Destination spotlight - Milan
Milan is a beautiful and prosperous city in the north of Italy. The city is steeped in a rich history, also enjoying worldwide fame for its fashion and art scene, as well as its love for football.
Milan is a very popular and trendy city where something is always happening. Walk down the streets and you will see a vibrant mix of people indulging in everything Milan has to offer. Bustling bars, restaurants and cafes on almost every corner make Milan a hot spot for food lovers. Fashionistas, designers and models flock to the city, as do those looking to enjoy the shopping. There is also plenty to see and do for sports fans thanks to a very popular football scene, with two world renowned teams, Inter Milan and A.C. Milan, sharing the historic San Siro stadium.
It’s not all about modern culture in Milan though, as a quick walk past the many churches and palaces will tell you. The breathtaking Duomo is right at the center of the city, which is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in the world. Milan is also home to the world famous Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper painting, which thousands of people queue to see every year.
Whilst being Italian, Milan has a distinctly unique identity - which even continues to it’s food. Many compare Milan to cities like London and Paris, which shows how vibrant and prosperous the city truly is. In short, Milan is a hip and happening city with something for everyone. From operas, to catwalks, to football stadiums, there is sure to be something you’ll enjoy.
When to Go
The best time to visit Milan is between April and May or September and October. Visiting during these months mean that you miss the busiest periods of the year, and also avoid the high summer temperatures. During the spring and autumn months you can expect temperatures of around 20 °C, which can rise to over 35°C during the summer.
What to Do
The Milan Fashion Week takes place semi-annually and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city. The spring/summer festival is held between the September and October months and the autumn/winter festival is generally between February and March. Visiting the city when the festival is on, is a great opportunity see the latest styles and clothing designs before anyone else. The festival is known as one of “the big four fashion weeks” which also include the prestigious London, Paris and New York fashion festivals. During the fashion weeks, various venues throughout the city are used to host proceedings and the entire city is filled with events, shows and catwalks. It is a great time to see some of the most glamorous models and clothes in the world and even if you aren't a big fashion buff, it is a great time to see the city at it’s bustling best.
Where to Stay
Milan can be expensive for tourists but there are plenty of options for those looking to save money on accommodation. Milan is famous for it’s fashion scene and because of this, it hosts some of the most trendy hotels around. These are usually quite expensive but if you can spare the money or looking to brush shoulders with some of the stars in the fashion scene, this can be a great place to do it. One of the most famous examples is the Straf hotel, which is in the central city and regularly hosts; models, designers and fashionistas.
If you are looking for accommodation on a lower budget, there are still plenty of options available to you. Milan’s guesthouses and converted townhouses can offer plenty of character and comfort for those traveling to the city. Antica Locanda Leonardo is located in Milan’s old district and it’s traditional design and intimate nature should be a great fit for anyone looking to integrate themselves with Milan’s more historic side.
Milan’s great public transport system means that you shouldn’t have to worry about searching for hotels a little distance away from the city centre. Some of the cities surrounding districts like Stazione Centrale can offer cheaper accommodation and easy access to the city's main station, making it a great spot for budget savers.
Not to be Missed
- Duomo - At the epicenter of Milan lays one of the biggest cathedrals in the world. 600 years in the making, this is worth seeing for its breathtaking architecture - but it’s even better if you climb the stairs and view the city from the cathedral's roof.
- Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper - In a small building, adjourning to the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, is where you will find the legendary painting of Jesus’ imminent betrayal at the last supper. Booking in advance is essential but worth it.
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - One of the world's oldest shopping malls, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. is a beautiful building and provides a great way to spend some money in the many jewellery, clothing and boutique stores housed within it.
- San Siro Stadium - This is the largest football stadium in Italy, and home to the FC Internazionale and AC Milano football team. Take the chance to see a match if you can, but a tour around the stadium can also be a great experience.
- Teatro de Scala - A great place to soak in the culture, and one of the most famous opera houses in the world, head to the Teatro de Scala and see one of a superb programme of operas and ballets that are on offer throughout the year.
Getting to Milan: Direct flights from the UK to Milan take approximately 1hr 55m.
Visa requirements: If you have a passport as a British Citizen or a British Subject with Right of Abode in the United Kingdom, you don’t need a visa to enter Italy.
Time zone: Milan is in Central European Time which is 1 hour ahead of GMT.