Whether you’re into fashion, architecture, culture, food, or even football, then Milan is a city you simply have to visit. Milan is an industrial city in northern Italy and the world’s fashion capital, famous for its high-end shops, bars, restaurants, and art. The city offers a shopping experience like nowhere else. It’s also Italy’s business hub and the country’s wealthiest city.
Milan is much more of an industrial city than the likes of Rome or Florence, but it still has some of Italy’s most stunning architecture on display and is a city that is full of fascinating history, beautiful architecture, and delicious food. If you’re planning a trip to this vibrant city, you won’t want to miss these top places to visit:
1. Duomo Di Milano
The Duomo Cathedral is the biggest church in Italy and the second-largest cathedral in the world. It took nearly 6 centuries to complete. Its beautiful architecture and gothic feel make this a worthwhile visit. The rooftop terrace is nearly as big as the whole cathedral roof and gives tourists a magnificent view of the city.
The Milan Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Milano, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. It’s an impressive example of Gothic architecture, with over 3,500 statues and intricate details that make it a must-visit attraction. Visitors can climb to the top of the cathedral for stunning panoramic views of the city, and explore the interior to see the beautiful stained glass windows and ornate altars. Be sure to also check out the archaeological area, which features the remains of an early Christian baptistery and a Roman house.
Entry prices for the cathedral are approximately €16 per adult and it’s €7 for children aged 6-12. People with disabilities and helpers will get in for free. The price includes entrance to the cathedral and the roof terrace. Guided tours are also available. For a full price list visit the official website, or to book a fast-track guided tour visit here.
2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II
This stunning glass-covered arcade is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in fashion and design. Built-in the late 19th century, the Galleria is home to high-end boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Make sure to look up at the incredible mosaic ceilings as you wander through this historic landmark.
3. The Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) stadium
One of the oldest and biggest stadiums in the world, the San Siro is home to two giants of Italian football, AC Milan and Inter Milan. Even if you are not a fan of football, this iconic and historic venue is well worth seeing. It’s easy to get to the metro, using tram line 5 or metro M5 from Milano centrale station.
Although the stadium is getting old it’s still a beautiful piece of architecture with concrete spiral columns on each side of the ground. It’s also been the venue for some of the biggest acts in music, with both legendary rock band Queen and pop icon Madonna playing gigs here.
Once inside you can take the stadium tour from €18 pp and it lasts around 45 minutes to 1hr. It’s not one of the best stadium tours I have been on but it’s worth a visit. The tour guide we had was very good and spoke very good English. The museum itself it’s not very big but you have the opportunity to take some great photos upon entering the stadium itself. This iconic stadium has also hosted many music concerts, the legendary rock band Queen and the Queen of Pop Madonna have played gigs here. But sadly this stadium is rumoured to be heading for demolition shortly, so if you want to see it, don’t delay.
4. Shop on the Golden Triangle
As well as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, another of Milan’s most famous shopping districts in the Golden Triangle or Quadrilatero d’Oro (its real name), its a collection of streets with rows of high-end designer shops and if you’re looking for some retail therapy, then the Golden Triangle is for you, or even if you’re not splashing the cash, window shopping is great fun here, with some wonderful window displays. Shops at the highest end of fashion can be found here, in particular along the Via Montenapoleone, (Milans’ most expensive street).
5. The Last Supper
Milan is a city full of fine pieces of art, including one of the world’s most famous ever paintings, The Last Supper. Painted between 1495-1498 by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, it’s themed around the last meal Jesus shared with his followers before his crucifixion. Tickets must be booked in advance, as only a limited number of visitors are allowed to view the painting each day. The painting is located in the refectory of the convent, which was used by the Dominican friars as a dining hall.
For further information and to book tickets click here.
Another of Milan’s most picturesque places and somewhere you will want to visit is the Navigli district and canals. Some of Italy’s most vibrant nightlife and cool bars line the canals and what better way to finish off a busy day in the city than to chill at one of the many bars and restaurants with a cocktail or two. The Navigli was a system of canals that once connected Milan to Switzerland and was a major transport route as well a being one of the main ways to import and export goods. Only 2 of the original canals remain.
Come and take a walk around the cobbled streets of the Navigli district, where you will find art galleries, some of the city’s best cafes, and some wonderful restaurants to whet any appetite, not to mention some of the best nightlife can be found here too. If you’re looking for a great neighbourhood to hang out in for a few hours, then head to Navigli.
7. Sforza Castle
Just a 10-minute stroll from the city centre is the Sforza castle or its real name Castello Sforzesco, it’s a beautiful-looking medieval castle built in the 15th century to protect the city. This medieval castle is one of Milan’s most impressive landmarks. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, a powerful Duke of Milan, and has since been renovated and expanded several times. Today, the castle houses several museums and art collections, including works by Michelangelo and Caravaggio. The castle also features beautiful gardens and courtyards, making it a great place to spend a sunny afternoon.
Entrance to the castle and courtyard is free, but the entrance to the museums will cost approximately €10 per adult.
8. QC Terme Milano
If you’re looking for somewhere to really kick back and relax for a few hours away from all the tourist hotspots, then book into the QC Terme wellness centre. This is a totally unique spa experience, a spa with a difference, not just the fact that it’s housed in an old tram depot, but some of the experiences available here too. There is a range of treatments available as well as saunas, warm and cold baths, rain baths, 3 warm pools, a tea room, and many more, including the unique steam tram outside which is a steam/sauna room in an old tram, a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else.
The QC Terme Milano is set in beautiful surroundings of Roman ruins, so lay back and relax in the warm pools while admiring the stunning architecture. It has been said to be the most relaxing spot in Milan. The QC Terme Milano also serves up a delicious lunch, or go between the hours of 7-9 pm when they host a two-hour Aperitivo session, where there are lots of snacks including meats and fruits, and what seems like an endless supply of Prosseco (the Italians are known for their love of prosecco).
Check the website for any details regarding the booking, opening times, what’s on offer and prices.
The Brera District
The Brera District is a charming neighbourhood in Milan that’s filled with art galleries, cafes, and boutiques. One of the best things to do in the area is simply wander the narrow cobblestone streets and soak up the atmosphere of the city. You can stop at one of the many cafes and grab a coffee or aperitivo, and people-watch as locals and tourists alike go about their day. The district is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs that stay open late into the night. Art lovers will want to visit the Pinacoteca di Brera, which houses an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance art. And if you’re visiting on the third Sunday of the month, don’t miss the open-air antique market in the streets of the district, where you can find everything from vintage clothing to antique furniture.
Here are a few other things to do during your short stay here in Milan.
– Open-top bus tours
– Walking tours
– Have coffee and pastries in one of Milan’s 19th-century coffee shops
Eating and drinking in Milan.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best places to eat in Milan:
Trattoria Milanese – This traditional restaurant in the heart of Milan serves up classic Milanese dishes, such as osso buco and risotto alla Milanese. The cosy and intimate atmosphere is perfect for a romantic dinner, and the menu features plenty of local ingredients and flavours.
Luini – This historic bakery is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. Luini is famous for its panzerotti, a type of deep-fried pizza pocket filled with tomato, mozzarella, and other ingredients. It’s the perfect street food to grab on the go while exploring the city.
Peck – This high-end delicatessen has been in business since 1883 and is the perfect place to pick up some of the finest Italian cheeses, meats, and wines. There’s also a sit-down restaurant where you can enjoy a meal made with the ingredients from the shop. Be sure to try the prosciutto di Parma, a cured ham that is a true delicacy.
Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone – This upscale restaurant serves up classic Italian cuisine in a beautiful setting. The restaurant is located in a historic building that dates back to the 19th century and features a charming courtyard for al fresco dining.
Nerino Dieci Trattoria – This cosy restaurant is a favourite among locals, and serves up delicious homemade pasta dishes and other Italian specialities. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the prices are very reasonable.