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 dusk | Timeless Travel Steps
Milan at dusk


  • 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;
  • finally…
  • What’s New on the Blog.


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.

Milan at a Glance | Timeless Travel Steps
a historic building captured while strolling through Brera


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.


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.

Historical Significance

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.

Artistic Treasures

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.

piazza dei Mercati Milan ©
Milan’s piazza dei mercati, located just 50m from the Duomo

Culinary Delights

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.

Cosmopolitan Atmosphere

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.


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.

what to see inside Milan Cathedral ©
Milan Cathedral


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.


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.

Explore Yourself

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.

Milan Cathedral Rooftop ©
Milan Cathedral rooftop

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.

The Last Supper Leonardo ©
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting at Santa Maria delle Grazie refectory

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.

Sforza Castle Milan ©
Sforza Castle Milan

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.

Brera District

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.

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!


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.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II ©
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Navigli District

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

Milan at a Glance. Schengen Visa timeless travel steps


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.

Milan at a Glance. Credit Cards timeless travel steps

Power plugs

The plugs and sockets in Italy are type F and L. The standard voltage is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz.



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.


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.


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.

Milan tram ©
Milan public transportation


City of Milan Travel Guide | Arco della Pace |
The Arch of Peace, Milan


Recommended read: 12 Best Day Trips from Milan which You Must Go On.

Milan at a Glance | Timeless Travel Steps
Argegno: a hidden charm in Lake Como

Lake Como

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.

view of Como from Brunate ©
view of Como city, Lake Como from the hillside of Brunate

Beyond Milan

Milan is perfectly situated in northern Italy and it affords great possibilities to explore other areas like Verona, Lake Garda, and Venice.

Verona ©
an ancient gate in Verona, Italy


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 and is regularly updated. The last update was on May 10, 2023.