Milan was everything that I expected and more. Everywhere you look you will see people dressed in high fashion clothing, from Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton & Prada to Polo, Burberry and other local iconic designers. I was rather impressed by the women who dared to walk out over the cobbled streets in their stilettos with their Chanel purse in one hand and a gelato in the other. “Godda love the Italians!”, and I’m talking about women of all ages.
When you land at Milan airport you can head to the exit where you will find plenty of buses heading to the city centre. They usually cost well under €10 per person. The bus trip to Milan Central Station is about an hour. There is also a train that goes to town, however we didn’t manage to locate it and decided that the bus was the easier option.
In Milan we decided to stay in a comfortable 4 star hotel near the main central train station that provided a wonderful breakfast spread each morning, and a friendly accommodating staff. Having breakfast at the hotel was great, mainly because I’m the kind of person that has to eat within the first hour of being awake, I tend to wake up pretty hungry, so it was ideal to power up for the day out. Alternatively you can always pop out and see what the city has to offer for your meals.
The key with accommodation is to stay near local transport. A tram, bus or underground will get you around the city easily.
During your stay in Milan there are some key sights that are a must and you can certainly add to your list. As I mentioned previously it’s worth checking what tourist passes are available at the city info desk or kiosk, more importantly they allow you to skip the queue which can literally save you hours!
Duomo di Milano Cathedral & Terraces- city cathedral
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele- famous shopping mall
Il Cenacolo- this gallery is home to some significant master pieces, be sure to book in advance as it is in high demand!
Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore- Referred to as the Sistine chapel of Milan
Piazza del Duomo- The area around the main Cathedral offers some great shops and cafes, give yourself a good 2 hours just to wander around and see what you find.
Castello Sforzesco- The Castle is an easy walk from the Duomo and offers galleries and various historical collections from art and artifacts to furniture through the ages.
La Rinascente- This 7 floor department store is a must! Each floor offers a range of the latest designers, fine food and wine. The best part of this store is the rooftop cafe, you can enjoy a coffee and cake or tapas and vino whilst peering over at the Duomo terraces opposite. A great view of the Cathedral from a different viewpoint.
La Scala Opera- A significant part of Italian history this 1700’s building houses some great Operatic performances, I recommend investing in seeing a show here and booking your tickets before you arrive.
Brera District- For a bit of a change in scenery this area is a good reflection of the locals. Here you will find vintage shops and smaller stores offering handmade crafts, hipster culture and more. A nice comparison to the department stores in the city centre.
Navigli District- Again this area is a great change of scenery to the high polish of the city centre, we explored Navigli in the early evening and were pleasantly surprised to find an almost venice-like canal with numerous trendy cafes and bars, buzzing with locals. The streets vendors and eclectic collection of shops were great fun to walk through.
Tram 1- The trams are a great way of seeing the city, the tram 1 passes most of the main landmarks and offers a wonderful experience since its design dates back to the 50’s. About 30 mins worth this ride is certainly worth a try.
This city has more food spots than you can count, locals certainly know how to prepare great pastas, pizzas and Italian pastries. You will find something wonderful in almost every city block.
In true Cafe-Balance fashion check out my top healthy meal spots and indulgences in Milan below.