Milan City

Milan: 27 Travel Tips for First Timers

It may surprise you to know that Milan is so business-oriented and diverse that many people only find real affordable pizzerias outside the main squares and high-end boutiques. But relax. Just like a true Italian, you can enjoy any day in Milan with a couple scoops of gelato. Si diverta!

1. Milan, just like most towns in Italy and Europe in general, close business and tourist destinations on Mondays. Many businesses also close shop in August because locals take holidays off: Chiuso per Ferie.

2. The best way to get from the Malpensa Airport (main airport in Milan) to the Milano Centrale is by taking the Malpensa Express Trains. The next best is the Malpensa Shuttle.

3. If you want to get to the Milan city center, you can rent a car with Avis (and other car rental companies), but forget taking a taxi because most of them have expensive and fixed fares. In fact, you start paying a taxi from the time you book it on the phone. A surcharge is also added in the evenings.

4. Avoid pickpockets at the Metro ticket vending machines by buying tickets in advance or at the ticket office.

5. The iconic Fourth State by by Giovanni Pellizza da Volpedo can be found in Milan’s Museo del Novecento in the Duomo Square.

6. Milan is home to famous Renaissance Italian artists’ works such as Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

7. Milan has countless churches that are older than even those in Rome’s, many of which travelers can visit for free. Some of them are: The Duomo, Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie, Basilica di Sant’ Ambrogio, Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, San Nazaro, and San Lorenzo Maggiore, among a few.

8. The Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.

9. The Cimitero Monumentale is the biggest Art Nouveau museum and one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world.

10. Every palazzo, porta and casa in Milan represent the art and sculpture style of the time they were built.

11. The Cinque Vie historical district is where the Roman Imperial era in Milan was settled, home to many ancient Roman churches and palaces.

12. Shopping in Milan is all about high fashion and some of the best places to see and be seen: Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Montenapoleone, Via Dante and Corso Buenos Aires.

13. Football remains to be the biggest sport and the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium is the place to go for a Milan match.

14. Milan is a shopper’s paradise. Many districts are dedicated mainly just for shopping from designer emporia to giant outlets, small fashion boutiques to second-hand stores. The longest shopping street in all of Europe is the Corso Buenos Aires.

15. Nowhere else will you find the biggest flagship boutiques of famous designers such as Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna, Krizia, Ralph Lauren and more than in Milan.

16. For flea market finds, the best place to go is Fiera di Senigallia.

17. A meal in Milan is never complete without first ordering for aperitivo (happy hour drink) in the form of either a sparkling wine or a Campari soda.

18. As is in most places in the world, the best way to save money on food in Milan is to eat like the locals.

19. Cocktail bars in Milan offer all-you-can-eat snack buffets with aperitivo during Happy Hour. Some of the best places to get aperitivo in a true Italian fashion: Bar Magenta, Porto Venezia, Exploit Cafe, and the designer store bars in the fashion districts.

20. If you want to save money on breakfast, avoid the sit-down restaurants and go straight to the breakfast bar with a quick cappuccino and pastry.

21. In Milan, there still reasonably-priced pizzerias but be prepared to speak in Italian when ordering. And most people eat pizza con coltello e forchetta (with knife and fork)!

22. Milanese and tourists alike can spend summers eating gelato – Italian ice cream – at gelaterias.

23. Since a service charge is already added to restaurant bill, tipping in Milan is not required.

24. Partying at night? Milan’s nightlife can be found in bars and clubs in Corso Como, the Navigli quarter, Le Monte Nero, Brera quarter and Corso Sempione.

25. Many hotels in Milan cater to business travelers. The general rule is that the closer to the main attractions, the more expensive the hotel is. Some recommended lodging: Hotel Giulio Cesare, Hotel Galileo and Hotel Florence.

26. Milan is a safe city but if you do not exercise caution and travel awareness you can be a victim of the usual city pickpockets and petty criminals. These scams can happen at the metro station, at the Duomo, or any touristy spots. Use common sense and do not talk to strangers who suddenly approach you to give you something like “corn” to feed the pigeons at the plaza or “friendship bracelets” that are not free. Do not ask for help from strangers who take advantage of tourists in the train stations.

27. If you’re looking for day trips outside of Milan, some of the most recommended places to check out are: Lake Como, Certosa di Pavia, Bergamo, Lake Garda, and the Lombardy wine regions south of Milan.


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