Public transit in Milan is absolutely fantastic. Between trains, buses, trams, and the metro, the city is easily navigable and you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. (Fun fact: the trams are a Milanese invention that were quickly brought to other major cities like Lisbon and San Francisco. So next time you’re on a Cable Car in San Francisco, take a look at some of the similarities!) Over the past few months, I’ve become an expert at navigating all of the various systems, and if you’re planning on coming to Milan in the next few semesters, keep my tips below in mind for your travels.
- Always refill your monthly transit pass. As a student you get a monthly transit pass—it costs 22 euros a month (as of November 2016) and it includes all public transit in Milan (the buses, the metro lines, and the trams). If you get caught without your pass, watch out! The fines they impose can be hefty and bothersome.
- Know the opening hours of the different transit systems. The metro is open from 6am to midnight. If you’re taking an early flight (Hello, budget travel!) or heading home late, don’t bother with the metro but instead hop on a tram or bus as they normally start running early in the morning and run late into the night. Some bus lines also run all the way through the night, giving at least a few options for travel around Milan at all hours.
- Have out-of-town visitors buy a day or weekend pass. If you have friends coming for a weekend to visit you, bring them to a metro stop and get them set up with a 2-day transit pass. A two-day, unlimited use public transit pass costs around 8 euros and is well worth the price.
- Know the important lines all around IES Abroad.
- Metro: Only a five-minute walk from the IES Abroad Center, the Cadorna metro stop makes it easy to move all around Milan. You can take either the red line (which takes you to the Duomo, among other things), the green line (which takes you to Milano Centrale for train connections), or the Malpensa Express (takes you to the Malpensa Airport in just over 30 minutes).
- Bus: The 94 bus covers the inner circle in Milan and comes by IES Abroad every 5 or so minutes. Hop on the bus for a quick ride to the Colonne di San Lorenzo or the Giardini Pubblici to meet up with friends.
- Tram: The 27 tram drops you off close to IES Abroad and can take you either towards the Duomo or towards the north side of Parco Sempione. The 16 follows a similar route east of IES Abroad, taking you towards the Duomo, and westwards you can reach the posh shopping area of Corso Vercelli in only a few stops.
- Utilize the main tram lines to find cool neighborhoods around Milan: Tram number 2 takes you from Porta Genova to the Duomo and beyond, and Tram 3 goes from the Colonne di San Lorenzo to Piazza XXIV Maggio (aka the Navigli) in just a few minutes. As tram routes are rarely obstructed by construction and are easy to hop on and off at a moment’s notice, they can really be the best (and most authentic!) way to get around Milan.
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<p>Kinsey is a Biochemistry major and Italian minor from Tufts University near Boston, MA studying in Milan for Fall 2016. Everything she does is to learn more about food; catch her studying cheese microbes by day and reading cookbooks by night. She caught the travel bug the minute she tasted her first crepe in Paris way back in 2006, and hasn't looked back since.</p>