Milan is one of the world’s fashion and design capitals, it has several museums, urban bridges and high rise corporate buildings, great street art, beautiful parks and is one of the most culturally diverse Italian cities. It was my first stop in Italy, so this city definitely stole my heart.
We reached Milan from Birmingham on a two hour FlyBe flight. Malpensa Airport was welcoming. I had a Schengen visa from France, however immigration was hassle free and entering Italy was a smooth experience.
I had a booking at Hotel Michelangelo in the city centre. The airport is about one hour from the city centre. I took a Malpensa Shuttle which cost €8. The shuttle service is efficient and reasonable. Hotel Michelangelo has a vintage look to it. Rooms are cosy, breakfast is great. But you know what I liked the most? FREE MINI BAR! Yes! A fully loaded minibar, which was on the house! YAY!
You could book this hotel on http://www.michelangelohotelmilan.com/ or booking.com.
Also, all hotels in Italy charge a tourist tax, ranging from €20-€40/- per person. So be prepared to pay this sum of money above the rates you’ve booked for, to hotels directly.
The hotel is super close to the Milano Centrale railway station, making it very convenient for travelling within the city. And if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing while in Milan, I suggest you get the “Milano Card”. The pass gives you discounted or free entry to the museums, monuments as well as free access to public transportation!
Visit https://www.milanocard.it/ for more details on the Milano card. You could pay online and get one in advance, or buy it at the station.
So,without further ado…
My 48 hours in Milan
Day 1 :
Duomo di Milano
One night in Milan or five, the Duomo is a must! Milan’s Cathedral is a Gothic extravaganza! Pink-marble of spires, columns and statues. You take the subway and walk out from the basement, and there it is, right in front of you. It looks like a paper cut out palace floating in air, right in front of your eyes. It’s beautiful!
Once done grasping the beauty of the Duomo from the outside and feeding the pigeons some seeds and your palm, tour the dimly lit interior and marvel at the beautiful stained glass and lofty ceiling. Climb to the rooftop! It’s a view to die for.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
On the left-hand side, facing the Duomo, is the elegant shopping arcade-Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. It’s lined with luxury shops and luxurious cafés. It is known as the world’s oldest shopping mall. The soaring thousand-yard-long glass roof is, even today, a technical marvel. Early evenings, no matter what the weather is, the cerulean blue light streams through the glass. Leaving strollers at pause. Want to pick up a Chanel bag, Dior shoes, or Dolce & Gabbana? You’ll find them all at this one place.
We also got dinner and wine, in the shadow of Duomo, and headed back to the hotel for some good night sleep 🙂
Day 2 :
Castello Sforzesco & Parco Sempione
This place was about four kilometres from my hotel. You could take a metro/subway. 5 stops from the Milano Centrale railway station. Castello Sforzesco & Parco Sempione is another great thing to do in Milan. It is right out of a fairy tale- A huge castle surrounded by the city’s best park. Walk through the castle’s courtyards before reaching the park, or visit one of the 6 museums housed in the castle – don’t miss seeing Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Rondanini Pietà.
Piazza Gae Aulenti
Contrary to the renaissance artwork and historic architecture, Piazza Gae Aulenti is a host to the tallest building in Italy- the Unicredit tower. The modern square is the symbol of the contemporary Milan.
I was slightly shocked, because it was my second day in Milan and this was the complete opposite of what I witnessed yesterday. This place is raised by several meters above the road level, which gives a magnificent view of the sky line of the modern district of Milan. Quite an interesting place with lot of activities, musical and social events.
Modern high buildings, and yet there is still something gentle and cosy around the fountain and on the terraces of the bars and restaurants.
Corso Buenos Aires, Milan’s main High Street
In the evening, we headed to Milan high street. A 10 minute walk from the hotel. Home to the largest concentration of stores on one avenue in Europe, this is a paradise for shopaholics!
Not fashion flagships, just independent boutiques, laid one after the other. In all honesty I’d prefer you checking out Milan’s independent boutiques, because you can go to an H&M or Zara almost anywhere. So this is a must for all those who love shopping!
Spot random street art!
A fan of Graffiti? or like art? You will spot colourful street art throughout the city! Make sure you take pictures!
Where to eat? What to try?
Italian cuisine is a very global cuisine and we all love their pizzas and pastas! Well here in India we give our own little twist to Italian food, but when in Italy.. Do try some local authentic Italian cuisine. Things I definitely suggest you to try:
- Risotto Alla Milanese: Milan’s most iconic and favourite dish, saffron-infuse buttery beef based risotto.
- Luini: Fried dough filled with mozzarella and tomato
- Handmade pizza : ofcourse, can’t go wrong with it!
- Gelato : MUST TRY! Go to “Gelato Giusto” if possible, but be ready to stand in a queue for 15-45 minutes 😦 €2.5 for 2 flavors) and they have really unique flavours! Like Nocciola/Hazelnut , Ricotta & Honey,pistachio and it goes on and on..
I hopped into local restaurants and the above were my personal favourites. There are great restaurants in Milan and do check out http://www.elitetraveler.com/travel/destination-guides/europe/milan/the-7-best-restaurants-in-milan if you are someone who likes fine dining or likes deciding where you want to have a meal well in advance.
Sip on some Prosecco, it’s the Italian alternative to Champagne. Most Prosecco wines are produced in a dry, brut style, with only upto half gram of sugar per glass! So you might not quite like it the first time you try it unless you have developed a palate for it. Pair it with rich seafood such as calamari and crab-meat.
Quick tip on reading the label: While picking the level of fizz: Frizzante on the label means semi-sparkling; Spumante, fully sparkling.
In the Duomo walk-about, visit “Sweet Sweet Way Milano” for some great candy! This place smells so good! You teleport to being a 5- year old again and want to buy them ALL. Candies of all shapes and sizes, you’ll love it ! Jawbreakers/pretzels/cupcakes/peanut butter cookies/Panna Cotta/Gingerbread/Bruttiboni and
Ferrero Rocher- Yes it started in Italy! So much more.I am drooling again
And that’s about it. A good 48 hours in Milan and I guess you’ve covered it all.
Pack you bags and we got to catch a train to Venice next!