Milan Expo 2015: What It Is, Why You Should Go & How To Get There

Photo by Luca Mascaro
Photo by Luca Mascaro

This May all eyes are on Milan, Italy’s often overlooked northern city, for the 2015 World Expo. Returning to Milan for the first time since 1906, the six month long Milan Expo 2015 (from May 1 to October 31) will feature 130 countries and 53 national pavilions. More than 8 million tickets have already been sold, making Milan the number one place to visit in 2015 according to the New York Times and giving YOU great reason to visit Milan too!

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The magnificent Duomo never fails to awe. This year, Milan has even more to offer. Photo by Gina Mussio

What is an “Expo?”

An Expo is a large exposition dedicated to a topic of universal interest. The first Expo was held in London in 1851. Its success prompted other countries to hold similar events, eventually starting a tradition. Now, the Expo is held every five years in a different city throughout the world to present new technologies and discuss the relating challenges that mankind faces.

With the theme, “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life,” Italy decided to present itself to the world through one of its most characterizing aspects: food and nutrition. In this city steeped in culinary tradition, Milan Expo 2015 seeks to open a dialogue about the “problems of nutrition and the resources of our planet” by exploring traditional cultural values of food as well as the use of new technologies.

53 countries have built a unique pavilion to display their products, host events and more. The other participating countries have set up spaces in 9 clusters separated by specific foods such as coffee, cacao, rice, spices and fruits, or by specific sub-categories of the Expo’s main theme, such as islands, the sea and food; food and nutrition in dry zones; or bio-Mediterranean.

 What is there to do?

Risotto milanese with saffron, a popular dish in Milan

The Expo is prime time to eat! Try the risotto milanese with saffron, a popular dish in Milan.

Milan World Expo is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day for the entire six months with in-depth analysis during the day, including conferences and debates on the global and social challenges to healthy, safe and sufficient food world wide. Expo by night is devoted to entertainment, with exclusive shows by Cirque du Soleil, country-by-country events and, of course, plenty of food tastings!

Located in the heart of northern Italy, the 2015 World Expo also provides a great starting point for side trips and continuing travel. Explore Milan extensively, from the Duomo to the Last Supper and aperitivi along the recently restored Navigli. Or, head north. From Piedmont to Friuli Venezia-Giulia, cities across northern Italy are prepared to welcome visitors and share with them their art, architecture and, especially, cuisine!

How do I get there?

Milano Metro Map (wikicommons: Ita140188)

With two major train stations and a far-reaching metro, it’s simple to navigate Milan.

Fly directly into Milano Malpensa airport internationally. From there, you can take a bus, a taxi or the airport transfer train into Milan’s central train station, Milano Stazione Centrale. Flights into Milano Linate airport also have bus connections every 30 minutes to the central train station. Smaller flights from Europe, such as Ryanair, land in the Bergamo airport, Orio al Serio. From there it takes about an hour by bus to travel to the central train station. (Read our article: How to take public transport in Milan to navigate the city like a true Milanese!)

The Expo is located in the northwest of Milan, covering ​​approximately 1.1 million square feet in the zone of Rho and Pero, near the Fiera Milano fairgrounds. With an expected 20 million visitors, it’s important to buy tickets in advance here to be sure you’re able to attend and to avoid the hassle of getting them the day of the event.

Milan has a lot to offer a traveler, and this year even more. In Italy, food really is life, and through the 2015 Milan Expo, Italy has the chance to show its food heritage to the world and share in the food heritage of the world. See the city alive with visitors and events, then make your way across northern Italy to see it for yourself!

12 Comments

  • Jackie J. says:

    Hi, Thank you for this blog post. Can you tell me where you are getting your info on the Expo by night schedule? I can’t find specifics on the Expo anywhere, even their website 🙁 See you in Rome in May!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jackie,

      We found reference to the nightlife on the Expo website, though there isn’t a specific schedule posted yet. Keep checking back as the date nears, or check out this Expo Milano 2015 Nightlife Facebook site. Have a great trip!

  • ADELINE says:

    Hi, what is the best way to get to Cremona? My family and I are in search of a violin tour in Cremona but only found one, which was priced outrageously. Do you know of any local tour guides/subject matter expert to guide us? We will be in Milan in June. Appreciate any help or suggestions.
    Thanks! And see you in Pompeii/Mt Vesuvius, Rome and Venice in June 🙂 Can’t wait.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Adeline,

      Cremona can be reached by train directly from Milan in about an hour. By car, it’s just off the A21 autostrada and takes nearly the same amount of time. Unfortunately we don’t have any tours running in Cremona at the time, but perhaps this website can help you create a self guided tour. We can’t wait to see you in June!

  • Frank says:

    Great article! I was in Milan last month and i’m thinking to come back for Expo2015. My fear is to find high prices for hotel, what do you think about?
    I read about an offer by milanocard (www.milanocard.it) the local tourist card, for a special package card+ticket expo + 20% off for hotel, i have to see it.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Frank,

      Thank you, we’re happy you liked it! Though we don’t follow hotel prices year-round, it is very likely that hotel prices will rise during the Expo in and around Milan as travelers come from all around the world. Still, you can search for hotels outside of Milan for a bit of a lower price in areas like the Monza-Brianza region, very near to Milan by train, car or metro depending on what city you’re in. It’s also likely that the spring and autumn months will cost a bit less than the high season June-September. Perhaps getting a package deal like you suggested from the milanocard could be another option to saving a bit of money. Be sure to check out our Milan tours to get the most of your time in the city! We’re sure you’ll have a great trip!

  • Aldo says:

    All right. What you have to know is that many pavilions will not be finished on time, not even in a month. The internal ways of Expo are still not paved. Not talking about finishing but structures. What’s more alarming, those few pavilions completed will be not tested due to the dramatic delay. It means no safety at all. Not to mention corruption, dirtiness, total lack of connections, run-down trains…

  • Fra says:

    Hi everybody, I’m italian and I suggest you to find an accomodation outside Milano and the buy a weekly train ticket to get there. In Expo’s period there are a lot of events in other towns, surely less expensive. For example http://www.my-novara.com/2015/04/not-envy-expo/

  • Could be an interesting experience. I saw some plans of the pavilions of certain countries and they look really nice. Some very weird, indeed!

  • Sabrina says:

    Wow….I checked the Milan weather http://www.timejones.com/Weather/Italy/Lombardy/Milano it’s a perfect summer….and its a brilliant idea to visit Milano Exp and get around!

  • Frank says:

    Hi! In the end i came back to Milan for Expo….was amazing, really i never ever seen anything like this. All pavillons are completed and, especially someone is breathtaking!

    In the end the hotel price was good, i paid an average of 120€/night for a double room (maybe also because i used the promotion of the milanocard saving 20% ). Good deal the local city card, for 39€ i had the card with free transport and accesso to museum and also an expo ticket with fast track http://www.milanocard.it/project/milanoexpocard-milan-expo2015-italy-hands.

    Abou the pavillons i suggest to visit Brazil and USA. Don’t miss the show of the three of life in the evening..is very exciting.

    I really suggest to everyone to visit Expo!!

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