Milan: Getting in and around

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Milan Getting in by plane – Malpensa airport

The main international airport is Malpensa (Milan Malpensa, code MXP). It’s a two runway airport, well connected to the center of the city by public transportation.

  • SEA Aeroporti di Milano – official site of SEA, the firm operating Malpensa and Linate airports.
    • Malpensa Express train leaves every 30 minutes from Terminal 1 and takes around half hour. It arrives at two places into Milan either at Milano Cadorna or Milano Centrale. Several courses take 29 minutes and are non-stop from Milano Cadorna to Malpensa. Consult the schedule at the Malpens Express site for up-to-date info. Ticket: single trip 12 euro (13.50 if bought on train). Ticket must be validated in the station before boarding.
    • For a summary of all the train connections Malpensa-Milano see http://www.orariotrenimalpensa.it/
    • Buses leave every 20 minutes for Centrale Station and Linate airport, costing about 7 euros. Travel can take from 30 minutes (weekends) to 1 hour or more (during weekday mornings).
    • Using a taxi to get from Malpensa to the city centre is expensive: 60-75 euros.
    • You can reach Milan, or the other destinations on the train lines north of Malpensa, such as Varese, Stresa or Domodossola (the entrance on the Italian side of the Sempione tunnel) by a shuttle train connecting the Malpensa train station to the Trenitalia trains departing from Gallarate. This service runs once per hour from 7:10 to 20:10 in the direction Malpensa to Gallarate, and at the minutes .39 from 7:39 to 20:39 from Gallarate to Malpensa. Check the Trenitalia site for connections at the Gallarate station for your final destination. A bus service is also available from the Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of Malpensa to Gallarate Railway Station.

    Milan Getting in by plane – Linate airport

    Some European or national flights arrive at Linate Airport (code LIN). This small, one-runway airport is closer to the city centre than Malpensa, but less well connected by public transport.

    • There is a public transport bus stop for the 73 line outside the terminal building. This goes to San Babila Square, in the city centre, which is served by metro line MM1. The bus runs every ten minutes and costs €1. This bus service is managed by ATM, the public transport society of Milan. You can buy the ticket from the newsagent or the ATM vending machines. With the same ticket, you can transfer to one or more buses, trams or subways in a 75 minute period. You can also directly use a comprehensive ticket to many places in the suburbs. You can obtain information and a timetable from the ATM web site. The “Direction SAN BABILA M1” lists the stops from outside Milan (from Segrate San Felicino) passing trough Linate Airport and going to the city center of Milan (end of line in San Babila Square). The “Direction S.FELICINO” lists the stops from the city center (San Babila Square) to the town of Segrate San Felicino passing through Linate Airport. Buses leave approximately every 10-20 minutes.
    • A bus service, operated by Malpensa Shuttle connects Malpensa airport to Linate airport (timetables, fares and ticket booking on website). The trip takes 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic conditions.
    • Taxis from Linate to the city centre cost 12-18 euros.

    Milan Getting in by plane – Orio al Serio airport

    Some budget airlines fly into Orio al Serio Airport (BGY), about 45km north-east of Milan near the city of Bergamo. Ryanair refers to this as Milan Bergamo Airport. Public transport into Milan is slightly less convenient than Malpensa or Linate:

    • Trains to Milan leave from Bergamo station, which you can get to by shuttle bus or taxi, but is quite far from the airport. Buses to Bergamo are run by ZANI and take 10 minutes, at a cost of around €1.50. Trains from Bergamo to Milan run every 30-60 minutes and take around 1 hour. Adult one way fare approx €4.
    • Bus: The bus leaves for Milan from immediately outside the arrivals section of the airport, and from v. Ferrante Aporti on the east side of Central Station in Milan for all the companies below.
    • Autostradale run a direct bus from Orio Airport to Milano Centrale station, which is probably the best choice. Departure times may vary but buses generally run every half hour during the day, less often at night, and take about 1 hour or more. Beware cutting things too fine, however, because the highway ti Milan is very crowded during weekdays. Adult one way fare €6.70. Tickets are sold in Orio Al Serio Airport in Bergamo and at the Central Train Station in Milan. Be at the Milan Bus stop at least 15 minutes before nominal departure time or you may get left behind.
    • Zani Viaggi also run a bus service from Bergamo Airport to Milano Centrale station with a stop at the Cascina Gobba MM3 station on the North Eastern outskirts of Milan. Adult fare €6.70 one way, tickets sold at an office in the airport or online.
    • Terravision has a bus service from from Orio Airport to Milan.
    • Taxis will set you back maybe €100 from Orio to Milan.

    Milan Getting in by train

    The main railway station is Central Station, which is served by Trenitalia, the State Railways and TreNord, the regional Railways. Regular trains serve all Italian cities (Turin, Venice, Rome, Naples, Florence and many others), and some European cities (Barcelona, Zurich, Geneva, Munich, Paris, Stuttgart, Zagreb, Vienna)

    Note that the station is not in a great part of town, though in the area there are a number of decent budget hotels and some business-oriented international brand hotel. In general the area south of the station is a business and local government center, pretty much active during working hours but almost deserted at night. Should you need a few supplies for your trip, there is a small supermarket in the western side of the station at ground level, as well as cafes and other small shops. At night, parts of Central Station become a sleeping area for vagrants.

    Central Station is served by MM2 and MM3 metro lines and is an interesting place to see, since it’s very big and built in fascist style. Taxis stops directly in front of the station, the ATM buses on the West side (IV November Square) and buses to Malpensa on the East side (Luigi di Savoia square).

    Another important railway station is Milano Cadorna, served by TreNord and which is also a stop for MM1 and MM2.

    Milano Garibaldi station, is the terminus for most commuter railway lines, and is served by  Trenitalia, and TreNord. It is also a stop for the MM2 and for the Passante.

    Other main train station are Lambrate, Greco-Pirelli, Rogoredo, Porta Genova, Bovisa and Domodossola. The Domodossola station is very close to the city section of the Milan Exhibition Centre – fieramilanocity.

    Milan Getting in by car

    The main highways linking Milan to the rest of Italy are:

    • A1, the Autostrada del Sole (Highway of the Sun), linking Milan to Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples;
    • A4, linking Milan to Turin, Brescia, Bergamo, Verona and Venice;
    • A8, the Autostrada dei Laghi (Highway of the Lakes), linking Milan to Como Lake, Maggiore Lake and Switzerland.
    • A7, linking Milan to Genoa.

    The main highway operating company is Societa’ Autostrade.

    Because of heavy traffic, it is strongly recommended not to drive in Milan during working days. Driving is much better during weekends. Perhaps you should leave your car in one of the well-marked car parks near the highway ring: they’re managed by ATM and are easily connected with Milan undergroud lines but they close at around midnight. They’re near highway exits in Cascina Gobba (East), Lampugnano (West) and San Donato (SouthEast). If you must drive in Milan during weekdays, then make sure you have an up-to-date map showing the one-way system.

    Milan Getting in by bus

    FS Garibaldi Train Station is also Milan Bus terminal. International and long distance buses arrive and depart mainly from new bus station, located in front of Porta Garibaldi train station (metro line 2 station GARIBALDI or SBahn station GARIBALDI PASSANTE).

    Attention: former “station” located in Piazza Castello, in front of the Castello Sforzesco, doesn’t exist anymore since some years, but often on guides is still quoted.

    The main national bus lines are operated by Autostradale but there are many other small companies offering even international travel.

    Getting around

    ATM operates a public transport network which is pretty efficient (especially the underground lines and the streetcars). Single tickets cost 1.50 euro and are available from newsstands, bars and automatic ticket machines in metro stations. Daily and two-day tickets are available in several newsstands (including subway newsstands) and the tourist information office.

    Single tickets are valid for 75 minutes, during which you can use them on as many trams and buses as you like and for one metro ride and for one ride on the urban part of the suburban train. Your time starts once you validate it by inserting it into a box which prints the date and time on it. These are found inside trams and buses and at the turnstiles at the metro.

    If you’ve first used a single ticket on a bus or tram you must also validate it when you enter the metro or before taking the urban part of the suburban train and every time you board on a new bus or tram, as well.

    • The Metro (short for Metropolitana, the logo is a big white M on a red background) has four lines, each commonly identified by a color as shown below, and is the best way to get around if you’re near a station. The lines are: MM1, red (rossa); MM2, green (verde); MM3, yellow (gialla); MM5, Cyan (viola) . The last trains run at around midnight (2 a.m. on Saturday nights). A fifth line will start construction in the next years.
    • The Suburban Railway System (the logo is a big green S on a blue background) includes a special line known as Passante, usually considered the fifth subway line. Note that suburban trains run less often than Metro trains (depending on the line, they range from 1 to 4 per hour) but, as some lines share the tracks and the stations, you can expect as many as 10 trains per hour in central Milan between Lancetti and Porta Vittoria stations. These lines are usually marked with a large blue line on maps. In addition to providing an urban service inside Milan, the major service of the S lines is to connect the suburbs, in a range of 30-50 kilometers from Milano, with frequent stops.
    • Trams run above-ground on rail lines running through the streets. Being above ground means you get a view of what you’re passing, so if you don’t need to go far they’re convenient and fun.
    • Buses should probably be your third public transport option. Less comfortable than the metro and trams, but more routes to choose from.

    ATM Tram and Buses service stops around 2 am. Please note, however, that some lines end their service earlier and some do not have a night service at all. In any case check your route and timetable in advance if you want to travel at late night.

    • Taxis are pretty expensive, the best ways to catch a taxi is from taxi stands or by phone booking. The main taxi companies answer to phone numbers 02.40.40 and 02.69.69. A special phone number 848.814.781 allow you to be automatically to the nearest taxi stand. It is charged at local phone charge, but it is only available from wired landlines (both private and public phone), but not from cellular or mobile phone. If you book a taxi by phone you’ll start paying from the moment the driver accepts the call and comes to pick you up.
    • Cars are definitely not a good idea to get into the city centre. Like most major cities traffic is a considerable problem, not to mention the hassle of parking. During working hours traffic is often blocked, inside the city as well as on the highway ring surrounding it. It is much better at night, but you’ll probably have problems finding a place to leave the car near enough to nightlife attractions.
    • Several buses connect suburban cities and towns surrounding Milan. Some are managed by ATM. You can travel on most of them with an inter-urban ticket (biglietto interurbano) which are sold in two forms: including travel in Milan or without. In the without form you can only go to the end of the line, while with the cumulative version you can transfer to any ATM line. There are several rules and distance limits which apply – check on them.
    • Walking is definitely a possibility, and although Milan is a large city this is an excellent way of imbibing the culture of the place. No matter how hot the day, one will see elegantly dressed people of both sexes in cutting or perhaps timeless fashion with not a drop of sweat. There are many places to sit, apart from the ubiquitous cafes, especially in the parks. Get a decent map of the city before setting out though, as the roads do not always maintain a straight line, and the various piazza can be confusing to the newcomer. In the many parks, there are dog only areas, but one should always be careful when walking as the two things one will see on the ground in the streets are cigarette ends and dog feces.

    Based on work by users of Wikitravel. revised and updated by Enrico
    Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0.