This page contains detailed information on specific airports in Italy, France and Spain, followed by some suggestions for smaller or "low-cost" airlines, and finally some tips on traveling by train in those countries. 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 the Italian train system, 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 Brindisi 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. The other choice is the train, which is handy since you can take your luggage cart with you from the airport terminal to the station. Exit the Arrivals terminal and follow the signs for the train station, which is directly across the street.  Cross the two-lane road and then go up one floor to the station, by a large clear plastic awning that covers the stairway leading up to the platform. If you have a lot of luggage, when you get to the stairs, turn right and then left and you will see a couple of elevators which you can take up to the platform. “Trenitalia” has a ticket office here where you can buy your ticket to Rome or all other destinations. If you want, you can even reserve and purchase your return tickets for the end of your trip. If you are only going into Rome, you can also buy tickets for the journey in the small smoke shop (“Tabacchaio”) next to the ticket office. This is sometimes quicker. Tickets to Rome cost around €14. Children under 12 travel free if accompanied by an adult. There is a direct train to the main Roma Termini train station every twenty minutes.  Other trains stop at all stations. [i.e. if you want to get to the Tiburtina train station then you must take the train that stops at all stops].

Trains from Fiumicino (Rome) Airport to the central train station (Roma Termini). The “Leonardo Express” depart every 30 minutes; the journey takes 30 minutes.

Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini at :23 and :53 past the hour, runs from 6:23 a.m. to 23:23 p.m.

Roma Termini to Fiumicino airport  at :05 and :35 past the hour, from 5:35 a.m. to 22:35 p.m.

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):  €6, or €4 if you pre-purchase online. Buses run every 30 mins and are timed around flight schedules.
* Buses operated by the SIT company (see their website here). Ticket price is €6 and the current schedule is as follows:
From Ciampino to Roma Termini:  07:45  08:45  09:20  10:00  10:45  11:30  12:00  12:30  13:30  14:30  15:30  16:30  17:00  17:45  18:30  19:00  20:30  21:00  21:30  22:15  23:15
From Roma Termini to Ciampino airport (the bus leaves from via Marsala, just at the side of the train station):  04:30  05:30  06:30  07:00  07:30  08:00  08:30  09:30  10:00  10:45  12:00  13:00 14:00  14:30  15:30  16:30   17:30  18:00  18:30  19:30  20:00  21:30


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 (expensive), bus, or train. 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 (note: there is free wifi on the bus!).  The “Malpensa Express” train is quicker (30 mins), but goes to the Cadorna train station (a short taxi or metro ride from Centrale). It departs every 30 minutes and costs €12. Milan is a central rail hub for all of Italy, with frequent fast trains to other cities. The high-speed Eurostar train takes 2 hours 47 minutes to reach Florence and 4 hours 30 minutes 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 private airport bus (in front of the Arrivals terminal). Buses depart every 30 minutes (every day, from 6:05 to 23:45). Fare is €5. Tickets are for sale at the Agenzia Autostradale Linate or can be bought on board. The bus stops at the Lambrate Train Station in Milan before reaching the Central Station.  Taxis to the center cost about €15.


Florence “Amerigo Vespucci” Airport:  There are several flights to Florence airport from other European centers. 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 Sita/Ataf service. It takes 20-30 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 train station right at the airport where you can catch a train to the Central train station, or even all the way to Florence. You can also take a convenient shuttle bus (see the “Terravision” kiosk in the lobby) to Florence, or take a taxi to the Pisa Central station and take a train from there. A taxi all the way to Florence costs about €120, depending on the amount of luggage.  See 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. It costs €2.50 and takes 17 minutes. There is also an ATVO bus into Venice itself, arriving at Piazzale Roma – a 10 minute walk from the Santa Lucia train station across the “Ponte Degli Scalzi” bridge. It costs €3 and takes 20 minutes.  You can also take the “Alilaguna” hyrdrofoil service (aliscafo in Italian) directly into Venice old town or to the Lido.  See www.alilaguna.it and http://www.veniceairport.it/en/ for more information about the airport.  


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 €5.


Verona “Valerio Catullo” Airport:  there are daily flights from Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt.  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/tsfpage/volis/search.jsp?link=P&m=110102


Bergamo-Milan “Il Caravaggio” Airport: this small airport is the base for Ryan Air’s flight to northern Italy, so you can find all sorts of connections to European destinations.  See their website for more information:  http://www.sacbo.it/Airpor/portalProcess.jsp?languageID=2


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


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 Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne – see www.tuifly.com), Airone (from London, Milan, Paris – www.flyairone.it);  Volareweb (from Milan); as well as Alitalia, British Airways, and Lufthansa.  See the airport website at:  http://www.aeroportidipuglia.it/homepagebari


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/



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/

* Buses into Paris:  “Les Cars Air France” offer bus service to several points around town. Ask in the terminal which bus is best for you, then buy your ticket on the bus.  
-- No. 2 leaves every 15 mins between 5:50 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. and goes to the Charles de Gaulle/Etoile metro station.  
-- No.3 leaves every 30 mins from 6:30 a.m. - 22:30 and connects Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport to Orly  Airport.
-- No. 4 leaves every 30 minutes from 7:00 a.m. - 9 p.m. and goes to the Montparnasse and Gare de Lyon train stations.
* 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 an “RER” going to one of the following directions: “Robinson” or “Saint Rémy les Chevreuse” and get off at “Gare du Nord” or “Châtelet-Les Halles” to transfer to the city Métro line.

From Paris airport directly South:  If you are not going to stop in Paris, but wish to head straight to southern France, look for the TGV train station. It’s in Terminal 2, which is easily accessible by shuttle van (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!).  


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. 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. It takes 2 - 2.5 hours to get to Montélimar by train from Marseille. From the airport, take a 15-minute taxi ride to the center of Marseille. Otherwise, there is a bus to Marseille’s Saint Charles train station. It costs around €4 and takes 20 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on the bus. For more information see the airport website:  http://www.marseille-airport.com/

Marseille “MP2” Airport:  a new airport (called “Marseille-Provence 2”) has opened up near Marseille, receiving mostly flights from low-cost airlines throughout Europe. For the moment the website is only in French, but that should be remedied soon. It’s pretty easy to figure out, anyway, just look under “Destinations” and you’ll see a list of airlines that fly there, including EasyJet (London), Ryan Air (everywhere!) and Vueling (Barcelona). They have shuttle buses that run from the airport to Aix-en-Provence, Digne, Salon de Provence, and Marseille. 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 Liverpool. From there you can get a shuttle bus into Nîmes center (25 mins., €5) 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 Jet’Bus goes from the airport to the train station every 45 mins (starting at 8:30, 9:15, 10:00, etc.) and costs €7. 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, Liverpool, and other cities in the U.K., and now also from Paris Orly with "Twin Jet" airlines.  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 per person one-way. A taxi ride 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-Jaén “Federico Garcia Lorca” Airport: Granada is mainly connected to Madrid and Barcelona, with the occasional flight to London 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 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 25-minute taxi ride to the center of Malaga (about €20). There is also a bus that runs from the airport to the main bus station. The service is offered by the Empresa Malagueña de Transporte and you must take Route 19. It takes 30-40 minutes, and costs €1.10. The buses run almost every 15 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on the bus. 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:  from the airport you can either take a taxi or subway 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 and faster to take a taxi. The other choice is the subway, which is handy since you can take your luggage cart with you from the airport terminal to the station.  While inside the airport, follow the signs for the subway station. There is a ticket office here where you can buy your ticket to Madrid (€2/person). 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
* AirOne – Italian airline with flights throughout the peninsula and 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)
* 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!).


The Spanish Train System:

Purchasing Tickets:  You can buy train tickets before your departure through your travel agent if you wish, or online via the Spanish train website at www.renfe.es. Other than at peak holiday times it is generally not necessary to purchase tickets before your arrival in Spain. Train tickets can be purchased at any train station or from an authorized travel agency on the day of travel or a few days ahead of time. Bus tickets can similarly be purchased either in advance – online at Alsa or Movelia. Again, advance booking is recommended for travel at peak periods (e.g. Easter week, August).

Anden:  The train or bus platform (anden in Spanish) number is posted up on the large schedule boards and TV monitors in the station. You need to know the final destination of your train/bus because the trains/buses and their corresponding platforms are listed by destination only. For detailed information, see the timetables posted around the station on large glassed-in display cases.

Turista Class Tickets are offered on all Spanish trains. This is the cheapest way to go on the AVE trains, but you still get assigned seats and the ride is very enjoyable. The Preferente class has a similar seating arrangement but the services are better. Most Spaniards (and tourists) travel turista class. On buses there is generally only one class.

Smoking on Trains: All trains and buses in Spain are now smoke-free.

Train Conductors are usually very helpful and some speak a little English, especially those working on the AVE trains.


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