On the road on the streets of Milan. Which means of transport we used and why riding a tram in Milan is something special – you can read all about it here!
Most visitors will have their first encounter with Milan’s bus network when they arrive at the airport. Whether you arrive at Milan-Bergamo (Orio al Serio), Milan-Malpensa or Milan Linate, shuttle buses await you everywhere. These go as far as the main railway station, Milano Stazione Centrale.
You can’t miss the ticket sellers and the prices (depending on the airport) are also okay. We landed at the airport in Bergamo. For €5 per person, we were comfortably driven to Milan in about 40 minutes.
The bus is often a slow way to get around Milan’s city centre, especially during rush hour. We often used the bus from the Portello district as a feeder to a metro station. Our experience was that the departure times were often very different from the local information (rather too late than too early!).
The metro network in Milan consists of 5 metro lines. Most stations can be used with the municipal (urban) ticket. The exceptions are:
Line M1: Pero, Rho Fiera, Sesto Rondò and Sesto 1 ° maggio FS.
Line M2: Cologno South, Cologno Centro, Cologno North, Vimodrone, Cascina Burrona, Cernusco sul Naviglio, Villa Fiorita, Cassina de ‘Pecchi, Bussero, Villa Pompea, Gorgonzola, Cascina Antonietta, Gessate, Assago Milanofiori North and Assago Milanofiori Forum.
Metroline 5 (Purple Line) runs autonomously. On our first visit to Milan, I enthusiastically stood right at the front and enjoyed the ride in the dark tunnel. There is even a video of this ride:
At rush hour, like in any big city, the metro gets quite crowded. During the day, the trains run quite frequently. The frequency decreases somewhat after 9 pm. Around midnight, metro services are discontinued and the routes are covered by night buses. From 5.30 a.m. tomorrow, the trains start rolling again.
For us, the metro in Milan was one of the most important means of transport. The network of lines is easy to follow and everything in the stations is very well signposted.
For us, the tram was one of the most important means of transport in Milan. today, the route network comprises 18 lines with a total length of 170 kilometres.
The first horse-drawn trams were operated in Milan as early as 1881. A little later, in 1893, the first electrically powered tram ran through the city. Edison had put it into operation as a test line and since the operation worked well, the lines were gradually electrified.
At first, the trams still ran on the left. In 1926, after numerous conversions, they switched to right-hand traffic. The changeover took place completely in one night!
Today, a wide variety of trains criss-cross Milan. The class 1500 from 1928 can still be found on the rails today. But newer trains, built as recently as 2008/09, also run in the city.
A little curiosity on the side:
In 1998, 11 old trains were sold to San Francisco and are now running through the city!
Line 1 – City tour included
Tram line 1 has been running through the city since 1929. Here you can still find old vehicles that have retained their charm and rumble through the city centre. The wooden benches are unupholstered, dark and with brass fittings. The train is dimly lit by special lamps. But I particularly liked the sliding windows and hinged wooden doors on the train. When the doors open, a step automatically folds out, reminiscent of the early 20th century.
Seven of the twenty stops on tram line 1 are in the immediate vicinity of Milan’s main sights:
- Piazza della Repubblica:
The square is located near the main railway station and is one of the green spaces in the city centre. During a short walk around the park, you can admire the statue of the activist Giuseppe Mazzini. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful railway station.
- Piazza Cavour:
The Villa Reale is located at this station. The magnificent building in neoclassical style was built in 1790-1793 and inhabited by Count Barbiano di Belgiojoso.
Via Montenapoleone is one of the chicest shopping streets in the city. Here you will find shops of the most famous designers, inviting you to window shop.
The Teatro alla Scala is the most famous opera house in Milan. We almost walked past it, as the building looks quite inconspicuous from the outside. For opera lovers, a visit to a performance is a must!
The Duomo is known far beyond the borders of Milan and is the city’s landmark. Visiting the Duomo and walking across its roof was an unforgettable experience for me. It is best to buy tickets online in advance. The square in front of the cathedral is a popular meeting place for travellers and locals. Unfortunately, not only the pigeons but also pushy street vendors are a real nuisance.
Directly in front of the square is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II , which is well worth a visit.
- Piazza Castello/Castle Sforzesco:
In the north-west of the old town lies the Castello Sforzesco. It was built in 1450 and is truly imposing. There are several museums and exhibitions in the rooms.
Behind the castle is the adjacent Sempione Park. A walk is worthwhile, because here you can also discover the old Milan football stadium and the peace gate Arco della Pace, in addition to the aquarium.
- Piazza Virgilio:
From this stop, just walk a few steps down Via Metastasio until you reach the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Here, in an annex, hangs what is probably Milan’s most famous painting – “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci. Here, too, you should buy tickets online in advance. Admission is by appointment only.
But please do not forget the church, it is beautiful and unfortunately “overlooked” by many visitors.
Ticket variants and prices
There are 2 types of tickets in Milan – Urban and Suburban. For most journeys within the city, you only need the Urban Ticket. Within the metro network, they are valid up to the stations Molino Dorino M1, Sesto Marelli M1, Cascina Gobba M2, Famagosta M2 and Abbiategrasso M2. The M3 and M5 lines are entirely within the city limits.
The following stations are excluded from the urban fare – you need a suburban ticket there:
Line M1: Pero, Rho Fiera, Sesto Rondò and Sexten 1st May FS
M2 line: Cologno Süd, Cologno Centro, Cologno Nord, Vimodrone, Cascina Burrona, Cernusco sul Naviglio, Villa Fiorita, Cassina de’ Pecchi, Bussero, Villa Pompea, Gorgonzola, Cascina Antonietta, Gessate, Assago Milanofiori Nord and Assago Milanofiori Forum.
Attention! There has been a change in the ticket system in 2019. Except for the outer locations of the green metro line 2, all metro lines now have the standard ticket of € 2. Each additional tariff zone costs € 0.40 more.
If you forget to buy a suburban ticket, you will not be able to get out of the turnstiles at the metro exit. You can then buy an exit ticket for €5.
Ticket prices Urban:
Municipal ticket: €2.00
Validity: 90 minutes after stamping. Valid for a single journey on the metro or rail network, including the Trenord light rail lines and the “Passante Ferroviario” (Municipal Rail Network) and bus. One may interrupt the journey and also return.
Package of 10: €18.00
Validity: 10 journeys each 90 minutes after stamping. Each ticket is valid for one single journey on the metro or rail network, including the Trenord light rail lines and the “Passante Ferroviario” (Municipal Rail Network). May not be used by more than one passenger at a time.
BI4 4-Journey Integrated Ticket: €8.00
Validity: 4 journeys of 90 minutes each after stamping. Each journey can include a one-way trip on the metro or rail network, including the Trenord light rail lines and the “Passante Ferroviario” (Municipal Railway Network). On ATM routes only, on Sundays and public holidays, this ticket is valid for an unlimited number of journeys until 1 p.m. if stamped before that time; On evenings until the end of the journey, the ticket is valid for an unlimited number of journeys if stamped after 8 p.m..
Day ticket: €7.00
Validity: 24 hours after stamping.
Three-day ticket: €12
Validity: 36 hours after stamping.
Evening ticket: € 3.00
Validity: from 8 p.m. until closing time on the day of stamping. The ticket is valid for unlimited travel on the city ATM network.
Luggage ticket: €1.50
Validity: 90 minutes after stamping. The ticket is valid for the transport of a single piece of luggage for which a ticket is required. On the Milan city network, a standard Milan ticket can be used instead of a luggage ticket. As with all tickets, luggage tickets should be stamped at the beginning of the journey; luggage tickets should be presented to ticket inspectors together with your ticket or travel card if requested.
Where can I buy the tickets?
The “bad” news first. You can’t get tickets on the bus or tram. There are also no ticket machines at the stops!
In the city, however, there are over 2200 authorised sales points in bars or tabaco shops (notice on the door). Some hotels also sell tickets.
In the stations of the metro lines you will always find a vending machine, the tickets are also valid in the tram or on the bus!
We particularly liked the ATM MILANO APP variant. Here you can buy several variants (urban single ticket: €2.00, urban day ticket: €7.00, ) and download them to your mobile phone.