Italy's second-largest city is a delight for tourists. This elegant, efficient city has an excellent public transportation system, stunning architecture, world-famous works of art, and more designer boutiques than almost any city on earth.
Milan offers an endless array of experiences. Attend February's Milan Fashion Week to see the year's new trends and watch the world's elite designers in action. Visit a soccer match at San Siro Stadium, gaze at da Vinci's "The Last Supper" and statues by Michelangelo, or stroll arm in arm along the canals of Navigli, checking out the antique stands, before choosing a welcoming trattoria for your evening meal.
With a unique blend of art, fashion, great museums, sporting attractions, food, and street life, Milan has it all, and it's a wonderful vacation spot.
Milan boasts some gorgeous sights, from the spectacular facade of the Duomo, and its beautiful mosaic floor, to the masterpieces of the Pinacoteca di Brera. The city's churches are filled with paintings, including Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper". If you adore art and architecture, Milan is the perfect destination.
Milan is renowned as a center for fashion and design. Home to labels like Gucci and Armani, the city is packed with luxury boutiques and is the focus of the fashion world in February, when Milan Fashion Week attracts stars from across the globe.
Sports are an obsession for Milanese people, and none are more popular than soccer (or calcio). Milan's two major teams, Inter and AC, both play at the massive San Siro Stadium, one of the greatest soccer venues in the world, and attending a match is a must for sports fans.
Milan has existed for over 2,000 years, so there is plenty for history lovers to enjoy. Learn about the city's Roman roots at the Civico Museo Archeologico, tour the medieval Sforza Castle, and head to 19th-century mansions like the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum for a great sense of how Milan has developed.
Milan is one of Italy's best dining destinations, with eateries to suit every budget. Get to know the locals at family-run trattorias like Antica Osteria Briosca, or splurge on gourmet meals at the city's finest restaurants like Chandelier. If you love pasta, gnocchi, osso bucco, or risotto, you'll be in food heaven.
There isn't really a bad time to visit Milan. Even at Christmas, when temperatures usually hover around freezing, the main square becomes a festive market, with a spectacular tree and light show. Spring and fall can offer accommodation bargains and slightly thinner crowds, but the best weather is definitely around July and August.
Milan's major airport is at Malpensa, around 30 miles west of the city itself. The quickest route into town is via the Express Trains from Terminal 1, which take 40 minutes, leave every 30 minutes and cost EUR12. Buses take around an hour and cost EUR10, while there's a fixed taxi fee of EUR90 to the city center.
Milan is a major train junction, with trains arriving from Rome and Florence to the south, and Paris, London, and other northern European cities. The main terminus is Milano Centrale, which is served by Trenitalia and France's TGV. When you get there, the best way to reach the center is via Metro lines 2 or 3.
If you are driving around Italy or southern Europe, getting to Milan by car is simple. Take the A4 from the west or east, or the E35 from Bologna, Florence, or Rome. The E35 also runs from Switzerland, connecting Milan with Germany and Austria to the north.
Bus companies running services to Milan include Flixbus, Baltour, and Ouibus (which runs buses from Paris). You'll find the main bus terminal at Lampugnano, which is on Metro Line 1, so it's easy to transfer from buses to hotels.
Milan offers a huge variety of accommodation options, from traditional B&Bs that have been run by families for generations to modern hostels like Ostello Bello and luxury hotels that offer a premium travel experience. Some of the most upscale options include the Park Hyatt and the Four Seasons, but there are smaller boutique hotels on offer too, like Palazzo Segreti and the Hotel Spadari Al Duomo.
Brera - located just to the north of the Duomo, Brera is Milan's artistic hub. It's home to the Pinacoteca di Brera, one of the finest collections of Renaissance art in the world, but there are countless small galleries featuring modern local artists to explore as well.
Navigli - characterized by its elegant canals, Navigli is another culturally vibrant neighborhood. Cafes like Taglio buzz with conversation all day long, the canal bank is the regular venue for Milan's largest antiques market, and you'll also find historical attractions like the fourth-century Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore.
Piazza Duomo - the center of Milan's religious and social life, Piazza Duomo (cathedral square) is the focal point for most visits to the city. The area is home to the stunning cathedral, with its mosaic floor and vaulted ceilings, as well as the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses da Vinci's "The Last Supper." You'll also find plenty of cafes and bars to break up your sightseeing.
Milan has an excellent public transportation system, with a mixture of buses, trams, light rail and Metro services, so getting around is simple. Standard single journey tickets cost EUR1.50 on all forms of transport, day passes cost EUR4.50, and you can also buy weekly passes for transport across the surrounding Lombardy region that cost EUR40.
Taxis in Milan tend to be an expensive way to get around, but after the Metro and buses stop (at around 1 am), they can be the best way to navigate the city. Most taxis operate a fixed meter drop of EUR5, then charge around EUR2.30 for every mile. Uber offers a handy alternative. Their cheapest UberBlack vehicles charge a basic fare of EUR3 and then around EUR2.50 per mile.
Having your own car is a good way to see the countryside around Milan, and companies active in the city include Avis, Sixt, and Europcar. However, driving into the city center is not recommended as parking is sparse and traffic can be a nightmare. There's also a congestion charge of between EUR2 and EUR10 for vehicles that enter the city center, so if you are staying in a suburban hotel, you might want to take the Metro instead.
Milan is one of the world's greatest fashion shopping destinations. If you are after the latest designs from brands like Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana, head to avenues like the Corsa Venezia, which are lined with stunning boutiques. The "Fashion Quadrangle" in the center of town is also full of stores, featuring familiar names like Prada and Armani. For lesser-known designers and boutiques, give Brera a try, while Navigli is the place to go for antiques and ornaments.
Milan has the usual range of large supermarkets, including branches of Carrefour and Pam. However, if you want to buy fresh Italian produce and sample the city's street food culture, head to locations like the Mercato di Viale Papiniano. The cost of living isn't cheap, but not too expensive. You can expect to pay around EUR5 for a gallon of milk or just under EUR0.90 for a pound of apples.
Eating is one of Milan's greatest attractions. At the very pinnacle of the city's food scene, restaurants like Savini and Chandelier offer beautiful interiors and gourmet pasta, seafood, and meat dishes. But you can eat well for much less at trattorias like Antica Osteria Briosca in Navigli and Da Tomaso near Garibaldi Metro. For a really authentic Milanese meal, try the osso bucco (veal shanks) at Mamma Rosa Osteria Grill in the Piazza Cincinnato. Expect meals to range in price from EUR10 to well over EUR40 (depending on how much Italian wine you feel the need to add to the check).