By Plane -- Milan Malpensa, 45km (28 miles) northwest of the city, is Milan’s major international airport. The Malpensa Express train (www.malpensaexpress.it; tel. 02/7249-4949), costs 13€ one way (or 20€ roundtrip) and leaves from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 with a 30-minute run half-hourly to Cadorna train station, or hourly to Stazione Centrale (45 min.). Buses run directly to Stazione Centrale, a 50-minute journey, with five trips per hour, for 10€ one-way or 16€ round-trip; they’re operated by Malpensa Shuttle (www.malpensashuttle.it; tel. 02/5858-3185) or Autostradale (www.autostradale.it; tel. 02/3008-9000). By taxi, the trip into town costs a wallet-stripping 100€ and takes the same amount of time as the bus -- 50 minutes. We don’t recommend it, but it’s the only option after midnight. Keep in mind that the two terminals are several miles apart; a shuttle bus between them runs 24 hours a day and takes about 15 minutes. Terminal 1 is the larger, newer terminal, and most travelers will leave in and out of here. Older, smaller Terminal 2 mainly serves low-cost airline EasyJet for flights within Europe.
Milan Linate, 7km (4.5 miles) east of the center, handles European and domestic flights. Air Bus (www.atm-mi.it; tel. 02-48-607-607) makes the 25-minute trip by bus every 30 minutes between 6am and midnight to Stazione Centrale for 5€. A roundtrip ticket costs 9€. City bus no. 73 leaves every 10 minutes for the San Babila Metro stop downtown and takes 25 minutes. The express no. X73 is faster and departs every 20 minutes between 7am and 8pm. Tickets for both are 1.50€. A trip into town by taxi costs roughly 20€.
Malpensa Shuttle buses also connect Malpensa and Linate airports with five daily runs between 9:30am and 6:20pm. The trip takes 90 minutes and costs 13€ (roundtrip 26€).
By Train -- Milan is one of Europe’s busiest rail hubs. Trains travel every half-hour to Bergamo (1 hr.), Mantua (2 hr.), and Turin (1 hr. by the AV high-speed train). Stazione Centrale is a half-hour walk northeast of the center, with easy connections to Piazza del Duomo by Metro, tram, and bus. The Metro stop is called Centrale F.S. To buy train tickets, use the multilingual automatic ticket machines, which accept cash, credit cards, and ATM cards (they can even read contactless cards). Keep in mind that the credit-card and ATM functions are sometimes out of order; however, there are typically attendants to help (look for official attendants wearing a vest with the Trenitalia logo, and don’t let “volunteers” help you -- they will often badger you for a tip at the end of the transaction). You may need to validate your ticket in the machines at the beginning of the track as you get on your train, especially if you don’t have an e-ticket.
While Stazione Centrale is Milan’s major station, trains also serve Cadorna (Como and Malpensa airport), and Porta Garibaldi (Lecco and the north). All these stations are on the green Metro Linea 2, Cadorna is also on the red Metro Linea 1.
By Bus -- Long-distance buses are useful for reaching the ski resorts in Valle d’Aosta. Most bus services depart from Lampugnano bus terminal (Metro: Lampugnano) although some originate in Piazza Castello (Metro: Cairoli). Autostradale (www.autostradale.it; tel. 02-5858-7304) operates most of the bus lines and has ticket offices in front of Castello Sforzesco on Piazza Castello, open daily 9am to 6pm, and in front of the Duomo in Passageway 2 next to the TIM mobile phone store, open weekdays 8:30am to 6pm and weekends 9am to 4pm. Savda (www.savda.it; 0165-367-011) runs five daily buses (more in the winter) between Milan Lampugnano and Aosta (2[bf]1/2 hr.; 17€) or Courmayeur (3[bf]1/2 hr.; 19.50€).
By Car -- The A1 autostrada links Milan with Florence (3 hr.) and Rome (6 hr.), while the A4 connects Milan with Verona (2 hr.) and Venice (2[bf]1/2 hr.) to the east and Turin (1 hr.) to the west. All this being said, we don’t recommend trying to drive yourself around Milan. It’s a huge hassle.
By Train -- Milan’s most famous sights are within walking distance of each other, but the public transport system, an integrated system of Metro, trams, and buses, run by ATM (www.atm.it; tel. 02-48-607-607), is a cheap and effective alternative to walking. The Metro closes at midnight (Sat at 1am), but buses and trams run all night. Metro stations are well signposted; trains are speedy, safe, and frequent—they run every couple of minutes during the day and about every 5 minutes after 9pm. Tickets for 90 minutes of travel on Metro, trams, or buses cost 1.50€. (A price increase—with tickets being raised to 2€—may go into effect January 1, 2019. This would most likely impact the special ticket prices listed below as well.) A 24-hour unlimited travel ticket is a better value at 4.50€ and a 2-day ticket goes for 8.25€. Tickets are available at newsstands and Metro stations (all machines have English-language options; the 24-hr. ticket option is listed under “Urban”). Stamp your ticket when you board a bus or tram—there is a 35€ fine (more if not paid on the spot) if you don’t.
Lines 1 (red, with stops at Cairoli for Castello Sforzesco and Duomo for Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Duomo) and 3 (yellow, with a stop at Via Montenapoleone) are the most useful for sightseeing.
By Car -- Driving and parking in Milan are not experiences to be relished. First of all, you'll have to pay the Area C congestion charge of 5€ to enter the centro storico Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 7:30pm. On top of that, the one-way system is complicated, some streets are reserved for public transport only, and there are many pedestrianized areas. Hotels will make parking arrangements for guests -- take advantage of that.
By Taxi -- While you can’t hail a taxi on the street, taxi stands can be found in major piazze and by major Metro stops. There is a taxi stand in Piazza del Duomo and outside Castello Sforzesco; a journey between the two will cost around 7€. Hotel reception staff can call a taxi for you; otherwise, a reliable company is Taxiblu at tel. 02-4040. Meters start at 3.30€ and prices increase by 1.09€ per kilometer. Expect surcharges for waiting time, luggage, late-night travel, and Sunday journeys. At press time, Uber was still operating legally in Milan.
By Bike -- With the streets of the centro storico largely pedestrianized, Milan is a good city for cycling, with a handy bike-sharing program, BikeMi, that is so popular you can’t always find bikes at some stations. The tariff for the pass is very convoluted: For 4.50€ a day or 9€ a week, you can buy a pass that allows 30 minutes of free travel between one station and the next. If you keep the bike longer, you are charged at .50€ per 30 minutes (or part of it) up until 2 hours; thereafter your time is charged at 2€ per hour or part of the hour. Once you return a bike, you have to wait five minutes before you can start another rental. Bike racks are located outside Castello Sforzesco and the Duomo as well as at tram, bus, and metro stops. Buy your pass online (www.bikemi.com), by phone (tel. 02-48-607-607), or at the ATM Points at Centrale, Cadorna, Garibaldi, and Duomo stations (7:45am -- 8pm Monday to Saturday). Another, perhaps easier, option is to use Mobike (www.mobike.com) via the app for iPhone and Android. Mobike is a cashless, station-free bike sharing platform. You can locate bikes, lock and unlock them, and pay via the app. In Milan, Mobike costs .50€ per 30 minutes (or part of it) up to 2 hours.
On Foot -- The attractions of the centro storico are all accessible on foot. From Piazza del Duomo, Via Montenapoleone is a 10-minute walk through Piazza della Scala and along Via Manzoni, and it is a 15-minute walk to Castello Sforzesco. Santa Maria delle Grazie and “The Last Supper” are a 30-minute stroll from Piazza del Duomo on Corso Magenta.
The main tourist office (called IAT, for Informazione e Accoglienza Turistica) is in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele on the corner of Piazza della Scala (www.visitamilano.it; tel. 02-8845-5555). It’s open Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm, and Sunday 10am to 6pm.
Milan developed as a series of circles radiating out from the central hub, Piazza del Duomo. Within the inner circle are most of the churches, museums, and shops of the centro storico. Parco Sempione and Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” are to the west in a posh neighborhood. The slightly grungy yet hip cafe-filled districts of Porta Ticinese and Navigli lie directly south, with genteel Brera and its classy stores, galleries, and restaurants slightly to the north. The mecca of Milanese fashion, the Quadrilatero d'Oro (Golden Quadrilateral), is northeast of the Duomo. North of the center, there’s a burgeoning financial district between Porta Garibaldi and Centrale stations, while the modern towers of the CityLife development rise northwest of Castello Sforesca.