2 Days in Milan
For a quick weekday or weekend trip, Milan is the place to go. It really is amazing how much you can accomplish in such a short period.
How to Get there
Flying from Paris, the best airline to fly is Vueling. They have pretty good rates and you can get a RT ticket for as low as $57 depending on dates you are flying. Also, if you are not a light packer, like me, you can buy luggage weight by 5 kilo increments. Oh, how I love Europe travel!
Where to Stay
There are many neighborhood options in Milan but if you want comfort, class, luxury and a little bit of whimsy, I highly recommend The Chateau Monfort. The location is very central and set in a residential area so you aren’t smack dab in the middle of tourist hell-- you are about a nice 15 to 20 minute leisurely stroll to the Duomo and main shopping area. The Chateau Monfort is a 5 star property and part of the Relais Chateaux Group so expect an experience fit for a queen (or king). The hotel has a restaurant, wine cave, tea service and bar. Oh, and did I mention full service spa with pool, sauna and the works? Staying here is like a little piece of heaven.
PRO-TIP 1: Whether you indulge in a massage or treatment, definitely do the water journey in their spa. I love spa’ing everywhere I go and I have to say this was one of my most relaxing experiences.
PRO-TIP 2: Take advantage of their what’s app concierge service when you are out on the go. It. Is. A. Lifesaver.
Where to Eat
With so many choices and so little time, you need to be picky when in Milan.
If you want exceptional seafood in a lively and trendy setting, you must go to Langosteria. The seafood is extremely fresh, the crowd is just fascinating and the vibe is intoxicating. No matter what you order, you are in for a culinary delight as preparation here is on point.
For more traditional Italian cuisine, go to Cantina della Vetra. Bring your appetite as the portions are Italian style, or family style, for those of you who have not had a home cooked meal at your Italian friend’s house. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but you MUST, MUST, MUST get the fried gnocchi bread and charcuterie starter. It is seriously a meal in itself and you will want to eat ALL of it even though you know you have your main course coming. Plan to walk A LOT after. And definitely pair your meal with the Ronchedone. Indulge your inner lush and get the half bottle. You won’t be sorry.
For a more café type style meal, go to Trussardi, especially if you want to do some chic people watching. Everyone is dressed like you would like Milan Fashion types to look. There is outdoor seating for maximum people watching and indoor and bar seating if you prefer a quieter pace. Food is amazing too and even though I get my share in Paris, I love their steak tartare—one of the best I have had outside of Paris.
Where to Apertivo
In Milan, apertivo, is as important as the dinner hour itself. For starters, make sure you make a reservation or you may be SOL. Depending on the type of vibe you are looking for Milan has tons of options.
The Doping Club at The Yard has a nice cocktail bar speakeasy style. The vibe is very gentleman’s club with a twist of David Lynch. Photos are not allowed but worth sneaking one for the instaworthy masterpieces. Service here is part of the ambiance and you are greeted with complimentary welcome snacks that rival full appetizers on restaurant menus.
If you are more in the mood for watching the sunset while you sip on your aperol spritz, head down to the Navigli area. This canal walkway has many choices but one of my favorites is Ugo Bar. Like Doping Club, the cocktails are a work of art. Even if you are having dinner after, make sure to have some nibbles here or just order a few tapas and have dinner at Ugo.
Feeling like you haven’t gotten your tourist fill for the day? Hop up to the Terrazza Aperol. You get some traditional Italian drinks as well as magnificent views of the Duomo.
What To Do
The lovely thing about Milan is that it is very much a walking city like Paris. The one difference is that you could probably walk through all the major sites in one day. Here’s how I would do it. Food breaks not included below but check out above for my picks.
Being a recovering fashionista, Milan is AMAZING for shopping and some of the shops look like museums—I’m talking to you Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Whether or not you are a fan of the designer brands, it is definitely worth a walk through this gallery of dreams. Gotta love a city that treats fashion like a religion.
After your shopping fix, make sure to check out the Duomo. It truly is a masterpiece and wonder inside and out whether or not you are Catholic. If you aren’t into Church architecture, 1-what is wrong with you? and 2-You can skip it and just scale the roof of the Duomo. If you ever wanted to feel closer to heaven, you will as you walk around the roof of the Duomo and climb to heights you never knew existed. If you are afraid of heights, I really would not go to the tippity top, believe me.
Pro-Tip: Use the self-serve machines and buy the rooftop ticket with elevator (lift) access and the cathedral ticket. Total cost for both is about 15€. Do the rooftop first, so you don’t wait on line to go inside the duomo cathedral. Once you get down from the roof, the elevator attendant will show you a separate entrance to the church, so you don’t have to deal with the crazy line.
The Scala Theater is a great stop after the Duomo—you get to see the museum as well as the actual opera house for only 9€.
Pro-Tip: If you love opera but don’t have time to book a ticket for an entire performance check with ticket officer when performances are happening so you can catch a glimpse from the balcony. Even if timing doesn’t work out, most of the time they are in actual rehearsal so you may be lucky enough to get your music fix anyway.
The Brera District is a stones throw away and has many cute streets to wander, shop and eat. If you want to get your culture on, check out more religious artwork at the Pinacoteca di Brera for 10€. If art is not your thing, you can view the actual building and visit their botanical gardens for free.
If there is one tourist thing you do it should be viewing The Last Supper at Cenacola Vinciano. It is just an outstanding piece of history and is honestly awe-inspiring. The visit is timed so you aren’t even wasting much of your day.
Pro-Tip: You need to buy these tickets MONTHS in advance to secure your place and time. If you are like me and aren’t a crazy vacation planner, I highly suggest going through Get Your Guide. I paid 36€ for my ticket, which included a guided tour and no waiting time. Best money I ever spent. They also do other attractions in Milan if you are interested in a hassle free vacation.
ALSO, Be wary of fake Last Supper exhibits located close to the Duomo. You want to see the REAL THING and that is only at the Cenacola Vinciano.
End the night in Navigli for an apero of your liking or just strolling up and down the canal depending on your mood. Definitely take a leisurely stroll through Milan and make sure to check out Colonne di San Lorenzo, which are the oldest Roman ruins in Milan. Can you tell I’m a sucker for great architecture?