When you think of Milan, you probably think of the capital of fashion. The city is known worldwide as the fashion center of Europe, where many designer shops, influential designers and fashionistas can be found. Shopping enthusiasts will really enjoy this city, because there are plenty of shopping streets! However, this vibrant city is much more than just the fashionable heart of Italy. Visit the iconic Duomo, enjoy delicious Italian cuisine and admire beautiful masterpieces by famous artists. In this blog we share our favorite sights and tips with you!

1. Visit the Duomo Santa Maria Nascente

Our favorite sight in Milan is without a doubt the beautiful Duomo Santa Maria Nascente. From the Piazzo del Duomo you have a beautiful view of the beautiful cathedral. However, keep in mind that it can be very busy. Do you want to prevent your photos of the Duomo from being full of tourists in the background? Then visit the cathedral early in the morning.

The Duomo is one of the largest cathedrals in the world and an iconic symbol of the city. The construction of this impressive cathedral began in 1386 under the leadership of Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo. Ultimately, it took almost six centuries before the cathedral was fully completed in 1965. This long construction period led to a unique mix of styles, enriching the Gothic base with Renaissance and Neo-Gothic elements. The finish of the cathedral is very detailed. Countless pinnacles, statues and sculptures adorn the facades of the building. The most striking features are probably the 135 marble spiers that crown the roof. This is a true work of art in itself. Of all religious buildings, the cathedral houses the world’s largest collection of statues (700) and sculptures (3,400).

The interior of the Duomo is equally impressive, with an extensive labyrinth of aisles, chapels and altarpieces. The most remarkable element is the main altar, surrounded by beautiful stained glass windows that create a sea of colors when sunlight shines through the windows. Inside the cathedral is a remarkable object: a nail that was allegedly used to nail Jesus to the cross. This unique nail is kept in a tabernacle above the altar, which is only accessible via a special elevator. On September 14, during an annual ceremony, the historic nail will be shown to churchgoers by an archbishop

You need an entrance ticket to visit the cathedral. Especially in the summer you will have to take into account long queues. We therefore advise you to book your tickets online in advance. This way you can be sure that you can admire the Duomo from the inside and you do not have to join the queue. There are various tickets available that, depending on the ticket type, give access to the Duomo, the museum and the roof terrace. You can book tickets via the following link.

Please note: To visit the cathedral you must wear appropriate clothing. Knees and shoulders must be covered and slippers or sandals are not allowed. So keep this in mind.

2. Visit Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco, Milaan

Another historic building that you should not miss during your visit to Milan is Castello Sforzesco. This castle was initially built as a fortress in the 14th century to protect the city. Later the castle was transformed into a luxurious residence for the powerful Sforza family. With the help of architects and artists, this family renovated the castle and designed it into the beautiful state it is in today.

Real art lovers will get their money’s worth here. Today there are several museums in the castle where you can find works by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, among others. You need an entrance ticket to visit the castle’s museums. We recommend booking your tickets in advance. Especially during busy periods, it often happens that the museums are fully booked. You can book tickets via the following link.

You do not need a ticket to visit the courtyard. You can relax in this nice place and enjoy the surroundings. We also recommend taking a look at the adjacent Piazza Castello, where you will find the famous ‘Fontana di Piazza Castello’. With its imposing water jets and artistic details, the fountain not only attracts the attention of passers-by, but also acts as a beloved meeting place and photogenic location for tourists and locals alike.

3. Enjoy the peace and quiet in Parco Sempione

Parco Sempione, Milaan

Behind Castello Sforzesco is the Parco Sempione, the green heart of Milan. Parco Sempione is Milan’s largest park and a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a nice place to walk, have a picnic on one of the sunbathing lawns or enjoy nature.

The park offers many shady areas, making it an important place for visitors to cool off in the summer. The park is home to several attractions, including the Arena Civica, a historic amphitheater that was built in 1807 and now serves as a venue for various events, such as concerts and sports competitions. Another notable attraction is the Torre Branca, a 109-meter-high observation tower.

From this tower you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Milan. You can book a ticket via the following link. This allows you to skip the line. Please note: the tower is closed in bad weather. You can then use your ticket on another day.

4. Admire the Arco della Pace

At the western edge of the Parco Sempione and Piazza Sempione is the Arco della Pace. The Arco della Pace, or Arch of Peace, is an imposing triumphal arch that was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807 as a symbol of peace. The design of the arch is inspired by the famous Arch of Constantine in Rome. On top of the arch is a statue of the Goddess of Peace. The monument has undergone several restorations to maintain its splendor and is now an iconic landmark in Milan.

Tip: There are several restaurants on Piazza Sempione from which you have a beautiful view of the ark. We ate a delicious pizza at ParcoMilano, an affordable pizzeria with a nice terrace.

5. Visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

During your city trip to Milan, a visit to one of the popular shopping centers cannot be missed. Be sure to leave some extra space in your suitcase for any purchases. One of the most famous and luxurious shopping areas is Galleria Vittoria Emanuelle. This is an indoor shopping center near the Duomo where you can mainly find luxury fashion brands. Are you looking for affordable fashion? Then visit the shopping street Corso Buenos Aires. On this shopping street you will find well-known retail chains such as H&M, Zara and Mango. For real bargain hunters, there are also outlet stores around Milan. The Serravalle Designer Outlet, about an hour’s drive from Milan, is one of the largest in Europe and offers discounts on many well-known brands. The Fashion District Outlet near Malpensa Airport is also a popular choice for outlet shopping.

6. Admire 'The Last Supper' (Cenacolo Vinciano) by Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper can be admired in the dining room of the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie and is an absolute must-see for art lovers visiting Milan. The masterpiece, painted between 1495 and 1498, depicts the moment when Jesus shares his last meal with his disciples. We recommend booking a ticket in advance to guarantee access and enjoy this special work of art in peace. You can book your tickets via the following site.

7. Visit the Leonardo Da Vinci Science and Technology Museum

This interactive museum, dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci, offers fascinating insights into science and technology. It is the largest science and technology museum in Italy. The museum is divided into seven main departments, each focusing on a specific aspect of science and technology. With various exhibitions and educational programs, the museum stimulates visitors’ curiosity and offers an in-depth exploration of da Vinci’s contributions to various disciplines. The impressive collection includes not only his artistic masterpieces, but also models of his innovative designs and inventions. You can book your tickets in advance via the following link.

8. Visit the charming districts of Brera and Navigli

Brera is also seen as the artistic heart of the city and is often compared to Montmartre in Paris. In this district you will find various art galleries, local boutiques and charming streets with cozy restaurants and various wine bars. This is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a delicious aperitivo.

The charming Navigli district is known for its atmospheric canals, colorful buildings and lively nightlife. Here you will find a wide range of boutiques, vintage shops and cozy restaurants, bars and cafes. Located along the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese, the illuminated bridges and cafes cast a romantic glow over the canals in the evenings. An ideal moment to enjoy a beautiful evening walk along the canals. Would you like to enjoy a little more liveliness in the evening? Then you are in the right place here too. There are several trendy bars, cozy cafes and nightclubs in the district.

How to travel to Milan?

You can travel to Milan in different ways. The city is located in Northern Italy and is therefore easily accessible by car from various European countries. Depending on the length of your stay and the distance you have to travel, traveling by plane may be a more practical choice. Milan has its own airport, so you can fly directly to the city from most European airports. Check SkyScanner for the cheapest tickets. Traveling by plane is an ideal choice for a city trip, for example. Would you like to see more of the region? Then you can, for example, rent a car and travel from Milan to, for example, Lake Como, Lake Garda or the Dolomites. You can rent a car, for example, via Sunnycars or Rentalcars.

Please note that the center of Milan has limited access to cars. There are several parking facilities outside the center where you can park your car for a daily rate. From there you can travel to the center by metro or train.

Where to stay in Milan?

Milan is bursting with hotels and B&Bs. But where is the best place to stay? This depends entirely on your personal preferences. For those who want to experience the city’s historic charm, hotels near the historic center, such as around the Duomo, are an excellent choice. These locations provide easy access to the iconic sights. Please note that accommodations closer to the center are generally more expensive than accommodations further away from the center. Do you want to enjoy a vibrant nightlife during your stay? Then we recommend you stay in the Navigli district. However, if you are looking for a little more peace and charm, a boutique hotel in the artistic Brera district could be a good option. Check the following link for all accommodations in Milan.

When is the best time to visit Milan?

The best time to travel to Milan is generally in spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October). During these months the temperature is milder and it is generally quieter than in the summer months.

Tip: Consider visiting Milan as part of a trip to Northern Italy. We chose to stay near the enchanting Lake Como, which is only an hour’s drive from Milan. Read our article about Lake Como here.

post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.