This Milan Travel Guide will help you make the most of your visit to this beautiful city. This guide will show you all the must-see places in Milan. I’ll also share some helpful travel tips and great places where to eat in Milan.
I loved every second that we spent there. Its Duomo Square and stunning architecture. Its magical nightlife, charming streets, romantic music, and delicious Italian food. Even outside Milan, you can find numerous amount of day trips that you can take because if its great location. And of course, it’s world-famous fashion capital for a reason. You can find a lot of clothing stores to your taste.
It’s a relatively small city, but it can give you everything that a large city can. So, I hope this Milan travel guide will give you more ideas on how to spend your time in Milan and will tell you everything you need to know for your first visit.
I also have a detailed blog post about Paris and all must-visit places: Paris Travel Guide
How many days to spend in Milan?
We spent 4 days there and I think it was the perfect amount. Unlike other popular cities in Italy like Rome or Florence, Milan doesn’t have a ton of touristy sights to visit. We were easily able to visit all the main attractions in those 4 days and try all the restaurants that we wanted to. So don’t worry if you’re not able to spend more days there. If you plan your time wisely it will be perfectly fine. We were there at the beginning of January and still, there were a lot of tourists everywhere. Honestly, I think in Italy it’s always the high season.
When is the best time to visit Milan?
If you want to know the exact temperatures. Here is the graph:
But in my opinion, any month will be fine as there are some advantages and disadvantages to each and one of them. Of course, the summer will be hot and full of tourists so I can’t recommend it at all. In the winter months, it will be colder but you will deal with fewer tourists. Also, keep in mind Milan Fashion Week and Salone del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair) as these are the times when all the hotels raise their prices.
How to get around Milan?
Milan isn’t very big so the answer is simple, USE public transport. That’s what I always do when I travel across Europe. Don’t be afraid as it’s very safe. It’s usually always the cheapest and fastest way to get places. You can use the same ticket for both trams and metro, so it makes it even more efficient.
We were buying a “One Day” ticket every day from the local newsstand. It’s €4,50 and it’s valid for 24 hours. It worked best for us.
Trams run from around 4:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Budget for Milan. How much it costs to visit Milan?
Well, there is no way to make it very cheap if you would like to enjoy the city to its fullest. But there are still some things that I would like to mention to keep in mind.
Most of the museums are free on the first Sunday of every month.
Enjoy Aperitivo to save money on food
Take part in a free walking tour
Include more “wandering around” and “enjoying the scenery” rather than “museum visiting”
Accommodation: hostel from €20, Airbnb around €60
Food: around €20-23/day
Transportation: €2-3/day but you can easily walk everywhere to save even more
Attractions: plan around €10 per attraction
What to do in Milan? Top attractions to visit in Milan
Duomo Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo
Of course, I have to start with the most impressive one in my opinion. It’s located in the center of Milan and you just have to make sure to have time during your stay to check it out. It is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the biggest in the world. No surprise that it took more than 600 years to finish it.
Also, this is the place where even the square itself became a tourist sight. Attracting thousands of pigeons during the day.
Make sure to get on top of the cathedral as it offers breathtaking views of Milan.
You can take an elevator or just walk the stairs to the top.
We also walked a lot in the area around the cathedral. It has a lot of great shops, restaurants, and hidden gems. I recommend visiting the square during night time at least once as well. As the whole atmosphere around it changes, filled with music and lights.
I highly recommend you to go inside the Duomo Cathedral as well. Be prepared to wait in line for at least 30 minutes in the sun as there is no shade anywhere. That’s why my advice for you is to BUY your tickets ONLINE. It will save you precious time and nerves. I’ll link the official website for you to do it below.
When it comes to buying your tickets you have a lot of options:
Only the Cathedral: €3
Only rooftop stairs: €10
Only rooftop lift: €14
Rooftop Fast track by lift: €23
Cathedral and rooftop by lift: €17
Cathedral and rooftop by stairs: €13
Cathedral and rooftop fast track: €25
Official website: https://www.duomomilano.it/en/
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
It’s Italy’s oldest active shopping mall named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy.
Located right next to Duomo, so there is no way you miss it. You can find a lot of luxury brands and high-end restaurants here.
Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’s still worth checking out for its beautiful architecture and design.
Right in the center of it, you will see a lot of people gathering up. The reason for that is because it’s for good luck. You have to stand on top of the bull and spin three times on your heel. Decide for yourself if it’s true or not.
Parco Sempione and Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco)
This large city park is located next to the gardens of the Sforza Castle and the Arch of Peace, two of the main landmarks in Milan. Sempione Park is the largest one in Milan. You can also go up a high panoramic tower to see the view from the top.
There are several smaller museums located inside the castle. You can explore the park and castle grounds for free. If you would like to go inside and explore the museums, the ticket price is €5. You can also buy a Museum Card for €12 valid for 3 days if you would like more time to explore.
Travel Tip: free admission every first and third Tuesday of the month after 2 p.m.
Official Website: https://www.milanocastello.it/en/content/hours-and-admission
Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
The Last Supper painted by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. It’s located in Santa Maria Delle Grazie. However, it’s not very easy to see it in real life.
Because it’s a very old painting, they allow only 1,000 people daily. Tickets are sold out several months in advance. So if you truly want to see it, you have to prepare well in advance.
If you weren’t able to buy them, you might go and check in the morning. They sometimes have a small number of tickets for sale.
Ticket price is €15
Your other best option is to buy a guided tour which will cost you around €40
Official website: https://cenacolovinciano.vivaticket.it/index.php#
My second favorite place to explore right after Duomo Square. It’s a picturesque canal full of life and history. In this area, you can find a lot of great bars, restaurants, and shops. It gets very crowded at night time. I just love finding a spot and simply enjoy people watching there.
More places to visit in Milan:
Brera District – another area that you don’t need a plan for but have to visit. Its charming streets filled with shops and cute restaurants are my favorite. Make sure to visit Brera District at night time as well.
Museo del Novecento – museum of 20th century. It displays about 400 works of mostly Italian artists. You can also enjoy the beautiful view of Duomo from here.
Admission ticket: €5
Official website: https://www.museodelnovecento.org/en/
Leonardo Da Vinci National Museum of Science & Technology – is the largest museum of science and technology in Italy. It was opened in 1953. The ticket price is €10 and you can also buy it online.
Official website: https://www.museoscienza.org/en
Pinacoteca Di Brera Fine Art Gallery – is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan. You can visit their website to learn about the art that they show and buy tickets. Also, don’t forget to check out the garden filled with beautiful sculptures. Admission: €12.
Official website: https://pinacotecabrera.org/en/
Basilica of Sant’Amborgio – another very beautiful but less popular church in Milan worth visiting. Consecrated in 387. Official website: http://www.basilicasantambrogio.it/
Scala Opera House (Teatro Alla Scala) – opened in 1778 it’s one of the finest opera houses in Italy. It can fit 2,000 people at once. Visit the official website linked below to see the schedule.
Travel Tip: you can get cheaper tickets if you buy them one hour before the start of the show. You can also book a guided tour if you would only like to take a look at the inside and learn more about Scala Opera House’s history.
Official website: http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/
Royal Palace of Milan
Used to be the seat of government of Milan, today it’s a cultural center and home to different expositions. If you would like to visit exhibitions inside, make a reservation and purchase your ticket online.
Official website: https://www.palazzorealemilano.it/en
Milan Centrale Train Station
Opened in 1931. It’s the largest railway station in Europe by volume. Be aware of pickpockets.
Take a free walking tour
If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend taking a free walking tour. It’s a great way to meet more people and learn more information about the place that you’re visiting. You can find a lot of different groups online simply by googling it.
Places worth mentioning depending on how much time you have:
- Piazza Mercanti,
- Sant Ambrogio,
- Brera district,
- Torre Branca,
- Colonne di San Lorenzo,
- Archaeology Museum,
- Milan’s cathedral,
- Cimitero Monumental,
- If you have more time, you can add a day trip to Lake Como
What and where to eat in Milan.
Like in most Italian cities, Milan is no exception in its amount of great places to eat.
I’m giving you a list of places which we tried and we loved the most.
Eat a lot of pizza and pasta
You just can’t go to Italy and not eat carbs all the time. They are truly very different here and way better than anywhere else in the world.
Another “no-brainer” because it’s nothing like regular ice cream
I’m adding all these places to this list because we genuinely loved every single one of them
- Ravioleria Sarpi – a small place in Chinatown which offers delicious dumplings.
- De Pasajo dal Marchigiano – a very cozy restaurant where you can try amazing “homemade style” pasta
- Da Oscar – another great restaurant where pasta was out of this world. It’s also better if you make a reservation in advance because the place was full during the whole evening.
- Fabbrica Pizzeria –a popular restaurant where we tried calzone (closed pizza) and some delicious ravioli.
- Princi – bustling bakery near Duomo which even offers cooked meals.
- Luini – you can try delicious panzerotti here, fried dough with different stuffing. The most popular one is with tomato and mozzarella.
- Focacceria Manuelina – they offer flavorful focaccia which I loved.
- Piz – offers only 3 kinds of pizza but that’s probably why it’s so good, and the hospitality of that restaurant is excellent
- Risoelatte – this was the place where we tried famous risotto alla Milanese. You need a reservation if you’re planning on going in the evening.
- Pavè – we tried amazing sweet and breakfast croissants here
- Gelateria Grom – here I tried glazed chestnut gelato and it was incredible
- Restaurant Pizzeria Maruzella – which offers authentic Italian pizza and more
Also if you would like to save some money on food. The best way to do it will be by taking many apperitivos. It works from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. You order only a drink which will be a little bit pricier but you also get to enjoy small bites or a full buffet for that price.
Where to stay in Milan:
We booked a fantastic apartment in the city center of Milan through the Airbnb app. It was only 160 € for 2 people for 3 nights. That’s why I always recommend this app, because you can find some pretty great deals on there. It had everything that we might need, kitchen aisle, hairdryer, big bed and it was very clean.
Conclusion and my personal opinion
Milan is a great city and is full of hidden gems. Keep in mind that it’s not going to be liked by everyone. If you’re looking for more historical and more romantic Italy it’s probably better if you visit cities like Rome, Venice, Tuscany or Florence. Don’t plan your whole time in Italy around Milan. Research all the day trips that you can take or maybe even plan to reach some other major cities by train or bus. They won’t be very far away and will be worth it for sure.