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Visiting Milan: What to do Our recommendations and must-haves

What to see in Milan If you’re wondering, you’ve come to the right place. The Italian metropolis in the Lombardy region of northern Italy is the country’s second-largest city.

Milan may be known as the fashion capital of the world (on a par with Paris, London and New York), but it also offers many points of interest to discover. During your visit to Milan, you can explore the famous Duomo of Milan, the Vittorio Emanuele gallery, the Santa Maria delle Grazieconvent…

Wondering what to do in Milan during your stay? We’ll give you our itinerary and tips in the rest of this article.

If you’re visiting Milan, don’t forget that it’s also the gateway to the magnificent Lake Como, so if you have time, don’t miss this little paradise.

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Visiting Milan: our top 10 things to do

Milan is a city of many facets, and whatever your desires, once you’re here you’ll have an excellent stay. We loved visiting Milan for its cultural offerings, its many museums, its gastronomy and its pleasant atmosphere .

  1. Visit the Duomo: Milan’s magnificent cathedral
  2. Sforza Castle: a must-see
  3. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: the not-to-be-missed gallery
  4. Scala de Milan: the theater
  5. Piazza del Duomo: the center of Milan
  6. Try the incredible Italian gastronomy
  7. Brera district: to be explored on foot
  8. Santa Maria delle Grazie: where you can admire the Last Supper
  9. San Lorenzo columns
  10. Flaner in the Navigli district: Little Venice

Activities to book in Milan

Before your departure, you can book your excursions to leave in all serenity and not lose time once on the spot:

  • Your ticket to the Duomo and the panoramic terrace (stairs or elevator), a must in Milan
  • Your entrance ticket, only, for the panoramic terrace (staircase or elevator), if you wish to fully enjoy this incredible place.
  • Guided tour of the Cathedral of Milan, it’s a 1h30 visit with access to the Duomo and the panoramic terrace, for a very attractive price knowing that the entrance tickets are included
  • 1 day at Lake Como and its most beautiful villages (Como, Bellagio and Varenna) from Milan

Is Milan worth it?

Milan is one of the most visited cities in Italy and one of the closest major Italian cities to France, so yes Milan is worth a visit, we detail the reasons below:

1 – It’s easy to find cheap plane tickets from France, and the city is served all year round, so that’s a good start!

2 – Milan isn’t just about fashion: the city is home to more than 60 museums and art galleries (including a convent that houses the “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci) and sublime buildings, including the famous Milan Cathedral”.the Duomo“, you won’t know where to turn during your visit to the city 🙂

3 – Last but not least, as is often the case in Italy, you’ll also enjoy (and maybe put on a few pounds…) the fresh and delicious Italian pasta, pizza and pastries!

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How to get to Milan

By plane

The city is surrounded by 3 airports:

  • Malpensa airport: you can reach the city center by taking a train to Cadorna (ticket price €11). You can then return to your hotel by public transport (ticket price €1.50 valid for 90 minutes).
  • Bergamo airport (Orio al Serio): this is the furthest from Milan, and you can take a bus to the magnificent Stazione Centrale – Milan’s central railway station (ticket price €10), located in the center, from where you can travel by public transport.

    You can also book in advance your bus ticket (air-conditioned and luggage included) between Milan city center and Bergamo Orio al Serio airport.

  • From Linate airport, you can reach the San Babila metro station by bus on lines 73 and X73 (price of a public transport ticket €1.5).

We advise you to use a flight aggregator to compare the prices of different airlines and find your flight at the best price. To give you an idea, we paid €40 return!

By train

For travelers who have the time or are looking for an alternative to air travel, here’s some information on how to get to Milan by train. The journey from Paris to Milan takes around 7 hours on the INOUI TGV, departing from Gare de Lyon and arriving in the center of Milan, at Milan-Porta Garibaldi station.

The journey passes quickly, Matthieu has taken this option to do a bike race in Milan. This was the most cost-effective option for transporting the bikes. From Lyon, allow around 5 hours. Here you can watch the scenery go by, or work with WIFI.

When to go to Milan, weather forecast:

Average temperatures fluctuate between 6 degrees in January and 31 degrees in July and August. We therefore advise you to visit Milan in spring, when temperatures are mild, and during the summer off-season. July and August are also possible, if you like the heat, knowing that many accommodations are air-conditioned in Milan.

We left in May, we had 3 days of sunshine and mild temperatures.

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Our weekend itinerary

Visit Milan in 1 day: Start with the must-sees, visit Milan’s Duomo and the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery

Milan’s Duomo literally means “Duomo Church”. It is in fact a Gothic cathedral that has no rival in Italy! Built in the 10th century and completely destroyed by fire in 1095, it was rebuilt during the Renaissance, then renovated between the 20th and 21st centuries. It is a majestic building that is really worth a visit, anyway, given its impressive size and its location in the heart of the city, you can not miss it.

We advise you to get there early, as soon as it opens at 9 a.m. (check the timetable again during your stay), to avoid the crowds of tourists. There are several options for visiting the Duomo, Milan’s cathedral.

We advise you to take the visit of the terraces, it is absolutely magnificent, you will be able to admire the cathedral more closely as well as admire a panoramic view of the city.

The terraces are accessible either by stairs or by elevator, the entrance ticket (stairs or elevator access) from 13€.

For just a few euros more, we opted for an all-inclusive ticket, which gives access to the cathedral, the terraces (on foot or by elevator), the Duomo Museum, the archaeological area and the church of San Gottardo, for the price of €16.5.

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The interior is also very interesting, you can admire a sumptuous facade where pink dominates and absolutely sublime stained glass windows.

Next, you can explore the Duomo Museum of Milan is a cultural institution that was opened in 2003. It is located under the Duomo church and houses many of the cathedral’s artifacts, as well as works by contemporary artists.

As you can see, this cathedral is really a must-see when visiting Milan.

Options for visiting the cathedral :

1-➡️Notre recommendation: we recommend that you buy your own entrance ticket for the interior of the cathedral, its museum and panoramic terraces (stairway or elevator access), with optional audio guide.

2- If you prefer a single space, we recommend :

➡️Soit to buy your ticket for the cathedral interior and museum only.

➡️ Or buy an entrance ticket for the panoramic terraces only (stairway or elevator access), if you wish to take full advantage of this incredible site.

3- If you want to take full advantage of this visit to learn more about the cathedral’s history and hear all the anecdotes related to the cathedral, we recommend :

➡️ Book your guided tour of the Milan Cathedral, it’s a guided tour in French, 1h30 with access to the interior of the cathedral and the panoramic terraces, for a very attractive price knowing that the entrance tickets, cut line, are included

After this busy morning, it is time to eat and try the local gastronomy. (our good addresses at the end of the article)

Visit Milan

Then continue your tour of the district with the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery. This sublime site is a must-see to admire this 19th-century architectural feat.

We admired thehuge glass roof and the magnificent dome, as well as the mosaics on the floor. The gallery is home to many restaurants and luxury stores (Armani, Prada…), obviously we did not buy anything there. We just walked through this covered passageway, from Piazza del Duomo to the La Scala theater.

Our tip: we went back early the next morning to enjoy the gallery before the stores opened and the crowds arrived.

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Visit Milan in 2 days: continue with a free walking tour and the Brera district

When we don’t know a city at all, as you surely know, we go and discover it with a “Free walking tour“. We discovered this type of tour during our round-the-world trip, and were never disappointed.

We love to learn historical, cultural, architectural information… from a local guide who usually gives a lot of good addresses to eat or drink. In short, we love this type of tour.

Let’s go for 2 hours to walk around the city and get a lot of information. In summary the main rulings:

  • RDV Piazza del Duomo
  • Basilica of San Nazaro in Brolo
  • Statale” University
  • Piazza del Duomo,
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Piazza Scala
  • Piazza Mercanti (Merchants’ Square)

➡️Nous recommends that you reserve your seats free of charge by choosing the day and time you wish to meet at Piazza del Duomo .

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After a delicious meal, as always in Italy, we strolled through the streets of Brera, the oldest district of Milan. We admired the colorful facades of the Milanese houses.

You can also take a stroll along via Montenapoleone, the shopping street. If you come to Milan to buy new clothes, then you will find your happiness in this pedestrian street.

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Visit Milan in 3 days: finish with a bike tour of the city, Castello Sforzesco(Sforza), Santa Maria delle Grazie “The Last Supper”, San Lorenzo columns and Navigli district.

For this last day, we rented bicycles to reach the remote points we had on our to-do list. The city of Milan is perfectly suited for cycling. It is completely lined with bike paths that allow you to crisscross this city from end to end.

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We used Bike mi the city’s bicycles, the cousin of our Vécub Bordelais and Vélib Parisien, an economical way of getting around Milan. As always, day passes cost €4.5 (weekly €9), while metro tickets cost €2.00 for 90 minutes.

It’s quite simple: everything is done online, and once you’ve paid for your subscription, you’ll immediately receive an e-mail with your user code and password, which you can enter at any station to pick up a bike. After that, the first half hour is free, then it’s 0,50€ every 30 minutes.

Visit Milan

Here is the itinerary we followed:

  • 1 – Sforza Castle, it is located at the end of Via Dante, the main shopping street starting from the Duomo. This huge castle contrasts with the modernity of Milan. It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. Renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were involved in its reconstruction. Today, it houses several museums.

    ➡️Book, in advance, Your ticket to the Sforza Castle with digital audio guide
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  • 2. The convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses the world-famous fresco of“The Last Supper“, painted by Leonardo da Vinci himself. The price to see this famous and inescapable work, is 15€ to stay there 15 minutes (to preserve the work), it is absolutely necessary to reserve in advance (except in very low season December and January).

    ➡️Notre recommendation: book your guided tour of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, the ideal way to learn all about the details and anecdotes surrounding this masterpiece, at an attractive price and with the added advantage that entrance tickets are included, so you don’t have to worry about them.

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  • 3. The Church of San Lorenzo Maggiore dates back to the 4th century and is therefore the oldest in Milan. Dedicated to the Christian martyr St. Lawrence, the church was built from the remains of other Roman sites. The interior of the church is decorated with beautiful mosaics and marble. Opposite the church are the sixteen columns of San Lorenzo.
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  • 4. Navigli district: you’re bound to fall under the spell of this picturesque district, criss-crossed by man-made canals known as the Navigli. We recommend you to follow the canals and admire the many restaurants and stores.
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Our top restaurants in Milan :

In Milan, not surprisingly, we ate very well! We recommend :

  • Pasto – Laboratorio di pasta con cucina, is a small restaurant offering delicious pasta near the Duomo.
  • Pizzium – Via Vigevano: this is one of the best pizzas around, with fresh ingredients and everything prepared by hand! A must when visiting the Navigli district.
  • Flower Burgeur in the district of Breda, they are simply excellent, we enjoyed ourselves as often in Italy!
  • OGGI Gelato Milano: very good ice creams and original flavor! A must-see during your stay in Milan.
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Our best hotels in Milan

Don’t hesitate accommodation in Milan Choose accommodation close to the historic center, near the Duomo! This allows you to visit a large part of the city on foot. The city is full of sublime hotels.

Our perfectly located accommodation

1. Our favorite: INTOMILAN Aparthotel Galleria Duomo, just a few minutes’ walk from the Duomo. The hotel’s location is perfect for visiting Milan. Our room was spacious, clean and well decorated. We had an excellent stay.

2. Apartment: Brera apartments Alla Scala we had hesitated for a long time with this accommodation, which is also very well located. It’s an apartment, so it’s easier to cook than in a hotel.

Getting around Milan

Milan is well served by public transport, so we advise you to get around by metro(4 lines criss-cross the city, so it’s easy to understand how they work) or by bike, with the Bike Mi network and numerous cycle paths.

Of course, the city is also equipped with buses and streetcars, but we don’t use them as much on our travels.

Extend your weekend by exploring the incredible Lake Como

If you wish to continue your stay in Italy, we strongly recommend that you visit Lake Como. Located less than 1 hour from Milan. We were enchanted by the beauty of this place.

How to get to Lake Como from Milan:

➡️Vous can rent a car. To compare rental prices, we recommend the RentalCars website. To give you an idea of the price, we found a car for 50€ for 4 days through Hertz (in April).

➡️Youcan book 1 day at Lake Como and its most beautiful villages (Como, Bellagio and Varenna) organized from Milan.

Enjoy your trip to Europe’s fashion capital ! We wish you an excellent trip! Don’t hesitate to leave us a quick note or 5 stars below, to tell us if you’re planning this trip, to ask any questions you may have, here or on Instagram, we’ll get back to you with great pleasure.

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A traveler at heart, I've always felt at home anywhere in the world. I'm also passionate about new technologies. I love trying out all the typical dishes when I arrive in a country. Always on the lookout for new experiences, I'm sharing the ones I've had through this blog.
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