A Guide to Public Transport in Milan
Milan is one of Italy’s most popular city break destinations, frequented by many travelers on a long weekend. The city is small, and much of it is walkable, but save yourself money on taxis by browsing our expert guide to Milan’s public transport network, which is one of the cheapest and most efficient in Europe.
It also runs late, which can be useful if planning a night out in Milan or arriving in the city late at night. We’ll discuss the city’s metro, as well as its extensive bus and tram network and more modern options including e-scooters. And we’ll tell you the best way to get to and from Milan’s three airports: Malpensa, Bergamo Orio al Serio, and Linate.
Getting Around Milan using Public Transport
A Guide to the Milan metro
For travellers from London or New York, the Milan metro may sound tiny – it consists of just five lines and 94.5 km, compared to London’s more than 400km. However, the Milan metro is in fact the longest in Italy and has two more lines than the metro in Italy’s capital city, Rome.
Inaugurated in 1964, Milan’s metro is one of Europe’s most modern, with a fifth metro line recently completed and now fully operational in the city. Here is some information about each of the five lines, including the colour to look out for on the Milan metro map.
Line M1: This line is marked in red on the metro map and is used primarily for travel into the city’s business district, Fiera Milano. However, there are also stops at popular tourist stops, including the Duomo and San Babila. You will likely take the M1 line to or from Cadorna in order to connect with Milan Malpensa Airport at the start or end of your trip.
Line M2: The green M2 line is the longest of Milan’s metro lines and runs from the south of the city to the north-east. It also serves the city centre.
Line M3: The yellow M3 line was built specially for the 1990 football World Cup and passes through the heart of the city centre. It stops at the Duomo and in Montenapoleone, one of the busiest areas of the city, both of which are important for tourists.
Line M4: The newest line on the Milan metro is blue and only opened fully in 2023. Featuring automatic driverless trains, it connects Linate Airport in the west with the city centre and the east of Milan.
Line M5: The recently added purple M5 line was fully opened in 2015 and connects the north of Milan.
Milan also has an extensive overground train network that is interlinked with the metro. Milano Centrale is the city’s main railway station, and connects the city with Rome, Florence, Turin, Verona, Venice and other cities in Italy and further afield, such as Barcelona, Munich and Paris.
How to buy tickets for the Milan metro
As with many modern metro systems, it is possible to pay using a contactless credit or debit card on the Milan metro, the cheapest fare will always be applied as long as you ‘tap in’ and ‘tap out’ correctly. Alternatively, tickets and travel cards for the metro can be purchased at stations, as well as in some shops and off licenses.
Other important train stations that are linked to the metro include Garibaldi, which is near the city’s nightlife hub of Corso Como and Cadorna, which is one of the best stations to use for those travelling to or from the Malpensa Airport.
How much does the Milan metro cost?
A single journey ticket on the Milan metro costs €2.20. A day pass costs €7.60 and includes unlimited use of the metro, as well as Milan’s tram and bus services (more on those later!). Other options include a 3-day ticket and a 10-journey ticket, which can be purchased at stations or online.
A Guide to Buses in Milan
Milan has an extensive public bus network, including more than 80 routes and dedicated services at weekends and during the night. Timetables are available online, and live transport planning apps such as Citymapper are a great companion when exploring Milan and other cities for the first time. Due to the small and limited nature of Milan’s metro network, buses can be a great way to reach destinations that are not well served by the metro.
For those looking to enjoy Milan’s nightlife, it can be reassuring to know that the city’s 15 night bus routes run until 6am on Friday and Saturday nights, connecting nightlife areas like Como with more residential areas.
Milan bus tickets and travel cards can be purchased using a contactless debit or credit card, or at metro stations, kiosks and shops.
Additionally, there are hop-on hop-off buses that operate in Milan which lend themselves to sightseeing. Rest those feet while you take in the sights. Not expensive either.
Explore Milan at your own pace with a ticket for the open-top hop-on hop-off bus. With 4 routes at your disposal, discover all of the city’s top attractions, from the magnificent Duomo and La Scala to the city’s many quaint neighborhoods.
A Guide to Trams in Milan
Aside from being a practical part of Milan’s public transport network, the city’s trams can be a great experience in themselves, with some of the oldest dating back to the 1930s.
Milan’s tram network is made up of 18 lines that run until midnight or later throughout the week. This well-oiled network has been in place since 1876, when they were originally pulled by horses!
Many of the city’s tram lines connect the outer neighbourhoods with the city centre, and the vast majority of the lines do stop at least once or twice in the city’s small centre – this can be good to know in case you get lost! A Milan tram map can also prove useful.
As with the metro and public bus network, making use of a planning app can make your journey much easier. Tram tickets can also be paid for using a contactless credit or debit card, or travel cards can be purchased at metro stations.
A Guide to e-bikes and Scooters in Milan
As in many cities, new technology allows for a different way to get around Milan. Cityscoot is a pay-as-you-go self-serve electric scooter company with operations in Milan. Travelers can use the app on their smartphone to find the nearest available scooter and dock it at an appropriate place when they are done. This service is currently only available in the city center.
Similar services exist for e-bikes and regular cycles, through operators including BikesBooking.com.
A Guide to Taxis in Milan
As Milan’s city centre is walkable and the public transport network good, you can usually avoid having to shell out for a taxi during your Milan trip. But it can be useful to know a little about the city’s taxis in case of emergencies!
Ride-hailing apps such as Uber can be used in Milan, and taxi stops are prevalent across busy parts of the city. For traditional taxi fares, expect a fare of €1 – 1.50 per kilometre, with additional charges for waiting.
The Best Way to Get to & From the Airport in Milan
Malpensa is Milan’s largest airport, and is served by the Malpensa Express rail service, which connects to Centrale, Garibaldi and Cadorna stations, all of which are also served by the metro. This is the easiest way to travel to and from the airport without the expense of a taxi. There is also a shuttle bus to and from Milan Centrale which departs approximately every 20 minutes during the day.
The small Linate Airport is the only one of Milan’s airports that is connected directly to the metro, thanks to the new M4 line. Change at San Babila for the M1 line to reach popular destinations in the city center.
Milan’s third airport and Italy’s third busiest, is Bergamo Orio al Serio. This airport does not have a train station, though it is possible to take a bus to Bergamo and get the train from there. More feasible is to take the Terravision bus to Milan Centrale. This can be booked online at a cost of €10.
Getting Around Milan is Easy
Milan has an incredibly efficient, multi-faceted public transport network, allowing travelers to easily navigate the city at minimal cost. As the city is small, it is also often possible to walk any journey you may need to make, especially if staying in the city center. Whilst the metro is small, recent expansion has made it a much more useful service, while the city’s heritage trams and buses offer great support for travelers exploring the city.
Best Instagram locations in Milan
Now that you know how getting around Milan is so simple, you will be inspired to use some of these modes of public mass transit to explore this amazing city. Milan is waiting for your to discover it and photograph it to your hearts content. Read up here on our guide to exploring the best Instagram locations in Milan.
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