Being a native of one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, I remember when I was little it was quite usual to meet Milanese tourists who’d come to spend their holidays on the sunny, white sand beaches. I remember listening to tourists talking about their native city, about its habitual grey skies and general lack of appeal.
I was left with this impression of Milan until I decided to visit the city, and find out for myself whether my impression was accurate. Those memories are more than 25 years old now, and during that time Milan’s been through a period of renovation that’s transformed it into a city which most definitely deserves to be visited.
Free walking tour of Milan
You might already know that I’m a big fan of the free walking tour, as organised by independent guides, especially when I don’t have much time in a city.
In Milan we found Marco, an official guide who knew who to manage a group of 89 people and who, with his perfect English, made the city tour welcoming, informative and fun.
These were the stops of the tour:
– Trivulzio Chapel, San Nazaro church
– Università Statale, old hospital Maggiore
– Ossuary, San Bernardino alle Ossa church
– Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II
– Teatro alla Scala
– Piazza Mercanti
– Piazza Affari
Accommodation in Milan
I’ve been an AirBnB hostess for more than 2 years now, and each time I travel I take advantage of the service to stay in a local’s house.
In Milan we stayed in a big flat with some students who treated us marvellously. We were just by the S. Agostino metro stop, a perfect starting point for wandering into the city centre.
If you are not a member of the airbnb community yet, I invite you to subscribe by giving you 21€.
Transport in Milan
Bearing in mind the timings of my inbound and outbound flights to Milan, I knew that I had 48 hours to spend in the city. Looking at information about transport, and assuming that we were mainly going to use the metro, I decided to buy a 48-hour ticket – which we definitely made good use of.
Brunch Milan – Anadima
Milan is not a cheap city, and eating out in general is much more expensive than it is in Barcelona. When I looked into brunches, I noticed that in Milan there are many options and prices are a minimum of 20€ per person.
I chose a place on the basis of its proximity to the Navigli canals and because the pictures I saw of it were lovely.
It was an open buffet, which included a Nescafe coffee and a free juice bar.
The food was of an excellent quality for a buffet, but it was a bit disappointing to have brunch in Italy, a country known for it’s coffee, and for them to give you a Nescafe!
I’d recommend it to you, if you like open buffets. It costed 25€ per person.
Other things to see in Milan
This is the perfect place to have an evening walk, and try a typical Italian aperitivo – where you order a drink and they bring you free food. It’s also a good place to go at night. When I was in Milan, the weather was already beginning to warm up, and the Navigli were full of people, just as many locals as tourists.
- Sforza Castle
Incredible architecture next to a massive park – perfect for having a rest on the grass.
- Cimitero Monumentale
A massive cemetery, where the tombs are works of art.
- View of Milan from Palazzo Lombardía
Enjoy a 360º view of the city from floor 39 and try to spot the Duomo. It might seem like a joke, but the Duomo is quite well camouflaged. The Palazzo is near the central station, and entrance is free every Sunday between 10am and 6pm.
- Views of the Duomo from La Rinascente
If you don’t have time to queue for an age to go into the Duomo, you can still enjoy the building from the top floor of the “Rinascente”, a shopping centre which is just to the side of the Duomo. Here there’s a massive roof terrace where you can have something to eat or drink. It’s really expensive, and in my opinion, not worth the effort. Just say you’re looking for friends and they’ll let you go through.
If you live in Barcelona I recommend that you take advantage of the cheap flights to have a weekend escape to Milan, enjoy the great food and marvel at the fantastic Cathedral.