There’s nothing more confusing than grasping the transport network in a foreign city. Hundreds of stops with different names that only locals know how to pronounce, as wells as a variety of transportation means, make getting around the city feel like walking in a labyrinth. Of course, the top touristic attractions like Milan provide maps, routes, timetables, and all the necessary information online, so you can read and get to know the city before your trip.
Metro is by far the fastest and easiest way to get from your accommodation in Milan, wherever you like in the city centre. An interesting fact is that the Milanese subway, covering a distance of 94.5 km, is the longest in Italy. It’s hard to imagine that it surpasses even the metro in the capital Rome. There are four main metro lines spread across the city, red (M1), green (M2), yellow (M3), and purple (M5). The fifth blue (M4) metro line is currently under construction and is planned to launch in 2020.
M1 is the very first metro line in this city, opened in 1964. It has the highest number of stops – 38 out of 111 in total – compared to the other lines. If you’ll be taking M1 direction, you should know that the train stops at the very heart of the city – the Duomo. You can also get off at Cairoli Castello if you want to see the Sforza Castle built in the 15th century. M2 is the longest line in Milan, covering 39.4 km. It stops at the central station, Milano Centrale. M3 is the most favoured subway line by tourists because it stops near the most popular attractions of the city, such as the Duomo Cathedral, the Milan Central station, or the significant commercial area of Milan, Via Montenapoleone. M5 is the brand-new line opened in 2013. It’s very convenient for those travellers who need to get further from the city centre because it’s coordinated with the regional trains of Milan. Locals say that Garibaldi station and Stadio Giuseppe Meazza are worth stopping by for the visitors of the city.
Metro in Milan runs every day from 06:00 a.m. to 00:30 a.m. A single journey up to 90 min costs 1.5€. Even though with this ticket you can enter and exit the subway only once, it’s possible to make as many bus or tram rides within the 90 min timeframe as you need. Tickets are sold at the metro stations and kiosks spread all over the city.
Single ticket (90 min) – 1.5€
Luggage (90 min) – 2.1€
10 journey card (carnet) – 13.8€ note: the card is valid only for one person;
Day ticket (24 h) – 4.5€
Two-days ticket (48 h) – 8.25€
Weekly/Monthly passes available as well
Taking the metro might be the fastest travelling option in Milan, but taking the tram is certainly the most romantic one. The Milanese tram started operating in the late 19th century and by that time it was pulled by horses. Today the tram network is way more advanced and centralized with half of the routes passing by or stopping next to the largest cathedral in Italy, Duomo di Milano. There are 18 lines in total, numbered from 1 to 33 which run every day from 04:30 a.m. to 01:00-02:00 a.m. There’s no need to know all the routes but it’s important to remember that the tram line 1 is the only line going through the Piazza Cordusio which doesn’t stop at Piazza del Duomo (all others do). Tram line 3 stops right in front of the pigeon-surrounded Duomo di Milano, close to the Piazza Mercanti. With a single 90 min ticket (1.5€) you can make as many tram and bus changes as you want.
Getting around by bus can be as much convenient as taking the other means of transport in Milan, especially if the distances are short or it’s very late at night. There are more than 80 environmental-friendly hybrid buses which you will recognize by green or orange colours and ATM logos. Don’t get confused, ATM has nothing to do with banks this time. It’s the official abbreviation of Azienda Trasporti Milanesi the public company in charge of public transportation in Milan. There’s one thing that surprises travellers and sometimes even Italians who come to Milan from the other parts of the country – most of the buses run on time! It seems unbelievable but it’s true, that’s why so many people, including the businessman, suggest catching buses in Milan.
Among the most popular routes, you’ll find 73 and X73 which connect the subway station San Babila (M1) to the Linate airport. Line 94 goes around the most-visited places in the city, so it’s sure an alternative for travellers thinking about taking a hop-on-hop-off bus. The best thing about buses in Milan is that on Fridays and Saturdays they run during the night. There are bus replacements for each metro line when it’s closed. They are named according to the metro lines M1, M2, and M3 and take the same directions as the subway. N6 is a popular night bus which goes through Cardona and the central stations. Regular buses run from 05:30 a.m. until 01:45 a.m. every day. Night buses start from 02:00 a.m. and depart every 30 min until 05:10 a.m. The single ticket is used very often, as you can make as many changes as you need within 90 min timeframe. As for night buses, the ticket costs 1.5€ and is valid not only for 90 min but until 06:00 a.m. You can take different buses for different amounts of time during the night.
Hop-on-hop-off Bus Tour
If you’re ready to start your sightseeing day in the European fashion capital, you should know that another convenient option is the hop-on-hop-off bus, which saves you time and energy. It might look like a pretty easy task, but the truth is that exploring Milan on foot is rather exhausting. Also, spending more than 3-4 hours on foot leaves you without energy and excitement to admire the architecture of the city, see exhibitions and discover the local Italian life, which are exactly the reasons you visit Milan!
Welcome offers the opportunity to book your Hop-on-Hop-off Bus tickets in advance and see the most popular attractions in the city in the most convenient way. There are three bus lines which run all-year-long and depart in 60-90 min intervals, depending on the season and the time of the week. In total, there are more than 40 stops where you can get off the bus, explore the site of interest, take pictures, join guided tours, etc. Once you see everything you wanted to, all you have to do is wait for another bus, get on, and continue your sightseeing trip.
Every hop-on-hop-off bus starts its journey from Castello Sforzesco, simply known as Sforza Castle. Built in the 19th century, the castle is home to world-class art collections and museums which attract thousands of tourists every year. Lines 1 and 2 stop by the largest cathedral in Italy, Duomo di Milano. Surrounded by pigeons, locals, and tourists, the cathedral is the icon of the city, leaving everyone speechless by its impressive Italian Gothic style and bright colours. The cathedral is not only a place where religious rituals take place. Duomo di Milano also has a museum, archaeological area, and a rooftop with breath-taking panoramic views of the city. However, if you want to get inside, you need to purchase a ticket and the line can get really long, especially at the high season. To avoid crowds and not to waste your time, you can book in advance with Welcome the ticket that gives you the access to the Duomo, the rooftop, the museum, the archaeological area, and even to the quiet, minimalistic church nearby the Duomo, Church of St. Gottardo in Corte. For those who want to bring souvenirs back home, this ticket is a great option because it gives a 10% discount at the gift shop.
A sustainable travelling option for those who are more into sneakers than high-heels is renting a bike. Milan offers BikeMi bicycle sharing service where you can get daily (4.5€), weekly (9€), or annual (36€) subscriptions. All you need to do is register on the BikeMi App or their mobile-friendly website and make an online payment. There are 280 bike stations across Milan where you can grab a bike from 07:00 a.m. until 01:00 a.m. and ride all over the area.
For fashion and high-heel lovers who as well as for those who are in a rush or go from one party to another the taxi is the first option on the list. Of course, catching a taxi is quite expensive; the minimum price during the week time (06:00 a.m. – 21:00 p.m.) is 3.3. €. This price increases to 5.4€ on public holidays. If you want to grab a taxi after 21:00 p.m., it’ll cost even more – 6.5€ the minimum fare.