Milan Travel Guide

Looking for an unforgettable adventure? Look no further than Milan. This city offers a unique blend of history and culture, that is sure to captivate any traveler.

As the capital of Lombardy, Milan is also the gateway to a whole region of culture, fine food, and even finer scenery. From day trips to the Italian lakes to exploring the city's many museums and galleries, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Milan. With so much to offer, it's no wonder that Milan is one of Italy's most popular destinations. So why wait? Start planning your trip to Milan today with our Milan travel guide and discover all that this amazing city has to offer.

Why Go To Milan?

Milan is one of the most vibrant and stylish cities in Europe, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in fashion, art, and culture. The city is located in the Lombardy region of Italy, and it is known for its ancient history, modern architecture, and world-class art galleries.

Milan is often referred to as the fashion capital of the world, and it is home to some of the most famous fashion houses and designers, such as Armani and Prada. The city is a hub of creativity and innovation, and it attracts millions of visitors every year who come to experience the latest fashion trends and styles.

In addition to fashion, Milan is also known for its art and culture. The city is home to some of the most famous landmarks in Italy, including the Duomo di Milano, the Castello Sforzesco, and the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The Pinacoteca di Brera is also a must-visit destination for art lovers, featuring a vast collection of paintings and sculptures from some of the greatest artists in history.

Milan is also famous for its nightlife, with a wide range of bars, clubs, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget. The Navigli district is particularly popular, with its picturesque canals and lively atmosphere.

If you are a fan of sports, Milan is home to two of the most famous football teams in the world, AC Milan and Inter Milan. The San Siro stadium is a must-visit destination for football fans, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

Finally, Milan is also famous for its cuisine, with dishes such as Risotto alla Milanese and Cotoletta alla Milanese being popular favorites. And if you want to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city, head to the rooftop of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for a breathtaking vista of the Milan skyline.

Best Time To Visit Milan?

Milan is a city that can be visited throughout the year. However, depending on your preferences and interests, some seasons may be more suitable than others. Here are some factors to consider when deciding on the best time to visit Milan.

Winter

Winter in Milan can be chilly and damp, with temperatures often hovering around zero degrees Celsius. However, it is also the low season, and you can expect to find cheaper accommodation rates and airline fares. If you're a fan of winter sports, you can also take a day trip to the nearby Alps for skiing or snowboarding.

Spring

Spring (March to May) is one of the best times to visit Milan. The weather is milder, and the city is in full bloom with cherry blossoms, magnolias, and azaleas. It is also less crowded than summer, and you can enjoy the city's attractions without the long queues.

Summer

Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season in Milan. The weather is hot and humid, and the city is bustling with tourists from all over the world. However, this is also the time when many Milanese take their coastal vacations, so some shops and restaurants may be closed.

Autumn

Autumn (September to November) is another great time to visit Milan. The weather is mild, and the city is less crowded than summer. It is also the season of fashion, with Milan Fashion Week taking place in September. If you're a foodie, you can also enjoy the city's culinary delights during the Festa del Riso (Rice Festival) in October.

Milan Sforzesco Castle

How to Get to Milan?

Milan is one of the most popular destinations in Italy, and there are several ways to get there. Whether you're traveling from other parts of Italy or from other countries, you have many options to choose from.

By Plane

Milan has three airports: Linate, Malpensa, and Bergamo. Malpensa is the main airport, and it has direct flights from many international destinations. Linate is the closest airport to the city center, and it mostly serves domestic and European flights. Bergamo is a smaller airport, and it's mostly used by low-cost airlines.

By Train

Milan is well-connected by train to other cities in Italy and Europe. Milano Centrale is the main train station, and it has connections to Rome, Venice, Florence, Turin, Bologna, and other cities. There are also high-speed trains that connect Milan to other European cities, such as Paris and Zurich.

By Bus

There are several bus companies that operate in Milan, and they offer connections to other cities in Italy and Europe. Some of the most popular companies are Flixbus, Eurolines, and Megabus.

By Car

If you're planning to drive to Milan, keep in mind that the city center is a restricted traffic zone (ZTL), and you need a special permit to enter. It's recommended to park your car outside the city center and use public transportation to get around.

Best Flights To Milan

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Milan. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Milan.

How to Get Around in Milan?

Milan has a modern and efficient public transportation system that connects almost all areas of the city, making it easy to get around. Here are some of the best ways to get around Milan:

Metro

Milan's metro system is the fastest and most efficient way to get around the city. It consists of four lines (red, green, yellow, and purple) that cover most of the city, including the suburbs. The metro runs from 6 am to midnight, with trains arriving every few minutes during peak hours and every 10-15 minutes during off-peak hours. You can buy tickets at the metro stations or from authorized resellers.

Tram

Milan's tram system is an excellent way to explore the city while enjoying the scenery. The trams run on 17 lines, covering most of the city, including the historic center. The trams run from 6 am to midnight, with some lines running until 2 am. You can buy tickets at the tram stops or from authorized resellers.

Bus

Milan's bus system is extensive, covering most of the city, including the suburbs. The buses run from 6 am to midnight, with some lines running until 2 am. You can buy tickets at the bus stops or from authorized resellers.

Bike

Milan is a bike-friendly city, and there are many bike-sharing options available. You can rent a bike from one of the many bike-sharing stations located throughout the city. There are also many bike lanes, making it easy to get around on two wheels.

Walking

Milan is a beautiful city to explore on foot, especially in the historic center. Many of the city's top attractions are within walking distance of each other, making it easy to get around without using public transportation.

travel to Milan

How Much Time Should I Spend in Milan?

If you're planning a visit to Milan, you might be wondering how much time you should spend in the city to make the most of your visit. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, the following information can help you decide how many days to spend in Milan.

Itineraries

The amount of time you should spend in Milan depends on what you want to see and do. If you're interested in exploring Milan's historical landmarks, such as the Duomo di Milano and the Sforza Castle, you can cover most of them in two to three days. However, if you want to experience the city's vibrant nightlife and shopping scene, you might want to stay for a week or more.

Suggested Time

Here are some suggested timeframes for your Milan itinerary:

  • One day: If you're short on time, you can see the highlights of Milan in a day. You can visit the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and the Sforza Castle.
  • Two to three days: With two to three days, you can explore Milan's historical landmarks, visit the art galleries and museums in Milan, and shop at the high-end boutiques.
  • Four to five days: If you have more time, you can take day trips from Milan to nearby attractions, such as Lake Como and Bergamo.
  • One week or more: With a week or more, you can experience Milan's nightlife, attend cultural events, and explore the city's hidden gems.
Sforza Castle In Milan

What Should I Do on My First Trip to Milan?

Here are some things you should consider doing during your first trip to Milan:

Visit the Duomo di Milano

The Duomo di Milano is one of the most iconic landmarks in Milan. This stunning cathedral took almost six centuries to complete and is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. You can climb to the top of the cathedral and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Explore the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a beautiful shopping arcade that is home to some of the most luxurious brands in the world. The arcade is covered by a glass roof and features a stunning mosaic floor. It is a great place to shop, eat, and people-watch.

See Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper

The Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings in the world, and it is located in Milan. This masterpiece was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century and is housed in the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church. You need to book your tickets well in advance to see the painting.

Visit the Sforza Castle

The Sforza Castle is a massive fortress that was built in the 15th century. It is home to several museums and art collections, including works by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. You can also explore the castle's beautiful gardens.

Take a Walk in the Navigli District

The Navigli district is one of the most picturesque areas of Milan. It is located along the city's canals and is home to many of Milan's best restaurants, bars, and shops. You can take a stroll along the canals and enjoy the beautiful views.

What Are Some Hidden Gems to See in Milan?

Milan is a city full of surprises and hidden gems that are waiting to be explored. Here are some of the best hidden gems to see in Milan:

  • Ca' de' Oreggia: It is the first private swimming pool in Milan and is located in the heart of the city. This hidden gem is a perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
  • Via Terraggio Garden: This public garden is nestled through an unassuming gateway in Milan. It remained closed for 70 years and finally re-opened in 2010. It's a peaceful and tranquil place to spend some time.
  • Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa: This church is famous for its terrifying ossuary, which contains the bones of over 3,000 people. It's a unique and eerie experience that you won't forget.
  • Villa Invernizzi: This beautiful villa is home to a flock of pink flamingos. It's a hidden gem that not many tourists know about.
  • Piazza del Quadrilatero: This charming little square is located in the heart of Milan's fashion district. It's a great place to people-watch and soak up the atmosphere.
  • House of the Omenoni: This historic building is named after the eight statues of caryatids that support its balcony. It's a beautiful example of Milanese Renaissance architecture.
  • Navigli: This area is famous for its canals and is a great place to explore. It's full of trendy bars, restaurants, and shops.
Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa in Milan

What Neighborhood Should I Stay in When I Visit Milan?

Milan is a vibrant city with many neighborhoods to choose from when it comes to finding a place to stay. Here are some of the best neighborhoods to stay in when visiting Milan:

Centro Storico (Historical Center)

Centro Storico is the heart of Milan and an excellent place to stay if you want to be in the center of the action. It is home to the iconic Piazza del Duomo, the famous Milan Cathedral, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping center. You can find plenty of accommodation options in this area, from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly Milanese hostels.

Brera

Brera is a trendy and bohemian neighborhood that is perfect for art lovers. It is home to many galleries, boutiques, and cafes. If you are looking for a unique and authentic experience, Brera is an excellent choice. You can find many charming apartments and bed and breakfasts in this area.

Navigli

Navigli is a picturesque neighborhood famous for its canals and vibrant nightlife. It is an excellent place to stay if you want to enjoy the city's nightlife and experience the local culture. You can find many Milanese bars, restaurants, and clubs in this area. There are also many accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and Airbnb rentals.

Porta Romana

Porta Romana is a residential neighborhood that is perfect for those who want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. It is a peaceful and quiet area that is still well-connected to the city's main attractions. You can find many affordable accommodation options in this area, including Airbnb rentals and budget-friendly hotels.

Booking.com

What Is A Good Budget For A Trip To Milan?

Milan is one of the most expensive cities in Italy. However, with a bit of planning and budgeting, you can enjoy your trip to Milan without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on how much to budget for a trip to Milan.

Budgeting for Milan

The currency used in Milan is the Euro. It is important to keep in mind that the cost of accommodation, food, and transportation can vary depending on the season and location.

Accommodation

Accommodation is often the biggest expense when traveling to Milan. However, there are budget-friendly options such as hostels and Airbnb. Hostels can cost anywhere from €15 to €40 per night, while Airbnb can be a bit more expensive but still cheaper than hotels.

Food and Drink

Milan is known for its delicious food, but dining out can be expensive. A good way to save money on food is to eat like a local. Head to a local market or grocery store and stock up on fresh produce, bread, and cheese for a picnic in one of Milan's beautiful parks. A budget of €10-€15 per meal should be enough for a simple but satisfying meal.

Transportation

Milan has a great public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and a subway system. A single ticket costs €2, but it's more cost-effective to buy a day pass for €7 or a 48-hour pass for €12. If you're planning on exploring the city by bike, there are several bike rental services available for around €10 per day.

Other Expenses

Other expenses you may want to consider include entrance fees to museums and attractions, shopping, and souvenirs. A good budget for these expenses would be around €50-€100, depending on your interests and how much shopping you plan to do.

Overall Budget

A comfortable daily budget for Milan would be around €60-€70. This includes accommodation, food, transportation, and some extra spending money. Of course, you can adjust your budget according to your needs and preferences.

Best Flights To Milan

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Milan. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Milan.

How To Stay Safe in Milan?

Milan is a relatively safe city for travelers, but as with any major city, it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your visit to Milan:

Be aware of pickpockets and scams

Pickpocketing is a common problem in Milan, especially in crowded areas such as public transportation, tourist attractions, and shopping areas. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings at all times, and consider using a money belt or a secure bag to keep your valuables safe.

In addition to pickpocketing, there are also scams to be aware of, particularly around tourist attractions. Be wary of anyone who approaches you with a sob story or tries to sell you something on the street. It's always best to be cautious and avoid engaging with strangers who seem suspicious.

Stick to well-lit areas at night

Milan is generally a safe city at night, but it's still a good idea to stick to well-lit areas and avoid walking alone in dark or isolated areas. If you need to take a taxi, be sure to use a licensed taxi service and avoid unmarked or unofficial taxis.

Be cautious when using public transportation

Public transportation in Milan is generally safe and efficient, but it's important to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings. Avoid using your phone or other electronic devices in crowded areas, as this can make you a target for pickpockets.

Know the emergency numbers

It's always a good idea to know the emergency numbers in case of an emergency. In Italy, the emergency number is 112 for police, ambulance, and fire services.

Milan public transportation

Where To Stay In Milan?

Milan offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Some popular options include:

  • Hotels: Milan has a great selection of hotels, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly options. Some popular hotels include the Four Seasons Hotel Milano, the Bulgari Hotel Milano, and the Hotel Milano Scala.
  • Airbnb: Milan has a large selection of Airbnb properties, ranging from apartments to entire houses. This is a great option if you want to experience the city like a local and have a more authentic experience.
  • Hostels: Hostels are located in many neighborhoods of Milan and offer budget-friendly accommodation in a trendy setting. It's a great option for solo travelers or those on a tight budget.
Booking.com

What Food Is Milan Known For?

Milan is known for its delicious and unique cuisine that sets it apart from the rest of Italy. The city's food is characterized by its use of rice, cornmeal polenta, butter, and other dairy products, as well as beef, all of which are sourced from the flat farmlands surrounding the city. Here are some of the must-try dishes in Milan:

Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese is a smooth and creamy saffron-enriched risotto that is the culinary pride of Milan. It is made by gently pan-frying Arborio rice with chopped onions and butter, before adding saffron and repeatedly stirring until the rice is cooked to perfection. This dish is often served as a main course or as a side dish to meat dishes.

Cotoletta alla Milanese

Cotoletta alla Milanese is a breaded and fried veal cutlet that is a Milanese specialty. It is made by pounding a veal chop until it is thin and tender, then breading it and frying it in butter until it is golden brown. This dish is often served with a side of potatoes or a salad.

Places to Eat

Milan has a vibrant and exciting food scene, with a wide range of restaurants to choose from. Here are some of the best places to try Milanese cuisine:

  • Trattoria Milanese: This restaurant is a classic Milanese institution that has been serving traditional Milanese food since 1933. It is known for its risotto alla Milanese and cotoletta alla Milanese.
  • Osteria del Binari: This restaurant is located in a historic railway station and is known for its traditional Milanese cuisine, including risotto alla Milanese and ossobuco.
  • Luini: This bakery is famous for its panzerotti, which are deep-fried pockets of dough filled with tomato and mozzarella cheese.
  • Pasticceria Marchesi: This historic pastry shop is known for its delicious cakes, pastries, and chocolates.
Eating Gelato in Rome

What Are the Best Neighborhoods for Shopping in Milan?

Milan is known as the fashion capital of the world, and shopping is one of the top activities for visitors to the city. There are several neighborhoods in Milan that offer a unique shopping experience. Here are some of the best neighborhoods for shopping in Milan:

Quadrilatero della Moda

Quadrilatero della Moda, also known as the Fashion Quadrilateral, is the most famous shopping district in Milan. Located in the city center, this area is home to the flagship stores of some of the world's most famous high-fashion brands, including Gucci, Prada, and Versace. The district is made up of four streets: Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea, and Via Manzoni. The stores here are known for their luxury, high-end fashion, and exclusive collections.

Brera

Brera is a charming neighborhood in the heart of Milan that is known for its art galleries, antique shops, and designer boutiques. The streets here are lined with shops selling unique and one-of-a-kind items, including handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, and artisanal goods. Brera is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs.

Navigli

Navigli is a trendy neighborhood in Milan that is known for its canals, nightlife, and bohemian atmosphere. The area is home to many independent boutiques and vintage shops, as well as artisanal food markets and street vendors. Navigli is a great place to find unique, handmade items, including clothing, jewelry, and accessories.

Corso Buenos Aires

Corso Buenos Aires is a bustling shopping street in Milan that is known for its affordable fashion. The street is lined with stores selling clothing, shoes, and accessories at reasonable prices. The stores here are more accessible and affordable than those in the Fashion Quadrilateral, making it a great place to shop for stylish yet affordable clothing.

Milan is a city that is steeped in fashion and design, and there are many neighborhoods that offer a unique shopping experience. Whether you are looking for luxury fashion or affordable clothing, there is something for everyone in Milan.

Best Flights To Milan

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Milan. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Milan.

How to Save Money in Milan?

Milan is a beautiful city with plenty of things to see and do, but it can also be quite expensive. If you're on a budget, there are several ways to save money during your visit.

Budget-Friendly Accommodation

Accommodation can be a significant expense in Milan, but there are several budget-friendly options available. Hostels are a popular choice for backpackers and solo travelers, and they offer a social atmosphere and affordable rates. You can also consider staying in an Airbnb or a guesthouse, which can be cheaper than hotels.

Public Transportation

Milan has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and metros. Buying a daily or weekly pass can save you money compared to buying individual tickets. Plus, walking is always free and a great way to explore the city.

Free Things to Do

Milan has plenty of free attractions and activities that you can enjoy without spending a dime. Some of the top free things to do include visiting the Duomo di Milano, exploring the Brera District, and wandering through the Navigli Canals. You can also visit several parks and gardens, such as Parco Sempione and Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli.

Food and Drink

Eating and drinking out can quickly add up, but there are several ways to save money on food and drinks in Milan. Consider buying food from street vendors or local markets, which can be cheaper than restaurants. You can also opt for aperitivo, a Milanese tradition that involves ordering a drink and getting free food.

Discounts and Deals

Finally, be on the lookout for discounts and deals during your visit to Milan. Many museums and attractions offer reduced rates for students, seniors, and families. You can also check out websites like Groupon for deals on restaurants, tours, and activities.

FAQ

Q: What makes Milan so great?

A: Milan is a city that has something for every visitor. It's a fashion capital, home to some of the world's most famous designers and fashion houses. Milan is also a cultural hub, with plenty of art galleries, museums, and historic buildings to explore. The city is known for its delicious food, with plenty of restaurants and cafes serving up traditional Italian cuisine. And, of course, Milan is home to one of the world's most famous landmarks, the stunning Gothic cathedral, the Duomo.

Q: What you need to know before going to Milan?

A: Before you go to Milan, it's important to know that the city can get very busy, especially during peak tourist season. It's a good idea to book your accommodation and any tours or activities in advance to avoid disappointment. Milan is also known for its pickpockets, so be sure to keep your valuables close to you at all times. It's also worth noting that many shops and restaurants close during the afternoon for a siesta, so plan your day accordingly.

Q: What is the safest area in Milan for tourists?

A: Milan is a relatively safe city, but like any major city, there are areas that are safer than others. The Brera district is a popular area for tourists, with plenty of art galleries, cafes, and restaurants. It's also known for its charming streets and beautiful architecture. The Navigli district is another popular area, with plenty of bars and restaurants along the canal. Both of these areas are generally considered safe for tourists.

Q: Are locals in Milan friendly to tourists?

A: Milan locals are generally friendly to tourists, especially those who make an effort to speak Italian. It's always a good idea to learn a few basic Italian phrases before you go, as this will help you to communicate with locals and show that you respect their culture. However, as with any city, there may be some locals who are less friendly, so it's important to be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.

Q: What are some recommended places to eat in Milan?

A: Milan is known for its delicious food, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from. For traditional Milanese cuisine, try Osteria del Binari or Trattoria Milanese. For pizza, head to Piz or Gino Sorbillo. For a quick snack, try Luini Panzerotti, which serves up delicious fried pastries filled with cheese and tomato. And for something sweet, head to Pasticceria Marchesi, which has been serving up delicious pastries and cakes since 1824.

Q: Is Milan bad for pickpockets?

A: Milan is known for its pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist areas such as the Duomo and the Brera district. It's important to keep your valuables close to you at all times, and to be aware of your surroundings. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewelry, as this can make you a target for thieves. It's also a good idea to keep your bag or backpack in front of you, rather than on your back.

Recommended Hotels In Milan

Hotel Principe Di Savoia luxury hotel

Hotel Principe Di Savoia

Offering a top-floor spa and spacious rooms with classic design and luxury furniture, Hotel Principe Di Savoia - Dorchester Collection is 328 feet from Milan’s Repubblica Metro and Train Station.

Meliá Milano hotel in Milan

Meliá Milano

Rooms at the Meliá are air conditioned and feature luxurious bed linens and furniture. Each includes a flat-screen TV with satellite and pay-per-view channels, plus a mini-bar and safe.

Atlantic Hotel Milano-mid-range hotel in Milan

Atlantic Hotel Milano

Atlantic is opposite Milan Central Station, with links to Malpensa and Linate International Airports. It offers rooms with an LCD TV, an early breakfast, and free WiFi throughout. Air-conditioned rooms here feature modern décor and a mini-bar. 

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO MILAN

Book Your Hotel In Milan

You can book your hotel in Milan with Booking.com as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hotel, they also return the cheapest rates for accommodations like guesthouses and apartments.

Book Your Flight To Milan

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Milan. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you get the best rates.

Need a Rental Car In Milan?

Here is a budget-friendly car rental resource. No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest car rentals in Milan here.

Looking for an Airport Transfer Service In Milan?

If you are looking for a convenient and affordable option to get to and from the airport in Milan, here you will find all the answers to book your next airport transfer in Milan.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illnesses, an injury, luggage theft, and even trip cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong during your trip. I never travel to Milan without it as I’ve had to use it several times in the past. My favorite travel insurance companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Travel Companies to Save Money With?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you visit Milan. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m taking a trip. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Italy:

Be sure to visit our Italy Travel Guide for even more planning tips.

More Milan Travel Resources