The capital of Italy’s Lombardy region, Milan Italy attracts visitors from all over the world. Experience its historic sites, world-class shopping, glamorous restaurants, and hopping nightlife. You can spend leisurely days photographing the city from the rooftop of Milan’s famous Duomo. Take a guided tour to get the inside story on Milan’s highlights, or shop for high fashion in Quadrilatero d’Oro. With canal-side cafes, regal palaces, and Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ to discover, there’s something for everyone in this buzzing northern Italian metropolis. Read our Milan Travel Guide to get your journey started!
How to Visit Milan
Milan is located in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy and is accessible by both land and air. It’s the gateway to the Italian lakes and has two airports – Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate. Both receive domestic and international flights to Milan. Our Milan airport guide will ensure you have all the necessary information before you travel. Alternatively, if you are visiting the city from elsewhere in Italy or Europe you can travel by rail. It takes 3 hours to journey from Rome to Milan and 2 hours from Venice to Milan. There are also regular coach services from European cities which can be cost-effective modes of travel if you’re on a budget. Alternatively, there’s an impressive network of highways leading to the city from Turin, Como, Bergamo, Piacenza, Genoa, Brescia, and Verona.
How to Get Around Milan
One of the best ways to get to know your bearings in Milan Italy is on a guided tour. Our 2-hour Insider Milan City Tour is the perfect way to spend your first day in the city. On this fabulous walking tour, you’ll learn about famous Italians who lived in the city like Leonardo da Vinci, visit Piazza del Duomo, Vittorio Emanuele II shopping center, La Scala Theatre, Brera neighborhood, and the awe-inspiring Sforza Castle. Once you know how to navigate the city, the rest of your holiday will be a breeze and you will be able to travel around Milan on foot, via Metro, tram, bus, car, or taxi. You could also consider hiring a city bike. This Milan E-bike Tour will take you on the best bike route to see the city’s top highlights.
Neighborhoods of Milan
This is the historic center of Milan, dominated by the breathtaking Duomo in Piazza del Duomo, the Royal Palace, and Merchant’s Square – a lively medieval square with outdoor markets, exhibitions, and live music. The neighborhood is also home to Vittorio Emanuele II, the city’s oldest and most glamorous shopping center. In short, Centro Storico is a great base if you want to be close to shopping, fine dining, cultural and historical sites of Milan.
Isola stands alone to the north of the city – a once poverty-stricken neighborhood, it’s now one of its trendiest districts of all, home to affluent entrepreneurs, artists, and creatives. Exuding a charming village feel Isola boasts chic, quirky boutiques, jazz cafes, and great dining and nightlife. It’s a superb area for students and groups wishing to experience life as a local in Milan. Check out the Milan design guide for a deeper look at the city’s aesthetic gems.
Just north of the city center, a short walk from Sforza Castle, La Scala, and several interesting museums is Brera. This neighborhood is popular with writers, poets, and artists. It has a bohemian vibe, and cobbled streets flanked by traditional houses. They’re peppered with trendy art galleries, cocktail bars, and old-style trattorias which delight with Milanese treats. Brera is the perfect neighborhood for a romantic couple’s break in the city.
You can experience life by the canal if you opt to stay in the Navigli neighborhood southwest of the city. The waterways are lined with pink, apricot, and ochre-hued buildings which hide stylish cafes, bars, and restaurants. Every first Sunday of the month, the riverbank thrives with a superb antique market attracting visitors from all over Lombardy. There are several parks close by, museums, and specialty shops to browse, and you’re a 30-minute walk or a short Metro or bus ride into the historic center of Milan.
Food, Drink & Nightlife
Milan is packed with cafes, bars, Italian trattorias, International and fast-food restaurants. There’s something to cater to everyone’s taste buds and dietary needs, whether you wish to feast on platefuls of pasta and risotto alla Milanese or American burgers and Lebanese cuisine. You can simply eat, or get your hands dirty and learn how to master local Milanese dishes with a private cooking class with a local.
If you’re a foodie or wine connoisseur, then you’ll enjoy a Milan Wine Tasting Experience. Our 2-hour guided wine-tasting tour takes place in a traditional Italian wine bar. A professional sommelier will take you through the art of winemaking, accompanied by delicacies prepared with locally grown ingredients. Alternatively, travel directly to the source with a relaxing Milan Countryside and Wine Tasting Tour.
When it comes to nightlife, Milan does not disappoint. Bars in Milan range from iconic wine bars to al-fresco piazza cafes and cocktail clubs. You can spend a low-key evening at the theater or opera, or dance till dawn in underground tunnels or palatial, neon-lit clubs with the city’s glitterati. One of the most popular clubs is Plastic, a hotspot in Milan since the ’80s. Its clientele has included Freddie Mercury, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Andy Warhol.
For those who love to shop, shopping in Milan is as good as it gets. It’s Italy’s fashion capital with designer stores, bustling shopping malls, and independent specialty stores selling everything from hand-made jewelry to vintage garments and interior design elements. The best place for glamorous shopping and dining combined is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Its stained glass and iron cupola and Victorian arcade design were completed in 1877. With floor mosaics, stunning architecture, and a great selection of shops and eateries to explore, you may stay for a while. If it’s designer couture you seek, visit Via Della Spiga – home to Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Tiffany & Co, and Moschino. Alternatively, for hand-crafted jewelry and antiques, you can’t go wrong in Brera or at Navigli for their monthly Sunday markets.
Milan Duomo & Sforza Castle Half-Day Tour
One of the best things to do in Milan is our Duomo and Sforza Castle Half-Day Tour. Your knowledgeable guide will bring the history of Milan’s impressive Duomo to life and tell you some secrets too! Then you will venture to 15th century Sforza Castle a short walk away. One of the largest citadels in Europe, it houses museums and art collections, including works by Michelangelo. You can also go on a 4-day City Break tour, which will roll this experience and more into one fabulous exploration.
Da Vinci’s Last Supper Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
If you’re visiting Milan, don’t miss the opportunity to see Da Vinci’s famous Last Supper painting. This world-renowned artwork stands in all its glory within the walls of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and seeing it with your own eyes is an experience to remember. Depicting the moment that Jesus informed his 12 apostles that one of them would soon betray him, the raw emotions are palpable. Due to the delicate nature of the masterpiece, crowds are heavily controlled with maximum group numbers and limited viewing times. For this reason, getting hold of Last Supper Tickets can be difficult. The best way around this is to book a guided tour of the Last Supper which includes skip-the-line tickets.
Milan Food Tasting Tour
If food and culture go hand in hand for you, why not indulge in a Milan Food Tasting Tour? You will gain an exclusive glimpse into culinary life the Milanese way as your knowledgeable guide takes you to hidden trattorias and restaurants unbeknownst to tourists. Discover why Franciacorta is Italy’s champagne at a local bar. Feast on freshly cooked risotto alla Milanese, regional pasta, and cheese dishes. Conclude your tour with a scrumptious five-course meal with accompanying wines and dessert. What more could you ask for?
Milan Night Walking Tour
Explore the city after dark on an amazing Milan Night Walking Tour. This superb guided tour invites you to discover incredible examples of haunting Gothic architecture after the sun goes down. Local experts will mesmerize you with stories and ancient tales as you wander Milan’s piazzas and side streets. Pass the iconic Duomo, Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, and Sforza Castle – one of Europe’s largest citadels. You’ll take in La Scala – one of the world’s most important opera houses. See the city’s charming cobbled streets as they are illuminated by the glow of the moon.
Accommodation in Milan is a mix of budget, mid-range, and luxurious independent and branded hotels in the heart of the historic center and fashion district. You can choose to lay your weary head in a traditional city B&B, book a 3- or 4-star hotel near the airport, or splurge on a 5-star city center, boutique hotel with all the amenities you desire.
Milan and Beyond
There are incredible sites to see and many amazing things to do in Milan, but more adventures await just beyond the city’s borders. For example, it will take you under an hour to travel by train from Milan to Lake Como where breaking views await. It’s also highly worthwhile journeying from Milan to Venice, Rome, or Verona, whether that be by bus, train, or plane.
A Milan tour package such as the Best of Venice, Verona, and Milan 9 Day Tour Package or Milan, Lake Como, Lugano, Verona & Venice 6 Day Tour Package treats you to a whirlwind journey through the neighboring gems of Northern Italy. You’ll see the wonders of Milan, discover the stunning canals of Venice, and enjoy the medieval splendor of fair Verona. All the while expert locals will guide you, giving you an intimate look at their hometowns through history, architecture, food, and nature. We hope that no matter how you decide to explore Milan, our Travel Guide has helped inspire you!