MILAN AT A GLANCE: A QUICK OVERVIEW OF WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR FIRST VISIT
The last update about Milan at a Glance was on May 10, 2023
Are you curious about the city’s iconic attractions, renowned landmarks, and must-visit sites? Or perhaps you’re interested in discovering the unique features that make Milan stand out among other European destinations. If so, a quick overview of this captivating destination, “Milan at a Glance” is the perfect starting point for your exploration.
Milan, Italy, is one of the most travelled cities in Europe and a magnificent destination. Milan effortlessly blends history, art, fashion, and culture offering you a unique experience at every step.
Whether you’re planning a whirlwind tour or a leisurely exploration, knowing the highlights and practicalities of Milan is crucial for a memorable trip. So, here is an overview of what to expect on your first trip to this remarkable city.
- Milan at a Glance;
- Where to Stay in Milan;
- Why is Milan a Unique Destination in Europe?
- Highlights, Attractions and Activities;
- Practicalities to Consider;
- How to Travel to Milan from Milan Centrale Station;
- How to Navigate PublicTransportation in Milan city;
- Some places for your Milan bucket list;
- Explore More than Milan;
- What’s New on the Blog.
MILAN AT A GLANCE
Milan is a beautiful city that has much to offer and is home to a treasure trove of cultural gems where you can dive deeper into its rich heritage. From the majestic Duomo di Milano, a true architectural masterpiece, to the historic Sforza Castle, which reflects the city’s fascinating past. Also, let’s not forget about Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, a masterpiece that continues to mesmerise art enthusiasts from around the world.
However, Milan is not only about its artistic heritage. It is also synonymous with fashion and style, hosting renowned fashion weeks and serving as the birthplace of some of the world’s most esteemed designers. The city’s vibrant fashion scene and luxury boutiques are a delight for those seeking the latest trends and elegant designs.
Beyond its artistic and fashionable allure, Milan boasts a dynamic and lively atmosphere. The city’s buzzing nightlife, trendy neighborhoods, and diverse culinary scene will undoubtedly captivate your senses. Indulge in mouthwatering Italian cuisine, sample traditional Milanese dishes, or savor a delicious espresso in one of the many charming cafes that line the streets. However you decide to spend your time in the fabulous city of fashion, you are sure to take home timeless memories.
A PLACE TO STAY IN MILAN?
Are you considering staying in the city but not sure which neighbourhood is best for you and your budget? No worries at all. Go to my comprehensive guide about neighbourhoods, and best places to stay with a range of budget options.
Recommended : Guide to Neighbourhoods in Milan and Best Places to Stay.
WHY IS MILAN A UNIQUE DESTINATION IN EUROPE?
Milan, possesses several unique features that distinguish it from other European destinations. Here are some of the aspects that make Milan stand out:
Fashion, Design and Innovation
Milan is renowned as one of the world’s fashion capitals, alongside Paris , London , and New York . The city is home to prestigious fashion houses, luxury boutiques, and top designers. Milan hosts the biannual Milan Fashion Week, where international designers showcase their latest collections, attracting fashion enthusiasts and industry professionals from around the globe.
Milan is not only a hub for fashion but also a center for design and innovation. Known for its cutting-edge design scene, Milan hosts the annual Milan Design Week which is a highlight of the industry calendar. The city’s rich design heritage is reflected in its modern architecture, sleek interiors, and contemporary art exhibitions.
Milan has a rich historical heritage that sets it apart. It served as the capital of the Western Roman Empire and witnessed the reign of powerful dynasties, such as the Visconti and Sforza families. The city’s iconic landmarks, including the magnificent Duomo di Milano, the impressive Sforza Castle, and the world-famous opera house La Scala, showcase its historical significance and architectural grandeur.
Milan boasts a wealth of artistic treasures. Leonardo da Vinci’s renowned painting, The Last Supper, located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, is an absolute must-see masterpiece.
The city is also home to numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Museum of the 20th Century, housing an impressive collection of Italian and international artworks.
Milanese cuisine presents a unique culinary experience. From saffron-infused risotto alla Milanese to the famous breaded veal cutlet known as cotoletta alla Milanese, the city’s gastronomy is distinct and delicious.
Milan is also known for its vibrant food culture, from trendy cafes and gelaterias to Michelin-starred restaurants, offering a wide range of culinary options to suit all tastes.
Business and Finance Hub
Milan is Italy’s financial and business hub, hosting the city’s thriving economy. Along with its strategic location and excellent infrastructure, Milan is positioned as a vital center for commerce, finance, and entrepreneurship.
Milan’s cosmopolitan atmosphere adds to its charm. With a diverse population and a bustling international community, the city is a melting pot of cultures, languages, and ideas. The vibrant nightlife, trendy neighborhoods, and multicultural events contribute to the city’s dynamic and modern ambiance.
These unique features make Milan an enticing destination, where history, art, fashion, and innovation seamlessly blend, offering visitors a multifaceted and unforgettable experience.
HIGHLIGHTS, ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Milan offers a multitude of highlights, attractions, and activities that cater to diverse interests. Here is an overview of some of the must-see and must-do experiences in Milan:
Duomo di Milano
The magnificent Gothic cathedral, Duomo di Milano, is the symbol of Milan. Admire its intricate architecture, climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city, and explore the fascinating interior adorned with stunning stained glass windows and ornate decorations.
THIS IS HOW TO VISIT THE DUOMO DI MILANO
Book any one of these 5 tickets here:
No waiting in line! Fast-track tickets
If this is your first time to Milan Cathedral, a guided tour is recommended. The fast-track ticket to the Duomo, Rooftop, Archaeological site and the Museum is the best value option.
The Fast-Track Milan Cathedral and Terraces Guided Tour offers you a complete tour of Milan Cathedral, with skip-the-line entrance and access to the rooftop. The ticket includes access to the Archaeological area and the Museo del Duomo which you can explore at your own pace, after the guided tour or with a guide.
BOOK HERE YOUR FAST TRACK TICKET TO MILAN CATHEDRAL or HERE TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY A GUIDE TO ALL AREAS.
Milan Cathedral Only
2 | If you want to see the inside of Milan Cathedral only, with no Rooftop access and other areas, then THIS OPTION is the one for you.
Milan Cathedral Rooftop Only
3 | To go straight to the Rooftop of Milan Cathedral, and no access to the Duomo and other areas, SELECT THIS option.
4 | While a guided tour is encouraged, it is possible to explore Milan Cathedral, the Rooftop, Archaeological site and Museum at your own pace by yourself with an audio guide. If you want to do this, BOOK THIS OPTION OF MILAN CATHEDRAL + ROOFTOP WITH AN AUDIO GUIDE. This ticket is valid for three consecutive days, giving you plenty of time to amble through the spires, marvel at the splendour inside and learn all about the Cathedral’s 600-year history.
MILAN PASS: Can it be used at Milan Cathedral?
Yes, it can! Milan Pass or Milano Card holders can get admission to Milan Cathedral and the Duomo Rooftop for free. In addition, the Milan Pass is a really good ticket to free tours and free transportation. It includes:
- 8 more of Milan’s most popular attractions including the La Scala Museum;
- 7 free tour experiences;
- free public transportion;
- Hop-on hop-off bus tour;
- Map + Milan guidebook.
Purchase your 48 or 72 hours pass online here before you go. It is valid for 200 days. Exchange it for a physical pass at Milan Visitor Centre.
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper
Visit the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see one of the world’s most famous artworks, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. This iconic painting is a masterpiece that depicts the biblical scene of Jesus and his disciples.
Sforza Castle and Museums
Explore the historic Sforza Castle, a massive fortress that houses several museums and art collections. Admire its impressive architecture, wander through the beautiful courtyards, and visit museums like the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Museum of Ancient Art.
HERE’S HOW TO SEE THE SFORZA CASTLE AND MUSEUMS
- Experience Leonardo’s The Last Supper painting with skip-the-line access + See the expansive Sforza Castle grounds (museum excluded) with a guide.
- Get a guided experience of the Sforza Castle, Battlements and The Last Supper painting at Santa Maria delle Grazie.
La Scala Theatre and Museum
Opera enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to experience a performance at La Scala, one of the world’s most renowned opera houses. Marvel at the grandeur of the theater and immerse yourself in the rich musical heritage of Milan.
HOW TO VISIT THE LA SCALA THEATRE AND MUSEUM
Stroll through the charming streets of the Brera district, known for its artistic ambiance and bohemian vibe. Explore the Brera Art Gallery, browse through art studios and boutiques, and enjoy the neighborhood’s cozy cafes and restaurants.
BEST WAYS TO EXPERIENCE THE BRERA DISTRICT
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Indulge in luxury shopping and architectural splendor at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This elegant shopping arcade, with its beautiful glass dome, houses high-end fashion boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. Don’t forget to spin your heel on the mosaic bull for good luck!
HOW TO EXPERIENCE THE GALLERIA VITTORIO EMANUELE II
Almost all tours involve a visit to the Galleria but the below is one of the best ways to experience the City of Milan.
Best of Milan in a 6-hour Guided Tour including a Visit to the Milan Cathedral and The Last Supper by Leonardo.
Discover the vibrant Navigli district, famous for its picturesque canals lined with charming cafes, bars, and restaurants. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the canals, explore unique shops and art galleries, and savor the lively atmosphere, particularly in the evening.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE THE NAVIGLI DISTRICT
Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology
Delve into the world of science and innovation at this interactive museum. Explore exhibits on a wide range of topics, including aerospace, transport, energy, and communication, and get hands-on with experiments and demonstrations.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE
Tour of Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology
Fashion and Shopping
Embrace Milan’s reputation as a fashion capital by exploring the Quadrilatero della Moda, a high-end fashion district filled with designer stores and luxury boutiques. Additionally, head to Corso Buenos Aires for more affordable shopping options.
FOR A TIMELESS EXPERIENCE OF FASHION & SHOPPING
Food and Dining in Milan
Indulge in Milanese culinary delights by sampling traditional dishes such as risotto alla Milanese, ossobuco, and panettone. Discover local markets like Mercato di Via Fauchè or enjoy aperitivo, a Milanese tradition of pre-dinner drinks with complimentary appetizers.
MILAN’S TOP FOOD TOURS
This overview only scratches the surface of what Milan has to offer. The city is constantly buzzing with exhibitions, events, and cultural happenings, ensuring there’s always something new and exciting to explore in this dynamic Italian metropolis.
PRACTICALITIES TO CONSIDER
An overview of some basic practicalities to consider:
Legal Entry to Italy – Visa
Italy is part of the common travel area known as the Schengen Zone. This means that if you are a national of EU/EEA, you can travel to Italy with just an Identification Card.
However, if you are non EU/EEA, you will be required to present the following as a minimum at the port of entry to Italy:
- A valid passport or travel document: Your passport or travel must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of your planned exit from the Schengen Area. The passport or travel document must be issued in the last 10 years.
- A Visa. If you are a national of a country that is subject to the Italy’s visa regime.
- At border control, you may be asked about your purpose of visit, how long you intend to stay and your financial means during your trip.
- Entry stamp: Ensure your passport is stamped by the border control officers so that you could move freely within the Schengen Area. Without a stamp, you could be fined or detained.
**EU – European Union | EEA – European Economic Area
Pro tip: Check visa requirements with iVisa
iVisa is an independent company in the travel documentation industry. They are resolved to getting an application for travel documents processed quickly in a simple and reliable manner.
The official language spoken in Milan is Italian but the majority of Milanese speak Milanese. Milanese is a dialect of the Italians, commonly spoken in the Lombardy region.
The Euro (€) is the currency used in Italy and is the only form of legal tender in the country. Introduced in 1999, Euro replaced its predecessor, the Lira which was taken out of circulation in 2002.
*1 Euro equals to 0.87 Pound Sterling.
*1 Euro equals to 1.10 US Dollar
**As at May 9, 2023
Credit Cards and ATMs
In Milan, there are no problems in finding ATMs or cash machines that accepts foreign credit cards or bank debit cards. Most shops, restaurants and tour operators will also take credit cards as a form of payment. You only really need cash for small purchases like metro tickets, bottles of water, coffee, gelato and small souvenirs.
The plugs and sockets in Italy are type F and L. The standard voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz.
I recommend that you purchase a worldwide universal travel adapter which you could use in any European countries.
WiFi is usually available at the hotels and the high-rated restaurants but there may be a need to have WiFi at all times (like me). If you are in Italy for a short visit, I recommend subscribing to Unlimited Portable Pocket Wifi (my favourite and a must have) when travelling to Milan or wider Italy/Europe. Works out much cheaper than roaming charges by a mobile carrier.
While Milan is generally a safe place to be, you may want to keep a close eye on your belongings. There are always that elements of pickpockets and theft.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO MILAN FROM MILAN CENTRALE STATION
Milan Centrale Station is well-marked, and you’ll find clear signage to guide you.
Milan offers several transportation options to reach different parts of the city. Consider the following options:
Metro: The Milan Metro system is an efficient and convenient way to travel within the city. Look for the “M” signs to locate the metro station within or near Milan Centrale Station. Determine which metro line and station are closest to your destination in Milan, and purchase a ticket from the automated machines or ticket counters. Remember to validate your ticket before boarding the train.
Bus: Milan has an extensive bus network that can take you to various parts of the city. The bus stops are typically located near the station. Check the local bus schedules and routes to identify the bus that suits your destination. Some buses do not accept cash as a method of payment, so purchase your tickets from the ticket machines before boarding.
Taxi: Taxis are readily available outside Milan Centrale Station. Look for the designated taxi ranks and ensure that the taxi you choose is an official one with a meter. Be aware that taxi fares in Milan can be relatively high compared to other modes of transportation.
If you’re using the metro or bus, refer to the route map and station names to ensure you’re heading in the right direction. Purchase
PRO TIP: Make sure to purchase the appropriate ticket for your chosen mode of transportation. Milan’s public transportation system typically requires tickets to be purchased in advance, either from automated machines or ticket counters.
HOW TO NAVIGATE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN MILAN
Milan has an awesome transport system that connects all the landmarks so it is easy to navigate. You could literally get around Milan like a local!
Read this comprehensive guide to Public Transportation in Milan. The article includes guides to routes, type of tickets and best ways to move around the city.
INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT IN MILAN
- 5 Attractions in Parco Sempione, Milan Not to Miss
- Arco della Pace, Milan
- Quotes about Milan that makes the City Irresistible
- Milan Bucket List Ideas: Best 19 Attractions
- How to Enjoy the Best of Milan in One Day
- The Ultimate Milan City Guide
EXPLORE MORE THAN MILAN
If you are up for an adventure, try train travelling or group tours in Italy. I loved travelling to other cities on day trips by train as well as on guided tours. The countryside is beautiful and Italy has excellent high-speed routes and roads which makes exploring seamless.
If you wish to explore yourself by car, look-up Discover Cars for a range of cars to suit your needs. You may also want to consider exploring a few places in a day by joining one or two tour groups on day trips to Lake Como, or Verona. I personally find day trips to be great experiences and beneficial to me as I get to experience the culture of a region as opposed to just the city. Adding one or two of these tours to your itinerary will surely make your trip special.
If you’d like to, here are some highly popular day trips from Milan to consider:
Recommended read: 12 Best Day Trips from Milan which You Must Go On.
Most travellers to Milan love to visit Lake Como either on a day trip or for a couple of days. Go here to my Lake Como travel page that has lots of articles, information and tips if you would like to know more about Lake Como. Using this guide, you can explore Lake Como with or without a car and some of the best lakeside towns which will absolutely win you over.
Milan is perfectly situated in northern Italy and it affords great possibilities to explore other areas like Verona, Lake Garda, and Venice.
I hope this overview has given you a taster of what to expect when visiting Milan. A journey through Milan’s enchanting street and the city’s distinctive features will sure to captivate your senses, leaving you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for this remarkable European destination.
Have a splendid time discovering Milan.
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Milan at a Glance – An overview of what to expect was first published at timelesstravelsteps.com and is regularly updated. The last update was on May 10, 2023.
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ESSENTIALS FOR MILAN TRAVEL
Basics for Milan Trip
1 | From Bergamo Airport to Milan City Centre — Direct Bus Transfer
2 | From Malpensa Airport to Milan Central Station
3 | Linate Airport to Milan Central Station
5 | Entry to Milan Cathedral and Rooftop
6 | Milan Hop-on Hop-off Bus Ticket
1 | City of Milan Guide: A Complete Resource for Travellers
2 | How to Get around Milan like a Local
4 | Milan Bucket List: 19 Very Best Things to do in Italy’s Fashion Capital
Thank you so much and I am very happy to know that this is “the best guide out there” 🙂 As always, I appreciate your comments and the time taken to read my articles.
As always just about the best travel guide out there. From the UK it will be so difficult to keep up to date at the different stages of Brexit so, to have a guide through the rest, where to go, what to expect etc is so useful especially when it is so accessible like this.
Thank you so much! and thank you for stopping by! I am a Londoner myself. Have a great rest of the week. 🙂
Love the visual content! Keep it up. Greetings from London.
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