This post is the first in a series dedicated to planning your trip to the EXPO 2015 in Milan. This is an “unofficial” guide, that will help you navigate the official EXPO.org website. Since I’ve been living in Italy for over 7 years and am fluent in Italian, I will also translate where necessary to give you the most information possible.
This first post is dedicated to WHERE is THE EXPO & HOW TO GET THERE! It will cover:
# 1 THE EXPO 2015 LOCATION
# 2 HOW TO GET TO THE EXPO
# 3 MY RECOMMENDATIONS ON TRANSPORTATION & WHERE TO STAY
Throughout the next 6 months I will be sharing with you my experiences first hand with the EXPO so that I can make your eventual trip as easy as possible, and help you avoid any vacation mishaps.
# 1 – THE EXPO 2015 LOCATION – WHERE IS THE EXPO IN MILAN ?
A few months ago I was in Milan with my family and I was SHOCKED to discover that the EXPO is not in the centre of Milan! I had been following the news about the EXPO but never really paid attention to where the actual site would be. The EXPO site is located OUTSIDE of Milan’s central core, near the “Zona Fiera”, which is the RHO Convention Area of Milan about a 20 – 30 minute metro ride away.
Obviously now that I think about it, it makes sense that the an Exposition of this magnitude and size wouldn’t be in the centre of the city! Over 1.1 MILLION meters squared of land was purchased and developed for the 6 month event!!
In the centre of Milan, directly in front of the Sforzesco Castle you will find the “EXPO GATE”, a glass pyramid structure that is the central information and ticket sales area of the EXPO. Here you will find info, tickets and the special events calendar …. but you won’t find the actual EXPO!
# 2 HOW TO GET TO THE EXPO IN MILAN
On the official EXPO2015 website you’ll find a whole page dedicated on “how to get to the EXPO”. There are a few things that may not be clear if you are not from Milan or Italy so I recommend planning how you will get to the EXPO well in advance, so you have plenty of time to sort through any potential issues. That being said, let’s go through a few of the options…..
GETTING TO THE EXPO BY CAR & PARKING – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
On the official EXPO2015 website you will find the words “Reservations are necessary for the carpark”. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU CANNOT JUST DRIVE TO THE EXPO SITE AND EXPECT TO PARK THERE. YOU MUST BOOK A PARKING SPACE IN ADVANCE and NOT ALL PARKING SPACES ARE NEAR THE EXPO.
I cannot stress this enough. According to the EXPO website, you have to visit ANOTHER Website – ARRIVA where INFORMATION IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN ITALIAN. Visit this page to book your actual parking lot space. You will see that the price of parking for the day includes a FREE SHUTTLE BUS from the parking lot to the EXPO grounds. Here you will find information ( IN ITALIAN!!!) about the free shuttle service that is offered between all parking lots and the EXPO.
Basically, the free shuttle bus, in Italian “navetta”, will have a route that goes to all car-parks and then to the EXPO grounds. Expected wait times are between 5 and 7 minutes per shuttle, but you should anticipate longer wait times during rush hours (morning and night). The service is continuous from 9 am to midnight daily, while the EXPO opening hours are from 10 am to 11 pm.
When you are booking your parking spot you must first choose your preferred parking location and indicate the type of car you will be arriving in.
Next you must provide YOUR ACTUAL EXPO TICKET NUMBER and date.
GETTING TO THE EXPO WITH THE METRO OR TRAIN
On this page, on the official EXPO website you can find details in English on how to arrive with the Metro (subway) or regional trains.
By underground railway (metro)To reach the Exposition Site by underground (metro), purchase an extra-urbano (extra-urban) ticket, and take Linea 1 (Red line 1) to Rho Fiera Milano metro station. Duomo and Cadorna are both on Line 1, where they connect to the city’s other underground lines.Travel time to the Expo Site is expected to be about 25 minutes from Piazza Duomo, 20 minutes from Stazione Cadorna, 35 minutes from Stazione Centrale, and 30 minutes from Stazione Garibaldi.Exiting the Rho Fiera Milano underground station, which is close to the Fiorenza Ovest access point, visitors will see a path with signage that leads directly to the EXPO ENTRANCE!There is an Expo-Fiera pedestrian footbridge (PEF) to reach the Expo Site, it is a short walk and I consider this one of the best ways to get to the EXPO. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, there are a number of automatic ticket booths set up along the corridor, or you can visit the ticketing office at the EXPO site, just before you reach the entrance.
GETTING TO THE EXPO IN MILAN BY TAXI, HOTEL SHUTTLE, OR TOUR BUS
If you are staying in Milan for a short amount of days, or like me you will be going to the EXPO with your family, including young kids, the idea of taking the metro may be overwhelming. Traveling in a major city, to a major event, where there will potentially be thousands of other commuters is not easy if you have a young child, stroller, or mobility issues.
A taxi could be a great alternative to skip through the hassle of taking the car and booking a parking space. Be aware that traffic to and from Milan in the Rho Fiera area can be very heavy in the morning, and I recommend trying to book a fixed price taxi fare in advance. If you do decide to take a taxi, there are a number of companies in Milan where you can book your return trip for a discount. Although in Italy it is not required to have a car seat for young children when riding in a taxi cab, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND booking one if you can!
In Milan you cannot hail a cab, you must wait at a designated TAXI stop area, with a line up. These are located near all major intersections. You can also have your hotel arrange a taxi for you, but I highly recommend booking everything in advance!
HOTEL SHUTTLES AND TOUR BUSES
Many EXPO visitors will be coming to Milan as part of a tour. In this case, tour buses must drop off and pick up at designated areas. If you plan on taking a hotel shuttle bus or a tour operated bus, just be very CLEAR of where your PICKUP location will be and the time of pickup.
I HIGHLY recommend that you write down the cell phone number of your guide or driver in the event you cannot find your shuttle.
# 3 – MY RECOMMENDATIONS ON TRANSPORTATION & WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN
I think it is critical that transportation be worked out in advance to have the best possible EXPO experience. For those of you who are planning a trip to the EXPO, it may feel a little over-whelming trying to understand how to get to the actual site.
If you plan on driving to Milan to visit the EXPO for the day, plan on arriving EARLY! Traffic can be very intense every morning during the work week, so you’ll want to arrive at the designated parking areas mentioned above (AFTER booking your spot online!) at 9 am. This will give you plenty of time to find the shuttle and arrive at the EXPO for the 10 am opening time.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN MILAN FOR THE EXPO 2015 !
If you plan on booking a hotel in Milan I recommend you book near a TRAIN STATION that connects to the RHO – FIERA exit. The train is quite possibly the easiest way to get to the EXPO. This way you can stay in the centre of Milan and also experience Italy’s most metropolitan city.
We stayed at this bed and breakfast, which can be booked online here. We went with our car and were able to park for FREE in an undesignated parking area. It was the CLOSEST AVAILABLE PROPERTY TO THE EXPO, but we still took the car. An overnight stay for a double bed apartment + single bed for our son cost us $107 a night. Breakfast and wifi were included and the apartment was VERY CLEAN and had many amenities although it wasn’t in the greatest part of town! To book, you can visit this website, which has the lowest guaranteed rate available, we chose it because it was cheap and close, but if I was visiting as a tourist I would stay near the downtown of Milan and take the train to visit the EXPO!
I really hope that this first part in my “unofficial guide to the EXPO 2015 in Milan” series has helped someone out there start to plan the perfect trip.
If you have Celiac Disease or a Gluten Sensitivity and you plan on visiting the EXPO in Milan you’ll enjoy this post with my top 10 recommended gluten free restaurants in Milan. Here you can read the 5 reasons why EVERY ITALIAN SHOULD VISIT THE EXPO and if you’re looking for free things to do in Milan then you will enjoy this post!
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