Milan, Italy has a modern public transportation system that connects almost all areas of the city, as well as its airports, via a combination of subway lines, trams and buses. The city has five main train stations, four Metro (subway) lines, and an extensive tram network. There's also a suburban rail system that reaches the bedroom cities of Milan. Buses also ply the city, but are most useful for connecting areas outside the city center.
Visitors to Milan intent on sightseeing will be able to get just about anywhere they need to go by way of tram or Metro. Metro is the fastest option, but many travelers prefer trams, in part because they can see where they're going on the above-ground tram cars.
How to Use Public Transit in Milan
Milan's public transportation services are run by Azienda Trasporti Milanese, or ATM for short. The ATM website has an English-language component, system maps and a route finder tool that lets you chart the best path from points A to B. ATM has an app, ATM Milano Official App, available for smartphones or Apple, that allows you to buy tickets and travel passes and access the system map.
Here are some basic how-tos for using public transportation in Milan:
- Milan has four subway lines, called Metropolitana (Metro for short) and identified by signs with a bold "M" and the background color representing the respective lines. The four lines are Line (linea) 1, the red line, Line 2, the green line, Line 3, the yellow line and Line 5, the purple line. Some of the suburban rail lines crisscross the city and are shown in blue on maps.
- Fares are determined by zone, with a simple ticket covering zones Mi1 to Mi3, the core of Milan and where virtually all attractions, shopping areas, main train stations, and tourist hotels are located.
- As of July 2019, tickets for Metro, trams, buses and suburban rail lines within zones Mi1-Mi3 cost €2 and are good for 90 minutes, including transfers.
- One and 3-day passes good for unlimited rides in zones Mi1-Mi3 cost €7 and €12, respectively.
- The Milano Card travel pass, priced at €11 for 24 hours, €17 for 48 hours or €19 for 72 hours, includes unlimited public transportation access plus free or deeply discounted access to several major museums and attractions.
- Tickets can be purchased in Metro stations, at tabacchi (tobacco shops) and newsstands, or via the mobile app. Note that most tabacchi and newsstand vendors will only accept cash for tickets.
- On Metro, you need either your ticket or QR code (if you're using the mobile app) to enter and exit the train platforms. On buses and trams, you need to stamp your ticket in one of the machines when you board the vehicle.
- The Metro system is largely accessible to wheelchair users and the physically impaired, with escalators, elevators and in some stations, stairlifts to allow passengers to reach the trains. Modern trams are wheelchair accessible though some vintage models are not. For more information, see the ATM mobility page or Accessible Milan.
Public Transportation Hours of Operation
- Metro runs Monday to Saturday from 5.30 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. On Sundays and holidays, it opens at 6.00 a.m. Line M5 closes at 12:00 a.m.
- Trams operate from 4.30 a.m. to 2.30 a.m.
- Buses operate from 5.30 a.m. to 1.45 a.m.
- On Christmas Day and May 1 (Labor Day), all services run from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Getting from Milan's Airports to Central Milan
Milan's largest airport is Malpensa International, located northwest of the city. Malpensa can be reached by train using the Malpensa Express (MXP) from Centrale, Garibaldi or Cadorna stations. Tickets can be purchased online, in person at the airport or train station, or via the ATM mobile app.
Malpensa is also served by bus service to and from Milano Centrale. Malpensa Shuttle departs every twenty minutes. Shuttles also connect Malpensa to the smaller Linate Airport east of Milan.
Getting Around Milan
The majority of sights in Milan are within zones Mi1 and Mi2 and are therefore easily accessible via public transport. Here are the stops for some of Milan's most popular attractions.
- The Castello Sforzesco is directly behind the Cairoli stop.
- From the Porta Venezia station, one can easily visit the Museum of Science and Technology, situated in a former monastery.
- The Conciliazione station, the first stop west of the Cadorna station, is near the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Leonardo da Vinci's ''Last Supper'' can be viewed.
- From the Duomo stop, one can stroll not only the Duomo but through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele to La Scala opera house.
- To reach the popular Navigli neighborhood, head to the Porta Genoa or Piazza P.za Ventiquattro Maggio stops.
Getting Out of Milan
Thanks to Milan's geographic position in Northern Italy, coupled with its extensive rail system, it's a convenient point of departure for exploring neighboring countries in Europe or for reaching the rest of Italy. EuroCity trains connect from Milano Centrale to Zurich, Geneva, Bern, and other Swiss cities, and Thello trains offer direct service to Paris' Gare de Lyon station. It's also possible to catch direct trains to Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Nice, France.