Is Milan Safe For Tourists? Ultimate Travel Safety Guide

An intricately designed ceiling with domed glass revealing blue sky.
An intricate ceiling via Pexels.
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The football and fashion-famous city of Milan sits in Italy’s northern Lombardy region. With an estimated metropolitan population of 3,144,473 residents, Milan is the second-largest city in Italy, after the capital of Rome. As such a big and populous city, you may wonder, is Milan safe?

For the majority of visitors, yes, Milan is safe. The city attracts an entrepreneurial, well-cultured crowd with its allure of high-profile fashion shows and rising financial prospects. Milan also experiences lots of tourism – creating a reassuring infrastructure and bustle for those visiting. However, like any major city, there are a few safety concerns that you should keep in mind when exploring.

To simplify safety in Milan, we have compiled helpful answers to safety questions you may have. Whether you are looking to relocate, are a solo female traveler, or are debating using public transport in Milan, our guide provides you with the relevant information you need.  

Is Milan safe right now

A cathedral wall with white sculptures and carvings.
Sculptures and carvings on a building via Pexels.

In July 2021, Milan saw protests following the decision to mandate covid certificates for indoor dining and entertainment. Protests were mainly peaceful; however, some escalated to ransacking and anti-social behavior. To stay safe, visitors should avoid local demonstrations where possible.

Another safety concern in Milan is its susceptibility to earthquakes. Visitors should ensure that properties they stay in are suitably maintained and have a plan in place should an earthquake occur. To date, the last quake in Milan was in December 2020. However, as the area’s tremors are typically mild, Milan is still very safe to visit. To maximize safety, just ensure that you have an awareness of the safest emergency action.

Currently, the biggest threat to safety in Milan is the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2020, Italy has faced a tumultuous struggle with the virus. The country is known for its high proportion of elderly citizens and had the largest elderly population in Europe in 2019. Sadly, the result was a high proportion of vulnerable citizens in the country during high infection periods.

However, as of the 22nd of August 2021, international travel to Milan is re-opening. The UK currently ranks Italy on its amber list of countries, and vaccinated travelers will no longer have to quarantine on return from Milan. The US also allows travel to Italy subject to testing requirements on return.

Overall, Milan is safe to visit right now, although travelers should consider that entry requirements and international travel stipulations can change quickly. It is also advisable to keep updated about local protests and recent tremors so that you can adapt your movements as necessary.

Is Milan safe to live?

An indoor shopping center with a curved glass ceiling.
Milan via Pexels.

Moving to Italy may seem like the idyllic Mediterranean dream, and for thousands who relocate annually, it is. Milan is a particular hotspot for expats considering its respectability in the financial and fashion worlds.

If you consider living in Milan, the biggest safety concern you will have is when choosing an area to rent or buy a property. Like any big city, there are areas where you should avoid if possible. Typically, areas around major stations tend to attract petty crime, and in Milan, the area around Central Station requires vigilance. Districts considered safe places include Brera, Porta Nuovo, and San Lorenzo.

Aside from property areas, the other safety concern for those living in Milan is traffic-related. Other vehicles can pose dangers when on foot or driving, especially for expats who aren’t familiar with Milan’s driving styles and behavior. For pedestrians, bear in mind that drivers often pay no attention to pedestrian crossings and may run red lights with no warning. Similarly, when driving, road behaviors can seem erratic and aggressive. Remain calm and alert when navigating the city by car or on foot to help reduce the risk of traffic-related incidents.

In general, living in Milan is safe. However, when living in the city, you will encounter and navigate traffic more frequently – making traffic safety something you should remain aware of and research. Likewise, choosing a pleasant property area will help to ensure a safe lifestyle in Milan. With a bit of research and preparation, you will have an incredible time.

Is Milan safe for tourists?

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A cathedral via Pexels.

Milan attracts floods of tourists a year and, for the most part, provides a safe and beautiful immersion into Italian life.

Petty crime and scams are the primary safety concerns in the city. Pickpocketing mainly occurs in touristy areas like the Duomo Cathedral and densely crowded areas such as train stations. Common scams include fake taxis, gifts, and petitions that can distract victims from pickpocketing. Tourists should also be mindful of their luggage on public transport and never leave bags unattended.

To conclude, Milan is a great city for tourists, with lots of historic architecture and renowned attractions to visit. Tourists can minimize the risk of petty crime by remaining vigilant in crowded areas and politely refusing to engage with strangers that try to talk or sell things. On a precautionary basis, essential documents should be left in a secure place, and tourists should avoid carrying large amounts of money.

Is Milan safe for solo female traveler?

Is Milan safe? Care should be taken exploring after dark, especially for solo female travelers. But, when in tours or large groups, Milan's buildings are beautiful by night.
Milan’s architecture by night via Pexels.

Overall, Milan is safe for solo female travelers. Similar to the safety concerns for tourists, female travelers should remain vigilant in crowded and touristy areas, as petty crime and scams are the most significant safety risks in Milan.

When traveling as a solo female traveler, the general rules, such as limiting time out at night and alcohol consumption, will keep you safe on a trip to Milan. Certain areas, such as the Parco Sempione, can shift from safe by day to sketchy at night – particularly for a woman walking alone.

Aside from the general safety recommendations for solo female travelers, Milan is a safe city to explore. Female travelers should pay attention to the petty crime and scams targeted at tourists. Investing in a secure bag can help protect against theft, while planning solo exploring in daytime hours should also ensure a safe, enjoyable experience in Milan.

Is Milan safe for public transport?

A blonde lady sits with a pink hat and coat on a bus - staring out the window.
A woman sitting on a bus via Pexels.

Public transport in Milan consists of a metro, tram, and bus service, with transport options available around the clock.

Public transport in Milan is very safe, low cost, and reliable – making it a fantastic method to explore the city. Over the past decade, the night buses of 90 and 91 accrued a slightly bad reputation for petty crimes such as theft. However, in 2019, the local transport authority ATM paired with the city police force to improve Milan transport security, particularly night buses.

Travelers should be mindful of pickpocketing and bag snatching around stations, bus, and tram stops. However, on the whole, Milan’s public transport is a safe and popular way to travel around the city.

Is the tap water safe to drink in Milan?

Tap water is safe in Milan as it is heavily tested. This image shows water pouring into a clear glass with spillages across a dark table.
A glass of water via Pexels.

According to TappWater, the majority of Italian cities use wells and springs for water supply. Milan uses water from ‘433 wells’ dotted around the city.

A benefit of the well water in Milan is that the wells are frequently tested and maintained – meaning tap water is mostly safe to drink. There can be issues with old pipes contaminating water in ill-maintained buildings, but you can typically avoid these scenarios by choosing pleasant properties to stay in when visiting Milan.

Drinking tap water is standard amongst locals who prefer the taste of bottled water. While there is no scientific reason to avoid Milan’s tap water, you may wish to choose bottled water for personal taste preference. If you buy bottled water, aim to buy a multi-litre bottle to refill a single re-usable bottle for your stay – limiting the plastics you consume during your stay.

The general answer to whether tap water is safe to drink in Milan is yes. Milan’s water is frequently tested and abides by high water safety standards. Remember to use your initiative when deciding if a property you are staying in is well-maintained and purchase plastic bottled water responsibly.

Top 7 safety tips when visiting Milan

Is Milan safe? Yes, and Milan offers fascinating architecture and indoor shopping and dining for visitors. This elaborate recreational area has an intricate, high glass ceiling and awnings for individual restaurants.
Architecture in Milan via Pexels.

Be vigilant around public transport and stations:

Public transport and stations, especially Central Station, can attract harassment, pickpocketing, and bag snatching. You may want to invest in a money belt and a bag with a sturdy crossbody strap. Try to research your route and transport numbers beforehand to limit the time you spend on your phone when navigating the transport system in Milan.

Be aware and confident in tourist areas:

Similarly, a money belt and crossbody bag are good ideas when exploring tourist areas in Milan. Try to limit time spent on your mobile phone and pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you. Be confident when declining gifts, products, or services offered to you – a firm but polite “no, thank you” or “no grazie” will usually suffice. If you feel unsafe while someone is trying to interact with you, keep walking. It can also help to research common tricks in Milan, so you know when someone is trying to scam you.

Be careful when using pedestrian crossings:

As previously mentioned, many drivers in Milan ignore pedestrian crossings, despite legally being required to stop. Road accidents are sadly common, and visitors to Milan should not rely on pedestrians right of way when crossing roads.

Make sure to take only marked taxis:

Taxi scams are rife in Milan, with drivers typically scamming passengers by not starting the meter and overcharging for the journey. Look for a marked, official taxi – these have a taxi symbol on the front of the roof. When inside, make sure to check that the driver has started the meter.

Keep up to date with travel restrictions and news:

Travel restrictions and requirements are prone to change due to the ongoing pandemic. You can subscribe to receive updated notifications from your country’s official government website, such as GOV.UK for UK travelers and citizens.

Paying attention to the news and subscribing temporarily to local notifications means you will remain informed throughout your stay in Milan. Not only can this help you to avoid protests or areas of recent incidents, but it can also keep you better updated on natural disasters. Italy, and Milan specifically, is prone to earthquakes. While most earthquakes are minor, it is safer to remain informed by local news and guidance.

Avoid protests and demonstrations:

As explained above, you can avoid protests and demonstrations by paying regular attention to local news sources. Protests in Milan tend to be peaceful; however, police do use teargas to disperse crowds that grow rowdy. Behavior in large groups of protesters can quickly turn anti-social and, combined with the risk of coronavirus, protests are safer to avoid altogether.

Review travel insurance and car hire policies:

When traveling to Milan, make sure to take out travel insurance that you have thoroughly reviewed. If you are looking to hire a car, bring a camera, or participate in outdoor activities like horse-riding, make sure that your insurance covers it. Considering Milan’s famously erratic driving style and occasional instances of petty crime, these are considerations you should factor into your insurance.

 Likewise, when hiring a car, make sure to check the car hire policy. You should also photograph and record any previous damage to the vehicle with the company before you leave the premises. Unfortunately, car hire scams are common across Italy, but as Milan is a hectic city to drive in, the risk of being overcharged for damages escalates quickly.

To Conclude

So, is Milan safe? Yes, Milan is a safe city, where travelers can enjoy a fantastic trip with a bit of vigilance and preparation.

The general rule to remember with theft is not to carry anything you cannot afford to lose, whether that means insuring expensive items such as a camera or only taking the money you need out with you. While petty crime does occur in Milan, police presence is very high, and violent crime is extremely scarce. If you approach traveling to Milan with the vigilance you’d expect to need in a major city, you should be absolutely fine.

Milan is a safe Italian destination for expats and tourists alike and highlights many Italian itineraries.

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Eibhlis Gale – Coleman is a freelance writer from the UK who is driven by a fierce love of adventure, unique cultural experiences, native animals, and good coffee. She is a passionate traveller and has explored Europe, Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Australia.