A Milan to Venice train travel adventure

A Milan to Venice train travel adventure

It’s a special year for me, so I requested a week long trip to celebrate, which is how Milan to Venice train travel became a ‘thing’ this April.

Why the train?

A friend inspired me to explore Italy by train. She highlighted that it’s relatively inexpensive (see thetrainline.com) and stress-free compared with driving. Many of Italy’s major cities are connected by rail. The reason we were talking about this in the first place, is that when we visited Tuscany, we drove, and it was stressful.

My friend was simultaneously travelling with her family by train, between Rome, Florence and Venice. It was easy.

Our Italian affair this April began at Milano Centrale Station, so we might explore this fashion capital that’s been dazzling visitors for years with its design-led initiatives and stunning structures.

Milan is brimming with beauty, and you can also take a train ride that’s just an hour to reach Lake Como for a self-guided day trip.

When planning our week in Italy, I had a destination in mind. It was actually somewhere that inspired Shakespeare, Verona. So, I took a look at what was accessible from London, and came up with Milan to Venice.


I studied a map and researched flights. We could fly into Milan from London City Airport (✔) and come back from Venice to Stansted Airport (✔). What to do in between then?

Milan to Venice train travel, touching over in Varenna (Lake Como) and Verona, the wish-list destination. Perfecto About two nights in each location would do the trick. Never enough time, but a start.

Varenna on Lake Como for a day trip from Milan by train

How to travel Milan to Venice on the train

If you’re based in the UK, several searches come up on Google when you’re searching for Milan to Venice train options. Italia Rail is one such option. But, Trainline pulls everything together just fine, as far as I’m concerned.

I booked our trips individually on Trainline:

  1. Milan to Varenna for a day trip to Lake Como, about £25 for a day return for two people.
  2. Milan to Verona, to stay for two nights, around £25 for two of us to travel one way. The trip was about two hours.
  3. Verona to Venice, about one hour train journey, costing approx £20 for two of us to travel.

Using the Trainline phone app, I stored our tickets and they were easy to retrieve and show on the train upon request.

Important to note:

I booked our train fares in advance. Closer to the time of travel, it turned out some of the train times were altered slightly. If we’d not arrived at the station early and double-checked the schedule, we may have missed one of our trains which left ten minutes prior to what we had on our ticket. Give yourself time and check schedules on the ground.


Travel Milan to Venice train and experience the unparalleled scenery that is Italy

Milan to Venice: the highlights

The Milan to Venice train trip and week away in Italy was pure magic.

Verona and Venice are particularly wonderful. Click the links to read our travel guides.

We utilised Airbnb for accommodation – Italy is notoriously expensive in this area. Airbnb together with travelling on the train kept our costs down, and our experience was indeed stress-free.


Train travel in Europe is a treat because of the scenery. We lavished in everything from the snow-capped Alps to little farming villages, vineyards, horses, chickens, ancient churches and glimpses of northern Italy’s great Lakes.

Milan to Venice on the train is an excellent option. If you have time, there’s many spots to stop off at. Next time around I’d love to see more of Lake Garda and the town of Padua, another inspiration to Shakespeare.


Got tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below 


In this series – a week across Italy by train:

Milan, budget travel tips

Milan to Lake Como, via Varenna and Bellagio

Verona, Italy travel guide

Milan to Venice – how to take the train [you’re reading it]

How to find your perfect wine tasting in Italy experiences

Why you should find a food tour in Italy

Venice, Italy travel guide – things to know before you go


Milan travels – 5 things to do on a short stay and a budget

Milan travels – 5 things to do on a short stay and a budget

It’s my birthday this month. A special one. I’m still getting my head around the number of years I’ve been on this earth, but am making the most of it with an Italian adventure which I’ll link here on the blog.

In a week,we travelled from Milan to Venice on the train. Find out more about Milan travels and must-see attractions here.

Milan travels – what to do in a day on a budget

Milan is famous as being one of the top four fashion destinations in the world, alongside Paris, London and New York. We hit the town during Design Week so the place was buzzing with creative energy and business goings-on.

If you’re keen to include Milan on your travels, be aware that accommodation – like many places in Italy – is expensive. We chose to stay in an AirBnb in a family’s home to save money. Our accommodation was within walking distance to Central Station and about half an hour’s walk from the Duomo (or ten minutes metro ride). This proved to be quite a good distance from the main attractions for us.

The city is much bigger than we expected, with some of the main areas being quite far apart. Milan’s metro is easy to use but the signage is lacking compared with London.

We relied on the kindness of strangers for a guide on where to get off and which direction to go in. Average cost of a metro ride one way is €1.50 and the ticket machines have an English option so not too hard to figure out.

Milan travels will take you to extraordinary sites like this

  1. Duomo (Milan Cathedral/ Duomo di Milano)

First stop on your Milan travels will inevitably be the incredible Duomo. This gorgeous Gothic cathedral took six centuries to build. It’s decorated with more statues than any other building in the world – 3400 all up, including 135 gargoyles. It’s made of marble and strikes an imposing figure in the centre of Milan.

You can pay to go inside, as well as climb up stairs or take an elevator to the top for a view over the city. Be prepared to queue and have patience with all the selfie-takers.

Even if you hang about outside, you can appreciate the view in the square and people watch for free.

  1. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Helpfully this is positioned right next to the Duomo. It’s Italy’s oldest active shopping mall and renowned as being one of the most beautiful in the world. Many European shopping malls were modelled around this striking place. The gallery is named after Italy’s first king, and it boasts high-end luxury shopping set a four-story double arcade – not for the faint-hearted.

All shops in this mall must have gold signs on a black background – fully branded style.

The place is expensive so be careful where you sit for food or a coffee! It’s free to explore though, and really is very beautiful – probably the most beautiful mall we’re likely to ever see.

Aperitivo is happy hour with a twist

  1. Luini’s panzerotti

Another attraction just a couple of minutes walk outside the Galleria is Lunini’s. It’s famous for deep fried pizza dough. Panzerotti comes from the word pancia, Italian for stomach, which is why the dough comes in a belly-like shape, and offers a variety of fillings.

It’s not expensive but it is popular and you’re likely to have to wait in a long line to be able to try it. The place is sometimes closed in the summer months.

  1. Aperitivo – happy hour with a twist

This is the Italian version of happy hour. Normally when you go to a restaurant you buy a drink and study the menu. In Milan after about 6pm if you find the right place, you pay anywhere from €8 to €10 for a drink (like wine or a cocktail) and you can enjoy a buffet feast for no extra! This blog explains the tradition.

Aperitivo is supposed to be a way to encourage an appetite before dinner, but we simply found it to be a cost-effective way to enjoy a drink and a meal. Well, that was until we found Mono Bar just up the road from where we were staying. The place was recommended on Google for its range of food on offer at the bar (agree, it was great). Their Long Island Iced Teas are addictive and 80s pop/dance soundtrack very enjoyable.


A top spot for Aperitivo is Navigli along the canal that features inspired links to Leonardo Da Vinci, find out more here.

We really wanted to get over this part of the city on our Milan travels, but it was a good half an hour train ride away from us, and as it was cold and wet during our time in Milan we chose to leave it for next time.

Varenna on Lake Como

  1. Day trip to Lake Como

Milan is a cool city with lots to do, but it’s busy with tourists and can be quite overwhelming. Lake Como is a tranquil escape, with fresh air and stunning scenery. You can take an organised tour here, but we designed a self-guided itinerary that was inexpensive and thoroughly enjoyable, even in rainy weather. Find out more here

As with all big cities, Milan has plenty on offer. Do your research before you go so you don’t miss museums and attractions that are to your own taste and budget.

After our two night stay, we took a train to romantic Verona, setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Verona is about two hours train ride from Milan, and Venice on the other side of that which was our last stop on this week in Italy.

Do you have questions, or tips to add for a trip to Milan? Let us know in the comments below


In this series – a week across Italy by train:

Milan, budget travel tips [you’re reading it]

Milan to Lake Como, via Varenna and Bellagio

Verona, Italy travel guide

Milan to Venice – how to take the train

How to find your perfect wine tasting in Italy experiences

Why you should find a food tour in Italy

Venice, Italy travel guide – things to know before you go


Travel through Venice and Ljubljana with Expat Explore

Travel through Venice and Ljubljana with Expat Explore

The deal was that I would write honestly, so, in the spirit of such a virtue I will let you know that I’m currently sitting at our campsite in Venice, sipping on something called an Ottweiler Pils beer (pretty nice actually, especially for €1!); Jessie J is playing on the iPod and I’m attempting to catch up on my blogging activities, madly editing a zillion photos from Vienna, Ljubljana and Venice, and procrastinating on this next post because to be honest, I’m a little tired. It’s been hot, and the days long, but as I say to everyone – it’s better than work!


Travel through Venice and Ljubljana with Expat Explore

We’ve arrived in Italy, and isn’t it beautiful. Sleepy as I may be on any bus trip (planes and buses put me to sleep – too bad my parents didn’t know this when I was a baby…). I was wide awake as we drove through the border into Italy. Who doesn’t want to visit this country?

There’s so much history, and despite any recent conflicts or issues, Italy to someone like me represents food, beauty, divine language, various Shakespearian scenes, gorgeous people and fashion. Venice itself is completely charming – canals, gondolas, Renaissance masks all over the place, aged churches, public spaces like the stunning St. Mark’s Square, classical musicians positioned around the restaurants, and people of all demographics. I was interested to learn on our walking tour that traditionally Venice welcomes a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, and aside from certain periods when various groups (religious, political) chose to stamp their authority, the region generally catered to the needs of ‘anyone and everyone who was in the business of making money’. The Merchant of Venice sprung to mind at this point, and I realised that my high school Modern History and literature classes are all only now starting to make sense after actually having the opportunity to visit Europe.

It is indeed very easy to get lost in the unmarked streets of Venice, but the advice we were given was to simply enjoy the experience (however leave lots of time to get from one side to the other if you need to be anywhere at any given time). A beautiful, but expensive city, so save your dollars if planning an extended stay – and whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!

Throughout Italy we’re staying at a series of camp sites, and our accommodation in Venice was basic but fine, and most of us shared with another pair – we had the pleasure of being room mates for the night with the delightful Martin and Gayle (South Africans who currently reside in London). The upside to such a set up is the social aspect, and our group enjoyed some fun by the pool and bar this evening.


Prior to arriving in Venice yesterday we made another romantic stop, in the picturesque town of Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia (pictured above). Ljubljana means ‘beloved’, and it’s certainly obvious that the townsfolk here are fiercely proud of their little piece of the world. Formerly part of Yugoslavia, the country gained independence in 1991. It is surrounded by the Alps, and several European nations including Austria, Croatia and Italy. Slovenia itself is actually 60% forest (which makes for a scenic drive throughout the country), and uniquely the region hosts a series of more than 8000 underground caves! Consequently there are many little rivers and streams as well as quaint bridges in Slovenia’s towns and cities. Long ago, people in the region thought that the Salamanders that lived in the caves resembled dragons, and they became a little obsessed by the creatures – evident in the numerous dragon sculptures and figurines that appear on the streets, in flags and on other local merchandise.

This idyllic little spot is a beautiful place to visit, and I’m so glad to have had the chance to discover it on this tour because on my own I probably wouldn’t have even thought to stop. The cafes and restaurants that line the old streets offer affordable, high quality, fresh cuisine and produce. One amusing venue is the Cafe del Moro (Cafe of death) or Pr’skelet (translated to Cafe by skeletons) – an underground bar that features, as you may have guessed, bones and skeletons all over the walls. Pretty creepy, but totally cool!

I’m loving this part of the world so far – such natural beauty, intriguing history and gelato, delicious gelato – everyone is eating it… “when in Rome (well, almost – it’s tomorrow’s destination)! The trip will be one of our ‘long hauls’, but to be fair, our coach journeys have been comfortable, and Steve does a fab job of keeping us all safe and getting us to each destination in a timely manner. Ally also organises movies, quizzes and games to keep us amused – most recently we teamed up to entertain each other with some songs – here is a video snippet of the entertaining offering from Hector (Ecuador) and Julio (Mexico)…

By Sarah Blinco | View our travel galleries on Flickr