Milano, Italy; The Ultimate Travel Guide

Hello lovely people,

Milano is considered the fashion capital of Europe to many, but I think it’s Italy’s best kept secret when it comes to backpacking. Situated in the Northern Lombardy region it is a vibrant and thriving city, with everything from urban neighbourhoods to Italy’s largest church. Whether it’s relaxing with an aperativo or taking a ride to the nearby Lake Como, Milano has something for everyone.

Quick Facts
Currency: Euro
Language: Italian (very few people speak English, which is great to see!)
Airports: 3 – Bergamo, Linate & Malpensa
Public Transport: Metro, buses & tram (€4.50/day)
Safety: 4/5, I travelled here alone and never felt at risk, except a few catcalls

Visit Duomo Cathedral
Duomo is far from underrated. The building is quite the feat to behold, with some beautiful white architecture. You can enter the cathedral and attached museum for €3.50, but I chose not to because whenever I looked the queues were always pretty long. I still loved sitting in the square and just taking in the architecture instead (because we all know I love a nice building).

Walk around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Now, you can probably tell by the way I dress myself that I know virtually nothing about fashion, so it might seem unusual for me to reccomend the main high fashion shopping mall. However, to bang on about architecture again, it’s a stunning building. I adored the glass roof and intricate wall design, so just walking around was definitely worthwhile. I’d also reccomend going to the nearby streets for cheaper shopping, you’ll find the awesome European brands Bershka, Pimkie and Pull & Bear.

Explore Santa Maria Delle Grazie
I love me a good church, always necessary to pray the gay away (too spicy?). This one is much smaller than Duomo (obviously), so I was able to visit the quieter interior and grounds easily. Inside there were lots of different Catholic shrines and art, which I actually found really interesting.

 

Eat & walk in Semipone Park
This is a fantastic place to eat a picnic lunch and watch as people cycle through the park (why do Europeans cycle so much?). After eating my lunch I wandered a little and it was really lovely to be back in a green space after the bustle of Duomo.

Discover Isola’s street art & the Bosque Verticale
Isola was one of my favourite districts. It’s a working class area with a huge community feel that has progressively been gentrified with the introduction of industry. The Bosque Verticale is a pair of residential towers that appear to have trees growing out of them, and it’s so cool to see nature in the middle of an area dominated by skyscrapers. However, the real gem of Isola is the street art. There’s some truly stunning pieces that are best discovered by wandering, but if you’re short on time head to Porta Garibaldi station and see the way artists have made it their own.

Eat gelato at Artico Gelateria Tradizionale
Could you really go to Italy and not try out the ice-cream? Located in the heart of the Isola district, this gelateria is family-run and classically Italian. There’s lots of choice and the gelato is so tasty!

 

Visit Lake Como
Como is around an hour away by train, and definitely worth a day out. I want to write a full post on this truly stunning location, but for now I’ll just say DO IT.

Drink aperativo (tbh I’d go just for this)
The Italians have got this one right. At around 6pm bars and pubs begin to fill with people going for a post-work cocktail, but there’s an amazing catch. Buying a drink means that you’re entitled to a pre-dinner buffet! I don’t understand how this only happens in Northern Italy, because it’s fabulous. I paid anywhere from €2.50 – €6 for my aperativo depending on what drink I ordered and where I was. You cannot miss this one.

 

Head to the Navigli district to see the canals
Fair warning, this area has become a little overrun with tourist traps, but the canals were so worth it. I visited at sunset and loved seeing the sunlight reflect on the river, truly stunning. There are also a lot of small artists’ studios alongside the river to watch out for. This is considered a “good” location for aperativo, but I found that the prices were ridiculously inflated in comparison to less touristy areas, so I’d say it’s one to avoid when you’re drinking.

Learn something new at the Museo Nazionale de Ciencia e Tecnologia
This was a really interesting museum, and absolutely huge. I specifically loved their exhibits on nutrition, the history of CERN and television. As a pansy humanities student science is usually quite foreign to me, but this place was very accessible for those of us who aren’t scientifically minded. Furthermore it was housed in a great building, and I loved the way the exhibits were laid out. Definitely one to remember your student card for, as the entrance fee goes from €10 to €7.50 when you present one.

 

So it’s safe to say that I absolutely loved my trip to Milano. It was the perfect balance of relaxing and adventure before university begins again, and I would really reccomend it. Aperativo has absolutely ruined me though, when is the UK going to wake up to that one?

Have you ever visited Milano or Italy? Where should I go next?

-Megan, listening to Radio X and writing with my housemate BECAUSE I HAVE HOUSEMATES NOW AND IT’S EXCITING

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44 thoughts on “Milano, Italy; The Ultimate Travel Guide

  1. thetimelessvoyagers says:

    Reading this makes us want to pack our bags now and head there immediately! 😀 We have travelled a bit of Tuscany and LOVE Italy. We can’t wait to explore of the country. Looking forward to your Lake Como post so please do write it 😉

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  2. Peanuts & Cacahuetes says:

    I had the chance to go to Milan but just for a day! It was a bike tour for a charity project so on the way to Milan we got the chance to have a ride all along the Como lakes and that was awesome! 😍 Then in Milan, I also saw Duomo which is quite an impressive building and of course an aperitivo!! 😍😍
    That was soooooo yummy!

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  3. ellieslondon says:

    Milan looks to beautiful! I am looking to go there in January maybe – I think I am leaning more towards here than Rome, although I’d love to go to Rome as well! Milan looks so FAB! x

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  4. Bexa says:

    Wow! It sounds like there is so much to see and do in Milano! I love that you had a nice mix of everything from relaxing in Semipone Park to sight seeing and eating galeto 😍. The street art in Isola sounds fascinating, I’d love to see that. Can’t wait to read your post on Lake Como too. Glad you had a great trip Megan! Thank you for sharing ❤ xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

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  5. baybythesea says:

    I’ve just seen ‘Travel Man’ with Richard Ayowade in Milan, so it was interesting to see another perspective. There’s clearly lots to do, even for those who aren’t fashion fanatics! One for the must-go-to list I think…

    Tracy xxx

    https://bloggerbythesea.com

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  6. Sahara says:

    I feel like when others go traveling they assume that english will be spoken there instead of learning the language of the country they’re visiting so when I saw that only a few people spoke English I just thought YES that means it’ll be a learning experience if/when I go haha!

    That’s actually amazing that for just €3.50 you can see both the museum and the cathedral which I assume is why the lines were so long but I have to say one thing I love about traveling is to explore areas as if the country were just one large living museum.

    AH cycling!! Completely unrelated but since you mentioned why do Europeans cycle so much this fact I read somewhere came to mind: Did you know that in Denmark there are more bikes than cars on the road? I thought that was so cool, I’d love to just cycle around (granted I’m wondering if people just come to work with a backpack that has their suitcase and work clothes that they swap into when they enter their building haha).

    I can only imagine how amazing their ice cream tastes, and even better is that it’s family run!

    Something I definitely learned when I traveled to Greece was that the less touristy areas had nicer prices while the touristy areas had me clutching my wallet like nope not today am I spending €€ on something that should be €. The best thing about having a student ID is the discounts that come along with it!

    It looked like you had an amazing time, I’d love to visit Italy sometime in the near future, looks like the perfect place to explore!

    Sahara
    http://saharas-dreams.blogspot.com

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    • pixieskies says:

      It’s such a common lazy English people thing, I understand that it can make things easier but it gives you much less of a push linguistically. It was definitely a learning experience, pushed me out of my comfort zone to use my minimal Italian skills haha.
      Wow Denmark does? That’s amazing! I bet it does wonders for the environment too. I’d love to get into cycling more if I didn’t live in such a hilly city (which is totally me being lazy lol).
      The ice cream was soooo good, still miss it now.
      I would definitely reccomend Italy, one of my favourite countries by far.
      Thanks so much for your comment Sahara :)))xx

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  7. jennyinneverland says:

    I’ve read so many great travel guides today, it’s giving me itchy feet! I’m in awe that you managed to travel there alone – travelling alone is something I’d absolutely love to do but my anxiety is firmly stopping that any time soon. Great tips! xxx

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    • pixieskies says:

      They always do the same for me, usually results in a spontaneous flight aha! It wasn’t the easiest thing at times but also gave me a lot of freedom. Thanks for reading!!

      Megan x

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  8. glowsteady says:

    I think it’s amazing that you travel alone! It’s something I’d love to do but I’ve always been a little too nervous. I’ve always wanted to go to Milan, I love Italy so much and Milan is one of the last places on my ‘must see’ list. I didn’t realise it was so close to Lake Como! x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

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  9. eviebraithwaite says:

    Ah it’s so amazing that you traveled alone! Solo travel is something I really want to do after university, although it does seem a little nerve-wracking haha. I went to Rome over summer and would honestly go back to Italy in a heartbeat for that alone. Milan looks like such a beautiful city! Thanks for sharing ✨

    Evie x | https://eviejayne.co.uk

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    • pixieskies says:

      It was a little scary at times, but I think ultimately it was worth it and I’d love to do it again! So jealous, Rome is definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  10. theamalog says:

    Great post and really informative. I have visited Milan long time ago but haven’t been to some of the places you mentioned. Definitely need to go back and read your blog again to make sure I included it in my list of to do. Thanks for sharing.

    Kaye – http://amalog.co

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