Imagine being surrounded by luxury fashion, stunning landmarks centuries old, and some of the finest foods in the world! Milan brings together so many different cultural elements in such an elegant way. From great Renaissance art to designer brands, Milan has it all! If you are interested in art, fashion, food, or history, then Milan is the perfect place for your next trip.
Your Quick & Easy Guide to Milan, Italy
How to Get to Milan, Italy
Milan is one of the largest cities in Italy, which makes it very easy to organize travel From almost anywhere in the world. The main airport in Milan is the Malpensa Airport, which has direct flights coming and leaving from most major cities across the globe.
Be aware, shopping does not have to end when you leave the city of Milan -the airport is full of luxury stores from Chanel to Gucci, so plan a little extra room in your carry-on if you’re in the market for luxury goods!
Travel to and from the airport is made easy with the Malpensa Express, which is a train service that directly links the airport to the center of Milan. Tickets can be purchased in advance online for both groups and individuals.
Traveling within Milan is incredibly easy, as well! There is a subway system (the “Milan Metro”) that makes stops throughout much of the city. In addition, Uber is available in Milan for those who would prefer to quickly book cabs on the go.
When to Go to Milan
To avoid tourists and the sweltering heat of the summer, it is said that the best time to visit Milan is April to May or September to October. However, my trip was in January, and, while it was a little chilly, the crowds were not too bad and it made seeing the key sites very easy.
The world-renowned semi-annual fashion weeks are held in early spring and early fall. If fashion is of interest, I highly recommend planning a trip around the Milan Fashion Week events and festivities. Though do be aware that you should book your plans early and plan on plenty of crowds, because fashion weeks are packed with celebrities and those wanting to be close to the action themselves.
What to eat in Milan
Eataly is a brand that is known world-wide to specialize in creating spaces where people can buy groceries, learn to cook, and attend regional events. While there are Eataly locations all around the world, I highly recommend attending one of the available cooking classes in Milan.
In the class I enjoyed at Eataly, I learned how to make pasta out of buckwheat, which is a regional specialty. Learning how to cook from an expert in the local cuisine made the experience truly enriching Because they were able to dive into the details of why the dish is popular, different ways to enjoy it at home, and provided much color to the overall experience. We made an appetizer, main course, and dessert, but best part is that you get to eat it all at the end!
The cannoli in Italy are out of this world! I would have had a cannoli everyday of my trip if possible.
My favorite cannoli shop, Ammu, was just a few blocks away from my hotel and it offered all sorts of different flavors and combinations. Chocolate chip or pistacchio are always a great choice!
On the last night of my stay in Milan, we took the subway to Morgante. It is a beautiful and small restaurant which is known for both its food and drinks. I had a full three course meal and We left with full bellies and cheeks sore from laughter! Everything was delicious.
I recommend checking out Morgante during evening hours to see the restaurant magically lit up with traditional candles. After finishing your incredible meal, you can walk aimlessly through the surrounding streets to see the many little shops and restaurants that line the street. It’s incredibly poetic. (*Sigh*)
Where to shop in Milan
Located right in The center of Milan, The Galleria is an iconic element of the Milan fashion world. Here you will find most designer brand names, including several that are unique to Milan and Italian fashion.
Fashion is such a huge part of Italy’s culture, so I recommend walking around and window shopping, even if you do not plan to buy anything. With or without a shopping bag in tow, you should definitely stop by. Built in 1865, this 4-story structure is Milan’s oldest man active shopping center and truly is a sight to behold.
Around the world, Starbucks has opened a few select “Reserve” (aka flagship) stores. Inside, you will find specialty merchandise, food options, and specialty drink options. You can even watch as the coffee beans are turned and roasted!
The store in Milan has two floors full of all the coffee you could ever explore. While it may be a little bit of a tourist trap, I definitely urge coffee lovers to check it out!
La Rinascente is a 10-story tall shopping center with stores selling clothes, shoes, makeup, and home goods. As a pro tip, there is a restaurant and bar housed on the top floor and with balcony to enjoy some of the Italian sun.
This indoor mall is a great way to spend an afternoon shopping or looking in the windows. Most luxury designers have a store in La Rinascente, so if you are looking to buy something special- this is the place!
Where to explore in Milan
The Leonardo3 Museum has an amazing exhibit dedicated to the inventions and fantasies of the great Leonardo Da Vinci. I particularly love that this museum is designed for visitors to get hands-on with Leonardo Da Vinci’s contraptions and ideas.
Note that this space is family-friendly and would be a great place to bring children!
The central Cathedral in Milan is a controversial topic in art history due to its mix of several architectural styles, though it’s technically considered Italian Gothic. Personally, I thought it was beautiful!
Tickets to see the cathedral can be purchased online, I highly recommend buying tickets ahead of time to avoid a wait. Being the largest church in Italy, it is worth it to take some time exploring these walls. You can also take a staircase to climb to the roof (there is also an elevator to make it more accessible) where you can see almost all of Milan from high atop the city streets.
Arguably Milan’s most prized painting, “The Last Supper” is in a very fragile state and has to be monitored 24/7 by highly technical devices. Its sensitivity to temperature, chemicals, and even human breath has made tickets very hard to get.
Though if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, you’ll notice that it is such a beautiful and deeply moving masterpiece. I am deeply grateful that I was able to see this piece in it’s true form, and believe that art-lovers and non-art-lovers alike will be moved by being near.
Due to the high demand for tickets, I suggest you plan this visit first and schedule other activities around it. You can get your tickets and plan your visit here.
Where to rest in Milan
This hotel was once a 15th-century monastery, but it is now a fully-functioning, modern hotel. It’s in a prime location, but is within a 5 minute walk of the nearby subway station if you want to travel around town.
Extra perk: There is a complimentary breakfast service that makes waking up to start the day a whole lot easier! The hotel is beautiful and allowed me to be Fully immersed in Italian culture. I highly recommend it for your stay!
Create a great life!