Europe, Italy

Comprehensive Guide to Milan: Top 8 Best Things To Do In Milan

When I went to Milan for the first time, I didn’t really know where to go. I had four days in the fashion capital of the world, and wanted to do some sightseeing, eat the best pasta and pizza, and of course, go shopping. I did my research, compiled a comprehensive guide to Milan for myself and had a very good time . Now it’s time to share my Top 8 Best Things To Do with you!

1. Duomo di Milano

On the top of every list about Milan is the Duomo di Milano. In my opinion, visiting this stunning cathedral church in the heart of Milan is the best start of your trip to Milan.

#Explorers Tip: If you want to climb the Duomo, make sure you get tickets in advance and wake up early. The cathedral opens at 8am and the rooftops open at 9am. The only way to enjoy the views and take pictures without a bunch of people ruining your shot, is by first visiting the cathedral between 8 and 9 and going up to the rooftop at 9am sharp. In this way, you don’t have to queue and you can take the best pictures. By the time I went back down around 10am, the rooftop was already crowded, and the queues to go up can take hours.

On top of your list of best things to do and see in Milan should be the Duomo di Milano

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II

Right next to the Duomo di Milano is the beautiful shopping centre Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II. Just walk inside and you will understand why this is on the list. The iron-and-glass roof in this four-story double arcade allows the sunlight to touch every corner of the mall.

Not only does it house high end fashion stores such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, you can expect to see long lines of people queueing to get ice cream from one of the stores here.

3. Best Things To Do In Milan: Sforza Castle & Castle grounds

If you want to see more than just Milan’s two major highlights that I just described, head to the Sforza Castle. This medieval fortress is free to visit and only a 15 minute walk away from the Duomo. Wandering around the castle, the castle grounds and the immense park behind the castle are worth spending a sunny afternoon. 

4. Arco della Pace

If you walk from the castle through the park Parco Sempione, you will end up at the Arco della Pace. This arch, similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Arc the Triomf in Barcelona, is the perfect place for a new Instagram picture.

5. My Favourite District: Brera

If you want to go back in time and imagine what Italy looked like years and years ago, you are going to love Brera. Brera was one of my favourite districts in Milan and the perfect district to look for a nice restaurant, ice cream or a coffee. Via Brera is a street with maybe not the best restaurants (nor the best service!), but it is very cute and immediately gave me holiday vibes. 

#Explorers Tip: I didn’t go inside, but the restaurant Sushi B caught my eye. As the name suggests, it’s a Japanese restaurant. You can find this green oase here.

6. Pinacoteca di Brera

Right on Via Brera, where you can find a lot of restaurants, is also Pinacoteca di Brera. This public art gallery is housed inside the impressive Palazzo Bera. When I was in Milan, there was an art gallery with paintings from a local art school. Therefore, entrance was for free. Check if you can enter for free as well and let me know in the comments!

7. Visit the Venice of Milan: Navigli

Just outside of Milan’s centre is the district Navigli. Because of the canals, it is known as the Venice of Milan. As soon as you arrive, it feels like you’re in a completely different city compared to the roaring centre. 

I went here at night and had the best dinner of my whole trip at the restaurant Officina 12. I 100% recommend one of the many risottos on the menu. It also doesn’t hurt that GT bar Gin012 is in the same building. If you want to eat here too, you can find Officina 12 here.

8. Go Shopping In Milan: Via Dante and Corso Buenos Aires

Last but not least, when you are in Milan, you have to do some shopping. The largest shopping streets I came across were Via Dante in the city centre and Corso Buenos Aires outside of the city centre. When you walk from the Duomo to the Castle (or from the Castle to the Duomo), you will walk on the Via Dante, so it’s hard to miss.

If you enjoyed reading this and want to take better pictures for Instagram during your next trip, check out this blog about the four things I always take with me on a trip for good pictures.

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Melissa is the founder of Hashtag Explorers. She is a Dutch, enthusiastic, and open-minded world traveller. Melissa enjoys her time researching new travel destinations, kickboxing, singing or horse back riding. Her strong desire to experience new cultures and meet new people has led to creating #Explorers. If you cannot find her in The Hague, where she is working as a civil servant, she is probably exploring the rest of the world, where she is reliving memories from the times she lived in Australia, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Singapore, and Malta.