Milan Ultimate Guide for First-Time Visitors
As the fashion capital of the world, Milan has the utter charm which will make you fall in love in the city instantly. The glamour shines from the designer boutiques on every corner, while the scyscrapers and business centres outline the financial power of the city. Football fans would head straight to San Siro stadium, while opera enthusiasts can’t miss a performance at the famous La Scala Theater.
If you’re first time visiting Milan, you may get the impression that you’re in a city where business is what drives the city, but there’s much more. Milan has many historical sites to be visited, while the culinary scene is superb with many local restaurants serving exqusite Milanese food delicacies. This guide will help you understand the different sides of Milan and experience it at its best.
Arriving in Milan and transportation options
Malpensa is the main airpoirt in Milan located around 50km from the city center and serves airlines from all over the world. There are few options for airport transfer you can choose from: public transport, shuttle services, airport taxi and private transfer. The cheapest option will be public transport with both regular bus and railway lines operating from and to Malpensa airport. There are many providers which offer shuttle services and Milan private airport transfer, which require online booking prior to the trip. Taxis are available on the airport as well, but make sure you choose licensed taxi companies which drive at regular price.
Source: official FB page https://www.facebook.com/milanairports/
Linate airport is closest to Milan, around 7 km, and serves mainly flights from European countries. The public transport options are more limited since there is no railway connection and buses are not available from midnight till 6 am. However there are shuttle services available as well as taxi and private transfer.
Bergamo airport is located 50 km from Milan, near the Bergamo city, but as it serves low budget airlines, many passengers use it for their arrival in Milan. There are bus lines available from this airport to Milan or another option is to get by bus to Bergamo and then catch a train to Milan. Or if you don’t want to lose valuable time on transportation, you can book online private transfer from Bergamo to Milan.
Must see places in Milan
When you reach the main square in Milan, piazza Duomo, you’ll be awed by one of the most famous buildings in Europe, the Cathedral of Milan. It is the second largest cathedral in the world, built over six centuries in Gothic style and decorated with over 3000 statues. We suggest to climb the steps and reach the roof, where amazing panoramic view of Milan is waiting for you. Also you’ll be able to see close up the golden “Madonnina“ statue.
One of the most famous works of religious art in the world is the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, the mural in Santa Maria delle Grazie, a former Dominican convent. Viewers and art experts have been captured by the magnificence of this piece and Da Vinci’s interpretation on one of the most important scenes from Christian history.
For football fans, this probably will be the first place they’ll visit. The famous San Siro stadium is the home of AC Milan and FC Internazionale football teams and if you have the opportunity, attend a football match to feel the unforgettable atmosphere.
In Milan, you will find one of the most renowned Opera houses in the world, Teatro alla Scala. In the past 200 years, the stage has welcomed the best opera artists of all time and it’s still every artist’s dream to shine and feel the magic of this stage. Check the repertoire and I suggest to attend a ballet performance, it will be an unforgettable experience, for sure.
Shopping in the fashion metropolis
Milan is like the holly place for all shopaholics. Being in the center of world fashion, where the latest fashion trends can be found in the designer stores, be prepared for the ultimate shopping experience. The must go destinations are Via Montenapoleone, Via Della Spiga and Corzo Venezia which showcase the glamour of Milan’s fashion.
If you’re looking for chic and trendy pieces, but don’t want to spend all of your money, then visit these streets: Corso Buenos Aires, Corso di Porta Ticinese and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Apart from the high couture brands, you will find Zara, H&M, Benetton and similar brands which will fill your bags with cool pieces.
For those who are looking for good bargain, there are many outlets of high couture labels and outlet villages in Milan area. Smaller outlets can be found in the city center (D Magazine, Corso Como 10 and Il Salvagente), while the outlet villages are about 30-60 minutes hour away from Milan and there are organized tours with shuttle buses.
Serravalle Scrivia is one of the biggest outlet villages in Europe, located in Alessandria and it’s really easy to reach via the A7 Milano-Genova motorway. You will need an hour to get there from Milan and you can expect exciting shopping day. There are more than 300 famous brands available with discounted prices up to 30-70%.
If you’re looking for an outlet village closer to Milan, Vicolungo The Style Outlets is just 30 minutes away and guarantees a unique shopping experience for the whole family. It is located in the province of Novara and can be reached via the A4 Milano-Torino motorway, with exit at Biandrate Vicolungo. You will find 150 designer labels offering up to 70% discounts on clothing, home and beauty products.
Fidenza village will offer you luxury shopping experience at reduced prices of clothing and homeware. It’s midway between Milan and Bologne, so take the A1 motorway and exit at Fidenza. This outlet village is part of the “Chic Outlet Shopping“ collection of villages and features over 100 high-end boutiques of the world-famous designer names like Armani, Valentino and Calvin Klein, offering discounts up to 70%.
The best of local Milan cuisine
The culinary culture in Milan is as much as magnificent and chic as the fashion scene. When you’re in Milan, blend in with the locals and avoid famous tourist food spots. One of the sacred rituals in Milan is aperitivo. There’s no finer place in Milan for this than the Ceresio 7, a restaurant by the pool at the rooftop of Dsquared2 building. You will enjoy a drink with Italian snacks by the pool with amazing panoramic view over the skyscrapers in Milan.
There are also few Milanese delicacies you must try while you’re visiting Milan. The best panzerotto can be found in Luini, a bakery on piazza Duomo, near the Milan Cathedral. Panzerotto is a fried calzone filled with mozzarella and tomato, an absolute delight.
Another exquisite dish not to be missed is Rissotto ala Milanese, so head out to the Piazza Gae Aulenti and just a walk away you’ll find the restaurant Ratana. The chef Cesare Battisti is known in Milan for his marvelous risotto prepared according to traditional recipe, using carefully chosen local ingredients.
This is just a small selection of the things to see and do in Milan for your visit. What would you add? Let me know!