Milan feels like a fairytale! It is chic and fabulous!!! After our trip, I was speaking with a well-travelled friend and we both agreed it’s unfortunate that media inundates us with “Paris” as the prototypical destination. Whilst I love Paris and would revisit in a heartbeat, this vacation reminded me that there are MANY other fabulous places that get less attention but are in no way inferior.
First, let’s talk location: Milan is located in northern Italy. Oh how, I LOVE Italy!!! It’s laden with history, amazing food (come on: pizza is hands down man’s best creation), the language is full of passion and rolls off the tongue. What I love most about Italy is how widespread its richness is, there are endless destinations that offer unique experiences: Rome, Venice, Tuscany, Sicily, Milan, Naples, Florence…and the list goes on! I feel like I’ll never get bored of Italy, plus of course, the food! Having been to Rome, two of the things I appreciated most about Milan were: a) it was cleaner and less crowded b)the Milanese folk were particularly warm, friendly and welcoming!
Buckle up as we take a stroll through my favourite picks in Milan!
Top Things to See in Milan
1) The Swiss Alps- get out your camera and prepare to take at least 100 shots! So this isn’t in Milan, but it was so spectacular, I had to include it! I was in awe and felt as though my trip was already made. I’m certain this scenic delight will take your breath away all year round, but we were fortunate to see it during the winter and that little dusting of snow was like the icing on the cake! What amazed me most was how enormous these mountains are! We enjoyed its magnificence for about 10 minutes!
2) The Milan Cathedral (Duomo)- the most incredible building I have seen to date! I’ll let you know if I encounter anything that surpasses it! I don’t mean to sound mean but ahhmmm…Notre Dame move over! The detail in this building is incredible, no wonder it took over 600 years to build! To heighten your experience, you’ll want to climb to the top of the roof, where you’ll enjoy have a bird’s eye of the view of Milan. You can also tour the inside of the church. However, prepare for extremely long wait times and a charge.
Budgeting Tip: Paying for entry is not necessary if you’re strapped for time or cash- you will still have a memorable experience just viewing the exterior. I did!
3) Sforza Castle- if you’re into Medieval movies like myself, you will feel right at home! This is a quintessential castle, fully equipped with guard towers, a drawbridge, courtyard and all! Enjoy a stroll through the gardens, treat yourself to lunch in the courtyard cafe and feel like royalty. You are able to view the Arco della Pace (a significant landmark) from the back the rear of the Castle. If you’re into art history you will be happy to know Michelangelo’s last sculpture is housed in one of the museums here (there are several).
Budgeting Tip: There is no entry fee, so you can enjoy the environs unless you opt for a museum visit.
4) Galaria Vitirio Emanuale II- Milan is the mecca of high-end fashion and here you’ll find a host of premiere brands! If you’re into brandname clothing, you will be in for a treat. But even outside of shopping, this commercial district is a sight to behold!
Budget Friendly Tip: There is a McDonalds here, where you can get an affordable meal. If you get a good seat you can get a wonderful view of the city (a good alternative top of the Duomo). For a more authentic Milanese experience, you can opt for a panzarotti (about 2.50) at Luigi’s (a very popular eatery) which is nearby.
5) Navigli Canals- Venice is renowned for its canals, but not many people know that Milan has two canals (located at the Metro stop: Geneva). It is reported that the talented Leonardo da Vinci, helped to design these waterways to improve the city’s water flow. These canals are particularly enticing at night when everything is illuminated and the lights bounce off the waters! This makes it a wonderful site to linger for dinner and there are endless restaurants (just be prepared for hefty prices).
Budget Friendly Tip: For cheaper eats, choose pizza- there are a few options here. There is a sports bar between the two canals, we ate there and the prices were affordable.
6) The Santa Maria del Grazzie & Da Vinci’s Statue- second only to the Duomo this rather unassuming building, is perhaps the most visited spectacle in Milan. This is where Da Vinci’s famous Last Supper painting is located. Tickets are sold out months in advance, so you will have to very deliberate about getting these!
Budget Friendly Tip: If you aren’t able to see the painting, an alternative is viewing Da Vinci’s statue in an open square. Additionally, entrance in the church is free and there is also a courtyard that you can enjoy at no cost.
These were my favourite stops in Milan, the magnificent! Have you ever been? Where else would you recommend?