Milan City Guide – Milan Travel Tips

Milan is capital of beauty, art, history and, of course fashion. Tips and tricks for a city break you might need to know if you travel on budget

Reasons to visit

Milan is considered one of the capitals of fashion in the world, but if you are here you can skip all fashion stuff and expensive experience like shopping.

It’s full of history, art, churches and, of course, food. If you don’t have a plan Milan could be a huge hole in your budget if you are impulsive and not careful.

Milan Weather

We recommend May or June, the weather is just perfect, not to hot and not to cold. Temperatures vary from 2- 7°C(35-45°F) in January to 20-30°C(69-87°F) in July.

Rainfall does not vary that much thought the year with an average of 6 rainy days per month.

Milan Local Transport

With a vast network of subway, buses and tram lines there is no place hard to reach. Ticket prices are 1.5€ valid for 90 minutes after stamping for a single journey.

One Day Ticket is 4.5€ and Two Day Ticket costs 8.25€ but you can also use RicaricaMi a rechargeable card that you can buy from almost any store at 2.5€ first time including one single ticket.

If you plan to go outside the city, we recommend using FlixBus

Language

Main language spoken is Italian, and around 30 percent of the people do speak English, mostly in tourist areas.

Electric

Type L (three-prong plug) and Type F (two-prong plug) we suggest having a travel adapter

Currency

Main currency is Euro (€) with ATM’s available almost every street corner. Cash is preferred and tipping is not required but you can leave a tip around 10-15% off the bill.

Must Try Food

While in Italy you must at least try some Italian food like pizza, pasta – penne, lasagna, spaghetti, macaroni, tagliatelle and ravioli.

But as a must try on top of the list must be Bruschetta, Ribollita and Saltimbocca, but let’s not forget about desert which we recommend to try Tiramisu.

More tips can be found at the end of the article.

Must Try Drinks

While in Italy the legal drinking age is 18, there is an exception that minors 16 and 17 can drink a glass of beer, wine or cider in restaurants only.

Most popular drink should be Negroni, a cocktail made from one part Campari , one part gin and one part sweet vermouth rosso served over ice with a piece of orange peel.

And let’s not forget about Aperol Spritz made with 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and a splash of soda.

But you should try the non-alcoholic drinks such as Limoncello, Espresso and Bicerin

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How to get there

From Europe is pretty easy to fly here. Plenty of low-cost airlines have flights here, so if you catch a promotion, a discount, just take it! A plane ticket with carry-on baggage could be really cheap, like 10 euro.

So, in our opinion it’s perfect for a city break here, perfect escape. You don’t need to carry too many things, just enjoy your time here. If you want to check the best fly tickets you can trust kiwi.com. Kiwi can help to find also best fly on your way home.

If you have more time to spend you can also take an international bus like Flixbus. Prices are pretty good and you don’t have limits on your baggage.

Of course, take more time to get here but is perfect if you want to visit different cities around like Venice, Rome, Florence and so on. You can also use ride-share apps like BlaBlaCar for a cheaper ride.

You can spend good time in cars with locals and they can suggest you different places to visit which could be more useful then guides.

Where to stay

Milan has multiple options of finding a cheap or expensive place to stay. As I said, could be expensive but you can fit also on a budget.

If you don’t have worry about your budget can book plenty of hotels rooms and pensions where you like on www.booking.com or www.agoda.com.

It’s a huge city and must consider how much you will to walk, how close to the city center it is your place. If you like to hang out with a local you can book a room on www.airbnb.com and you can find a good price for your accommodation.

Also if you can stay with them for free using Couchsurfing app. You can use it also only if you want to meet with them.

Booking.com

Getting around

Around Milan are three airports: Malpensa, Bergamo, and Linate. From Bergamo airport to the city, Milano Centrale you find plenty of buses for around 5 euro. You can choose also for a train which cost around 5 euros.

From Malpensa, you can take Malpensa Express Trains which cost around 15-20 euros. Also, you can take a bus which will leave approximately every 20 minutes and also could cost around 15-20 euros.

Linate airport is close to the city so you have to check the public transport network.

If you are planning to visit places in Milan you can take three days MilanoPass and with some discount vouchers to different places to visit, eat, drink.

I think cost us around 7 euro per person. My conclusion is that public transport is not expensive and vouchers could be useful. One of these vouchers was for Crypt of Leonardo da Vinci from San Sepolcro Church. More information about it you can look here: https://www.milanocard.it/

Must see

Now we are getting to our top. Like all in Europe, you must be prepared for the long line of waiting on major places to visit. My advice is to book your ticket online or from the previous day to avoid the queue at ticketing.
In other words, let’s start!

1. Duomo di Milano

It’s the cathedral church of Milan, the main attraction, It’s the largest church in Italy and the third largest in the world built in Gothic style architecture . Construction started in 14 century and completed in 1965, so it took centuries until was finished.

Here you can spend a long time because of the queue from the entrance. You can choose different types of ticket, the one that you skip the queue, for rooftop the cathedral and so on, also there is a second queue at the skip the line elevator so.

Could be very busy and you have to stand in line to get in about 1 hour for us, would have gone in the fast line and paid extra if you hadn’t got your tickets already.

You must have your shoulders and knees covered or you won’t be able to go to the Cathedral, you can buy two typed of Duomo pass.

The first one cost 16 euros and you are going by elevator to the cathedral terraces. The second pass without elevator cost 12 euros, children under 12 years will pay half.

The square is named after the church, Piazza del Duomo.

Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

It’s also a major landmark of Milan and the oldest active shopping mall. Was named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II and it was built between 1865 and 1867. If you are a shopping lover and full of cash it’s the perfect place to spend them.

Here you can find most of the famous brands, luxury retailers selling haute couture, jewelry, books, and paintings, as well as restaurants, cafés, bars, and a hotel, the Town House Galleria.

It’s a masterpiece architecture full of mosaic and paintings. The most famous mosaic is Torino’s Bull. There it’s a tradition to “squeeze” bull’s genitals by turning around by your heel for your wish to become true.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

3. Teatro Alla Scala

It’s one of the most famous opera house, inaugurated in 1779 where they are performing the most famous artists, opera, and ballet.

Here all performance must end before midnight and as result, all long opera must start early. The museum of this theater contains collections of paintings, statues, costumes and old document about his history.

This Museum is placed in the building of the La Scala theater and is a part of it. The entrance is directly from Piazza Scala, ticket costs 9 Euros, open between 9-17.

To visit this Museum is a great opportunity to take a look at the historical exhibits, the interior of the public halls and La Scala theater hall proper.

In the time of visiting you can’t have the possibility to stay for the evening performance, but was able to see at least the interior and a part of the rehearsal in the famous theater.

The museum is located inside the La Scala theater building and is a part of it, the entry free is 9 € and it’s opened from 9 – 17.

To visit this Museum is a great opportunity to take a look at the historical exhibits, the interior of the public halls and La Scala theater hall proper.

In the time of visiting you can’t have the possibility to stay for the evening performance, but was able to see at least the interior and a part of the rehearsal in the famous theater.

 

4. Santa Marie Delle Grazie

It’s a Dominican church and monastery included in UNESCO Heritage list and has Leonardo da Vinci ’s mural painting “Last Supper”.

It’s a peaceful site with two great masterpieces by Da Vinci, highly recommend getting in with a tour. The tour guide will explain all the details entrapped in the Last Supper – a paint that took more or less three years to be completed.

They allow small groups of people at the time, you can only stay 15 minutes inside, also you can take pictures but with no flash.

5. Pinacoteca di Brera

If you are an art lover, here is the perfect place to visit, its the mail public gallery of painting in Milan, you can find famous paintings by Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Piero Della Francesca, Donato Bramante and Caravaggio.

There’s an amazing Caravaggio and you can get really close, they don’t seem to mind photo’s being taken either. The works are beautifully lit and presented with very useful background information in English.

The building itself is a work of art, with its central patio and porticoes, which makes the whole experience worthwhile.

Pinacoteca di Brera

6. Castello Sforzesco or Sforza Castle

This castle was built in 15th century by the Duke from Milan, Francesco Sforza, today is one of the biggest citadels from Europe. It was restored by Luca Beltrami at the end of 19th century. The citadel is surrounded by great walls and towers, today is opened to visitors and sometimes there are events and festivals.

You can get your tickets at entry everywhere in the palace, and there is a lot to see, we recommend to come here first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds. All the attendants were really nice, friendly and helpful. Picturesque gardens, walkways, rooms, and hallways.

Even without purchasing tickets you can enjoy this beauty, just bring your food to sit on a bench and enjoy.

Castello Sforzesco
Sforza Castle
Castello Sforzesco
Castello Sforzesco
Castello Sforzesco

7. Sempione Park

The park is close to the gardens of the Sforza Castle and to the Arch of Peace, two of the main attractions of Milan, its perfect for a walk anytime, its beautiful and most of the time quiet. My advice, take a mosquito repellent, there are really aggressive and not just a joke.

The park is well looked after, and used by tourist and residents alike, perfect place to have a break.

Lazing around the park is relaxing, especially during the week (weekend is noisier and too crowded). Spring is the perfect time to soak up the atmosphere and relaxing lying on the lawn.

Sempione Park
Sempione Park

8. Arco Della Pace

This is located in Piazza Sempione, one of the sides of the Sforza Castle, dating back to the 19th century, although its origins can be traced back to a gate of the Roman wall of Milan.

The Arch of Peace has quite a history, dating back to the Roman walls of Milan but mostly was built in the 18th/19th centuries. It’s free to walk up to have a look at, made a great walk in the sunshine from the castle to the arch through Sempione Park – recommended!

Arco Della Pace

9. Cripta San Sepolcro

It’s located underground of Chiesa di San Sepolcro at in Piazza San Sepolcro in the historic center of Milan, here used to be Leonardo da Vinci’s Crypt, you can also see here a copy Shroud of Turin from Torino.

The church has been renovated several times, Romanesque Revival facade was entrenched at the end of the XIX century, you can also find Bibliotheca Ambrosiana right behind the church.

Cripta San Sepolcro
Cripta San Sepolcro
Cripta San Sepolcro

10. Cimitero Monumentale di Milano

This cemetery is one of the two largest cemeteries from Milan, you can find plenty of artistic tombs and monuments in Greek styles, obelisk and a copy of Traianus Column.

Also, you can find famous graves as Hermann Einstein, father of Albert Einstein, Herbert Kilpin (1870–1916), founder of football club A.C. Milan, Salvatore Quasimodo (1901–1968), 1959 Nobel prize in literature, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901), composer.

The large monuments/graves are impressive…big, all individual pieces of art with a lot of work and details! It’s very peaceful and should be visited with respect, but the thing that could impress are the corridors/isles just before entering the cemetery with families and pictures on the “graves” from floor to ceiling. It is a must to visit!

Cimitero Monumentale di Milano

Milan’s Chinatown

Quite literally a Chinatown within Milan, most of the shops or the people you will meet here is Chinese (or at least has Chinese origins, the so-called “second generation”), the place is filled with cheap small shops and restaurants.

The whole road is covered with a lot of green spots and is very pretty to see while strolling, if we want to talk about the food we found here the closest Chinese experience.

Rice with pork
chinese buns
noodles with pork

Outside of city

Como Lake is located in the north of Milan and you there in approx. one hour by car or train. Lake Como down memory lane was a popular retreat for patricians since Roman times.

It’s a very popular tourist attraction with many cultural and artistic treasures, Lake Como is popular for its landscapes and if you are a water sports lover it’s perfect for sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and so on.

Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni, and Villa Carlotta are some villas famous because of their architecture and some of well known people have homes on the shores of Lake Como.

Capella Colleoni from Bergamo (here is one of the airports close to Milan) is a church and mausoleum and it’s dedicated to saints Bartholomew, Mark, and John the Baptist.

It was built 15th century as the personal shrine for the condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni, a member of one of the most important families of the city, and his beloved daughter Medea.

It’s very impressive because of the Renaissance architecture. Entrance is free, but no photos are allowed.

Certosa di Pavia is a monastery situated in the south of Milan close to Pavia city, the monastery is ruled by Carthusians order, also known as Order of Saint Bruno, a Catholic order.

The architecture is a mix between Gothic and Renaissance architectures styles and the Certosa possesses an important collection of stained glass windows and their paintings are incredibly beautiful.

If you are a hiking lover you can go to Monte Resegone. You can book tours for trekking which starts from Como Lake. The landscape is stunning and it’s a good way to escape from the city.

Safari Park Pombia – Lago Maggiore it’s a safari park, zoo and amusement park perfect for a weekend with your family, a place that your kids will love.

Milan Fashion Week

Milan Fashion Week is a clothing trade show held semi-annually, the autumn/winter event is held in February/March of each year, and the spring/summer event is held in September/October of each year.

It was inaugurated in 1958 and it’s partially organized by National Chamber of Italian Fashion.

Milan fashion week include fashion shows and transforms the hole city into a fashion residence by creating plenty of meeting place for the shows.

In this week are organized shows from major fashion houses such as Prada Roberto Cavalli Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Versace etc.

This year, 2018 Milan Fashion Week was for men between June 12-16 and for women will be September 19-25.

Here are only ten places to visit, of course, you can find more interesting places to visit.

Milan it’s a perfect city to escape, especially if you are from Europe, It’s a great market for shopping and fashion and can be also for the budget.

If you have other questions feel free and leave a comment. Until then, you can read more articles about other beautiful destinations.

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