Milan Tourism Information
Milan is officially the second largest city of Italy, by population, but you can argue that it might be as important as Rome, because Milan is the country's financial centre, the home of Italy's stock exchange and is the base for the wealthy and stylish, thanks to it's famous fashion shows. The city has always been important, occupied by successive powers, and like most important cities it has been rebuilt many times. Consequently it lacks the medieval informal charm of other Italian towns. It's a business-like city with a work-hard, play-hard ethos. Rome may be the capital and the seat of government, but Milan is the business heart of Italy, the place where deals are made.
But in fact Milan has a lot to offer the visitor. The city is vibrant and has many sights of interest, as well as being a good point of departure for other North Italian destinations, such as Lake Como and the Alps. It's a good city to spend a city break or a long weekend. Milan's designer clothes and furnishings are a major attraction for many fashion-conscious tourists, but not all Milan's pleasures are expensive. Sitting outside a cafe by the fantastic Duomo (Cathedral) and admiring the well-dressed world go by, or indulging in a spot of window-shopping is enjoyable and rather more affordable.
In Milan's museums and galleries are some great works of art, like the "Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci. The Brera and the Navigli (canal) districts are both appealing for evening strolls. Don't forget to enjoy the exquisite cuisine which Italy is renowned for, home made pizzas, ice cream and strong aroma coffees!
The climate of Milan is Mediterranean, but in the case of the city, the weather is more extreme on either side. Summers can be very hot and humid, with temperatures rising above 35°C during July and August. However, the mountains behind the city protect Milan somewhat from the severity of winter, but the weather is very chilly with temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing. Winter also brings rain showers and heavy fog. Temperatures can reach below 0°C at night and stay pretty chilly during the day without reaching more than 12-15°C.
Spring (March to May) and early summer (June) are the best time to visit Milan, although autumn (September to November) is also pleasant.
Winter is a bit cold for most tourists but Milan's attractions are world-class during any season. Milan has a busy event calendar and unless you are travelling particularly to attend a big festival it is best to avoid international events like Milan Fashion Week, because the city gets crowded and more expensive.
Essentially Milan is a year-round tourist destination.
When arriving in Milan by air, there are three main airports which have good transportation options into Milan centre. They are Linate, Malpensa and Bergamo. Although Bergamo is not actually located in Milan itself, many airlines call the airport ‘Milan Bergamo’, simply because it provides very easy access to the centre of Milan.
- Linate airport, is the closest of the three airports to Milan. However the express bus to Milan city is more expensive than Malpensa Airport. Single ticket costs €13 or €26 return. Alternatively you can take local bus 73 to Duomo. (Cathedral). (Cathedral).
- Malpensa airport is the largest of the three airports, approximately 30 kms North West of Milan. Malpensa airport also has a direct rail link that connects passengers to and from Milan Cadorna Station and Centrale. (centre station). The journey usually takes around 30-40 minutes and costs €20 euros return. (€13 one way). Alternatively you can take a shuttle bus from the airport to the city centre (Centrale), tickets are €14 return when you buy online. Buy here, Terravision or at Mxp Shuttle.
- Bergamo Airport, has now become a popular airport for travellers looking for cheap flights to Milan. Although it is the furthest away of Milan. Flying into Bergamo airport, you can reach the centre of Milan within an hour and the cost of transfers are as little as €5 one way. Bergamo Bus.
Once in the city, the transport is simple, efficient and easy to use. You can also use an APP for the Milan Transport and help you guide your way in the city. (ATM MILANO APP). You can get the following tickets in Milan:
Urban Ticket, Price: € 1.50 : Valid for 90 minutes after stamping, gives you unrestricted travels for all the Milan Municipality area. One Day Ticket, Price: € 4.50, Valid for 24 hours after stamping. Two Day Ticket, Price: € 8.25, valid for 48 hours after stamping. These ticket are valid even on the rail network, including the urban rail lines of Trenord and the 'Passante Ferroviario' (Urban Railway Network).
There is also an efficient route of night busses, so no matter what time you are out and about there is always cheap transport to take you home in Milan!
Milan is internationally recognised as one of the world’s most important fashion capitals, but it also has a lot of interesting museums and things to see and do. Milan offers all the advantages of a large city, but it is relatively small, thus making it perfect to visit, as tourists can get to most of the city’s attractions and museums by foot.
Some of the city’s most beautiful attractions include the Duomo di Milano, an impressive Opera House, a striking castle, ancient churches and a great variety of museums and art galleries. Milan is a very popular city to visit over the weekend and the high season, therefore expect lots of people and tourists, specially during the Milan fashion show week, in mid September. Come to Milan for culture, fashion, walking, eating and drinking or enjoying the typical Italian relaxed attitude by taking a coffee or a pizza at the hundred of popular terraces around the city centre. You will find plenty of things to do as you walk in the city, below you will find the best highlights:
- Take a tram ride: Milan’s iconic orange trams are not used for sightseeing tours, as they’re public transport! But they have become an indirect way of doing tourism. The oldest-running public transport vehicles in the world, having been in service since 1928 Iit will cost only €1.50 for 90 min or €4.50 for a day pass, so you can hop on and hop off at your leisure. The best line to get on is tram 19, taking you from Lambrate, through some beautiful tree-lined avenues to Piazza Fontana, just off Duomo, and tram 1, travelling from Greco through the backstreets of the centre and then down genteel Via Vincenzo Monti and Corso Sempione, covering several Milan points of interest along its route.
- Duomo, the Milan Cathedral, Dedicated to Saint Mary, the gothic style church is the largest in Italy and took almost six centuries to complete. It is located in the centre of Milan, with the city’s streets surrounding it. Marvel at the structure’s exterior, with its stunning white façade and beautifully sculpted statues and spires. The cathedral has more sculptures than any other building in the world, 3,159 in total. After taking in the outside, explore the interior and then head up to the roof for an up-close experience among the ornate spires.
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall: It’s one of the world’s oldest and consists of a four-story double arcade with a glass-vaulted roof. The Galleria’s history dates back to the years between 1860 and 1864. During this time, the city held a series of competitions to solicit architectural proposals in order to modernize Piazza del Duomo and connect it with Piazza della Scala. In the end, Giuseppe Mengoni’s project was approved. Today, the Galleria is often referred to as il salotto di Milano, or Milan’s living room, because it is a common meeting spot amongst residents of the city.
- Opera, La Scala: It may be worth getting a ticket to the opera or ballet in Milan just to see the extravagant interior of the city’s famed opera house. La Scala is one of the leading opera houses in the world and many of the best singers, ballet dancers and composers have performed here. A museum that houses paintings, statues, costumes and documents related to La Scala’s history is located inside.
- Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle), was built as a fortress during the fourteenth century and is one of the most famous landmarks in Milan. Presently, it houses one of the best museums in the city. The first fortification on this site was built in 1368. Years later it was enlarged and became a splendid ducal palace, which was then practically completely destroyed during the Golden Ambrosian Republic.The Sforza family reconstructed the castle and made it into one of the most magnificent residences in Italy. Years later, the castle was used once more as a fortification under the Spanish and Austrian domination. Napoleon ordered the demolition of the castle in 1800 and a year later the Spanish bastions and towers were destroyed.During the second half of the nineteenth century the population was torn between keeping the Castle or destroying it to build a residential neighbourhood. However, the castle remained and the architect Luca Beltrami was instructed to renovate the castle, restoring it as it was when the Sforza family resided in it. The restoration was completed in 1905 and the central tower (Torre Filarete) and the Parco Sempione were inaugurated. The park was built on the former parade grounds.During World War II the castle was severely damaged.At the end of the twentieth century the Castle square was built with a fountain in the centre. However, in the sixties it was destroyed when the Milan Metro was built. In 2005, the restoration of the Cortile della Ghirlanda and the halls of the castle were completed.
✔️Tip: Tickets cost €10 per adult. But they don't allow access to the main tower nor to the roof tops along the castle. For the roof top you need to purchase separate tour guide group tickets for €13 extra. However, there is free entrance to the castle grounds and main museums every Tuesday from 14; Wednesday-Sunday one hour before closing; and the whole day on the first Sunday of every month.
- The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (Cenacolo Viniciano) is one of the most renowned paintings in the world. The original mural was painted between 1495 and 1497. Visitors can currently see the authentic picture which da Vinci painted in the dining room of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The Last Supper is an enormous painting that measures 640 cm tall x 880 cm wide. Leonardo da Vinci used tempera and oil on a base of plaster, instead of using the most frequent technique of the time: fresco. Take some time to study one of the world’s most scrutinised paintings, located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the work was completed around 1499. In it, Leonardo portrays the reactions of the 12 apostles when Jesus says one of them would betray him. Perhaps no other work of art has caused as much speculation and theorizing about hidden messages or underlying hints left by the artist. See if you can spot one yourself.To get there it's a 15 min walk from the city centre of take tram number 16.
Milan is an attractive destination for nightlife, as it has many universities, a mix of young crowds, together with high volume of tourists wanting to party the night away!
The fashionable nightlife in Milan radiates primarily from the Brera Gallery and Navigli areas. Centri Sociali is home to an alternative, less expensive entertainment scene.
The city offers visitors a vast selection of vibrant bars, restaurants and nightclubs, as well as live music performances.
The nightlife kicks off early in Milan, by Italian standards, with Happy Hour starting at about 6pm. The evening drinking session, called the apertivito, is an important social opportunity in Milan, a chance to meet and greet and fashionably mingle. Dance venues usually only get going at about 11pm, with nightclubs closing at about 4am.
Although there are a handful of perennial favourites, clubs are likely to change names and owners fairly frequently in Milan, but it is never difficult to find nighttime fun in this glamorous city. Those who want more cultured fun will be spoiled by the opera and theatre scene of Milan.
Shopping in Milan is an unparalleled experience. Milan is not just the epitome of fashion paradise, it is considered the fashion capital of the world. This city boasts the most prestigious boutiques and showrooms on earth. In the heart of Milan's shopping area are the streets of the Fashion Quadrilatero - Via Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant'Andrea - where elegance and luxury can be bought, though at a price.
On Via Montenapoleone shoppers will find Gucci, Versace, Valentino and Cartier, to name just a few brands. Chanel, Armani and Moschino are available on Via Sant'Andrea, while Via della Spiga is home to D&G, Prada and Bulgari.
Other fantastic shopping stops include Vittorio Emanuele and Corso Vercelli, while Torino and Ticinese house some avant-garde goods and Paolo Sarpi has an eclectic chinatown feel. For more affordable purchases, visit Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Corso Buenos Aires, Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese. On these streets there are shops such as H&M, Zara, Timberland and Diesel. Local markets include Fiera di Senigallia (held on Saturday mornings at Viale d'Annunzio), and Mercatone del Naviglio Grande, at the Alzaia Naviglio Grande, taking place on the last Sunday of each month.
Milan is a very popular city to visit year round, specially when the annual fashion shows take place, in September, so expect prices for accommodation go up substantially. Weekends are also expensive as the city is ideal to visit for a short weekend and also during the Summer it's high season, June to September. Other times of the year you can find deals if you book well in advance, and are prepared to stay a little further from the city where catching a tram or metro nearby ensures a good reduction in price. Hotels can range from €25 to €100 per night so it's essential to compare. Private accommodation is also possible via Airbnb. If you are on a budget, it's easy to find plenty of Hostels in the city centre for shared accommodation.
To see the highlights of the city and travel comfortably around it is suggested you stay in Milan for a weekend, or two full days should also do it.
There are plenty of museums and galleries to extend your stay if you wish. However the city is well suited for walking and can see everything in walking distance.
Milan Photo Slide 📷