Did you know?
Milan is the city with the largest number of skyscrapers in Italy!
What if we told you that there is a city that looks like it has popped out of a fashion magazine?
Well, a holiday to Milan, one of the trendiest fashion capitals in the world, is an all-time-classic experience! In this city, culture, history, designer boutiques, sophisticated restaurants, and super-stylish crowds blend to create art. Because Milan is all about art!
But, who wants to lose time searching for travel information about going on holiday to Milan across the web? We know you don’t. That’s we created this short and sweet guide with all you need to know about Milan. Scroll down!
Milan in Italy is a busy metropolis, a fashion mecca, and an architectural gem all in one! For one thing, it has an enduring history and rich culture that is reflected in its cityscapes, for another, it is a modern, bustling city with an impeccable style.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Milan, from the best places to visit and things to do in Milan to the best ways to get around Milan and useful information about your trip!
Located in the northern part of Italy, Milan is a city with long history and unique charm that never fails to enchant visitors. Thanks to its world-famous annual fashion week, Milan is considered a major fashion hub in Europe. This city is full of outlets, fashion boutiques, and a wide selection of stores, so it’s a go-to destination for shopping!
However, there’s more to Milan city than fashion and history! Its booming gastronomy scene, its elegant neighbourhoods, and its vintage vibe are some of the reasons why so many people adore Milan!
Milan has a subtropical/Mediterranean climate with unpredictable weather, like most Italian cities. Summer (June – August) is the hottest and most humid season in Milan, and it is also when the highest temperatures occur. Fall (September – November) is milder in terms of temperature -neither too hot nor too cold- but it is a rainy season. Winter in Milan (December – February) is cold and foggy, but it isn’t as rainy as fall. Spring (March–May) is a sunny season with moderate temperatures -the perfect time of the year for city exploration.
Milan is the city with the largest number of skyscrapers in Italy!
Duomo di Milano is probably the most popular attraction in the city. It took almost six centuries for this imposing cathedral to be constructed -it boasts an incredible interior and exterior! One of the best things to do in the Duomo is to go to its rooftop to marvel at the piazza di Duomo and enjoy a cup of authentic Italian espresso.
Tip: The best time of the day to visit Duomo’s rooftop is just before sunset.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the oldest shopping mall in Italy, is a go-to destination for shopping in Milan. It took its name from the first king of the Kingdom of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II. In this stunning shopping mall, you’ll find a big selection of luxurious boutiques and famous high-end retail shops.
If you feel overwhelmed by the crowds of Milan’s city center, head to Navigli Neighbourhood, in the southern part of the city. Navigli is one of the most authentic neighborhoods in Milan, with beautiful buildings and Airbnbs, which you can choose for your stay.
Parco Sempione is a beautiful park near Castello Sforzesco and the Arch of Peace. Besides endless greenery, in the park, you’ll also find an aquarium and attractions like the Torre Branca and many sculptures.
Trivia: Before becoming a park in the early 19th century, Parco Sempione was a forest inhabited by exotic and wild animals.
Constructed in 1778, the legendary Teatro alla Scala in Milan is an ideal place to enjoy an opera or a ballet performance! Even if you can’t attend a performance, we highly recommend that you join a tour to Teatro alla Scala to learn about its history, see how the theater has evolved over the years, and marvel at its amazing interior.
Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera Art Gallery) is the most important art gallery in Milan -it displays Italian paintings that date back to the Renaissance. Established with the help of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1809, Pinacoteca di Brera hosts works of famous artists like Caravaggio and Raphael, as well as painting like the Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio and the Lamentation over the Dead Christ by Andrea Mantegna.
Most shops in Milan are open every day from 10 am until 8 pm, except for the small local shops that are usually closed on Mondays. Keep in mind that some shops close for a lunch break from 1:30 pm to 2:30 every day.
The origins of Milan are traced in 600 B.C when the city was founded by the Celtic Insubres, who lived in Insubria, a region in northern Italy. Later on, in 222 B.C, Milan and the whole region was conquered by the Romans, who gave it the name Mediolanum.
Throughout its enduring history, Milan has become the capital of the Western Roman Empire, the Duchy of Milan, and the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia.
You can get to Milan by air, by train, or by car, depending on your location. In regards to convenience, though, we recommend the plane, as it is the fastest way to get to the bustling European metropolis. On the other side, if you want to enjoy the stunning views of the Italian countryside on your way to Milan, the car or the bus are better options!
A plane is the easiest way to reach Milan, especially if you’re traveling from a non-European country.
Milan has three major airports: Malpensa Airport (the biggest airport in northern Italy), Linate
Airport (mainly serving domestic flights to Milan) and Orio al Serio Airport (mainly serving flights to/from Milan by low-cost airlines). All these airports combined have received 43 million passengers in 2017, which makes them the second busiest airports in Italy, after the airports of Rome.
Linate, Malpensa, and Orio al Serio airports are connected to the city center of Milan by bus, while Linate also has a direct rail connection to Centrale and Cadona railway stations in Milan.
You can easily reach Milan by train, as well as to use Milan as a starting point of a road trip to northern Italy!
The main train station in Milan is Milan Central, the second biggest train station in Italy. This station serves as a hub for high-speed rail lines in northern Italy. Apart from the Milan Central train station, there are also the Milano Cadorna and the Milan Porta Garibaldi stations, which are also pretty busy.
Milan is also well-connected by train to many European cities, like Paris, Marseille, Bern, Lugano, Geneve, Zurich, Nice, Wien, Barcelona, and Munich. So, the train is the best means of transportation to get to nearby destinations like the Lago Maggiore and Lago di Como lake regions. It’s also a great way to travel to little towns like Cremona, Pavia, and Bergamo as well as to big cities like Venice, Florence, Bologna, Genova, and Turin. Milan to Venice and Milan to Florence are some of the most popular train itineraries in Italy!
Info: Regional trains in Milan are managed by RFI and FERROVIENORD. The main rail companies that run the trains in Milan are Trenord and Trenitalia.
The bus is a good way to get to Milan if you’re traveling from another Italian city or even a nearby European country, like Greece or Spain. What’s more, the bus is an option to consider if you want to tour northern Italy.
The Centro Storico neighborhood (the historic city center) in Milan is an ideal area to stay if you’re visiting Milan for the first time. In Centro Storico, you’ll find Milan’s most popular attractions, including the Duomo Milan Cathedral, Santa Maria Delle Grazie, La Scala Opera House, Arco Della Pace, and Palazzo Clericiand. Other than that, Milan’s city center is full of cafes, shops, restaurants, and museums, so you’ll have everything at your fingertips!
Milan is arguably an artistic city, but if you’re looking for the ultimate artistic neighborhood, Brera district is your best bet. Located north of Duomo in Milan, Brera is home to the Pinacoteca di Brera museum (one of the most legendary museums in Milan), the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, and the Brera Art Gallery. The overall atmosphere in Brera neighborhood is bohemian and artsy -ideal for art enthusiasts! Besides museums and galleries, in Brera, you’ll find luxurious apartments, high-end boutiques, hip bars, and some of the most stylish cafes in Milan.
Porta Romana is the best place to stay in Milan if you’re traveling with your family or seeking a quiet place to stay, away from the hustle and bustle. Porta Romana is located close to Milan city center, but it has many restaurants, boutiques, and shops. This elegant district is perfect if you’re traveling on a budget. In Porta Romana, you’ll find some of the best budget-friendly hotels in Milan and apartments to rent.
Tip: If you stay in Porta Romana, don’t miss the QC Term thermal baths located there.
You can get around Milan on foot, by bus/tram, metro, and by car. Milan has a good public transportation network, which you can use to get around the city and the main attractions in Milan.
Milan may be large to explore on foot, but it is walkable and the points of interest are concentrated in the city center. This means that it is possible to visit all the main attraction in Milan within a day. If you don’t like walking, you can opt for the public means of transportation or a taxi.
The Metro system in Milan is one of the most modern ones in Europe. It comprises 4 lines -Line M1 (red), Line M2 (green), Line M3 (yellow), and Line M5 (purple)- and 111 metro stations in total. There are frequent schedules every 2-4 minutes from 6 am to 12:30 am.
Milan has a bus network with over 80 buses that run throughout the day. There are also night bus lines that operate from midnight until 6 am. The bus is also a good means of transportation for getting from Linate airport in Milan to the city center. The bus lines that serve this itinerary are 73 and X73.
Tickets for means of public transportation
The public transportation network in Milan is run by Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (ATM). A single urban ticket for the public means of transportation in Milan (bus, tram, and metro) costs 2 euros and is valid for 90 minutes. You can purchase it at newsstands, bars, and automated ticket machines in Metro stations. If you’re planning to stay in Milan for more than a day, our recommendation is to buy a 24 hours (4.5 euros) or 48 hours (8.25 euros) travel card. You have to validate your ticket at the validating machine upon your entrance in the metro/bus/tram.
We don’t recommend getting around Milan by car. There is a lot of traffic in the city center, while parking is almost impossible. Other than that, drivers in Milan are often reckless, exceeding the speed limits and neglecting traffic signs, so driving in Milan isn’t a good idea!
An alternative to cars is the taxis, which are a rather expensive means to get around the city. However, the taxi is an easy way to get to your hotel after a night out. You can call a taxi to pick you up over the phone or online.
One thing you should know about Milan is that it is quite expensive. So, if you’re on a budget, it’s best to visit Milan off-season. In winter, the prices of the flights and the hotels in Milan usually drop, so it’s possible to spend your holiday in Milan without breaking the bank.
Generally, you should plan on spending around €120 ($130) per day during your stay in Milan. This amount of money includes meals -approximately €30 ($32) per person- and tickets for public transportation -approximately €12 ($12) per person.
Risotto alla Milanese is a creamy risotto with saffron. Saffron adds a pop of yellow color to the white rice, while cheese and bone marrow give the dish a strong flavor and creaminess. Risotto alla Milanese is often served along with osso buco, a braised veal dish.
Trivia: The origins of this mouthwatering dish are traced back to the 16th century. In that time, saffron was used to color Duomo’s stain-glass windows!
Meat is one of the main ingredients of northern Italian gastronomy. Osso buco, which means hollow bones in Italian, is an iconic local dish. For this recipe, Italians use a tender part of the veil and braise it in a mixture of white wine, carrots, and celery. It is served with a side of polenta or Risotto alla Milanese. Yum!
Cotoletta is the Italian version of schnitzel -a veal cutlet covered with breadcrumbs and fried in butter. There are many cooking versions of Cotoletta alla Milanese: with a thick or fine cut of meat, juicy or crunchy. It is usually served with a side of polenta or potatoes.
Cassouela, one of the most delicious traditional dishes in northern Italy, is a pork and cabbage casserole. This Italian specialty consists of cabbage and pig ears, feet, tail, and nose – trust us, it’s way more delicious than it sounds. It is usually served in winter, as it is a hearty warm dish. More specifically, Italians traditionally eat it on January 17 (the feast day of Saint Anthony the Abbot).
Panettone is a sweet Italian delicacy, mainly consumed at Christmas time. It is a fluffy fruit cake, which you can find everywhere during the holidays -from the supermarket aisles to traditional bakeries. Although Panettone is a Christmas treat, you can find it in Milan all year round!
The health care system (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) in Milan is very good. If you are a European citizen traveling to Milan, you should have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which provides you coverage for treatments in public hospitals without any charge. If you are a non-European traveler, you are required to have a private insurance cover.
Winter in Milan is cold and foggy, so we recommend that you pack a warm stylish coat, like a faux fur coat, a scarf, a pair of gloves, knitted sweaters, and a pair of warm boots. A raincoat is also a must, as rainfalls are frequent in Milan during winter.
Spring weather in Milan is usually mild and sunny, yet unpredictable. This means you should cover all the bases when it comes to packing. Some of the pieces that shouldn’t be missing from your suitcase are a mid-weight jacket, a pair of sneakers, some pairs of jeans, a raincoat, and lightweight sweaters.
Summer in Milan is hot, so you should opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics, like cotton and linen. Don’t forget to bring with you light t-shirts, cute sundresses, linen shorts, and some pairs of comfortable sandals. A lightweight jacket may also come in handy in Milan’s cool evenings.
Fall in Milan is chilly and wet, with temperature fluctuations, so layering is the key! Make sure that you pack long-sleeve shirts, a warm coat, a scarf, a pair of comfortable sneakers suitable for walking, and some pairs of long pants. Don’t forget your raincoat and umbrella!
That’s all! We shared with you everything you need to know about going on holiday to Milan, from how to get there and where to stay to the best things to do and how to move around. If you have any tips/recommendations about Milan, share them in the comments section -we’d love to read them!
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