Staying in Malpensa means you'll be less than an hour away from central Milan, with plenty of opportunities to soak up the Lombard way of life in the meantime. From fast-paced cities to calmer small towns, there's an emphasis on hearty food and good wine here, plus a cultural heritage dating back centuries. Local areas to explore include the gorgeous hiking trails of Campo dei Fiori Regional Park and the town of Varese, known for its elegant Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture.
You can stay in a homely Malpensa hostel in a quiet residential area, or a spacious modern hostel only 18 minutes by train from downtown Milan. Expect mod cons like complimentary Wi-Fi, and some Malpensa hostels even offer free breakfast. Hostels here have easy access to the airport, either by train or with a free courtesy car, making a stay here a stress-busting choice if you've got an early flight out. You'll find a range of room options available too, from private spaces to mixed or single-gender dorms.
There are several areas to visit around Malpensa. To the west, you'll find the serene Parco del Ticino, with hiking trails and opportunities for watersports along the river. Just 2km from the airport is the small town of Cardano al Campo packed with historic buildings, while the larger town of Gallarate houses some interesting museums. Head north to mountainous Varese to gawk at luxurious Art Nouveau villas or southeast for the hustle and bustle of stylish Milan.
If you're a nature-lover, head to Lake Maggiore and spend a day on the water in a kayak or wild water raft. The lake is also home to the Borromean Islands, rocky outcrops crowned with magnificent castle-like buildings and landscaped gardens. If culture's more your thing, try the Museo Arte Gallarate (MAGA), one of Italy's top modern art galleries. Feeling young at heart? Learn about the history of air travel – or explore the planetarium and flight simulators – at Volandia aviation museum.
Malpensa is connected to Milan by bus and train. Coaches from Milan Central Station take around 40 minutes (tickets can be bought as you board), and the Malpensa Express train takes just under an hour. You can also reach Malpensa by coach from other Italian cities, including Bergamo (with a journey time of 1 hour 50 minutes), or grab an ongoing connection from Milan Central station. Around Malpensa, you can easily get around on local buses and trains.