From bike rental apps to Michelin-starred plant-based restaurants, we’ve rounded up the best tips from an expert to travel to Milan sustainably.
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After catwalks featuring regenerative cotton at Gucci and fair-trade at Chloé, Milan Fashion Week drew to a close with Camera Della Moda’s Sustainable Fashion Awards. As the fashion industry minimizes its environmental footprint, so too has the travel industry. As part of the C40 global network, Milan aims to halve its emissions within a decade. As editors, celebrities, and tourists flock to the city, there are efforts we can all take to contribute to this goal by adopting sustainable practices during trips. For those of us planning a visit to Europe’s fashion capital this or next season, Justin Albertynas, CEO of Ratepunk and a travel expert shared his tips and recommendations for traveling to Milan sustainably.
Use Public Transport
When visiting Milan, one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by utilizing the city’s extensive public transportation system. The ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi) operates a network of trams, buses, and metro lines, providing convenient and eco-friendly options for getting around. Additionally, Trenord offers suburban trains that connect Milan with neighboring areas.
To make the most of your visit, we recommend planning at least one ride on a characteristic city tram. Tram number 14, for example, takes you on a scenic route, allowing you to admire landmarks and monuments while experiencing the charm of Milan.
To navigate the public transportation system effortlessly, download the Giromilano app. This app will help you find the nearest stop and calculate the best route for your journey. You can also consider using contactless payment methods or purchasing 1-day or 3-day travel tickets to save money and reduce paper waste.
Embrace Active Transportation
Milan is a compact city that can be easily explored on foot, by bicycle, or by scooter. By choosing these active modes of transportation, you can immerse yourself in the urban vibe while reducing your environmental impact.
Walking is a great way to discover Milan’s hidden gems and experience the city’s unique atmosphere. Many attractions, such as the Duomo and Castello Sforzesco, are within walking distance of each other.
If you prefer cycling, Milan offers a bike-sharing system that allows you to rent traditional or electric bikes. You can also explore the city’s canals, known as the Navigli, by bike and learn about their fascinating history and natural beauty. “The bike rental service I use most often in Milan is the BikeMi app,” Justin says. “They have over 300 bike stations and offer really low prices for their rentals – renting a bike for 2 hours will cost you less than €5. The amount of bikes is abundant, the app is easy and convenient to use, and it’s cheap. What more do you need?”
For those who prefer scooters, Milan has various shared mobility services that provide electric scooters for convenient and eco-friendly transportation. If you need a car for specific trips, consider using a car-sharing service to minimize emissions and reduce traffic congestion.
Discover Sustainable Accommodations
When planning your stay in Milan, consider choosing accommodations that prioritize sustainability. Several hotels in Milan have implemented eco-friendly practices to reduce their environmental impact.
Look for hotels that have obtained eco-certifications or have implemented sustainable initiatives such as energy-efficient systems, waste management programs, and the use of renewable energy sources. By opting for sustainable accommodations, you support businesses that share your commitment to a greener future.
“One of the most sustainable hotels I’ve ever seen (worldwide) is the Hotel Milano Scala. It’s very impressive and admirable that they manage to combine luxury and comfort with the fact that the hotel has ZERO emissions!” Justin suggests. “This exceptional hotel goes beyond style, offering eco-friendly amenities, a rooftop garden with stunning city views, and even solar panels that power the property. It’s an embodiment of sustainability and sophistication. It is situated in the very center of Milan and is hands down the best eco-hotel in Europe (in my humble opinion).
Indulge in Sustainable Dining
Milan offers a diverse culinary scene with numerous sustainable dining options. When dining out, make conscious choices to support restaurants that prioritize reducing food waste, plant-based meals, and local sourcing.
To discover sustainable restaurants in Milan, explore the YesMilano Restaurants platform. This resource provides a curated list of establishments committed to sustainability, offering delightful culinary experiences that align with your values.
“For plant-based restaurants in Milan, I just have to recommend Joia, a Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant that has been redefining plant-based dining since 1989. Chef Pietro Leemann’s creative and flavorful dishes showcase the very best of sustainable gastronomy.”
Shop at Local Farmers’ Markets
Immerse yourself in Milan’s vibrant culture by visiting local farmers’ markets. These markets not only offer fresh and seasonal produce but also support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation.
By purchasing from farmers’ markets, you contribute to the local economy and gain access to high-quality ingredients. Engage in conversations with vendors to learn about their sustainable farming practices and discover new flavors and recipes.
From the Mercato di Via Fauché to the Mercato di Via Papiniano, Milan hosts a variety of farmers’ markets throughout the week. Take the opportunity to explore these markets and experience the authentic tastes of Milan.
Minimize Waste While Traveling
Reducing waste is a crucial aspect of sustainable travel. When you travel to Milan, be mindful of your environmental impact and dispose of your waste responsibly. Take advantage of the waste bins available throughout the city to ensure proper recycling and waste management.
To further minimize waste, consider using reusable and non-plastic alternatives. For example, when enjoying a cocktail or an aperitif, request reusable and non-plastic straws. Bring a canvas bag for shopping, reducing the need for single-use plastic bags. Every small step towards waste reduction has a significant impact on the environment.
Immerse Yourself in Milan’s Sustainable Culture
Finally, to fully embrace sustainable travel in Milan, immerse yourself in the city’s sustainable culture. Milan offers a range of events, workshops, and initiatives that promote eco-consciousness and sustainability.
Attend sustainability-focused exhibitions and workshops to expand your knowledge and learn about innovative solutions to environmental challenges. Participate in guided tours that highlight Milan’s sustainable initiatives, such as urban gardens, renewable energy installations, and eco-friendly architecture.
Engage with local communities and organizations that are actively working towards a greener future. Volunteer your time or support sustainable initiatives through donations or advocacy. By becoming an active participant in Milan’s sustainable culture, you contribute to the city’s ongoing sustainability efforts and inspire others to do the same.
Explore Milan’s Green Spaces
Milan is not just a bustling urban center; it also boasts numerous green spaces where you can reconnect with nature. Take some time to visit these parks and gardens, which serve as valuable ecosystems and provide havens for both locals and visitors.
Parco Sempione, located near the iconic Castello Sforzesco, is a popular destination for relaxation and leisure. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through its lush greenery, visit the Arco della Pace, or simply find a peaceful spot to enjoy a picnic.
For a more immersive experience, venture beyond the city center to explore Milan’s larger parks. Parco Nord and Parco Lambro offer vast expanses of greenery, perfect for outdoor activities such as jogging, cycling, or simply enjoying nature’s beauty.
Milan’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its efforts to preserve and enhance these green spaces. By supporting and appreciating these natural sanctuaries, you contribute to the city’s overall sustainability goals.