Getting around Milan on the public transport system is a breeze. The only thing that could make getting around Milan easier than it already is, is knowing where to buy your public transportation tickets, and of course, the answers to your questions are all here.
Milan is a city with a lot of history and modern architecture, but it’s also surprisingly small. Most things are within walking distance, but if you want to get around faster, or your feet hurt, or it’s raining and the entire population of Lombardy forgot how to drive (and it does happen every time it rains), there are public transportation options for you to use.
Honestly, the public transit system in Milan (called ATM) is amazing, very efficient, and easy to navigate.
The metro, buses, and trams run from early in the morning to late at night and are extremely reliable, and they’re also usually clean and safe.
(click here to see the Milan metro map and schedule)
If you plan on using public transportation, always make sure to buy a ticket or pass in advance. It’s not possible to buy tickets on board, and controllers will fine anyone who doesn’t have a validated ticket if randomly stopped at checkpoints; fines range from 50 up to 150 euros (and said controllers are mischievous, as they often roam the city “undercover” and, sooner or later, will catch you – they’re better than you at this game).
The tickets listed below are valid on all types of public transportation in Milan, including buses, surface trams, metro, and trains within the city limits (Underground trains are a great way to get around Milan, and probably the fastest and cheapest available).
Where can I buy metro tickets in Milan?
In Milan, you can buy paper or digital tickets for the metro.
There are several ways to get paper tickets:
The ticket machines located in all subway stations
Ticket machines accept both cash and credit cards. The machines are quite fast but guaranteed there will be lines at peak hours and/or at main stations, so you might want to consider other options.
At newsstands in the subway stations
Simply ask them, mentioning the type of ticket you need (see bottom of post for the types of tickets available). People working at these magical places rarely speak and have never smiled in their life, don’t take it personally.
In addition to paper tickets, two practical options are especially helpful when you’re in a rush, there are lines at the machines, machines are unavailable, or just simply want to avoid humanity:
The official ATM app
You can use the official Milan public transit app (download it here) to purchase virtual tickets containing a QR code. You can purchase more than one at once, but make sure to activate it before getting on to avoid being fined by a plain-clothed, stealthy, and power-hungry controller.
A heads up: subway turnstiles have QR code readers. Unfortunately, most readers don’t work (yeah, I swear every time). Notify the station guard if turnstiles won’t open despite you having a validated virtual ticket. By that I mean: wave your phone at them with an annoyed face;they’re all aware of this issue and will open the gate and let you in.
Credit card at metro gates
Finally, credit cards can be used at the gates (the orange ones only) with contactless readers, which also work with smartphones and smartwatches (for the time being, this is only possible at metro stations, not on buses or trams). To prevent getting charged the maximum fare, remember to scan your card at the exit as well.
Where can I buy bus and tram tickets in Milan?
Remember that Milan’s public transportation tickets are the same for all means of transport. You can purchase your tickets using the above-mentioned methods, but the only place where you can use your cards is at the metro gates.
Price of public transportation tickets in Milan
There are several types of tickets available for the Milan public transportation network:
- single ticket (2€) valid for 90 minutes from the time of validation. You can use this for 90 minutes, an unlimited number of times
- daily ticket (7€) valid for 24 hours from validation
- three days ticket (12€) valid for three consecutive days from validation
All these tickets are valid within the city’s urban limits. Children 14 years old and younger travel for free (but they must have an ID available in case of inspection).