milan things to know before you visit italy

Things You Need to Know Before You Visit Milan

Milan is Italy’s fast-paced modern metropolis, renowned for its world-conquering fashion industry, supremely stylish inhabitants and achingly hip nightlife. But while it’s a forward-thinking city at heart, you’ll also find classic European elegance in abundance. The Gothic grandeur of Milan Cathedral, one of the world’s largest churches, serves as a reminder of the country’s unrivalled architectural heritage.

Meanwhile, cavernous museums like the Pinacoteca di Brera are veritable treasure troves of Renaissance-era art. After a hard day’s work, the Milanese know how to unwind in style, with aperitivo, the time-honoured tradition of pre-dinner cocktails and nibbles, proving a particularly alluring local custom. This Milan Travel Kit lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Italy.

Related: More posts on Italy

No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. It’s all compiled in this Milan travel kit. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Milan.

Milan Basics

  • Primary language: Italian
  • Plug types: C, F and L
  • Electricity: 230 V
  • Currency: Euro (€)
  • International dialling code: +39 02
  • Emergency telephone number: 112

Best time to visit

Milan has a mild continental climate with rather cold and moist winters and pretty hot and steamy summers. Average temperatures range from 0ºC in winter to 26ºC in summer. Protected by the Alps on the north, Milan has a yearly average of 7 rainy days per month. The rainiest months are April, May and October. You can also expect snowfall during winter. The sunniest months of the year are July and September. Summer, from June to August, is peak tourist season, hotel and flight prices rise accordingly. May and September are pleasant times to visit, the weather is warm and hotel and flight prices are more affordable than during summer.

Getting into Milan

Milan-Malpensa International Airport

Milan-Malpensa Airport sits 49 km northwest of the city centre. With 2 terminals and 2 runways, it’s the largest and busiest airport in northern Italy. There are several transfer options to reach central Milan:

  • A taxi takes around 50 minutes to reach the city centre and costs roughly €90. Taxi ranks can be found outside the arrivals hall, at the Exit Gate 6 of Terminal 1 and at the Exit Gate 4 of Terminal 2.
  • A train takes 60 minutes and costs €13. The train station is at the underground level of Terminal 1.
  • A shuttle bus takes around 50 minutes and costs €8. The bus stop is outside the arrival hall, at Exit Gate 3 of Terminal 1 and Exit Gate 7 of Terminal 2. It’s the cheapest way to get to central Milan from Malpensa Airport.
  • Car rental agencies can be found in the arrivals hall of each Terminal.
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Milan/Bergamo Airport

Located about 45 km northwest of Milan, Orio al Serio International Airport is also known as Il Caravaggio International Airport. It’s often simply called Milan/Bergamo Airport, due to its position just southeast of Bergamo. It’s one of the busiest airports in northern Italy. There are several transfer options to reach central Milan:

  • A taxi takes around 50 minutes and costs roughly €85. Taxi ranks can be found directly outside the arrivals hall.
  • A train takes around 80 minutes and costs from €7. You need to catch a bus to get to the train station located in Bergamo, 3.5 km from the airport.
  • A bus takes around 60 minutes and costs around €5. The bus stop can be found outside the arrival hall. It’s the cheapest way to get to central Milan from Bergamo Airport.
  • Car rental car agencies can be found in the arrivals hall.

Linate Airport

Third and smallest international airport of Milan, Linate mostly handles European and domestic flights in a 3-storey terminal. It sits only 7 km southeast of the city centre. There are several transfer options to reach central Milan:

  • A taxi takes around 40 minutes and costs roughly €15. Taxi ranks can be found directly outside the arrivals hall at the Exit Gate 5.
  • A bus takes around 30 minutes and costs around €1.50. Bus parking can be found outside the arrival hall at the Exit Gate 6. It’s the cheapest way to get to central Milan from Linate Airport.
  • Car rental agencies can be found in the arrival hall.

Milan Central Railway Station

Milan Central Railway Station sits just northeast of the city centre. It’s a splendid building that features classic and modern architectural elements. The transfer options available from here include Metro, bus and taxi.

Getting around the city

Milan’s city centre is pretty compact and can be explored on foot. Getting around the city is fairly easy, thanks to the convenient public transport services. Managed by ATM (Azienda Transporti Milanesi (Milanese Transport Company) the Metro, bus and tram networks use the same ticketing system: 

  • A single ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 90 minutes. A 1-day pass costs €4.50. A 1-week pass costs €11.30.
  • Tickets and passes can be purchased in metro stations, newsstands, tobacco shops or via the ATM Milano app.
  • You can also buy a 24-, 48- or 72-hour MilanoCard which includes all public transportation, an audioguide and free or discounted entry to over 500 attractions. The MilanoCard can be purchased online.

The Milan Tram network is extensive and offers one of the fastest ways to get around the city. It operates from 4.30am to 2.30am. However, don’t forget to stamp your ticket when getting on the tram as controls are frequent.

Alternatively you can take the Milan Metro which is the longest in Italy. The Line M3 is the most popular with tourists as it stops by attractive spots such as the Duomo, Milano Centrale and Via Montenapoleone (a popular shopping street). It operates from 6am to 12am.

If you plan on hiring a cab, you should go to the nearest taxi rank or call Radio Taxi (02 7777) to book one, as taxis rarely stop when hailed on the street. By day, there’s a starting rate of €3.20, then €1.09 per kilometre and €0.47 per minute of waiting time (red light, traffic jam). After the first 8 km, the price per kilometre becomes €1.50.  Most cabs accept the payment of the fare by credit card, but it’s better to ask the driver before getting in the car. Just in case, double-check that the driver starts the meter. Uber, MyTaxi and it Taxi are just a few of the taxi apps you can use in Milan.

Another option is bike sharing! BikeMI is the name of Milan’s bike-sharing system. It features traditional and electric bikes. You can register through an app, online or at an ATM. The bike-sharing service runs from 7am to 1am. The first 30 minutes are free, then it’s €0.50 every 30 minutes.

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