There are certain football clubs around the world that every fan ought to visit one day, and while the San Siro is still standing, AC Milan is right near the top of that list. So, here is our definitive, first-hand guise on how to check out this monstrous football club without having to break the bank.
A Brief History of AC Milan
Founded in 1899, it’s been quite the journey for I Rossoneri.
After breaking away from blood brothers (and future deadly rivals) FC Internazionale Milano – or Inter Milan to you and I – AC Milan have enjoyed a huge degree of success.
19 Serie A titles. 5 Coppa Italia trophies. And 5 UEFA Champions Leagues.
In terms of numbers, they’re in the Real Madrid, Manchester United and general ‘my club has won way more than yours, so stop talking to me right now’ category. So it’s no wonder that some of the AC Milan players of their recent history can claim to be some of the best the world has ever seen.
And trust me, their fan base, ultra section, stadium and aura reveals that in abundance.
So, let’s go about getting you there for under £100 …
How to fly to Milan from the UK
Realistically, you’re going to want to fly from a London-based airport.
Stansted or Central Airport keep the price around £30 for an off-peak two-way flight to one of Milan’s two airports: Milan Bergamo (BGY) or Milan Malpensa (MXP).
Worried about which one you should fly to?
Well, don’t be.
It really doesn’t make any difference.
Prices don’t fluctuate all that much between the two airports, and major budget airlines like RyanAir, EasyJet and Wizz aren’t precious about that choice, either. Either takes you right to the city.
Which, naturally, brings you to the Central train (and coach) station, that in turn will introduce you right into the mainland of the city and all of the great options it has to offer.
Getting into Milan Centrale
From Malpensa, you can find multiple ticket machines to purchase a one-way journey from there to Centrale. Contactless is also an option at the barriers. Price is around €12.
For around the same amount, you can make your way out of Bergamo airport to the coach stops and gravitate to one of the multiple providers who offer tickets right at the door of a driver ready and willing to take you into the city. Again, the price is around €12.
So, either route will cost roughly the same amount, and (provided that the traffic is relatively light into the city) will take about an hour each way.
Always best to leave about a half-hour’s worth of leeway, just in case!
Once you’re at Centrale, you can get yourself something to eat, with numerous fast food chains like KFC and McDonald’s either attached or adjacent to the station.
In fact, the coach route should park you right outside the colonel’s doors.
From the station, you can travel as the crow flies out through the main entrance south of the city towards the famous Duomo. Or you can arch your neck toward the notice board for the next train to Como – whichever one is more in line with the intentions of your holiday.
A journey like this is the perfect opportunity to watch that film or documentary you’ve been putting off. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite 3 from 2022 here, so you don’t have to!
The Best Cheap Things for Tourists to do in Milan
Milan is one of the major fashion capitals of the known world.
And there are countless intertwined high streets that will confirm that title.
But of them all, nothing quite comes close to La Galleria di Milano.
It’s a wonderful architectural achievement which comprises four entrances positioned and angled perfectly to allow four streams of onlookers into and out of proud marble and gold-plated structures with names like Gucci and Prada bestowed within.
Then, if you were to angle your route from Centrale into the nearest entrance and walk back on yourself, you’ll see it: the famous Duomo. Which is the Italian word for Cathedral.
This incredible, monolithic structure stands in just the right place to attract as much sunlight as possible, and it serves well to mirror this light onto the surrounding city.
Squint and you might just be able to pick out the Starbucks Milano Roastery.
A must-do for coffee lovers who want to learn a little more about the history of Starbucks and how Milan has played a big part in launching their brand into a global entity.
But as we’re on a budget, I wouldn’t suggest a €7+ latte.
Unless you’re able to get a decent deal on a hotel.
Finding a Hotel in Milan on a Budget
This is quite a tricky thing to do and will almost completely depend on when you’re going.
Having been myself around Christmas and Autumn, the prices vary dramatically.
Closer to peak periods, you’d be lucky to get a double bedroom in a decent location for under €100 per night. But wait it out or use the prices of flights to find a time that makes the most financial sense for you. Then, you may see the same listings for 30% cheaper.
I always use apps like SkyScanner and Trivago to bring these two together.
Naturally, Trivago stands out as my go-to option for finding hotels, as they automatically compare and offer up deals for the same place with multiple providers.
All have been vetted and are protected, so browse and pick with confidence.
But I would suggest filtering your search to within 1-1.5km from the Duomo to stay in the heart of the city and remain south east of Centrale, as they tend to bring up the brighter and more spacious areas of the city to have a relaxing night or two there.
Which, if you like a good walk, is more than enough time to take in everything you would ever want from there before getting to the real crux of why we’re here in the first place.
To watch the fabled AC Milan at their incredible San Siro Stadium.
How to Buy AC Milan Tickets Online
Well, here’s where I’m going to get into a bit of an attitude.
Not about the price though, those are incredibly reasonable.
With a capacity of over 80,000 people, prices tend to stay around a fair amount depending on where you wish to sit. If I were you, you’d want to be lengthways in the first or second tier – with the famous Curva Sud on your right-hand side.
I’ve been in the Sud itself and it is a breathtaking experience (especially when they win), though it can be a bit intimidating if you aren’t used to pyros or fan demonstrations.
Sitting in the Rosso or Arancio stands offer a more well-rounded experience for non-AC Milan fans.
Tickets in the first one or two tiers are more expensive in the Rosso Stand (as this is where a lot of the conference and executive suites are based), and lends itself to a less ‘lively’ clientele.
By contrast, tickets in the Arancio can be available between €30-70.
But definitely stick in the first couple of tiers as further up won’t ruin your angle much, though there’s a glass structure and walkway impeding your view if you do.
Trust me, it’s worth spending the extra €5 or so to avoid that.
Annoyingly, you may also have to contend with purchasing a Tessera Del Tifoso – or using a friend’s account where possible, to gain entry into the ticketing portal on the website.
What is a Tessera Del Tifoso and Do I Need it?
As far as I can work out, it’s just one big mistake.
And it’s an issue that far supersedes AC Milan or any single club, for that matter.
This goes back to the tough, murky world of ultras in football. I suppose the conservative among us would call them ‘hooligans’.
But it’s a pivotal culture of Italian calcio that’s largely responsible for the animosity, rivalry and general occasion that is football in this part of the world.
Though like with most organised groups, it can sometimes get out of hand.
Particularly in Italy which has been dominated by a select few clubs, the Italian authorities have done their best to kerb any potential roudiness in the stands by requesting that fans disclose their fanship to their clubs to gain admission into their stadiums – so as to not worm their way onto enemy territory and cause issues.
It costs €20 and Milan call theirs the ‘Cuore Rossonero’, while lodging their website full of clamorous copy to suggest that this is about enhancing the fan experience.
It really doesn’t – it’s alienating and is an additional cost that fans can do without. Especially when, the last two times I went, I never needed it. I just needed to sign in free online to get a Fan ID number.
All I needed to do was show my passport at the stadium gate (which you will be asked to present) before waltzing in and taking my seat. So, while it’s arguable that you may not need the physical card (which takes about 30 days to arrive), you will need a ticket (which can’t be given unless you have the Fan ID number) and your passport for foreign fans.
And if you’re thinking of using third-party platforms, just don’t.
I’ve done it, and the €5-or-so saved is not worth the lack of peace of mind.
By now, you should have: enjoyed some part of the city, checked into the hotel, patted your pockets to make sure your wallet, keys, passport and tickets are present, and now it’s time to hop on a nearby metro and make your way there!
How to get to the San Siro Stadium
Well, here’s where the city makes it very easy for us fans.
You simply need to get to a station labelled ‘Stadio San Siro’.
If you’ve saved over the past one or two days and want to get there in luxury, you could always use Uber or a local cab which charges around the €25 for a one-way ticket.
I prefer going to a Metro station within the city (which is always teaming with people and, usually, a number of AC Milan fans to confirm that you’re going the right way).
There’s usually a line to tell you where the red ticketing boxes are (not unlike the ones in Centrale) to buy a single fare – costing only €2. Milan’s Metro stations are divided into numbers and colours.
And from the centre, you’ll need lines M1 (Red) and M5 (Blue).
M1 to take you from within 1.5km of Duomo (or Duomo itself) to a station called ‘Lotto’, which is the most convenient to shift over to M5, where you need to follow the signs for the stadium as it will be the final station on the line you need to get to. Whereupon you will see the fabled home of AC Milan.
As you may expect, it can be quite crowded on these underground metro lines as time ebs closer to kick-off, so give yourself an hour at least to get your bearings. Then, at the station, you need only walk through a set of turnstiles and there you are.
At this point, I don’t need to tell you what to do.
Though the stadium isn’t modern by any means, AC Milan’s directors and operators do a good job of making sure that the football takes centre stage when you’re there.
So, just sit back, relax and enjoy. Or shout – because the Curva Nord demands it!
And that’s that. This is the Hobby FC Guide to visiting AC Milan as a fan abroad, and we hope you found it useful. Comment below if there’s anything we missed!
Stay tuned for more travel content like this from our writing team.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1) Is Milan a racist city?
I can only speak from my own personal experience, and I did feel quite an alienated figure in Milan, and felt the odd occasional glance in my direction.
That being said, I didn’t experience any direct racial abuse on either of my two trips. Not in the city, not in the football environment at the San Siro.
2) Is Milan really an expensive place to visit?
Honestly, I don’t think it is.
It will always depend on how economical you are with your money, and I can see how you can end up spending a lot of money without needing to if you don’t manage it.
However, as I said earlier: there are multiple chain restaurants with a generally low cost involvement, and there are also a number of cafes, bars and other restaurants dotted around the city (some even in La Galleria) which won’t set you back too much.
3) How long should I spend visiting Milan?
Excluding a day spent in Como or other neighbouring cities, I would suggest that maybe one or two nights is enough in a city as small and compact as Milan.
4) Is Milan an easy city to navigate?
Yes. Absolutely. 100%
I’d even go as far as to say that Milan has one of the easiest metro systems in Europe, and you should have no problem getting around, so long as you know the station you need.
Like I said earlier, finding the AC Milan stadium on the map takes a matter of seconds!
5) What is the atmosphere like during an AC Milan match?
It’s mind-boggling – especially during an important match at the San Siro.
Having seen both a run-of-the-mill Serie A match and a key Champions League encounter, you’d really want to watch a game where the famous ‘curvas’ are in full voice.
Trust me, going to an AC Milan Champions League game will blow your mind.