Known as the Italian capital of fashion and design, Milan never fails to set the trends. The streets of this northern Italian metropolis boast beauty offering a sublime mix of historical and contemporary architecture with the imposing Duomo Cathedral being a highlight. Wide avenues, picturesque cobblestone alleys, canal promenades and high-tech developments intersect one with another. You would need at least a week of time to explore properly all its great sights and hidden gems, however, if you plan it right, one day in Milan could be a great start.
What’s the best time to visit Milan?
Milan has a continental climate which means cold and grey winters and hot and humid summers. The sunshine is rare from October to February so better pick the warmer months. Being set in the Po Valley summer can be unbearably hot with no wind at all. Therefore, if you cannot stand strong heat, skip July and August. That’s also the time of the year with the biggest tourist crowds. Ideally best months would be May and September.
Few facts about Milan
Milan is a city in northern Italy, and the second-most populous city in Italy. The city is recognized as the world’s fashion and design capital, being a host to Milan Fashion Week and the Milan Furniture Fair. Other than that it is an important art, commerce, education, entertainment, finance, healthcare, media, services, research and tourism centre and one of the wealthiest cities in the EU. Milan homes many museums and art galleries that boast some of the most important Art History works, including The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The two famous Italian football teams A.C. Milan and Inter Milan are Milan based and play their matches on San Siro Stadium.
One Day in Milan Itinerary
Top things to do in Milan, Italy
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Milan.
Visit Duomo Cathedral and Piazza Duomo right in the morning
The Duomo cathedral stands as one of the most impressive Gothic style Cathedrals in the World and the highlight of the Milan attractions. Reach the Piazza Duomo square early in the morning to enjoy the Cathedral’s imposing facade in the vast square without huge crowds.
The interior brings super-high Gothic vaults, ornate columns and incredible Italian marble. Climb the cathedral rooftop for the stunning city view and more impressive carving closeups. However, expect long lines at any time of the year or purchase a skip-the-line pass.
Check out Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Right next to the Piazza Duomo you’ll find the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an oldest and the most luxurious Italian shopping mall, a temple of high-end shopping and outdoor cafes. Built in 1877, the gallery is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy.
Finest facade details, soaring iron-and-glass dome and the floor mosaics make it an incredible place to walk around. To avoid bad luck in life, find the bull mosaic in the centre of the gallery, put your heel in the bull’s groin and turn backwards three times.
Stroll Via Dante
Via Dante is a nice pedestrian street, pretty close to the Piazza Duomo where you can eat your breakfast or just sit for a bit, drink your morning espresso and people watch. A great place for those interested in shopping, since the street is lined with fashion retail stores.
Visit the Brera neighborhood
Brera is the arty neighborhood and one of the trendy areas of Milan. It’s famous for its fashionable cafes and restaurants, cobblestone streets and hip designer stores. You’re probably hungry by now and luckily in Brera neighborhood you have plenty of choice. Pick one of the restaurants or trattorias along the street and order one of the traditional Milanese specialties: Osso bucco (cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth) and Risotto alla milanese (saffron-gilded risotto). After lunch, head to Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan’s well known painting gallery. Its collection of works includes several of the greatest masterpieces in the art history.
Explore Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione
Castello Sforzesco is the medieval castle that used to be a home of the Sforza family, the Dukes of Milan. Today, the castle houses numerous museums and art collections. However, since you’re time limited you can just explore Castel’s grounds since they are free of charge and pass through the courtyard to the Parco Sempione, Milan’s biggest and most beautiful park. Stroll through the park, buy some refreshments from the stalls and take some time to relax.
Visit La Triennale
One of the most iconic museums in Milan is La Triennale di Milano, a design and art museum housed in the Palazzo dell’Arte in the Parco Sempione. The extensive permanent collection showcases the history of Italian design, but museum never fails to impress with its ambitious temporary exhibitions.
Spend the night in Navigli
Located around canals Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese, Navigli is the area packed with trendy bars, restaurants and cafes. Whether you’re into restaurant dining, or you just want to eat delicious cheese and salami platter at La Prosciutteria Milano Navigli (this is a must try!) you’ll find plenty of choice. If you opt for cocktails, there’s no better Italian classic than Aperol Spritz.
Where to stay in Milan?
B&B Hotel Milano Sant’Ambrogio
B&B Hotel Milano Sant’Ambrogio is a stylish and modern hotel, located quite close to the city center. It’s walking distance to the Castello Sforzesco and Duomo Cathedral. Fine design, bright and modern rooms make it a perfect for all types of visitors. Some of the rooms have a terrace with a nice city view. The hotel features nicely decorated shared lounge.
Room Mate Giulia
Room Mate Giulia is a trendy hotel with the exceptional interior decor. It is perfectly located – only a few steps from the Duomo Cathedral and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. All the rooms offer modern-style décor and designer furnishings, and some have a furnished terrace. The hotel features a fitness centre with a sauna.
Ostello Bello is a charming, centrally located hostel, only a short walk to Duomo Cathedral. It offers an affordable stay in both private rooms and dormitories. The hostel features colorful decor and 3 furnished terraces with hammocks.
Extra tips for visiting Milan
– Milan Metro is cheap and reliable, however, most of the sights and attractions are walking distance.
– There is a strict dress code at the religious sites requiring shoulders and knees to be covered.
– Most of the restaurants and bars charge coperto (cover charge) so it’s not customary to leave any additional tips.
– Make your trip to Milan even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for all the activities and organized tours in Milan or around the area. Make sure to purchase your tickets to all the attractions right away to skip the queues.
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