Is Milan Expensive? A Guide to Prices in Milan

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by Hope Brotherton

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Are you planning a trip to Northern Italy and wondering about the prices in Milan? Have you been asking yourself: is Milan expensive? Home to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and known for its towering gothic cathedral that lies in the heart of the city, millions of art lovers, architecture aficionados and Italophiles are drawn to Milan every year.

But the capital of Lombardy is more than a step-inducing city break, it’s an ideal spot to explore other towns and must-see spots in northern Italy. In next-to-no-time, holidaymakers are surrounded by the tranquil lakes of Maggiore, Como or Garda, and other quieter, calmer, Italian towns like Monza and Bergamo are well within reach too.

Milan’s location and fame will have many would-be tourists wondering about the prices in this gorgeous and metropolitan city.

Milan Trip Cost Guide

Over the years, I have visited Milan several times. I have wandered through sun-kissed parks in the summer, sipped on the warmth of a mulled wine while wandering through Christmas markets, and roamed through galleries and museums in the autumn.

On a shoestring budget, I experienced the culture, history and culinary delights of Milan without breaking the bank. If you’re about to embark on your own Italian adventure, you’ll be wondering: how expensive is Milan? But wonder no more, our handy guide is here to help.

Travellers to Milan will find it to be one of the most expensive cities in Italy and can expect to spend roughly €72-262 (approximately $79-287 USD) per person per day.

However, these prices can vary depending on how you choose to spend your money on accommodation, transport, food, activities and entertainment.

Milan skyline from the Duomo
Milan skyline from the Duomo

Accommodation Prices

There’s accommodation in Milan for everyone. The city has backpacker hostels, boutique hotels, luxury apartments, mid-range rooms at well-known chains, Airbnbs and the humble Bed and Breakfast. In this Italian city, there is somewhere to stay on every corner, which can be intimidating.

If you want to be in the heart of the action, then stay in the Centro Storico. For first-time visitors to Milan, it’s an ideal spot nestled among the Duomo di Milano, La Scala Opera House and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Because of the area’s accessibility to the attractions, accommodation prices can be on the more expensive end.

Another pricey part of the city is Brera. This is where the fashionable and the famous reside. For more to do in the evening, book your accommodation in the Navigli district. This part of the city is a maze of canals where restaurants, bars and clubs line the twinkling water. The Citta Studi is Milan’s student quarter and is home to some of the most affordable hotels and hostels in the city.

One more thing to note is that accommodation prices are often higher in the peak summer months so if you want to save a little bit of cash in this city, then consider visiting Milan in winter.

So, is Milan expensive to visit? During the peak season, hotels in Milan can cost between €150 and €300 per night depending on the quality of the hotel and location. However, it is more than possible to enjoy Milan in the winter too, and you’ll be able to nab a room for €100 per night. You can browse hotel options here.

If this price makes you squirm, hostel dorms provide cheaper options. A dorm bed in Milan will start at around €25 per night – perfect for all those visiting Milan on a budget. You can browse highly-rated hostels here.

But we know hostels aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so consider renting a private room via websites like Airbnb. To help keep costs low, try eating breakfast or rustling up a quick bite in the apartment.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Transportation Prices

When calculating your Milan trip cost, you’ll need to consider transportation costs such as metro passes, bus tickets and taxi rides.

The easiest way to navigate the city of Milan is on the metro. The metro comprises of four different lines, which are identifiable by their differing colours and numbers. Milan is also serviced by buses and trams – use Citymapper to navigate these.

All public transportation in Milan is run by Azienda Transport Milanesi (ATM). A single ticket costs €2.20 and is valid for 90 minutes. You can ride as many buses and trams as you like in that time as well as two metro journeys.

Multi-journey tickets are also available to buy. A 24-hour pass costs €7.60 and a 72-hour pass costs €15.50 (week passes are available too). You can also buy carnet tickets where 10 journeys can be purchased for €19.50.

For anyone who is set on booking accommodation in the Centro Storico, there won’t be much need for metro tickets because Milan’s sights will be on your doorstep and highly walkable. That being said, you may need to purchase a couple of 90-minute tickets to reach the Navigli for a bite to eat along the canal bank.

Over the years, I’ve had friends tell me that they struggled to navigate Milan’s metro. While I’ve found this hard to believe, geography isn’t my strong point either. Instead of using public transportation, my friends used taxis.

Taxis can’t be hailed from the side of the road. You’ll need to head to a specified taxi rank to grab one or use the Uber app to book your journeys. The base rate for a taxi ride is €3.40, with an extra €1 added on per kilometre (but these tariffs can fluctuate). With that in mind, I really don’t think cabs are worth the price, so stick to public transport routes and your feet.

Milan Tram Network
Tram passing La Scala theatre in Milan

Food Prices

Is there a greater pleasure in life than eating Italian food morning, noon and night? I don’t think so, but eating three meals out a day will increase anyone’s trip cost.

Food in Milan will vary in price from one part of the city to the next. For example, a bite to eat in the Centro Storico will cost more compared to a restaurant in the Citta Studi.

If your accommodation doesn’t serve breakfast, then it’s time to embrace an Italian breakfast. First, head to a cafe. If you can hear locals conversing in Italian at the bar – then you’re onto a winner. In the mornings, order an espresso (€1) and a croissant (cornetto; €2). Make sure to drink the espresso standing at the bar to avoid a table cover charge.

Table cover charges in Italy cost €2, and these prices will hike on up if you’ve plonked yourself on an outdoor table with a view of the Duomo.

An average lunch (without any wine) in Milan will set you back €20 per person. If this is a little steep, then there are cheaper alternatives.

A great way to save money is to grab some food on the go. First, keep your eyes peeled for the word Panifico (bakery). As well as serving slabs of fresh, warm, bread, these bakeries sell slices of focaccia – oily oven-baked bread with a range of toppings. I’d recommend a slice topped with olives and fresh thyme for just €3.50.

Alternatively, buy yourself a panino at the bakery counter. Sandwiches will cost around €5. If you want a sandwich with a Milanese twist, order a Piadina.

A Piadina is an Italian flatbread filled with meats, cheeses and the odd vegetable or two. They’ve become a lunchtime staple across the city. Takeaway pizzas are another option too, and will cost between €6-10.

Fresh piadini
Fresh piadini

Dinner prices in Milan can vary wildly. A plate of food at a mid-range restaurant in Milan will cost around the €10 mark.

While the price of a meal may seem fairly reasonable, it’s the drinks that add up as the mark-ups are quite high. A bottle of wine at a meal will cost around €15 and a pint of beer €6. Keep your eyes peeled for any set menus as you can grab a primo and secondo for a set price of €15.

Activity Prices

Milan is brimming with activities and attractions, which means tourists on holiday are spoilt for choice.

Free Walking Tour

If it’s your first time in Milan, book yourself onto a free walking tour. There’s no initial cost for a free walking tour, but most tours make their profits through tips that are collected at the end.

In Milan walking tours can take up to three and a half hours, so keep some cash back (€5-10) to give to your guide at the end. While we’ve suggested a tip price, the amount you give it up to you and how good your tour guide was.

Milan's Central Piazza
Milan’s Central Piazza

The Duomo di Milano

The Duomo di Milano is Milan’s most well-known attraction. Tickets to visit the duomo cost €17 and can also be pre-booked online here. This price includes access into the cathedral, its rooftops (via the stairs) as well as the museum.

Masterpieces and museums

Another must-see in Milan is Leonardo’s masterpiece, The Last Supper. Tickets cost €15 for a full paying adult and must be booked in advance to avoid any disappointment.

After taking in Leonardo’s work, head-on over to Brera Pinacoteca to gaze at other masterpieces. Tickets to the Brera Pinacoteca cost €15.

If you enjoy museums, you might want to purchase the Milan Tourist MuseumCard. The €12 card is valid for three days and gives visitors access to a number of Museums in Milan for free.

These include Sforza Castle Museums, Museo del Novecento, the Modern and Contemporary art museum GAM and many more. The free entry is only valid for the museum’s permanent collections.

So, how expensive is Milan? If you’ve got your heart set on visiting all the museums, then prices can easily mount. It’s worth bearing in mind that a large swathe of museums are free to visit on the first Sunday of the month.

So, if you’re planning on devoting your time to art galleries and artefacts, it might be worth timing your visit to coincide with one of these Sundays.

Tower of Castello Sforzesco
Tower of Castello Sforzesco

Entertainment Prices in Milan

The Opera

Milan’s must-see entertainment is the Opera. The La Scala is world-famous and tickets for the best seats in the house can set theatre-goers back a whopping €250.

You might not have hundreds to spend on a night at the opera, so you’ll be relieved to know that tickets can be booked for as little as €10. Try to book tickets in advance online, but if you miss the boat then you can queue for a select number of tickets on the day.

An aperitivo

When in Milan, an aperitivo in the Navigli district is the perfect way to spend the evening. Walk along the restaurants and read the chalkboard menus to find the aperitif of your choice.

Opt for an Aperol Spritz or a Negroni if it’s your first time. Spend the evening sipping cocktails and munching on the savoury snacks that are brought out with them. You’ll be able to snap one up for €7.

Sport and culture

Another part of Milan’s entertainment culture is football. AC Milan is the city’s big club, and visitors to the city can buy tickets to see the club for €19.

As well as football, Milan hosts world-famous events like Milan Fashion Week which is held twice a year in January and July. Other famous festivals include Milan Design Week (April), Milan Food Week (mid-May) and Artigiano in Fiera  (December) where hand-crafted items are sold by vendors from their stalls.

Some of these events and un-ticketed, while others will be like gold dust, either way, the city will be abuzz regardless.

San Siro Stadium
San Siro Stadium

Is Milan Expensive? Average Milan Trip Cost

So, it’s time for the verdict: how expensive is Milan? Below is a cost breakdown of the average amount you can expect to spend per day per person. To calculate these costs, we’ve assumed you’ll be splitting rooms and dinner between two people.

Accommodation: €25-150/night

Transportation: €2-7/day

Food: €20-40/day

Activities: €15-45/day

Entertainment: €10-20/day

You can expect your trip to Milan to cost between €72 and €262 per day. These prices are for the expense that you’ll accrue on the ground, so don’t take into account your arrival to Milan (you can check train schedules here) or travel insurance (SafetyWing is a popular option for budget travellers).

Despite the must-see attractions, everyone’s trip to the capital of Lombardy will look a little different. Use our travel costs as a guide and build your own budget around this itinerary.

Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano

Milan is a busy bustling city where moments of tranquillity and calm can be captured down cobbled alleyways and small side streets – it’s these moments you’ll remember whatever your budget. 

Are you planning to visit Milan? Have any questions about the prices? Let us know in the comments!

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Hope is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Birmingham, England, she is passionate about budget-friendly travel and incorporating greener and more eco-friendly travel into her adventures. She keeps returning to Italy but loves to travel around any European country.


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