If you want to know if Milan is a city you would like to visit or in case you are already planning your trip and you want to know what to do and see in Milan, this post will help you. All information given in this post are just based on my personal experiences in Milan.
First of all Milan is known as a metropolis of fashion. And that is for a reason. Many high class Designers such as Prada or Moschino are from here. Prada also has two stores in the famous Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, that everyone knows from photos. Now there are not only Italian brands who have their stores in the beautiful Galllery, but also all the other big high class designer brands.
Apart of the whole fashion circus Milan is the most northern metropolis of Italy and therefore you can feel a northern Italian vibe. You’ll find beautiful cute streets and alleys, magnificent churches that melt together with the people that actually live in Milan and not just tourists. Also if you are interested in Arts and Architecture there is a lot to explore in Milan. Another very charming advantage is that you can do a lot of stuff without paying anything.
Where to stay?
I guess there is no one right solution to find the perfect spot to stay on a city trip because it always depends on what you like. I like short ways as much as I love getting to know a city apart from its very touristic parts.
We found an Airbnb in the part of “Isola” which means “Island”, because it is supposed to be very isolated. In fact there is everything you need in that quarter. It is located directly next to the station Garibaldi where the train from Malpensa Airport and many other regional and metro trains arrive. We found it to be perfectly located next to the station as well as, if you like walking like us, allowing to reach the Duomo in about half an hour walk (the Metro takes about the same time). I also loved about Isola that we were in the middle of where Italians live and eat. There was a whole lot of restaurants and bars. Also the prices where really good. We had a small café next to our place and it offered great coffee and also little snacks for a very good price.
What to do?
We stayed in Milan for two days and I think it was just the perfect amount of time. So it is great for a long weekend or short city trip. The best way to get around in Milan is probably just by foot. You can explore so much by walking and sometimes it is just nice to take a right or left here and there and just to move with the flow. If you don’t like walking too much or just stay a bit outside of Milan, public transport is very cheap (Single-Ride 1,50€, Day-Ticket (for 24h) 4,50€).
Walk through the lanes of Brera
Brera is a cute and beautiful area with small lanes and restaurants, bars and little boutiques. In Brera you can just go with the flow, and admire the cuteness of the buildings. However, the area seemed quite touristy so the prices are a bit higher.
Try a Litte Treat from a Pasticceria
Especially in Milan I saw a lot of the little pastry shops where you can get a little treat for small money after having walked a lot in Milan.
Teatro alla Scala
Wenn you walk from Brera to the Duomo you pass the famous opera house nearly automatically. It is not the most beautiful building of Milan from the outside, but if you’re here anyway you want to have seen it. If you want to see an opera you should book in advance.
Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II
When you are in front of the Scala and turn around you will just see the very famous Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, that probably everyone knows from pictures. All big designers have their stores here and if you have planned on buying a Prada bag, then do it here in the right surrounding.
Il Duomo di Milano
When you walk through the Galleria you will be at the Piazza di Duomo in front of the Cathedral of Milan. It is just beautiful and I highly recommend to walk around it to see the full beauty.
You can also go up to the Terrace, which is supposed to be beautiful. You can take the stairs or the elevator. The price for the ticket with the elevator is higher though. In the area of the Dome you’ll find a lot of shops such as Zara and H&M.
Walk from the Duomo to Navigli via el Corso di Porta Ticinese
It is absolutely worth it to walk the way from the Duomo to Navigli. You’ll pass the Basilica San Lorenzo where you can have a Gelato and a break before getting to the Porta Ticinese. Moreover you’ll pass some nice and unique shops. Also I find that you can also get a feeling for the vibe of the city.
In the area of Navigli you’ll find a lot of restaurants and bars next to the canals of Milan. Especially in summer a great place to stroll.
Castello Sforzesco / Parco Sempione
Behind the big Castello Sforzesco there is a nice park to have a break from all the walking and enjoy some treats from the Pasticceria. We didn’t visit the castle from the inside but enjoyed it from outside before heading into the park.
Porta Nueva / Piazza Gae Aulenti
This Place is modern and kind of a business district with some shops. It has a nice a nice modern architecture and a little fountain. It is close to Garibaldi and Isola and can be a nice spot for a little break.
Where to eat?
Foodwise we tried to stay on a budget so we got most food from the supermarket. I still have two tipps for places that we enjoyed a lot.
Bar Penelope Di La Rocca Maria
This little café/bar was just next to our accommodation and so discovered it coincidently craving for caffeine. You get great and cheap coffee and some snacks for a very great price! So if you’re in the area of Garibaldi and are in need of some coffee or food it is a great option.
Osteria dei Vecchi Sapori
Normally “Osteria” is supposed to describe a little tavern rather than a proper restaurant. We wanted to give us a treat and ate out so we came across this venue close to our apartment as well. The food and the ambience were amazing. The servant made everything possible to get us a table in the full place. We had not booked as it was a weekday, but it was very busy. The Primi Piatti were about 10€-12€ and the secondi were a bit more expensive as the sides came extra. The Tiramisu was extremely good!
In a Nutshell
Mailand for me is a great city where you can probably discover much more than we did in our two days. Especially regarding museums there is more to see. We didn’t go to any museums because we were short of time and had great sunshine and rather wanted to spend time outside. I love about Milan that it is a city where there is life and not just tourism. I would definitely come back.