Milan Travel Guide: Is Milan the Best City to Visit in Italy?

· Our answer to this question, as well as our thoughts on the best things to do in Milan and everything else you need to know to plan your trip. [Updated October 2022] ·

Jul, 15, 2022
people walking outside MIlan duomo in the early morning

As the second-largest city in Italy, Milan is absolutely packed with amazing things to see and do. From gazing at stunning architecture like the iconic Milan Duomo, to admiring world-famous art masterpieces like da Vinci’s Last Supper, to luxury shopping at stores like Gucci and Prada, Milan offers visitors a certain flavor that is hard to find anywhere else in Italy. This city has been incredibly important to Italy since long before the country even existed, and you can still see that importance today. With all of that being said, the main question of this post remains…

Is Milan the best city to visit in Italy? Let’s see.

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Watch our YouTube video where we take you through our entire Milan experience!!

Best Things to Do in Milan

1. Admire Da Vinci’s The Last Supper

Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is one of the most iconic paintings in the world, and I embarrassingly didn’t even know that it is from Milan. This painting was commissioned to da Vinci in 1495, and it is the single most iconic artwork in Milan to this day. The painting was originally housed in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and it has since been moved next door into its own museum. Without a doubt, seeing The Last Supper is one of the best things to do in Milan. Make sure you make an online reservation in advance, as the museum sells out months in advance during the busy season. Tickets and further information about the museum can be found here.

Order your tickets in advance. We didn’t know this. The tickets were sold out for the whole week that we were in Milan!

Interior of refectory of the convent Santa Maria delle grazie (Holy Mary of Grace), on wall mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

2. Go to Mass in the Milan Duomo

As both a traveler and a devout Catholic, I have visited my fair share of stunning churches in Europe. From the Kölner Dom in Cologne to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Budapest, Europe is stuffed with stunning basilicas. The Milan Duomo is right up there with the greats. This stunning church’s construction started in the late 1300’s and took almost 600 years to actually complete. Needless to say, it is a work of art. It is also one of the most iconic buildings in all of Italy. While visiting the Duomo is amazing, stopping in for mass is the best way to truly experience it. Large sections of the basilica are roped off for religious observers only, and attending mass lets you in like a VIP.

You don’t have to be Catholic to attend mass, either – just be respectful and don’t go up for Communion towards the end.

father holding baby son in front of Milano Dome

3. Have Aperitivo in the Isola Neighborhood

Aperitivo is the OG Italian happy hour, and Milan is one of the best places in the country to do it. This custom is so deeply woven into Italian culture, and it is a daily occurrence all over the streets of every city in Italy. In Milan, one of the best places to experience aperitivo is in the neighborhood of Isola, which is filled with adorable venues to knock one back at. Aperitivo takes place every evening starting around 5:00. For more information about how to experience aperitivo in Italy, be sure to read this post with everything you need to know about aperitivo.

aperitivo with plate of snacks and red alcoholic drink

4. Wander the Grounds of the Sforzesco Castle

The Sforzesco Castle is one of the most iconic and regal structures in the city, and visiting it is a must-do on your next trip to Milan. This castle was the residence of some of the most influential people and families of Milan, and its epic grandeur can still be seen to this day. There are several museums that you can visit here, or you can simply wander the grounds for free. Right behind the castle is a big green park, which is a great place to relax, have a picnic, and unwind.

5. Tour Through Da Vinci’s Vineyard

Did you know that da Vinci owned a vineyard right in the heart of Milan? We sure didn’t. We stumbled upon this place while we were visiting The Last Supper and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The vineyard was a gift to da Vinci for painting The Last Supper, and it is attached to the property where he lived when he was painting it. This residence has been lived in by some of the most influential families in Milanese history, and a visit to the vineyard includes a tour of certain parts of the residence. Full disclosure: the vineyard is extremely small and the tour is mostly just a visit to the home, as the vineyard itself is being excavated for archaeological purposes. Still, the residence is beautiful and it is worth popping into! Visit this website for more information about visiting Leonardo’s vineyard.

Female Model posing under Divinci vineyard arch in Milan

6. Visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in the Early Morning

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, more commonly just referred to as the Galleria, is a stunning open-air mall located right off of the Piazza del Duomo. This mall is loaded with iconic luxury brands like Prada, Gucci, and more. While the shopping here is certainly above most people’s budgets, a walk through the area is definitely worth doing. We recommend visiting very early in the morning – like at 7am – when there are no people, so that you can soak in the beautiful views without too many other people in the way.

mother, father, and smiling 6 month old baby at Galleria early in the morning in milan
Adorable 6 month old baby smiling on the marble floor at Galleria early in the morning in milan
mother and 6 month old baby at Galleria early in the morning in milan
mother throwing happy 6 month old baby in the air at Galleria early in the morning in milan
Adorable 6 month old baby smiling in stroller at Galleria early in the morning in milan

How did we get such gorgeous family photos? The early morning light and no crowds! Tourists are lazy and sleep in. Don’t be a tourist.

7. Chow down on Some Dumplings and Boba in Chinatown

Okay, I know that you’re visiting Italy. Do you really want Chinese food?


Milan’s Chinatown is one of the best Chinatowns we have visited in the whole world. It is very clean and spacious, and the food is absolutely delicious. We are big dumpling and bubble tea people, and Milan’s Chinatown does not disappoint. Something that makes Milan’s Chinatown extra unique is that it really blends Chinese and Italian cultures together. Cafes in Chinatown sell both bubble tea and espresso…and sometimes espresso bubble tea. Restaurants sell both dumplings and focaccia. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Milan’s Chinatown is both unique and great, and I definitely recommend checking it out if you have the time.

Chinatown does an excellent job of blending Chinese & Italian culture. Cafes sell both bubble tea and espresso…and sometimes espresso bubble tea.

8. Crush a Pint or Two at Birrificio Lambrate

You can’t read a travel guide by The Present Perspective without coming across a good brewery recommendation! Birrificio Lambrate is a local craft brewery that brews some really great beers and creates a really unique ambiance at its pub. There are a couple locations throughout the city, but I recommend visiting the one by the Lambrate metro station. It is designed to be like a traditional British pub, and the atmosphere is really grungy. I loved it, and the beers were fantastic. I highly recommend checking it out of you’re craving some craft beer!

How to Get to Milan

As one of the biggest cities in all of Europe, getting to Milan is pretty easy, all things considered. Whether you are flying, driving, or taking a train, you shouldn’t have a hard time getting to Milan. Here’s everything you need to know.

Flying to Milan

Being one of the biggest cities in Italy (and all of Europe), Milan is well-stocked with airports. In total, it has three major international airports that you can utilize to get to and from the city. These airports are Milan Malpensa (MXP), Milan Bergamo (BGY), and Milan Linate (LIN). In another blog post, I ranked the best airports to fly through when visiting Italy, and two out of the three of these airports cracked the top ten.

From any of the Milan airports, the best way to get to your hotel is by booking a private transfer with our partners at Welcome Pickups.

Welcome Pickups offers personalized, private, comfortable rides from the airport into the city for about the same price as a standard taxi. They monitor your flight status while you are in the air, and a driver will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name on it as soon as you arrive.


If you were to ask me which Milan airport is best, I have one very easy answer. Far and away, Milan Malpensa (MXP) is the best airport to use in Milan. It is a major hub, meaning that there are a ton of inbound and outbound flights here every day. More flights usually means cheaper airfare or more convenient routes, as I mentioned in my post on finding affordable airfare.

Malpensa is connected to central Milan via the Malpensa Express train, which is extremely convenient, comfortable, and is part of what makes Malpensa the best airport in Milan. Getting from the airport to the city couldn’t be easier, and at just €13 each way, it can be much cheaper than a taxi depending on the size of your travel party. Malpensa is located pretty far outside of the city, making taxis pretty expensive and buses a bit of a longer journey.


Milan Bergamo (BGY) is the second best airport in Milan if you want cheap airfare. This airport is not nearly as large as Malpensa, but it is still an internationally important airport that offers a lot of routes. The downside to flying into Bergamo is that it is a full hour outside of Milan and there is no direct train route from the airport into the city. Buses are affordable but take an hour to get downtown, and taxis will cost you almost €100.


The third airport in Milan is Milan Linate (LIN), which is the smallest of the three. Linate is serviced mostly by a couple of regional airlines, which makes it a bit less convenient for travelers coming from far away. While Linate has some great connections to parts of Europe, it is pretty disconnected from places like Asia and the Americas. I like Linate, and it is a little bit closer to Milan than Bergamo is. There is a bus that runs directly to central Milan at least every hour, and the journey takes closer to 40 minutes. If you can find a decent flight, I do recommend Linate over Bergamo. It’s just that Bergamo usually has much better flight options, in my experience.

As with anywhere in Europe, budget airlines have the potential to be your best friends. Airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet fly into each of these airports frequently, and are often the best way to get between cities. These airlines often offer routes that other airlines do not. If you’re worried about traveling on budget airlines, be sure to check out my post on budget airline travel to alleviate any worries that you may have.

How to Get to Milan by Train

Flying isn’t the only way to get to Milan! I have said this time and time again – Italy has one of the best train systems in the world. I love using Trenitalia, and I even wrote a full post about using trains in Italy. Milano Centrale Station is massive and connects Milan to all of Italy and other parts of Europe. Milan is located more or less in the center of the northern end of Italy, meaning that countries like France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia are just a stone’s throw away by train.

While Milano Centrale is extremely busy, I think it is a great train station. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes, good amenities, and very clear screens with train timetables. The station is very user-friendly. Trains depart Milano Centrale for places like Zürich every day, and there are high-speed train routes to cities all over Italy throughout each day.

How to Get Around Milan


Milan has a robust public transportation system made up of trolleys, buses, and metro lines. On our most recent visit, we used all three to get around the city. The cost is the same to ride any of the means of transportation, and tickets can be bought in any metro station. If you plan on exploring the city, I recommend getting the unlimited travel passes that last anywhere from one to a few days. They are very affordable and provide a much easier way to get around the city without the need to keep buying tickets.

The public transportation was so fantastic that we didn’t use a taxi/uber at all during our visit.

If you are using exclusively the metro, you can also tap your phone to enter and exit if you have contactless payments set up. The Milan Public transportation system can get you literally anywhere that you want to go in the city, and I personally don’t think there is much of a need for any other way to get around Milan. The metro runs from 6:00am to 12:30am every day, and several bus routes run all night long. We found the public transportation to be very safe, punctual, and reliable. The only reason I would even consider calling a taxi would be if I needed to get somewhere outside of the operating hours of 6:00-12:30.

The Best Time to Visit Milan

Milan is one of the most-visited cities in Europe, and its peak season is a free-for-all. The streets are absolutely packed in the summer, and the weather is sweltering hot. In my opinion, the best time to visit Milan is either the late spring or the early fall, when the weather is a bit cooler and the crowds are significantly smaller. I would recommend visiting Milan in either April, May, September, or October to have the best experience, with the smaller crowds and pleasant weather. While the crowds are smallest in the winter, the weather is much colder and a lot less enjoyable.

male model in light blue shirt at Milan Duomo

Is Milan Expensive to Visit?

When you think of a city that is known for brands like Gucci and Prada, world-famous fashion shows, and luxurious accommodations from top to bottom, you probably think that the city is an expensive place. In the case of Milan, this is sometimes the case. Milan is definitely one of the more expensive cities in Italy, and you will probably spend more money here than you would in some other popular places in Italy.

Compared to the rest of Italy-yes. Compared to the USA-no.

Male travel model standing in front of old brown door and ivy on the wall in Milan vineyard

With that being said, Milan definitely is not expensive. As an American, I found Milan to be exceptionally affordable. While you can opt for luxurious meals, shopping, and accommodations here, they aren’t the only options available. We paid €60 per night for our Airbnb, about €10 per person for dinner, less than €2 for coffee (other than at Starbucks) and about €4 per drink outside of aperitivo hour. These prices are nearly unfindable in the United States! Public transportation rides cost around €2 per ride, and most museums cost less than €10 per person.

While Milan is certainly filled with luxurious options, it is a city filled with regular people who make regular salaries. While these prices might be higher than rural parts of Italy, they are right on par with major Italian cities like Rome and Bologna and come nowhere close to the exorbitant prices in Venice.

At the end of the day, you will pay what you are willing to pay. You can have a luxurious trip to Milan that breaks the bank. You can go shopping at Gucci. You can call taxis to get around the city and pay €30 each time. However, this doesn’t need to be the case.

Is Milan Worth Visiting?

I often hear negative things about Milan. People tell me that it is overhyped, dirty, boring, and not worth visiting. Frankly, I disagree. I think Milan is a very special place, and there are a lot of appealing things about it. We spent two weeks here on our most recent trip, and we were sad to leave when the time was up.

With that being said, Milan is definitely not the best city to visit in Italy. While there are many really great things to do in Milan and it is overall a very nice city, it is not much more than just that – a nice city. Milan feels more European than it does Italian to me, and I think there are much better places to go when visiting Italy.

We spent two weeks here on our most recent trip, and we were sad to leave when the time was up.

mother and smiling 6 month old baby at Galleria early in the morning in milan

One strength that Milan does have, though, is as a hub to use as a central point when visiting other places in Italy. Basing yourself out of Milan is one of the best things to do if you want to take day trips to other parts of Italy. Lake Como, Lake Garda, Genoa, Bologna, Verona, Venice, Florence, and more can all be visited as day trips from Milan, making it a very strategic place to base yourself out of. Be sure to read my post on the best day trips from Milan if this is what you decide to do!

That’s all we have for you about Milan! Hopefully this post is helpful as you start planning your journey to the world’s fashion capital. I really do think that Milan is worth visiting, even if it isn’t the best city to visit in Italy.

If you’re planning a trip to Milan, let us know! We’d love to chat ahead of time and answer any questions you have. Otherwise, have a wonderful day and stay present!


Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.

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Meet The Author - Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.