiti – specializing in flights to Northern Italy
* Ryan Air – more flights than you can imagine, throughout Europe
* Transavia – low-cost airline based in Amsterdam with service all over Europe
* TUI Fly – German-based company with flights throughout Europe
* Fly Be -- U.K.-based airline with flights to the rest of Europe
* Thomson Airlines – London-based airline connecting the U.K. with cities in Europe
* Brussels Airlines -- connecting Brussels with the rest of Europe
* Aerlingus well established airline based in Dublin, Ireland
* EasyJet – a British-based low-cost airline serving all Europe
* Jet2.com – a London-based low-cost airline
* Wow Air -- new low-cost airline based in Iceland, with flights from Washington and Boston to Milan and Rome
* Volotea (Barcelona)
* Vueling (also Barcelona)
* Jetairfly (Brussels)
* Germanwings (connections throughout Europe)
* Germania (connections from cities in Germany)


TRAINS:   For more information on the Italian train system, see our BLOG post here.

The French train system:  the "Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer," or SNCF

There are different types of trains in France:

* The T.G.V. (train à grande vitesse – high-speed train) makes the trip between Paris and Avignon in just 2 hrs 45 mins (it can take 7 hours with a regular train!). Some towns have separate stations for TGV and normal trains. They are not always more expensive, but a seat reservation is mandatory. Luggage space is limited in 2nd class. All TGV trains have a restaurant car.

* The “Corail” trains travel throughout France but stop only in the main cities.

* Train Express Régional (abbrev. TER) stop in almost every village and are the slowest trains.

Purchasing Tickets: You can buy most train tickets before your departure through your travel agent, or you can wait until you are in France. You can see current timetables at www.tgv.com or www.voyages-sncf.com. Many train stations have automatic ticketing machines, but they often don’t accept American credit cards, and there is no cash option, so give yourself extra time in case you have to wait in line at the counter. In a worst-case scenario or a last-minute rush, you can purchase a ticket on the train (except the TGV) from the conductor – but it will cost about 30% more. Buy tickets at the booth marked “Réservations” (not “informations”).

Eurail Pass: If you plan on doing a lot of rail travel, you might consider a “Eurail Pass.”  You can get a 1st or 2nd class coupon allowing 4 trips of your choice that you have to use within 15 or 21 days.  Note: you still need to buy a seat reservation if you travel by TGV.  Ask your travel agent for the price of a Eurail Pass and see if it is better for you to buy a pass.

Ticket Validation: Before boarding your train you must validate (“composter”) your ticket by sticking it into the bright orange machines posted around the train station (note: they are not located on the train platforms). You simply insert one end of the ticket into the slot and the stamp is printed on the ticket with a loud “click” sound. You could be fined if the conductor sees that you haven’t done this. If the machine doesn’t work or you don’t have time to find one, go immediately to the conductor and ask him to do it for you.

Quai: The train platform (quai in French) number is posted on the large schedule boards and TV monitors in the train station. You need to know the final destination of your train because the trains and their platforms are listed by destination only. For detailed information, see the timetables posted around the station on large glassed-in display cases. Look for the departure time of your train, make sure that your station is listed, and then look for the platform.  Double-check this with the big board, however, since platforms do change.

First & Second-Class Tickets: The TGV offers a 1st and 2nd class: there is a big difference in matter of price, silence and space you’ll have for your legs and your luggage in the first class.

Most French people travel second class so you will find the second-class compartments more crowded and difficult to find seating in. On TGV trains, first class seating is about 30% more expensive. If you are not traveling at a peak time (i.e. weekends or during weekday commute hours) second-class seating is typically fine. Please note that if you do not specify class type when purchasing your tickets at the train station, the ticket issuer will automatically issue you a second-class ticket.

Ticket Check: Sometimes the conductor doesn't make it to your seat to check/stamp your ticket before you reach your destination. Do not try and use the tickets again since the tickets have been validated so you cannot reuse them.

Smoking on Trains: All trains in France are non-smoking now, so you can breathe easy!

Reserved Seating: TGV trains require reserved seating, which means you are guaranteed a seat. On non-TGV trains you can sit anywhere, but avoid the ones labeled “réservé" or you may be asked to leave when the person shows up.

Train Conductors: usually very helpful and some speak a little English. Go to them if you have a problem, rather than waiting for them to come to you (you may avoid a fine this way!).


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