Home to world-class fashion, remarkable Gothic cathedrals and top-class cuisine, Milan city breaks will take to you to a vibrant cultural hotspot. Providing the perfect blend of inspiring historic architecture, sophisticated shopping and celebrated galleries, it’s no wonder this lively place is one of the most popular cities in Italy. Visit the fairy tale-like Gothic Duomo, with over 100 tall spires, before exploring Milan’s elegant boutiques, like the stylish Galleria Vittoria Emanuele. You won’t want to leave without visiting the world-famous Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie and the colossal Sforza Castle has to be seen to be believed.
Things to do
Whether you’re looking for relaxed Milan city breaks or you want to indulge in a weekend of shopping, this place has you covered. Here are a few things to do during your stay.
Explore cathedrals and basilicas
When the weather’s good and the sky’s clear, there’s no better way to see Milan than from the rooftop of the Duomo. This spectacular Gothic cathedral is a stunning sight in itself; you’ll find it right in the heart of the city, dominating the main square, with its dramatic spires and statutes intricately carved from pink Candoglia marble. It takes 150 steps to reach the top of the cathedral, but when you’re at the top, the breath-taking vista of the city and the snow-topped Alps makes it all worth it. You can always take the lift if you don’t feel up to the challenge. The 16th-century Chiesa di San Maurizio, the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, the Basilica di Sant'Eustorgio and the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio are also well worth a visit.
Enjoy the culture
This city is one of the best destinations in Europe for Renaissance art, including one of the world’s most famous images: Leonardo Da Vinci’s iconic The Last Supper. No Milan city break is complete without seeing this masterpiece, which is over 600 years old. You’ll find it on a wall near the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. There’s also an amazing collection of works held at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Accademia di Belle Arti, featuring old masters like Titian and Caravaggio. The Museo del Novecento is the place to go to see modern and contemporary art; it’s just a short stroll from the Piazza del Duomo.
If your Milan city breaks are all about retail therapy, then you’ll be spoilt for choice here. Your first port of call should be the famous Fashion Quadrangle, which you’ll find between Piazza Duomo and Piazza San Babila; it’s the place to go for big-name designer shops, like Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana. This kind of high-end shopping doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth coming to this part of town to see for the glitz and glamour alone. If you’d prefer a more traditional shopping experience, you’ll have plenty of charming markets to choose from, including the bustling Fiera di Senigallia flea market; you’ll find it over in the city’s stylish Porta Ticinese district.
Couples: Milan’s beautiful architecture is enough to make you fall in love with Italy all over again. Head up to the top of top of the Duomo for one of the finest views over the city and the dramatic scenery beyond. Enjoy an ice cream as you admire the gorgeous Castelle Sforzesco.
Culture lovers: From amazing Renaissance art, to gorgeous cathedrals and basilicas galore, Milan city breaks promise to be rich in culture. The local cuisine is part and parcel of it all; the first pannettone was baked here, and you’ll find top-class Michelin-star restaurants, too.
Fashionistas: As one of the world’s fashion capitals, it’s no surprise that Milan’s a superb shopping destination. Head to the Fashion Quadrangle for top designer shops or go vintage shopping in trendy Porta Ticinese.
Currency: Euro (€)
Local time: 1 hour ahead of GMT
Fly to: Malpensa Milan Airport (MXP) or Bergamo Airport (BGY)
Flight time from UK: 2 hours
Tourist information: Further Italy tourist information can be found at www.italia.it/en/home.html.
Visa & health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy for recommendations and advice on visas and health for Milan city breaks.
Best time to visit: April and May, when it’s just outside the peak season but with nice, warm weather.
If you don’t mind the crowds and you want fine sunshine, then book your Milan city breaks for July or August. This is also the hottest time of year, with average temperatures of 25°C. December and January are the coldest months of the year, when it can drop down to as low as 3°C. But the weather’s known for being unpredictable all year round, so it’s wise to bring a brolly with you.
On foot: If you want to get your bearings, it’s well worth exploring the city on foot. Milan’s a pretty easy city to navigate, and if you’re feeling tired, you can always take public transport back to your hotel.
Metro: There are four major lines to get you around the city, and the service runs from 5.40am to 12.20am from Monday to Saturday, and 6.15am to 12.20am on Sundays. Tickets are cheap, costing €1.50 per ride.
Tram and bus: The public transport system also includes an extensive tram and bus network. Again, tickets are inexpensive (they’re just €1.50), and if you want to take a ride on a gorgeous retro tram, be sure to hop on tram (it’s got pretty orange benches and all the original fittings).
Italian Grand Prix: At the beginning of September every year, this world-famous sporting event descends upon the city. It attracts big crowds from all over the world, and if you’re into Formula 1 racing, this is the time to visit.
Milan Jazz Festival: This vibrant cultural event runs during the month of November, and you’ll find amazing musicians playing in the city’s famous jazz bars. If you love jazz, then you won’t want to miss this.
Milano Film Festival: Held every September, film-loving locals enjoy a week-long festival of short, unedited films from directors from the area. This isn’t a big event, but it’s unique and low-key with a lovely laid-back vibe.