I'm staying in Sesto San Giovanni (a northern area of metropolitan Milan), and need to get Malpensa airport this Monday.

... unfortunately, I need to get there by 05:00 or so, to catch an early flight.

How can I get from Sesto to the airport that early - other than shelling out 120 EUR for a taxi?

  • if sleeping near Malpensa an option? Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 23:34
  • … and are you sure there is cab service that early? Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 23:42
  • Did you try asking your question of Google Maps?
    – mlc
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 1:30
  • 1
    @mic: 1. Yes. 2. It doesn't combine taxis 3. It suggests taking 3 buses with walking and with little allowance for any line being late. But it is an answer...
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 6:47
  • 1
    @ZeroTheHero: Thanks for pinging me, see my answer.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 4, 2022 at 5:59

3 Answers 3


If you can get easily to Milan central station, you can take a bus or a train from there to Malpensa. As far as I can tell, the earliest start is by bus at 4am arriving MXP 4:50am so that would work for you. Thus a less costly option to a taxi to Malpensa is a taxi (or public transport) to Milan Central and then a bus or a train.

Now: I once had an early flight in MXP and I was starting from Pavia. There was no regular taxi that early (on a weekend) and I would have had to hire a private car. In the end, I decided to sleep at an airport hotel: I calculated that I would be much more relaxed and get an extra hour of sleep that way, and the cost cheaper than a car in the middle of the night. Thus I finished my day in Pavia, took a train to Milan and then one of these express busses to Malpensa, and finally a shuttle to the hotel, arriving at 9:30pm. I was up rather lazily at 4:30 the following morning and reached the terminal a little after 5am.


Staying in Sesto and getting to the airport by 0500 means you'd be up at 0300 or 0330.

You might do better staying in the airport. Sleeping in Airports says Malpensa is open 24 hours a day.

  • 1
    Good idea - for next time I'm in this predicament... I tried looking for a coffin to book for today, but there was nothing available until the 14th or the 17th. There are also some lounges - but they seem to be air-side, so that won't help me much. Still, +1.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 14:36

Option 1: Busses + Shuttle (12 EUR)

So, I mulled over taking a taxi to the central station, but eventually decided to go the bus route. Here's what should have happened:

Time Segment type Line Destination
03:06 Municipal bus line NM1 Loreto
03:47 Municipal bus line NM2 Milan Central station
04:00 Shuttle bus service Terravision Malpensa Terminal 1

I had > 5 minutes of walking to get to Viale Monza, where the NM1 passes. The streets were very empty at this time of night - in Sesto anyway. The only people I saw were others who were taking the bus. I didn't feel unsafe with my luggage and everything, although that's just a subjective impression.

I managed to miss the first line in the itinerary :-( - I should have left a few minutes earlier, as a safety margin. So, I had to take the next NM1 - no better option it was supposed to arrive at 03:36, but got there earlier and left at least a minute earlier than schedule (according to my watch anyway). The NM2 was standing at its Loreto station when the NM1 crossed the same intersection, and me and a few other people dashed over. Luckily, the NM2 driver must know the drill and waited for us, so I made it.

There was nobody bound for the airport on the busses though. I would guess it was just the poor souls who have to work very early shifts.

Now, the first interesting part for me was at Milano Centrale. There were dozens and dozens of people waiting for the airport shuttle, with more arriving. And there were several shuttle busses queued one after the other. This almost seems like I could have arrived later and still made it around 05:00 or a little later. But - it might have been a fluke, and on other days the situation may be different. Anyway, this seems to be the popular choice.

The second interesting part was at the airport. I massively overestimated the amount of time I would need. 05:30 would still have given me a very comfortable margin: I was done with all pre-boarding stages within... 45 minutes maybe? Tops. Also, you can get a decent-size lemon tea for 1.5 EUR from a Lavazza vending machine at the airport, which is a nice treat when it's early morning and you're tired.


  • 2 EUR for the bus fare (must be bought in advance, unless you have a valid day-ticket; can't pay on the bus)
  • 10 EUR for the shuttle (easier to buy in advance, but can be bought just before entering the bus).

Option 2: Taxi + Shuttle (22.5 EUR)

I also mulled over booking a taxi via the Wetaxi mobile app. It should work, and I was able to create a booking for the time I was interested in. I cancelled it in favor of the bus though.


  • 12.5 EUR for the taxi (but note this is the expected, not verified, price)
  • 10 EUR for the shuttle (easier to buy in advance, but can be bought just before entering the bus).

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