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TRAVEL DIARIES – A Short Trip to Milan

After two magical days on the Italian Riviera, we traveled to Milan – the capital of Italian fashion and a futuristic metropolis that combines ancient buildings with modern skyscrapers. Milan is very different from other Italian cities – it is urban, young, and cool, and although it is often perceived by tourists as industrial and boring, there is really so much to do and see.

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

This is the second time I have come for a quickie in Milan, as a layover between the more famous destinations of the country of the boot, and  also this time I enjoyed every moment in the city! So, without further ado, here is my guide for short visit in the coolest city in Italy. In this post you will find recommendations for a perfectly located Airbnb Apartment, things to do in Milan, where to shop around, and of course – my favorite spots to eat in town.

 

Enjoy 

Click here to download my map of Milan

{Click here to watch the stories I posted while I was there}

 

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

STAY

We stayed in a super central Airbnb apartment, on small street that leads to the city’s main shopping street, and less than a 5 minute walk to the Duomo. Although the apartment was a bit more expensive compared to other apartments we booked on our trip to Italy {or other trips in Europe}, it had outstanding advantages, especially in light of the short time we had in the city.

First of all, hotels in this amazing area are very pricy, and since we were staying in the city for only a day and a half, we didn’t want to splurge on a hotel we would barely spend time in. Also, the apartment was spacious and clean, and with its excellent location, a short walk from the city’ main attractions and a bus stop and a metro station, it was definitely a good investment. Leyla, the hostess of the apartment, was not there to greet us when we first arrived, but she sent me precise instructions in advance, and also ordered a taxi for us to the central train station on the last day in the city.

First time booking an Airbnb apartment? You’re welcome to use my link and receive a $42 coupon code on your next trip.

 

 

Source: Airbnb

 

GET AROUND

We arrived in Milan with a car we rented at the beginning of the trip in Rome, and we returned it to the agency immediately after we had put our bags down. Parking in Milan is relatively expensive, and since all the interesting places in the city can be reached by foot or with public transportation, we had no reason to continue to pay for the car {also because the next and final stop on our trip was Venice – the easiest to get by train}.

The Metro in Milan is very comfortable to use, as oppose to the buses which we found very crowded and avoided using. A train ride costs 1.50 Euro and the ticket is valid for 90 minutes from the moment it is first validated before getting on the train.

If you’re planning on taking more than 2 rides a day, you’ll be better off buying the daily pass, valid for any and all of the public transportation lines within the city {that includes the metro, bus, and the suburban line}. It costs only 4.50 Euro and is good for 24 hours. The tickets {both one-time and daily} can be purchased in the machines found  at metro stations. To avoid any sort of uncomfortable confrontation or getting fined, make sure to validate your ticket in the correct machine before you get on any public transport.

If you still prefer to take taxis, note that the taxis in Milan are white and marked with a roof sign. Milan’s taxis also have a fixed rate upon entering the taxi and it is increased according to the meter. Keep in mind that the fixed rate is doubled during the night shift and can become pretty expensive.

 

 

EXPLORE

Milan’s magnificent Duomo was our first stop in the city. The front of the cathedral, gothic and majestic, along with the pigeons all over the square, is one of Milan’s most iconic images, and no trip to the city is complete without it. We arrived around noon, and the entire square was already flooded with people, as expected. Despite all the visitors, we enjoyed walking around the square,  entering the shops, and tasting the local food in the area {read on for food recommendations 😉 }.

We returned to the Duomo on our second morning in the city, because I think the best way to enjoy famous attractions, not only in Milan but anywhere in the world, is to get to them early in the morning when they are empty of people. We booked entry tickets in advance with “Skip the Line” that besides entering the cathedral, included entering the stunning terrace at the top of the building {including an elevator}, the archaeological site, and the Duomo museum, and entered within just a few minutes. Using Skip the Line tickets is really simple, because as soon as you complete the order, you receive an email with a PDF file which you can show directly from your smartphone at the entrance to the museum. If you prefer to take a risk and not buy a ticket in advance, I recommend that you get to where you’re going before 8am so that you will be first in line, because once people start arriving, the lines to the attractions barely move {Though it’s really unnecessary and it’s best to show up with a ticket and avoid the headache.} It is important to remember that the Duomo is a sacred place and one must dress appropriately – In order to enter the church you need to make sure that what you wear covers your shoulders and knees {or at least bring a large handkerchief along that you can wrap around you}.

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

There are two separate entrances to the cathedral and the terrace { from two opposite locations in the square} and each of the attractions offer different visiting hours. The cathedral opens at 8am, the terrace about an hour later. We entered the cathedral first, which was no less majestic and magnificent on the inside than it is on the outside, and we even got to hear the hymns that were played in the morning. Later took the elevator up to the Duomo roof where a panoramic view of the square was revealed to us. It is an amazing experience to see the beautiful details of this powerful structure from up close. If you ask me, when in Milan, going up to the Duomo’s terrace is an absolute must.

 

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II  Right near the Duomo is the oldest mall in Italy, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The galleria, which opened in 1877, is named after the first king of united Italy and is built in a classic neo-renaissance style with marble, iron and glass. The impressive architecture, which combines wall paintings, mosaic floors and a high glass ceiling, is exceptionally classic and simply hard to take your eyes off. The beauty and luxurious atmosphere. Adding to the beauty and prestigious atmosphere of the hall are cafes cafes and restaurants’ facades, alongside the spectacular windows of the many designer stores, jewellery stores, and art galleries. Like the Duomo, we arrived at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II pretty early {around 8:30 am, before we entered the cathedral] to enjoy its magic when it is almost completely empty.

 

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

 

Famous shopping streets  If you’re not into high fashion {or just don’t feel like spending your entire salary on one item} don’t you worry! Milan may be famous for its couture brands, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of stores scattered throughout the city of all of the famous European chains – Zara, H&M, LUSH and many more. The streets you can go on a shopping frenzy on are: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Via Torino, and Corso Buenos Aires.

 

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

Navigli  Milan’s quarter of canals is THE place to be toward the evening. The area surrounding the old canals is full of restaurants, small cafes, cool bars and clubs and the atmosphere is lively and fun. Every last Sunday of the month there is a huge vintage market named Navigli Grande Antique Market, where you can find second hand items of all kinds – clothing, jewellery, art, and furniture.

Piazza Gae Aulenti  One of Milan’s newest complexes, also known as the city’s futuristic square, is Piazza Gae Aulenti. A very cool recreation area built in the form of a huge square, it is home to some of the city’s most famous skyscrapers alongside fashion shops, cafes and trendy restaurants. From the complex you can see the “Bosco Verticale”, two famous towers covered in trees and plants to help reduce the city smog and produce oxygen. If you’re in the mood for a change of scenery, this is the place for you.

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

Because we had only a day and a half in the city, we managed to see and do only a pinch of what this city has to offer, but if you are planning a longer vacation in the city, you should read about more attractions here.

 

 

EAT

Spontini A particularly plump pizza, with thick dough, excellent tomato sauce and lots of cheese, served in small pieces. We ate at a branch just outside the Duomo, but there are other branches in the city. A must for lovers of the genre!

 

 

Luini If filled pastries are your thing and you’re addicted to anything fried, don’t miss a stop at Luini. Founded in 1888, Luini sells focaccia, sandwiches, and sweet pastries, and is considered a local legend. Its flagship product is the Panzerotti, a pastry that is somewhere between a Calzuna and a Donut, which comes in a variety of delicious fillings.

Camaprino The first Campari bar opened in 1867 by Gaspare Campari as a wine shop, and became a famous institute in Milan. You can’t miss it right at the entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

 

 

Motta Milano 1928  Right across the Camparino, inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, is the historic coffee shop “Motta Milano”. If you feel like sipping good coffee and eating fresh pastries or sandwiches – this is the place.

Gesto  In the picturesque Navigli district you will find a variety of cafés and restaurants specialising in Italian food, but if you want a slightly different experience, you should check out the Gesto, a restaurant-bar serving sophisticated tapas and special cocktails.

Cioccolati Italiani A chain of perfect Italian ice cream, famous for its 3 taps of high-quality chocolate. Do not give up on the ice cream served in the brioche bun. Thank me later 😉

 

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

 

Venchi  When Italy’s old-time chocolate makers decide to open a shop that combines a chocolatier and an ice cream parlour, magic happens. A short walk from the Duomo is the Milanese branch  of Venchi, which is totally worth the wait in line. The gelato is creamy and has crazy flavours, and you can choose a chocolate covered cone – covered in the brand’s fine chocolate. There is a huge selection of flavours, but the best in my opinion were the different chocolates. You can find more  stores in Siena, Rome, Naples and other places in and out of Italy.

 

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Do you have more interesting ideas about what to do in Milan? Leave me a comment below 

 

Things to do in Milan - tips for shopping, food, coffee places and much more!

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4 Responses

  1. Wow! I just love your pictures and really appreciate the way how beautifully you shared your experience. Thankyou for sharing such beautiful content.

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