Milan is best known as one of the world’s top fashion capitals but it also played a major role in the Italian Renaissance; in fact, it was even home to Leonardo di Vinci for almost 20 years after he left Tuscany.
The city is a bustling modern metropolis that has a great selection of museums, churches and other sites of cultural interest. As well as being a treasure trove of Renaissance relics though, Milan has a lively nightlife and a blossoming community of contemporary artists. If you want to do some shopping at exclusive boutiques and the flagship stores of famous fashion houses then you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice in Milan!
In short, although Milan is often overlooked as a holiday destination it has a huge amount of unique experiences and attractions to offer visitors; and with excellent transport links it’s easy to get there and back from anywhere in Italy or continental Europe.
If you are planning to visit Milan for a city break then it’s highly advisable to arrive on Friday evening. That way you can rest after your travel, take a stroll around the city to acclimatize yourself and enjoy a quiet meal in a local restaurant. Then, after a good night’s sleep, you’ll be feeling refreshed and ready to go on Saturday morning to begin your sight seeing adventures in Milan.
How To Get To Milan?
Milan has excellent transport links including 3 major airports; the Milan Malpensa (MXP), Milan Linate (LIN) and the Milan-Bergamo (BGY). The city’s main airport is the Milan Malpensa. This airport is frequented by international and continental flights so you can travel direct from the United States as well as anywhere from continental Europe.
If your flight to Milan involves a connection, try to get a connection to the Milan Linate airport. It is a small airport and is very close to the city center (It is about 10 kilometers from the city center and taxi ride is about 20 to 25 Euros). Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, EasyJet, Wizz Air and many major airlines fly to Milan Linate. Both Milan Malpensa and Milan-Bergamo, are far away from the central district of Milan.
If you arrive at Milan Malpensa, you can catch a train into Milano Centrale (the main train station). Alternatively, you can take a taxi or arrange to be met by a private driver (I would not recommend this option. Most of these private drivers will rip you off and ask for tips etc.). The cheapest way to get to Milan from the airport is by catching a bus which will cost under 10 Euros per person.
Alternatively, you can catch a train to Milan from anywhere in Italy or surrounding European countries. If you catch a high-speed train into Milan, you’ll arrive at Milano Centrale, which is the busiest station in Europe! From there you can catch a taxi to your hotel from outside the station.
It’s not advisable to drive yourself into Milan because the city traffic is quite heavy and it’s difficult to find parking in the city.
The Best Place For A Weekend Stay In Milan.
Deciding where to stay can be one of the most difficult choices to make while you’re planning your trip to Milan. Ideally, you want to stay as centrally as possible so that you have easy access to all the major attractions as well as a huge selection of restaurants and bars right at your doorstep.
If your budget allows, then staying in the Duomo area of central Milan. You can walk, within just 10 or 15 minutes, to many of the city’s top attractions and there’s an excellent range of hotels, apartments and Bread and Breakfast places to choose from.
One of the best options in central Milan is The Street Milano Duomo on Via Santa Ragegonda 14; a gorgeous, ultra-modern boutique hotel which is just 100 meters from the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. This 4 Star hotel has 11 spacious suites, a lovely rooftop terrace, free Wi-Fi and serves an extensive continental breakfast.
I have also stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Milan Center and Hotel Milano Navigli among others. If you decide to stay at a non-major chain hotel like the Milano Navigli, you will get cheaper rates if you call them and book directly. Milano Navigli is in a nice local neighborhood. You can walk to the Duomo in about 25 minutes. You can also take a tram from the front of the hotel and reach the Duomo in about 10 minutes (There is “T-Joker Tobacco” shop right in front of the hotel where you can purchase the tram tickets).
The Sheraton is very close to Milano Centrale (5 minute walk). So if you are flying into the city and taking the train the next day, this hotel is a great option. I have walked to the Duomo from this hotel, but it is a good 40 minute walk. I recommend taking the metro. You can take the subway from Milano Repubblica station, which about a 5 minute walk from the Hotel.
How Do You Get Around Milan?
Milan is a large city but it’s surprisingly easy to get around; either on foot or by using the public transport system. The vast majority of the main attractions are within the historic center of the city so if you’re staying in the Duomo area you can just get around on foot.
However, if you do want to make use of the public transport system you can buy a single ticket for 2 Euros which is valid for 90 minutes (from the initial stamping). This is plenty of time to get to anywhere else in the city using the buses or metro system. The city introduced an Integrated Fare System which means that the same ticket is valid on all forms of public transport within the city for the 90 minute period during which it is valid.
Where Should You Eat In Milan?
There are a whole range of excellent restaurants in Milan but there are certain places that you simply can’t afford to miss out on. One of Milan’s most iconic modern restaurants is the Cascina Cuccagna. This amazing complex, located on the Via Privata Cuccagna, was restored and reopened to the public in 2012 and is based in an old 17th Century farmhouse right in the center of the city.
The complex includes a rooftop terrace, a restaurant called Un Posto, a farmers market, communal seating areas, a well-stocked bar and even a guest house. The Cascina Cuccagna promotes regionally grown, organic food and aims to revitalize the traditional links between the city and the surrounding countryside.
Another ambition of the project is to help to educate the public about sustainable farming practices and the benefits of organic food. Certainly one of the most unusual restaurants in Milan, you could have an unforgettable brunch or lunch here during your time in the city.
If you’re looking for a fine dining restaurant in the evening then you’ll have a tough time beating the well-loved Sapori Solari – La Bisteccheria. This Italian steak house serves a whole range of evergreen dishes including their signature grill-cooked steaks and meats.
The stylish atmosphere, superb bar and excellent service all make this one of Milan’s best-kept secrets. It’s worth remembering that the restaurant is open from 19.30 to 23.30 from Tuesday through Saturday; so if you’re only in Milan for the weekend then make sure to book your table for Saturday night.
Important Things To See In Milan.
There are many things you can do in Milan during the course of a weekend. My favorite activity is to go to the Piazza del Duomo in the evenings and get an aperitivo from a street vendor (you will find many of them along the side of the Duomo di Milano (typically they charge you about 5 Euros)). Go to the Giardino di Piazza del Duomo, sip the aperitivo and enjoy the sun setting on the Duomo di Milano. The same aperitivo in a restaurant or bar along the square will cost you three times as much!!
The Duomo is one of Europe’s best examples of Gothic architecture at its very peak. The cathedral took almost 600 years to build and was only completed in the mid-1960’s! The spectacular spires, awe inspiring facades and majestic interiors make this one of the city’s top attractions. As well as exploring the cathedral’s interior, you can catch an elevator to the roof to marvel at Milan’s beautiful skyline.
If you’d like to make the most of your visit to the Duomo, you can join a guided tour. On the tour your guide will tell you all about the history of the cathedral, its construction and a whole host of fascinating stories that are associated with the building. By signing up for a tour you also get to skip the lines and ascend to the rooftop to see the city in the early evening light.
The Golden Triangle.
Whether you just want to window shop or buy some top-end fashion items then you simply have to visit Milan’s ‘Golden Triangle’. This is the nickname for Milan’s main fashion district which includes the Via della Spiga, Via Montenapoleone and the Via Sant’Andrea. In this area you’ll find all the world famous Italian fashion brands including Versace, Armani, Prada and Dolce Gabbana as well as foreign brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
After you’ve finished your shopping there’s plenty of cafes and bars to grab some refreshments. If you’d like to have dinner in the area there’s several renowned restaurants to choose from; including the Seta at the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel which offers a Michelin Starred contemporary twist on classic Italian dishes.
Tour Of Historic Milan – Including Da Vinci’s Last Supper.
If you’ve only got a weekend to explore Milan then it can really be worth joining a three hour guided tour. Led by an expert art historian, you’ll see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, visit the Sforza Castle, the Duomo, the Scala Theater and the Piazza dei Mercanti.
Not only will you see some of the city’s most famous attractions but you’ll also learn about the history and significance of the art, architecture and locations that you visit along the way. All of your entrance fees are included within the price of the ticket which makes this tour a super convenient way to get your bearings in Milan.
The Navigli District.
Partly designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Navigli District is a made up of a series of interconnected canals within the landlocked city of Milan. Around these picturesque canals you’ll find a whole series of bars, clubs and restaurants where you can enjoy the best of Milan’s exciting nightlife.
During the evenings on the weekend, the Navigli District is right at the heart of the party, so if you were wanting to experience the city’s legendary nightlife this is the place to start! Hotel Milano Navigli is a block away from this area.
San Siro Stadium.
Soccer, or football as its known in Italy, runs in the blood of the nation and no stadium in the country is more prestigious than the San Siro Stadium. With a capacity of 80,000 people, the stadium is the largest in the Italy and one of the biggest in Europe.
The stadium is home to two of Italy’s most successful teams, AC Milan and Inter Milan, who have had a long and hard fought rivalry to dominate the league over the years. The stadium is also used for huge concerts and has hosted all the top artists including Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, and many more. You can book a tour of the stadium by visiting their official website.
Milan – Visit The Fashion Capital For A Weekend Break.
Taking a weekend break in Milan is a great way to combine world famous art, high fashion and superb cuisine. The city is easy to get around and with a good selection of accommodation in and around the center you’ll be within striking distance of all the main attractions.
Ideal for families, couples and solo visitors, Milan is the perfect city to visit if you’re looking for a unique city break in Italy.