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Top travel tips for visiting Milan


Where to stay, what to see and where to shop; our insiders’ guide gives you all information you need to know before booking a break in Milan

Katie Ramsingh
Katie Ramsingh,

Why Milan?
From the impressive Duomo, the cathedral that dominates the city’s skyline, to extensive streets of designer stores, Milan is chic in every sense of the word, making it an ideal holiday destination for design lovers and architecture aficionados.

 

When to visit
Milan is beautiful in every season – however most Milanese tend to go on holiday in August so many shops and cafés will have reduced hours or close entirely during this time.

It’s also advisable to avoid the city during its biannual fashion weeks, which usually take place in the middle of February and September. During these times the international fashion industry descends on the city to view the new season’s collections – and snap up all the chicest dinner and hotel reservations in town.

 

Where to stay
There is no shortage of luxury locations to lay your head down in Milan. The city offers a vast array of luxury hotels of every kind, from the Château Monfort’s opera-themed rooms to the Four Seasons Milano, which occupies a renovated 15th-century former convent.

 

What to see
Aside from the city’s best-known attraction, the gothic cathedral known simply as the Duomo and its surrounding plaza, Milan offers a host of other attractions. The Teatro alla Scala opera house, the canalside Navigli district and Sforza castle are all must-sees, while the Bagatti Valsecchi museum is less well-known but equally worth visiting.

 

Where to dine
Milan does the aperitivo like no other city. Between the hours of 7pm and 9pm, head to any bar and relax with a pre-dinner drink or two. Some of our favourite bars in the city include Ceresio 7 and the bar in 10 Corso Como’s roof garden.

Pizza is one of the staples of Italian food and the city has so many pizzerias it can be hard to choose one – see our comprehensive guide to Milan’s best pizzerias here.

  

Where to shop
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, is the perfect place to get your shopping fix when the weather is less than perfect. Alternatively, for streets of boutiques, head to the Quadrilatero d’Oro (rectangle of gold), a shopping area formed of four of Milan’s main commercial streets: Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, Via Sant’Andrea and Via Montenapoleone.

Stores on the main shopping streets tend to open between the hours of 9am and 7.30pm from Monday to Saturday, but they may close for lunch between 1pm and 3.30pm.

 

Top tips to remember

Try hiring a bike – cycling is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to see the city and it will keep you fit too. You can rent a bike from one of the many docking stations in the city.

Don’t feed the pigeons – outside the Duomo, street vendors will try to fill your hands with corn so you can feed the pigeons. Beware, as this is not free and, once the pigeons flock to you, the vendors will expect payment.

Tipping is not customary in Milan – while few waiters will turn down some extra euros, it is not necessary to tip when in Milan and most Italians do not.

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