Best Things to Do in Milan
Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, is full of lovely little cobblestone streets, amazing churches, basilicas and cathedrals, great restaurants and a stunning canal area. It’s an ideal city for a romantic weekend or for a fun getaway with friends.
I went to Milan mid-June for the first time and I was positively surprised. I had heard mixed reviews of the city by friends but I must say that Milan is not a place to miss out on if you have the opportunity to go.
Here is my list of the best things to do in Milan:
Wander around the streets of Milan
I’m a big fan of visiting cities by foot as I always want to see as much as possible and take in all of the surroundings. Milan is a walkable city and you will not want to turn down all of its charming little cobblestone streets and its trams going in all directions.
Go up to the top of the Duomo
You cannot go to Milan without climbing up the stairs to reach the top of this magnificent cathedral (don't worry, there is also a lift). The 360° panoramic views are spectacular and its’s very impressive to walk on the rooftop of such an important monument. You must then visit the inside so that you can appreciate its immensity and beautiful patterned floor. The queue is definitely worthwhile.
Entrance by foot: Adult - 9€ / Child (ages 6-12) - 4.50€ / Entrance by lift: Adult - 13€ / Child (ages 6-12) - 7€ Read more
Visit Leonardo da Vinci's Vineyard
I stumbled across this place which I was not aware of and I must say it was one of the best parts of my trip to Milan. This beautiful private residence used to be owned by a notable Duke of Milan and he gave the vineyard to Da Vinci back in the 15th century as payment for the famous Last Supper painting which he had commissioned. There will always be a lot of people queuing to see the original Last Supper mural painting by Da Vinci so for me his vineyard is a good alternative.
Entrance: Adult - 10€ / Child (ages 6-18), Senior (over 65), Student - 8€ Read more
Admire the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
This has to be one of the most beautiful shopping centres in the world. A golden lighted paradise with all the top luxury Italian shops - Prada, Gucci, Armani...
Have a stroll in the Parco Sempione & visit the Sforza Castle
Every city has its main park and they're always worth a visit, especially on a nice sunny day. On one side of the park you will find the famous Arco della Pace and on the other, the wonderful Sforza Castle.
Castle entrance: Adult - 5€ / Senior (over 65), Student - 3€ Read more
Eat a gelato
There is no way of escaping gelatos in Milan as there are ice-cream parlours everywhere, so treat yourself to one, two or as many as you wish! They are delicious! The most famous place is Cioccolati Italiani, everyone goes there so do expect to be patient for your ice-cream... I wasn't so I went to a place just opposite...
Pass by Milan Central Station
You will undoubtedly pass by the Central Station when you arrive in Milan from the airport or elsewhere but do take your time to appreciate its wonderful architecture.
Marvel at the Colonne di San Lorenzo
This beautiful colonnade is one of the best kept Roman ruins in Milan so do make sure to visit it. On the weekend it gets rather busy with all the locals having drinks on the square which I guess explains all the bins...
Go shopping in the Quadrilatero della Moda
The "Fashion Square" is the high-end shopping area of Milan where most of the major Italian fashion houses are based and it's considered to be one of the most important shopping districts in the world.
Have an Aperitivo in Navigli
Milan is all about the Aperitivo, a tradition that is engraved in the Milanese culture. My favourite area is the canal district of Navigli. At first you may feel as though you've got lost in Amsterdam but you will soon be reassured that you're in Milan when you hear Italian and see all the wonderful food passing by. There are so many bars and restaurants so it’s for you to choose your preferred place based on your instinct and depending on availability (it gets extremely busy after 8pm).
Visit the Casa del Manzoni
Whilst visiting a church in Milan, I was advised to visit the Casa del Manzoni (free entrance) and I was glad I did so. It’s a charming palace in the heart of Milan owned by the renowned Manzoni family. I just love visiting the unheard places of a city...
Enter all the churches you pass by
Like everywhere in Italy, Milan has some wonderful churches to visit (free entrance). Go inside each one you pass by and let yourself be amazed by their wonderful architecture, fabulous frescoes and beautiful patterned tiled floors.
Are you going to Milan soon?
- My Bed Colonne – This charming little hotel is next to the beautiful Colonne di San Lorenzo and not far from Navigli. The rooms are nice with the basic amenities. They don't serve breakfast but you can get 10% off at a Cioccolati Italiani which is a 5mins walk from the hotel. I would definitely recommend this hotel in terms of price and location. They also have another one in Montenapoleone.
- Il Salumaio di Montanapoleone – located in the heart of the Fashion District, this chic restaurant has a beautiful courtyard where you can have lunch outdoors. The food is alright but the setting and atmosphere are lovely, plus they serve an amazing Aperol Spritz.
- Paticceria Marchesi – This wonderful pastry shop has been open in Milan since 1824 and you can find an array of delicious pastries and chocolates. A small bite will take you back in time…
- Mantra Raw Vegan – If you’re a fan of vegan restaurants then this is the place to go in Milan. All the products are fresh and, most importantly, the food is excellent. It's the first raw vegan restaurant to open in the whole of Italy so definitely worth trying.
- Obicà – This contemporary design Mozzarella Bar is the ideal place for all Mozzarella Di Bufala lovers like me. They serve different types of Mozzarellas to please everyone’s taste. I would definitely not want to give this one a miss!
- Luini – Find the best Panezrotti in this small bakery near the Duomo (open since 1888). You will not miss it as there are always people queuing for one of these delicious stuffed savory pastries to eat on the go. The Panezrotti recipe actually originated from Puglia but soon became part of the Milanese culture.
- Pisco – This charming restaurant next to the Arco della Pace is one of the best seafood restaurants in Milan. The staff is very friendly, the products are extremely fresh and everything is cooked to perfection.
- Cioccolati Italiani – for an indulging breakfast with lots of chocolate – I had a delicious croissant filled with white chocolate.
- Temakinho – This Brazilian-Japanese fusion restaurant is one of my personal favourites in Milan for 3 reasons: 1. It’s ideal setting in Navigli. 2. Its sumptuous fresh Temakies. 3. The unique and delicious cocktails made from the best Cachaças. It’s a place I will definitely go back to the next time I’m in Milan.
- Dry – this is one of THE places to go for an Aperitivo. It is always buzzing with atmosphere and you will clearly understand why after trying a cocktail and their delicious pizzas.
- Bulgari Hotel – The hotel has a magnificent garden where you can enjoy an Aperol Spritz or a cocktail of your choice.
- The Globe – This fancy Lounge bar is another cool place to have your Aperitivo and where to admire beautiful views of the city at night.
- Living – Near the Arco della Pace there are lots of places to have an Aperitivo and the area is full of atmosphere. This is one of the best bars in the area and where you will find the best Mojito.