About Brescia Airport
Brescia Airport is a small airport close to Lake Garda in Lombardy (Lombardia), northern Italy. Brescia, a few miles away, is a large city with a few tourist sights and excellent transport links. Ryanair’s flights to Brescia Airport (generally one a day from London Stansted, but check their timetables for the latest information) are often cheap and make a practical way to arrive in this attractive area. Good holiday destinations in the area include the popular resorts around Lake Garda, the quieter Lake Iseo and the medieval town of Verona. The airport is connected by bus services to Brescia and Verona; hire cars and taxis are also available at the airport. Read on for more information on travel connections, airport facilities and suggested destinations.
The airport is located at Montichiari and is often called by this name. It is officially named after the Italian nationalist and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who spent his last years at Gardone Riviera on the shore of Lake Garda. The airport’s full range of names and identifying codes includes: Aeroporto di Brescia, Aeroporto Gabriele D’Annunzio, Aeroporto di Brescia Montichiari and the IATA code VBS.
Brescia Airport bus and public transport information
There are two bus services serving Brescia Airport, and they are both timed to coincide with flights. This means that if the flight is delayed, the coaches will wait for you. The airport bus stops are clearly labelled just outside the terminal building on the right. You can buy tickets on the bus.
Brescia Airport – central Brescia
A shuttle bus connects the airport with Brescia bus station (autostazione). This is alongside Brescia railway station (head over a footbridge and down some steps) and is very convenient for onward travel. It is possible to walk into the historic centre of Brescia from the bus station, but it would be quicker and more comfortable to change to a local bus here. When returning to the airport from Brescia, head up the steps to the right outside the railway station. The bus departs from bay 23. When I took this service it was a small vehicle with room for around 9 passengers. The friendly driver assured me that they had another vehicle to use when there are more travellers. You can buy tickets on the bus, at 7.50 for a one-way ticket and 11 for a return. The journey takes around 25 minutes. This shuttle service (navetta) is run by a company called CGA – check their website for the most up-to-date timetables (see our links panel on the right).
Brescia Airport – Verona
Many travellers use Brescia Airport as a cheap option for reaching Verona. A direct coach runs into Verona, stopping at Verona Porta Nuova railway station, which is in walking distance of the town centre (or again, you could take a local urban bus). The cost is 11 for a single ticket, and 16 for a return. This service too is run by CGA and again the latest timetables are on their website. The journey takes around 45 minutes.
Other travel options
CGA buses also run a service from the airport to Gardaland, a Lake Garda theme park for families. This is only a weekend service and you should book in advance – more information is available on their website; check too if you are travelling to Lake Garda as the company appears to be considering a lake shuttle. There is a taxi rank outside the terminal building, and car-hire offices inside. Our car-hire partner is Auto Europe. Although we do usually recommend public transport, hiring a car may be a good option if you want to spend a lot of time touring the remoter parts of the region without being bound to timetables. Many Italian hotels will offer to arrange transfer services – these aren’t always good value but if you are staying by Lake Garda the hotel may be able to give you some good advice for your journey, arrange a taxi, or give you an idea of what you should pay to get there.
Suggested destinations from Brescia Airport
Brescia acts as a gateway to quite a broad swathe of northern Italy. Of course, if you hire a car you will be able to explore at your leisure and to reach more out-of-the-way places. The list of suggested destinations below includes our advice for travelling by public transport.
> Brescia – easily reached by the shuttle bus, there is enough to occupy tourists for a day or two.
> Lake Garda – the airport is actually very close to Lake Garda, although there is no direct public transport. The nearest lake resort is Desenzano del Garda which is connected to the rest of the lake by ferry and bus services. Desenzano can be reached by taking the shuttle bus into Brescia and then changing to a train or bus bound for Desenzano, but you may find it worthwhile to enquire about prices with the taxi-drivers outside the airport, especially if you can share the cost with several companions.
> Lake Iseo is a lovely lake bordered by hills; smaller than Lake Garda and also more peaceful. To get there, take the shuttle bus into Brescia and then walk through the railway station to find the Iseo branchline up past platform 1.
> Verona – Verona is famous for its medieval charm, its art and its opera season in the Roman Arena. It’s easy to reach by taking the special bus service from Brescia Airport.
> Other ideas: Brescia may not be the nearest airport for other towns, but you may be prepared to travel further in order to save money on flights. Brescia and Verona are both on the railway line which heads across northern Italy, connecting Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Brescia and Milan. The quickest trains whisk you from Brescia to Venice in under two hours.
The airport terminal and facilities
Be prepared to queue. The airport is housed in a smart new building, but it is small, and usually caters for just one flight at a time. This means that you may have to queue with all the other passengers from your flight at one solitary desk or security gate. When I last flew out from Brescia I spent most of my time at the airport in queues (not helped by Ryanair’s latest trick: unannounced check-in charges). It was an efficient airport in other ways; just slow.
There is not much to do at the airport. Before security you will find an Autogrill bar selling snacks and drinks, with a small seating area. Asking for tea with milk here, I received a cup half-full of warm foamy milk, and a teapot. The apple strudel was nice, though. There is also a gift shop and a newsagent. Beyond security are the departure gates, a seating area, a very small duty-free shop and an equally small bar.
Views and the flight
The flight between London and Brescia takes just under two hours. Brescia Airport is within sight of the mountains around Lake Garda – as you descend or take off at the airport you should be able to see the blue waters of the lake, and the skinny promontory leading to the town of Sirmione. The long mountain ridge on the far side of Lake Garda, capped with snow in winter, is Monte Baldo. You may also fly over Lake Iseo, which is at the edge of the mountains on the far side of Brescia, and can be identified by the large island of Monte Isola (literally: Mountain-Island). Taking off from Brescia, I found the best lake views to be on the right-hand side of the plane, although the pilot does circle around to gain height before heading towards the Alps.
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