We arrived in Milano Centrale by train from Zurich (Switzerland). After I had left home I realised that I had forgotten to bring my hairbrush and my comb. So we arrived just around 10 pm on a Saturday evening and someone in our train compartment told me the Italian words for comb (petine) and brush (spazzola).
There was still a kind of souvenir etc. shop open and I went to the counter and asked for a petine and sure enough they helpful people opened a drawer and asked whether I needed a petine or a spazzola and even gave me the choice for 2 brushes at around Euro 3.50 a piece. The essence of the story don't give up and just ask! I would never have guessed that this type of shop would carry such items.
Travelling back home 2 weeks later, I arrived in Milano Centrale again and had to buy a ticket to Switzerland. Basically you can do this at the ticket machines but since I have a half-fare card for Siwtzerland I needed the ticket office.
If you intend to use the ticket office, be prepared to line up for half an hour or thereabouts! This is after you searched for it for 10 minutes or so! Well you will find it downstairs hidden away.
Same goes for the toilets. There are signs that send you all over the place and when you finally find the well hidden toilets you need to have the right coins to pass the turnstile. It costs Euro 1.00, so don't bring anything bigger than a 1 Euro coin. Good luck!
Another thing that sent me into despair was the sandwich/drink shop. You cannot just point to want you want and pay for it. They will send you to the cashier to the other end first. Pressed for time and not having an idea of the name of the thing I wanted, I gave up.
If you need a bus to the airport, then leave the station to your left. There is a bus to Malpensa for Euro 10.00 and other buses.
So have fun in the Milano Centrale station :-)
An ordinary transportation ticket in Milan is valid on buses, trams and subway and it costs EUR 1-.
The ticket is valid for 75 minutes from the first validation and allows the traveler to use as many buses and trams as he needs but only one journey on the subway.
The tickets can be bought from the newspapers stands in the subway stations or the Central Station.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Walking in Milan
I must say that I had imagined the distances in Milan much bigger than they actually were. I had ordered a map before our trip, so we had a map with us right from our first morning, but even on the map things looked bigger to me. Sometimes we were amazed that we ended up somewhere where we had been before - for example on our last day, when we visited Corso Magenta and took a wrong turn, and suddenly ended up at Sant' Ambrogio where we had been three days earlier! We then wanted to walk to Castello Sforzesco and somehow I expected it to be quite a walk, but we were there in no time!
The downside of walking in Milan is the heavy traffic, sometimes it can be quite tricky to cross a street, but altogether we had no problems and there are plenty of traffic lights where pedestrians can cross the streets.
I did a keyword search for "Smart Car" on Virtual Tourist and got 67 hits so I know this won't be big news but...isn't this a great little car! We saw these little guys all over and by the time we left I was really itching to drive one but alas the moment escaped me. I got a little excited when I heard that efforts were afoot to start importing Smart Cars into the US. Further research, however, revealed that apparently we are not quite ready for these little cuties. Instead, initial plans call for the introduction of a SUV version into the US market...go figure!
At the beginning of 2008 the city of Milan astounded the world, or at least those people in the world who pay attention to this sort of thing, by instituting a congestion charge for motor vehicles.
Not that there's anything so unusual about a congestion charge. London has one, Stockholm has one, but nobody expected an auto-fixated city like Milan to adopt the idea. Conclusion: if even Milan admits to having a problem with too many cars and too much pollution, then there really is a problem. (So it's not just our imagination, OK?)
Most vehicles entering the 8-square-kilometer "eco-pass" area in the city center now have to pay between three and ten Euros, depending on where they come from and how filthy they are. This is enforced by cameras at 43 "electric gates" like the one in the photos.
Electric and hybrid cars are allowed to enter the congestion charge zone without payment, and residents get a discount.
According to the City Council, the new EcoPass system aims to reduce emissions in the city center by 30% and reduce the number of incoming cars by 10%, which they hope will also speed up public transport in the area. And they have promised to reinvest all EcoPass charges in "sustainable traffic and a sustainable environment", which means not only public transport but even bicycle lanes, so as to "build a more eco-friendly city for us and our children”.
Second photo: Close-up of an EcoPass sign.
To the city from the airport by train
The cost of one-way ticket from/to Malpensa Airport/city main train station is Euro 10. There are ticketing machines but they require credit cards (they do not accept cash). For Euro 10 or 20, I do not want to use my credit cards. The queues are quite long. I recommend that you buy your return ticket when you purchase your onward ticket to save time. Do not forget to validate your ticket before boarding the train!
Driving around Milan... if you dare
If you are crazy enough to want to drive around Milan city, just go with the flow. I don't think Milanese drivers are known to be the most courteous in the world.
A big issue in Milan is parking - there just isn't enough space for all the cars that are here in the city. For the most part, many of the residential apartment blocks hurriedly constructed immediately after World War 2 (and previous to that) never took into consideration the parking needs of residents. There just weren't that many cars I guess. Today, with many households having about 2 cars each... there is a real crisis.
In most housing areas, you will notice parking spaces on the road denoted by either yellow or blue lines. Yellow line parking is reserved for vehicles belonging to residents within the stipulated zone (they have a sticker on their car). Visitors can only park on the blue line areas by buying a ticket (from a newsagents, other authorised dealers or the guy in orange hanging around selling parking tickets).
Please also note, that once a week, roads get washed down by the town council. If you are leaving your car parked on the road overnight, just make sure you're not unlucky enough to be in the spot where the trucks are coming in the middle of the night. You'll be fined quite heftily for leaving your car there. Look out for the street cleaning signs telling you what day and what time the trucks come.
Ride the Peter Witt Streetcars
Ok, I am certain that nearly no one in Italy knows what a "Peter Wit," streetcar is. However in Milan they still have the largest number of Peter Wit streetcars serving the area around the Duomo and the La Scala Opera. Their characteristic orange/yellow color is very eye catching and apparently the color has remained unchanged throughout the years.
These streetcars were named for Peter Wit a Cleveland engineer who designed these streetcars back in the mid 1920's. The concept was to speed loading have the conductor operate the vehicle from the middle of the tram as opposed to the front. These street cars were popular in fifteen U.S. cities, four Italian cities and a few other isolated areas.
Milan built nearly 500 of these street cars beginning in 1928 to serve the city. Today they continue to operate non-stop from their beginnings in 1928. Many of the street cars have been modified however and now have the conductor up front. A ride on the street car is 2 euros if I recall.
Recently the City of San Francisco purchased 11 of Milan's Peter Wit Street cars for addition to their fleet of street cars. Some of the street cars will run along the Embarcadero and the others along Market Street.
Buses To/From Malpensa
There are two main bus companies that go to Malpensa from Centrale airport; one is called the Malpensa Express (just like the train), and uses a big yellow bus and the other is Malpensa Shuttle Air Pullman, which is a white bus with a slogan "the cheapest way to reach Milano". The site with the time tables to the white bus is below (could not find for the yellow bus, sorry!)
They both take about an hour, unless they hit traffic, in which case it can take you even 6 hours to get to central station (happened to me when there was a big accident)!
They both leave approx. every twenty minutes. They arrive/depart on the left side of the central station.
You can buy the tickets on the bus (just before you get on). If you will be visiting with a group or will be visitng milan many different times, consider buying carnets/passes (or even just get them with other tourists to save some cash!):
The yellow bus charges €5.50 but has a 3 trip pass (valid always) for €11 (and there for €3.67 per tri). The white bus charges €4.50 per single trip, but has 5 trip carnet for €20 (each trip is €4).
Getting around on public transport
ATM is the company that runs public transport in Milano. Don't expect too much from them, as compared to the public transport in other countries, it can seem really bad, but nonethelest its the easiest and cheapest way to get around Milano.
One ticket is valid for 75 mins (1hr and 15 minsutes) on the "mezzi di superfice" aka Buses, trams and things running on/above ground, OR one trip on the Metro. You cannot use the metro and then take a bus with only ticket.
While drivers don't usually check, when you get off trams/buses/metro, you might run into a "controllore", who fines 34 euro if you pay right away, or 70 if it gets sent home (and they DO ask for ID, i've even seen them get police involved when a tourist did not want to pay).
Like i said, 1 ticket is 1 euro,and that is regardless where you buy it, but you might want to get a daily pass, valid for 24/h from the stamp, and on all public transport (metro, city train, bus, tram...). a 48 hour pass is 5.50 euro. Then there is the Carnet, a block of 10 tickets (a booklet of 5 tickets, there is a ticket on each side of the page), which costs 9.2 euro. You can use this for multiple people (ie two of you are on the same tram, you can use two tickets from the same carnet), BUT REMEMBER TO USE THE TICKET STAMPED "MATRICOLA" LAST; IF YOU TEAR THE MATRICOLA TICKET OFF, THE ENTIRE PASS IS VOID. You can just rip the other tickets (the ones not stamped with Matricola) off after you use them.
They do have a monthly/yearly pass but i don't think most VTers are interested on that; if you are email me and i'll be happy to explain ;)
You can buy your tickets at most coffee bars, magazine shops/booths, Tabaccherie (where they sell cigarettes et al, they have a T sign), pretty much everywhere...even at the airport and suburban train stations.
The website of Aziend Trasporti Milanesi (ATM) is below, it has timetables, ticket prices info, etc.
Getting to Milan
It's very important remembering that Milan has two airports: Malpensa (MXP) that is the main airport and also has intercontinental flights and the Linate (LIN) airport that serves domestic flights and some European links.
To go to Milan from the Malpensa airport you have 3 ways.
1)by bus: The bus leaves from Air Terminal piazza Luigi di Savoia and in 50 min arrives to the airport and by the coach bus Malpensa Shuttle http://www.malpensashuttle.it/e-default.htm.
2) By the Northern Railways:
“Malpensa Express” train [http://www.ferrovienord.it/webmxp/]http://www.ferrovienord.it/webmxp/ . It takes 40 min, its first bus leaves at 4,20am from cadorna, the last one at 11,27pm. From Malpensa at 5,53am the first one, at 1,30pm the last one
3) By Statal Railways:
Linate is linked to Milan by bus. The bus 73 ATM starts from the large square in front of the airport to the center, in Saint Babila's square, takes 25 minutes with trips every 10 min.;the first bus leaves Linate at 06,05am and the last one at 0,55pm. From S.Babila the first leaves at 5,35am and the last 0,35pm.
The service "Autobus Starfly" - tel. 02 717106 leaves from Luigi di Savoia square to go to Linate with trips every 3min(from 5,40am to 9,35pm) and takes around 20 minutes.
Linate and Malpensa are moreover connected to each other by a shuttle service provided by Air Pullman.
At 45 km from Milan you will find also Orio al Serio (BGY) international airport. It is Italy's first low-cost airport with many flights for Italian and European destinations. From the airport there are 30 daily coach service runs to Milan Central Station provided by "Autostradale" and "Locatelli Air Pullman".Related to:
- Road Trip
Milan Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Discover Milan using two different tour routes! See all the main sights aboard an open-top double-decker bus and with 12 stops to choose from you can hop-on and hop-off all around the city.
You can hop-on and off as many times as you like aboard this open-top double-decker bus. The two tour routes are inter-connected so you can hop easily between them.
Discover Milan using two tour routes. Your ticket is valid on ALL routes.
The entire route takes 75 minutes. Buses departs every 75 minutes from each stop. Highlights include Sforzesco's Castle, Piazza Duomo and the Scala Theater
The entire route takes 90 minutes. Buses departs every 45 minutes from each stop. Highlights include Via Montenapoleone, the Cenacolo of Leonardo da Vinci, and much moreRelated to:
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
The most used transport
you will see them everywhere - it seems that these motors are the most used type of transport by the locals. they are manoeuvrable throught the narrow central streets , don't need alot of place to be parked and can be used by two persons awell - conclusion : perfect for the summer.
Train between Malpensa Aeroporto & Milano Centrale
Before we traveled to Milano, we wanted to plan our transportation from the airport to the main train station in the city (Milano Centrale). So based on information from VT as well as doing our own research, we found that we could take the Malpensa Express between the two locations. After going thru customs and collecting our bags, we followed the signs to the ticket window where we paid € 7,00 (per person) for the 48 minute ride to Centrale. Nice, modern, comfortable and convenient are the words I'll use to describe the experience.
***Please note that you can also take the Malpensa Express into Milano Cadorna***Related to:
- Family Travel
Late night travel in Milano
After midnight Metro shuts down in Milano. If you don't want to use taxi and pay a lot of money, but you could only find your way referencing Metro stations, you can use the night bus following the Metro routes above ground. At that time they don't also check for tickets so it is free.
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