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7 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Milan is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and we will tell you the tourist traps to avoid in Milan for your next trip.

Milan is a stunning city known for its fashion, architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. However, like many popular tourist destinations, it has its share of tourist traps.

Here’s a guide on what to avoid to ensure a more authentic and enjoyable experience while visiting Milan.

Avoiding tourist traps in Milan, like in any major city, requires a bit of planning and insider knowledge. Here are some strategic tips to help you sidestep common pitfalls and enjoy a more authentic experience in Italy’s fashion capital:

What Is The Cheapest Way From Milan Malpensa Airport To City Center?

The cheapest way from Milan Malpensa airport to city center is by bus for €8-10 and you can book online. The travel time by bus is around 50-60 minutes to reach Milan Central Station.

Read here how to get from Milan Malpensa Airport to city center and the best Italy sim card for tourist


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General Tips For Milan

Learn a Few Italian Phrases

Knowing basic Italian can enhance your experience and help avoid being seen as an easy target for tourist traps.

Ask Locals

Don’t hesitate to ask local shop owners or hotel staff for recommendations on where to eat and what to see.

By avoiding these common tourist traps, you’ll be more likely to enjoy what Milan truly has to offer, from its stunning cathedrals and museums to its exquisite local cuisine and vibrant nightlife. By following these tips, you save money and enrich your travel experience, allowing you to engage more deeply with the city and its culture.

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy

1. Overpriced Restaurants in Touristy Areas

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Areas to Avoid: Particularly around the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and along Via Dante. These restaurants often charge premium prices for mediocre quality due to their prime locations.

Alternative: Venture into districts like Brera, Navigli, or even the outer areas of Isola for more authentic and reasonably priced dining experiences. Local trattorias and pizzerias often offer better quality food at lower prices.

2. Street Vendors Selling Souvenirs

Common Pitfall: Many street vendors around major tourist spots sell cheap, mass-produced souvenirs that are often not even made in Italy.

Alternative: For authentic Milanese souvenirs, consider shopping at local markets or stores that specialize in goods made in Italy. The Brera district and Corso Como offer shops with high-quality Italian products.

3. Fashion and Designer Goods Scams

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Areas to Avoid: Be cautious around the streets of the Fashion District where you might be approached by individuals selling counterfeit luxury goods.

Alternative: Stick to reputable stores and boutiques especially in the Quadrilatero della Moda (Fashion Quadrilateral) for genuine high-end fashion. Milan’s numerous outlet stores outside the city center also offer authentic designer goods at discounted prices.

4. Expensive Airport Transfers

Common Pitfall: Taxis and some shuttle services from Milan’s airports (especially Malpensa) to the city center can be very expensive.

Alternative: Use the train services like the Malpensa Express or the regular regional train services, which provide efficient and cost-effective transfers to central Milan.

Click here to book online your airport transfer

5. Cliché Aperitivo Spots

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Areas to Avoid: Some bars in the Navigli and Corso Como areas charge excessively for aperitivo, particularly those that are well-advertised and located directly on the main drags.

Alternative: Seek out smaller bars a few streets off the main canals or in less tourist-centric neighborhoods. These often offer a more genuine aperitivo experience for a reasonable price.

6. High-Priced Gelato Near Tourist Landmarks

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them, 8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Rome (Travel Guide)

Common Pitfall: Ice cream shops in the immediate vicinity of major attractions usually charge much more.

Alternative: Walk a bit away from the landmarks to find gelaterias where locals go; not only is the gelato less expensive, but it’s often much better quality.

7. Skip the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Reason to Avoid: While convenient, these buses can be pricey and you might end up spending more time in traffic than actually exploring.

Alternative: Milan’s public transportation system is efficient and inexpensive. The metro, trams, and buses are great ways to see the city like a local.

How To Avoid Tourist Traps in Milan

1. Research and Plan Ahead

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Restaurants: Before you travel, look up restaurants and check reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, or local food blogs. Avoid places with menus in multiple languages, which are typically aimed at tourists.

Accommodations: Book accommodations in less touristy neighborhoods rather than right in the city center. Areas like Isola, Porta Venezia, and Porta Romana are great options.


2. Learn Basic Italian Phrases

Knowing a few key phrases in Italian not only enriches your travel experience but also shows respect for the local culture. It can help in distinguishing you from less interested tourists, potentially leading to more genuine interactions and less likelihood of being overcharged.

3. Eat and Shop Where Locals Do

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Restaurants: Avoid dining near major tourist spots. Instead, look for eateries filled with locals. These restaurants often offer better quality food at lower prices.

Shopping: For authentic Italian goods, skip the souvenir shops and head to local markets or small boutiques recommended by locals.

4. Use Public Transportation

Milan’s public transport system is efficient and cost-effective. It includes the metro, trams, and buses, which can get you almost anywhere in the city. This helps avoid the high costs of taxis and tour buses.

5. Avoid High-Pressure Sales Tactics

If you encounter street vendors or salespeople who are particularly aggressive, it’s best to politely decline and move on. High-pressure tactics are often used to sell overpriced goods or services that are not worth the cost.

6. Check for Authenticity in Experiences

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Be wary of overly commercialized tours and experiences, which are often not worth the premium pricing. Instead, opt for smaller, more personalized tours conducted by local guides for a more authentic perspective.

7. Beware of Overpriced Tickets

Purchase tickets for popular attractions like the Duomo di Milano and The Last Supper from official sites or authorized sellers to avoid paying a markup on third-party sites.

8. Visit During Off-Peak Times

Tourist Traps to Avoid in Milan Italy (Travel Guide) And How to Avoid Them

Traveling during the shoulder seasons (early spring or late autumn) can help you avoid the crowds and the inflated prices that come with peak tourist season.

9. Understand Local Etiquette

Understanding and respecting local customs and dress codes can prevent you from standing out as a tourist, which sometimes attracts the attention of those looking to exploit visitors.

10. Use Local Resources

Check with your hotel or local tourism offices for recommendations on activities, dining, and more. They can provide current information about local favorites and any tourist traps to avoid.

You can go for day trips and point of views to see a sunset in Milan or the best local bars for aperitivo too!

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