How to Beat the Crowds
First the bad news: Expo 2015 is visited by a very lot of school classes, therefore it always is crowded on the site. On weekends and holidays even more than on weekdays.
You’ll find a little statistic of visitors in the gallery. There you can see that it is most crowded between 10 and 11 am and 3 and 5 pm.
With a little patience you can bypass the biggest crowds: The students normally leave the site at 6 pm. The pavilions stay open until 9 pm. Therefore we recommend to simply visit the pavilions with the longest queues on daytime in the evening. The queues will be shorter then in most cases.
From our experience with former Expos we can say that from week to week there will be even more visitors. The longer you wait to visit the Expo the longer the queues will be.
Don’t take on too much
There’s a lot to see at the Expo. This is really exhausting and there’s the danger to spread yourself too thin. We recommend you concentrating on countries and topics you’re really interested in. Your best bet would be to decide before your visit what you want to see.
You better explore only a few pavilions without ruffle than many in a rush. We recommend to not plan a visit of more than ten pavilions per day (according to the length of the queues), to take your time on your visit and enjoy your stay.
Information and map of the site
For your information we recommend buying the small Expo Short Guide (5 Euro). We think the information in it to be very helpful for planning a visit and for better understanding the exhibits in the pavilions.
You’ll find a printable map of the Expo on Expo-Highlights.com. There are information kiosks and volunteers on the site that will give a printed map – for free. The pavilions are numbered on this maps. The numbers on our website refer to the numbers on that free plans.
There are also handy touch screens all over the site with maps, information on events, opening hours and much more. We found the “route function” especially helpful: You choose which pavilion you’ll visit next and a dotted line on the map shows you how to get there.
Don’t buy your ticket online
We did three test shoppings at the official Expo page. Every time it took us really long to receive the ticket. The ordered reduced ticket for handicapped people didn’t get delivered at all!
We recommend buying your tickets directly in Milan. At the ticket office at Expo gate on Piazza Cairoli the whole process took us around 75 minutes (waiting times, advice from the seller and printing of the tickets included).
Big advantage: The staff knows everything and can answer all your questions. If you want to buy a reduced ticket and are not Italian don’t forget to bring an international senior card, handicapped person’s pass or student card. National passes will not be accepted.
We recommend buying a weekly ticket or a monthly ticket for your stay in Milan. That cards are available at the ATM-points in Metro stations Duomo, Cadorna, Centrale, Loreto, Romolo and Garibaldi. The staff was friendly and helpful and answered all our questions (in English).
With the „area piccola“ tariff you can get to Expo and use all busses, railways and Metros in Milan (Abbonamenti / Settimanale area piccola: for a weekly ticket; Mensile area piccola: for a monthly ticket). That’s much cheaper than paying for each ride individually.
The card is valid for four years. You can always upload new weekly or monthly tickets – a really good reason to visit the city again.
You’ll have to fill out a form at the ATM-points (Italian or English). You’ll need a passport photo and your tax ID (as foreigner too!). Take all this wih you from home. We needed between 30 and 60 minutes for the whole procedure.
Many of the parking areas in Milan are reserved for local residents. Many car parks are very expensive – this is also true for the parking areas at Expo. We recommend you to book a parking lot near your hotel at www.myparking.it for the time you are in Milan and travel around by busses or trains. Especially if you’re staying longer this will be much cheaper.
The busses and trains in Milan are offering parking lots near their stations. You’ll find these in the section “car parks” on the page www.atm.it.
Food and drink
Food and drink on the Expo are very expensive. We recommend you to bring your own food and drink. There’s a free to use micro wave oven at the restaurant “Tracce” (pavilion number 3) directly at the entrance. You can heat your brought in food (pre-cooked dishes, too).
But we recommend to prefer small handy snacks and fingerfood. You can use the time you have to spend in the lines at the pavilions to have a little snack.
Take an empty bottle with you. There are “water points” all over the site where you can refill your bottle for free.
Bags and luggage
All Bags will be security checked on all entrances to the Expo. Bottles have to be taken out of the bags and will be checked separately by the staff.
We recommend to use little trolleys or wheeled shoppers. These are far more convenient for transporting cameras, food, bottles, books and souvenirs than backpacks and normal bags.