It has been already 3 years since my trip to Venice and I have almost forgotten how addictive Italy can be. Milan is the capital of Italy’s richest region and home of some of the World’s most famous fashion brands. But it is also known for wonderful nature with massive mountain ranges and wast lakes. Check out my 10 things to do and see in Milan and plan your perfect Italian Holiday.
Compared to the South (with cities like Naples or Palermo), Milan and Northern Italy is a totally different world. It is much more orderly, clean and elegant, exactly as you would expect from a region bordering with Switzerland. Milan also shares the title of one of the 4 World’s fashion capitals, along with New York, London, and Paris. However, the city wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t placed on the foot of the Alps, just a couple minutes of drive from the beautiful Lago di Como. Check out my 10 things to do and see in Milan to find all the best attractions it offers.
10 things to do and see in Milan
Visiting Milan and not exploring the surrounding of the city would almost be like stealing the best from yourself. Milan is a cool vibrant metropole, but only when you head out to places like Lago di Como or the mountain town of Bergamo, you find the real Italian charm we all search for and love.
Duomo di Milano
The Duomo Cathedral is the absolute symbol of Milan. It took almost 6 centuries to finish it (from 1386 to 1965), but the result is absolutely astonishing, crowning it the largest cathedral in the World. You can get various tickets to the Cathedral itself, the Crypts or the Archeological, but be sure not to miss the rooftop with amazing Gothic details and a view over the whole of Milan.
➯ Katie’s tip: Get the Milan Duomo Skip-the-Line tour with Klook and get save yourself time on waiting in lines. Moreover, save 3.2 USD if you register via this link.
Galleria Vitorio Emanuelle II
So this is how department stores used to look in Italy 150 years ago. Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II was built in 1867 and with its high glass ceiling and ornate walls, it is simply stunning. These days, it hosts the most luxurious fashion brands in Milan, including two Prada stores facing each other in its very center.
Head on a trip to Lago di Como
Lago di Como aka Lake Como is the third largest Italian lake. It is located about 40 minutes by train in the mountains North of Milan. The set up of the lake, with snowy mountain ranges of the Alps in the background, is simply breathtaking.
But what really makes it amazing are the colorful villages, elegant villas and luxurious hotels stacked on the mountain slopes all around its shore. An ideal place if you want to escape the rush of the busy city. My highlight of the whole Milan trip.
➯ Katie’s tip: Head on a Guided Trip to Lago di Como with Klook and get up to 12% discount. Moreover, save 3.2 USD if you register via this link.
Besides the Duomo, the Sforza Castle is the second dominant of Milano. A renaissance fortress from the 15th century, it used to be the seat of the city’s lords from the Visconti and Sforza families. With its elegant Italiana style, it is quite different to what you might bee used to from other castle powerhouses like the UK, France, Germany or Central Europe. Inside the castle, you find several different museums and Michelangelo’s last and never finished architectonical gem Pietá Rondanini.
➯ Check out: All the hotels in Milan
Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
The oldest church in Milano, built by Saint Ambrogio himself back in the 4th century. Its old red brick structure will help you deep dive into Milanese spiritual history.
Try Gelato in a dozen flavors
Gelato (Italian ice cream) is my favorite meal of the day. Italians were the ones who invented ice cream and they are still the best ones to make it. Silky full taste melting in your mouth with pieces of real fruits, there is nothing more refreshing in hot Italian summer. Just beware, one portion is hardly enough.
Arco della Pace
Porta Sempione aka Arco della Pace is basically a smaller Milanese version of Parisian Arc de Triumph. Compared to its more famous brother, it falls short both in terms of size and decorations. Nevertheless, it is still beautiful, you won’t need to fight with crowds of other tourists and it is located at a nice calm square with some pretty neat restaurants.
Shop at Via Monte Napoleone
Milano is one of the 4 Worlds fashion capitals, along with New York, Paris, and London. And as London has its Regentd Street and Paris Champs-Élxsées, you can shop among the most famed brands in Milano at Via Monte Napoleone, according to Wikipedia the most expensive street in Europe. The streets start with the signature Armani flagship store on the crossing with Via Alessandro Manzoni.
Enjoy some classic music in Teatro Alla Scala
One of the most famous opera houses in the World, Teatro Alla Scala has witnessed dozens of famous Opera premiers and world-class singers. Just be sure to book well ahead. If you are not a classical music enthusiast but you still want to visit the impressive interior, you can head for a guided tour.
➯ Katie’s tip: Get the Fast-track Entry Tour to La Scala with Klook and save yourself time on waiting in lines. Moreover, save 3.2 USD if you register via this link.
I am not a football fan, but I have been well educated that Milan is home to one of the World’s most famous football stadiums and the largest one in Italy – San Siro. Home of two popular football clubs – AC Milan and Inter Milan and the largest stadium in Italy, it can be visited either for a regular match or on a guided tour. A great place to leave your boyfriend or husband while you head out shopping in some Milanese fashion. However, you should hurry up, as the two clubs agreed on demolishing it and building a new one soon.
➯ Katie’s tip: Get the San Siro Stadium Skip-the-Line tour with Klook and get save yourself time on waiting in lines. Moreover, save 3.2 USD if you register via this link.
Visit Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
If you have seen Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, I am sure you are pretty familiar with this painting. One of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous masterpiece the Last Supper is displayed in the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie just a few steps from Piazza di Duomo. The entrance is 10 €, but be sure to book the tickets weeks or ahead of your visit.
➯ Katie’s tip: Head on the Leonardo da Vinci walking tour with Fast Track entry to the Last Supper with Klook and get save yourself time on waiting in lines. Moreover, save 3.2 USD if you register via this link.
Spend a day in Bergamo
No, Bergamo is not just an airport for low-cost flights to the Lombardian capital. It is a picturesque mountain city with unmistakable atmospheres, romantic little alleys, and beautiful viewing spots. Even if you are flying from Milano Malpensa, heading for a day trip to Bergamo is always a good idea.
Let me hear from you
So these were my 12 things to do and see in Milano. Milano is Italy’s second most visited city and the 6th in the whole of Europe. But even if you get tired of the overcrowded spots like the Duomo or Galerie Vittorio Emmanuelle, it still offers some quiet spots, or Lake Como or Bergamo. Which of the Milanese spots do you like the most? Let me know in the comments section below.
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