How to Take Public Transport in Milan

Central Station (flickr: Graeme Churchard)
Central Station (flickr: Graeme Churchard)
Transport in Milan

Milan isn’t just a beautiful city… it’s also easy to get around by public transport

Between the Milan subway, bus, and tram, public transport in Milan can seem daunting! But it is possible to get around the city with ease… even when you don’t want to shell out for a cab, and when you can’t possibly take one more step.

Milan’s public transportation system connects across the city center, making it easy to get around the city’s most popular attractions. Opting for public transportation is a great “green” way to travel. It’ll also save you lots of time and money (if you don’t take cabs, you can avoid traffic and dropping lots of cash)… which means more to spend on shopping! (Don’t miss our post on where to shop in Milan!).

Here’s how to get around Milan, how to get to Milan from the airport, and how to take day trips… all using public transport!

Milan airport transport

Malpensa Express. Photo by Timothy Vollmer

Getting to Milan from the airport

Many tourists wind up taking a taxi from the airport to Milan’s city center—at a cost of about €100!

Instead, take advantage of the much cheaper, and faster, public transport options.

One great option is the Malpensa Express train, which runs from Milan’s main airport to the Cadorna FN, Stazione Centrale and Porta Garibaldi subway stops (€11 for a one-way ticket; takes about 40 minutes). There also are shuttle buses, like the Malpensa Shuttle to the Malpensa and Linate airports (€16 round trip), Air Bus Linate from the Linate airport to the Stazione Centrale (€9 round trip) and the Orio Shuttle (€5 one way) from the Orio al Serio airport.

Getting around Milan

Milan’s public transport options include the subway, bus and tram. Prices for tickets and passes valid for the subway, bus and tram include €1.50 one way, €4.50 for an unlimited day pass, €11.30 for a weekly pass and €35 for a monthly pass, with further discounts for children, students and senior citizens. Each ticket is valid for 90 minutes (and remember to always validate your ticket in the machine as soon as you step onto the bus or tram!).

Tickets can be purchased at the self-service machines, at newsstands, and at the ATM Point service centers, located in the Duomo, Centrale, Cadorna, Loreto, Romolo and Garibaldi stations.

Ticket collectors are usually dressed in civilian clothing and are constantly checking—be sure to always keep your ticket after validating it on the subway, bus or tram!

Want to get exact directions for how to get from point A to point B? Check out the GiroMilano feature on the ATM website.

Taking the Milan subway

Milan metro map

The Milan subway map

When you want to jump on the subway, just look for the illuminated red and white “M” lampposts, which signify where there’s a metro stop.

Milan has four subway lines. Each has a different color and number; transfers between lines can be made at the Cadorna, Centrale, Duomo, Loreto, Porta Garibaldi and Zara stops.

The M5 is Milan’s ultra-modern new line—it’s up and running, but parts are still under construction for expansion. When traveling past the dotted red line into the suburban areas, be sure to purchase a ticket with an extension.

Subway trains usually run from 6am to 1am, but times may vary depending on the line.

Using Milan’s bus and tram system

Public transport in Milan

When in Milan, try to take the 94 bus!

Milan’s public transit system offers more than 80 eco-friendly bus routes. And, believe it or not, most of the buses do run on time!

We recommend traveling with the 94, which circles the city center and popular tourist highlights. Also useful: A night route has recently been implemented that follows the stops along the metro when it is closed.

When you want to get off the bus, be sure to press the button to alert the conductor… before you arrive at the stop!

The tram, meanwhile, is a fun (and classic) way to travel. These orange-and-yellow or green trams offer service at night, as well, but be prepared to wait for a long time.

The 2, 4, 14 and 16 trams are the most central, all passing by Piazza Duomo.

With either the bus or tram, don’t forget to validate your ticket as soon as you step on.

Using Milan’s rail system for day trips

Getting around Milan by train

Milan’s Central Station, a good starting point for day trips. Photo by Graeme Churchard

Milan is a great base for discovering northern Italian gems by train! The Lago Maggiore and Lago di Como lake regions are easily reachable by the Trenord commuter rail from Cadorna FN and Stazione Centrale stations. You can also reach the nearby mountains, smaller towns like Pavia, Bergamo and Cremona, and larger cities like Bologna, Genova, Turin and Venice.

Bike-sharing in Milan

BikeMi station

BikeMi station

One more alternative to taking a cab (or walking): BikeMi! Milan’s popular bike-sharing initiative is a great way to get around and see the city.

You’ll find many bike stations to pick up and drop off bikes in the city center, making it easy to stop and enjoy the sights. Register on the BikeMi website or at the nearest ATM point for a daily (€2.50), weekly (€6) or annual (€36) subscription.

Bikers are provided a username and password upon registration and enjoy the first 30 minutes of biking free, with an additional €.50 charged per half hour. Be sure to check in every two hours to avoid penalty fees! More information available on the ATM website.

Have any questions about navigating Milan by public transport? Tell us in the comments!

34 Comments

  • Tiana Kai says:

    Great tips! I highly recommend the public transportation to the airport, it was so great and easy enough. I love how their metro and bus systems.

  • Raffaella says:

    Extremely helpful – definitely bookmarking this for my upcoming trip!

  • Alam says:

    I will stay at near city center (Corso Garibaldi 68 Brera, 20121 Milan, Italy (Centro Storico). I need to travel to Bocconi University (Via Roberto Sarfatti, 25, 20100 Milano, Italy) every morning. This is my first time in Milan. Would anyone tell me the quickest and cheapest way to reach Bocconi university from my place.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Alam,
      Milan’s website for public transport makes it easy, here—you put in your start and end addresses and it tells you exactly how to get there. According to the site, you’ll want to take the metro line M2 from the Moscova stop to Porta Genova F.S., get off, and take the bus #9 six stops to Via Bocconi. From there, it’s a less than 5 minute walk. The whole journey should take you 30 minutes. Good luck!

  • Ross Engleman says:

    Is it difficult to access the underground Metro with rolling suit cases? Are there escalators and elevators available at Missori, Centrale FS and Garibaldi FS?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Ross, navigating the metro with suitcases shouldn’t be too difficult as the Missori, Centrale and Garibaldi stations all have escalators and elevators!

  • Jen says:

    I’m considering flying into the Milan airport, but I’m not actually interested in heading into Milan. I’m looking at flying into the Milan airport due to costs, so it wouldn’t make sense to fly there if I’m just going to get hammered just getting away from the airport.

    Do you know what transportation options are like if I wanted to head from the airport to Lake Como? Or to the Aosta Valley area?

    Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jen, to get to Lake Como, we suggest taking the Malpensa Express train towards Milan and get off at the Saronno stop. From there, you can take a regional train to the Como Lago Nord station. If you’re final stop is not Como city center, you can take the bus to the other towns along the lake. To reach Aosta, the best route would be to take the Malpensa Express Train or Malpensa Shuttle to the Cadorna Station in Milan and transfer to the Lampugnano subway stop (red line) and take the Savda Shuttle Bus (tickets can be purchased online). Buon viaggio and let us know if we can help!

  • Kelly says:

    Hello! Your article was very helpful! I will be traveling to Milan to study there for 4 months. I will be flying into Malpensa Airport and I need to get to Via Carducci 30. I’m having trouble finding it on the map. Would a taxi be my best bet or would there be a better way? This will be my first time in Italy and I will have a few suitcases. Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Kelly,

      You can take the train into Grand Central Station from the airport rather easily. From there, take a taxi instead of the metro. You will spend a bit more, but with multiple bags it will be much easier. Plus, they’ll know where to take you! Have fun!

  • clara says:

    hi, I will stay in milan for 2 months and this is my first time there. where to buy monthly tickets for public transport? some website said it can only bought in centrale… thank you.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Clara,

      You can definitely buy monthly tickets in Stazione Centrale, the main train station of the city. There might also be the possibility to get them from an automatic dispenser located in other metro locations, but seeing as how the Stazione Centrale is a sight to see in and of itself, we suggest you go there! Have a great trip!

  • Carmen says:

    Hi, I have a train to catch at 7am at Milano Centrale. My place is near to Bignami Metro station. Will I have enough time to catch the train?

    Appreciate your kind response. Thank u!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Carmen,

      That depends on what time you leave your place, but we suggest giving yourself at least 45 minutes to get from Bignami to Milano Centrale. Have a good trip!

      • Carmen says:

        How early does metro train start operate in Milan? My hotel inform me that from Bignami to Milano Centrale take about 8 min only.

        • Walks of Italy says:

          Hi Carmen,

          Perhaps this page can help you. It states that the lilac line begins at 6 am with trains every three to five minutes. This is to Garibaldi station. From there, you’ll have to take the green line to Milano Centrale. We’re surprised to hear that it would take just 8 minutes, considering you have 8 stops on the lilac line and two on the green line, but if so that’s great! Have a great trip!

      • Carmen says:

        The journey from Bignami to Milano Centrale is going to take 45 min? Also, usually how much time earlier before train departure that I need to be at the train station to catch a train to Venice? Say my train is at 10am. (I have change my train time from 7am to 10am to avoid morning rush)

        • Walks of Italy says:

          It’s hard to say exactly how long it will take, but you will have to change lines from Bignami to get there and each stop takes about three to five minutes so yes, it’s highly possible it will take 45 minutes. We suggest you give yourself an hour to get to the train station and to your train on time with no rushing.

    • Tony says:

      Even by taxi, it would very probably take more than 8 minutes.
      I would suggest Clara to stop at Zara rather than Garibaldi.

  • Lauren says:

    Hi Carmen

    I am going to be in Milan staying right at the Crowne Plaza Malpensa near the airport for two days in September. I would like to tour the main tourist spots in particular the main art galleries and cram as much in as I can. I don’t know where to start with regards transportation (on a budget) and getting around to these places. I don’t even know where these galleries are! Please can you advise me which is the most practical and low cost option? I am a newbie traveler.

    Thanks

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Lauren,

      The best way to get around Milan is by the underground. The metro can take you to nearly every part of the city, and is especially convenient to see the top buildings, churches and galleries! We have many articles that can help you plan your time in Milan, such as where to shop, the best art museum in Milan, and tips for seeing da Vinci’s Last Supper. Have a great trip!

  • Joseph.cilia says:

    I am cameing from BERGAMO airport by bus and it stopes at the metro station them I what to go near the SAN SIRO football pitch ,can you pls tell me which transport I have to take to arrive tks

  • Ian says:

    Hi! Thanks for the article! If I buy a weekly unlimited travel ticket, do I still need to validate it every time I use the bus or tram? And I guess it also needs to go through the metro ticket reader too? Ciao!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Ian,

      No, the pass is unlimited so that is fine. Just be sure to have it with you in case the conductor passes to check. That said, to enter and exit the metro you will need to pass it through the turnstile in any case. Have a great trip!

  • Tamara Thomas says:

    I am flying int Malpensa Aeroporto and I need to get to Hotel Minerva Palace. Does anyone have any suggestions as to which transit i need to take from the airport to the hotel. I fly in March 27,2017.

    Thank you

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Tamara,

      You can take a train from Malpensa into the Stazione Centrale, and from there either a subway or taxi to your hotel. There are also buses that run from the airport into the city, or else you can pay for a taxi.

  • PoNu says:

    Hello, can you tell the best way to go to Arese shopping center from Milano?

  • Ermali says:

    I will be in Milano for 2 days,14-16 april.
    Can you tell me what is better and cheaper for me to use from Malpensa to Central Station and then to San Siro stadium? Also,are there people at ATM machines to take tickets for bus,metro and tram to help me for anything because it will be my first time in Milano?
    Thank you !

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Ermali,

      You can buy tickets for the trains at automated machines that have instructions in a variety of languages. At the airport, you’ll also find plenty of people who will be able to help you. From Malpensa you can take the Malpensa express train straight to the Central Station, and from there the metro to San Siro. There are also buses running from the airport into the center of the city. We’re sure you’ll have a great trip!

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