I’d never been to Italy before the beginning of the month. NEVER. I foodie and huge fan of Italian food, yet never been to the home of it. To be fair, I’ve not done anywhere near enough travelling (although that’s changing this year!), and Italy was actually top of my short trips bucket list. So when I saw flights to Milan for £70 each return, how could I not book a weekend in Milan?
We thought 2 days was plenty of time for Milan. There’s actually not all that much to see. The bits there are to see however, do wow! It’s a lovely location for a short trip, and the food. Well, I’m an even bigger fan now. And the coffee. Dreamy. I now understand why some people will only drink really good coffee. Because well, it’s truly delightful.
Here’s how we recommend doing a 48 hour trip to Milan…
Flights for a weekend in Milan
Look out for deals, as always. However, Easy Jet does pretty cheap flights anyway if you choose your times carefully. I found tickets for roughly £70 each, return flight from Gatwick to Milan Malpensa. The flight out went really early Saturday morning, so we could get the full day exploring, and came back Monday lunchtime, so we could just wake up and head off after breakfast. Pretty good times and for such a good deal.
Where to stay
There’s lots of cute places near the central station on Airbnb. Whilst Airbnb does still make me a little anxious, our experience in Milan was next to none. We found the cutest little Airbnb, staying at Charlie’s. It was through Milan Rentals, and their service was amazing. The contact before was super clear as to where their office was, and how we could get there from the airport. They even sent us a map from central station. We then had clear instructions on where the apartment was – not far from the office.
The apartment itself was small, but so lovely. It was contemporary, minimalist and bright – the walls were filled with mirrors and the top shelf in the hallway with plants and memorabilia. It was a cosy little space for the two days. There was space and equipment to cook, should we have wished, however we were keen to try as much food out as possible in the 24 hours. So mainly used the place for evening laughs, sleeping and washing. A shame really when it’s so nice.
The walls were a little thin, so one morning it was a bit noisy next door which did wake us up. But all round, a fab location, cute and cosy spot with everything you need, and a great service. It was only roughly £150 for the two nights too, which is pretty reasonable. We weighed it up against a hotel and this won hands down.
What to see
The Duomo was incredible. Jaw-dropping. I literally stood there silent, taking it all in.
The Duomo di Milano is the cathedral church of Milan. It took nearly six centuries to complete and is truly stunning. The outside is one thing, but the inside is something else. You can buy ticket at the office to head inside for just €3 each, and it’s truly worth it. The stained glass, pure size, architecture and just being there is one amazing experience. I’ll definitely never forget it. We wandered round, admired it all, and sat a little taking it all in. Because well, you’ll understand if you go inside.
The one thing I didn’t realise before was that you do need to be covered up – shoulders and legs to about your knees. So go dressed in something suitable, or perhaps take a scarf to cover up. The shop does sell paper coats for €2.50 if you forget – I had to do this!
To take it to another level (quite literally), you can actually climb the Duomo. Scaling the stairs to the top (€10), really isn’t too tough. There’s no where near as many steps as Covent Garden tube station. Alternatively, you can take the lift (€13), although the queue is quite a bit longer.
The views from the top are incredible, as is being able to see some of the architecture up close. We highly recommend doing it if you’re there! You do come down into the cathedral, so you don’t need to pay for both – we didn’t realise this.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping mall in Milan, and is named after the first king of Italy. It’s beautiful and worth seeing just for the grandeur. The extremely high ceilings, architecture and tiled floors are just stunning. It’s right next to The Duomo so easy to pop into whilst visiting the cathedral.
The Sforza Castle (in English) is the other thing we really wanted to see. Not quite as jaw-dropping as the Duomo, it’s still pretty impressive and definitely one to see.
The fountains at the front were beautiful, and people were gathered round chatting and enjoying the weather. I love how chilled everyone was. We then wandered through admiring the grounds, the pure size, the moats and talking about what the holes in the walls were for.
The grounds then go through to Parco Sempione, which is a public gardens. They’re beauiful too, with ponds and plenty of green space to stroll through. At the beginning, just outside of the castle, there are food & drink stands selling panini, foccacia, beer and Aperol among hot drinks and soft drinks too. It’s pretty cheap, and perfect for a little bite to eat or something to drink whilst enjoying the park.
At the other end of the park is the Arco Della Pace – Arch of Peace.
It’s been standing since the 19th century and marks one of the city’s historical gates. Some more beautiful architecture, we do recommend walking down to see it for yourself after a stroll through the park. We sat for a little on the big steps to rest, admire and chat. Because that’s what short trips are for too right?! Can’t cram too much in as you need time to enjoy it.
You HAVE to go on the trams…
The first day in Milan we walked everywhere. And whilst this is the thing I love to do, so you stumble across findings, and get to see the streets and pretty sights, it does take a while to get from near central station to the Duomo area. The trams are super cheap (£9 for two day passes on all transport), and totally worth it. It’s also quite fun, and a good experience to ride the ricketty, authentic mode of transport.
And the rest…
Had we had more time, we’d have loved to go to an opera at La Scala – it looks beautiful inside! We’d also have loved to see The Last Supper. Getting your hands on tickets is near impossible, and we didn’t fancy getting up to queue before 8am…so we are hoping at some time we’ll end up passing back through Milan to head somewhere else in Italy, and will get the chance then.
And that’s it. Our round-up of THE places to see and where to stay for a weekend in Milan. Food & drink is coming soon! Trust me, you want to keep an eye out for that one. It features plenty of coffee and gelato, as well as pasta and pizza. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it.
Have you been to Milan? Did we miss anything? Where in Italy should I go next? I’ve got the Italy bug!