I love Italy! And it is, therefore, no surprise that I try to go there at least once a year. This year, I actually made it twice. I went to Venice in spring. My second trip was to Milan, a city that I have been to multiple times and I am still not tired of it. Let me share my personal recommendations with you for your perfect trip. Special thanks to Evi Beer, who shared her insider tips with me before my trip!
Granaio is perfect for brunch, lunch or a coffee break. I really liked their salad and the pasta also looked delicious. Have some pastry with your espresso!
The small Osteria di Porta Cicca is in the popular Navigli area – directly at the canal. The food is delicious – try the homemade pasta and the squid. The chocolate cake was also delicious.
It is a bit mainstream, but still, I really recommend the Armani Café. It is in the same building as the hotel and the Privé club and has a really cool vibe. As it is located in the middle of one of the shopping areas of Milan, it is very convenient for a shopping break.
Spending a Night Out
I highly recommend partying at Armani/Privé. The DJs were amazing and it was a really hip crowd. If you are not among the party insider crowd of Milan and not on the guest list, entrance is EUR 25 (USD 30) and includes one drink. Be prepared to spend a lot. Even non-alcoholic drinks are quite pricey (a Red Bull and a Coke was EUR 40 (USD 48)).
Things to Do
Coffee at the Rooftop at Rinascente Department Store
This is a classic – even in winter. There are heating devices outside to keep you warm and enjoy the view.
Visit the Duomo
After you enjoyed the view, head over to the Duomo and walk up to the roof. It is really interesting to see all the architectural details.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The Galleria is one of the most famous sites in Milan. At Christmas, it is also home to one of the most famous Christmas trees.
Explore the Small Streets and Hidden Courtyards
I love to explore the small streets and alleys in Italian cities. I actually prefer to just wander around and explore than to tick off all the boxes from the typical tourist list.
No, this is not a fashion museum. It is the foundation of Prada and focuses on contemporary art.
The Last Supper
For art history enthusiasts, the Last Supper is a must during your visit. It is in the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. You need to plan the visit well in advance by booking tickets. I have been to Milan several times and went at short notice. Therefore, I never had the chance to see it as yet, unfortunately. But I hope that I will manage to plan my next trip in advance.
Coffee and Browsing at Corso Como 10
For fashionistas, Corso Como 10 is a must-see. However, I was a bit disappointed with the product range. But the store itself is worth seeing and the café is really nice as well. You can then walk towards Moscova and explore the small shops in the area (see below).
This is one of the most amazing stores I have ever been to. The selection of designers is great and you will find unique pieces. There are two branches – I prefer the one in Via Cusani.
Shopping Near Porta Garibaldi and Moscova
Price-wise, this area is a great alternative to the rather expensive inner city. I really like that there are so many cute shops with unique pieces and no big brands.
This is a really stylish hotel in the perfect location. It is right opposite of the Rinascente department store.
15 Qunidici by Serendipity Rooms
It is a bit difficult to describe this “hotel”. We booked via booking.com and expected a small boutique hotel with a normal, and official, entrance. This place, however, is quite far from the main road (Corso Italia). It is located on the ground floor of what seems to be an office building and from the outside, you do not really see a sign. But once you have found it, it is quite a cute and stylish place. And it is also pocket-friendly alternative. (Note: there is no website, but you can find the hotel on the major booking platforms.)
How to Get to the City from the Airport
If you do not arrive by train into Milane Centrale or Cadorna stations but fly into Milan Malpensa or Linate airports, I recommend taking the train to the city. Malpensa is quite far from the city and Milanese traffic can be nasty. If you decide to take the bus from the airports, factor in a lot of time for your trip.
If you need to go to the airport very early in the morning, you will need to take the bus, as there are no trains late at night and very early in the morning. I had to catch a red-eye flight on a Sunday and thought about taking the bus which leaves about every 20-30 minutes from Centrale. However, I have to admit, I did not feel comfortable to wander around Centrale station on my own at 4.30 in the morning. Hence, I opted for a limousine service (see below).
Taxis are available at the airport and there is a flat rate of EUR 95 to go from Malpensa to the city. Alternatively, you can book a limousine service (I used Sixt, for example) which is a bit cheaper (I paid EUR 86).
Uber does not work very well in Milan. You can book normal taxis via the MyTaxi app.
I keep repeating myself about how speaking the local language helps you get around. Italians are very friendly and happy to hear you make an effort to speak Italian. Nevertheless, it is no problem to get around with English.
Italy is part of the Eurozone and, therefore, uses the Euro.
Note: All information as of 1 January 2018.