Are you looking for things to do in Milan? Then continue reading for a list of Milan’s main attractions plus some useful insider tips.
Milan, the fashion capital in Italy, is known for its architecture and design. Even if you’re not usually into architecture like I was at first, you will still fall in love with it during your trip!
I studied in Milan which gave me the opportunity to see and do the many things this beautiful city has to offer.
In this article, I want to share with you some of the main must-see tourist attractions as well as a few of Milan’s hidden gems.
What Not to Miss in Milan, Italy
The Duomo di Milano or Milan Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and took nearly six centuries to complete.
This is the main attraction of Milan and the view while walking up this gothic-style cathedral is stunning. It gives you an amazing panoramic view of the city which is not to be missed.
If you don’t feel like walking up too much, you can also take an elevator to the roof and have fewer steps to climb to the highest point. Either way, the Duomo is a must see in Milan!
2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a luxury and world-famous shopping center located next to the Duomo.
It is the world’s oldest active shopping mall and a major landmark of Milan.
With its iron and glass ceiling and central dome it’s an impressive building with plenty of restaurants and shops to explore.
3. Castello Sforzesco
Castellor Sforzesco or Sforzesco Castle was built in the 15th century on the remnants of a 14th-
It hosts various museums including an Egyptian museum and works of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michaelangelo.
And, something I love, you can also enjoy a pleasant walk around the courtyards.
4. Parco Sempione
This is a large city park established in 1888, located behind the Castle which then leads to the Arco della Pace.
It’s a great place for a stroll or a picnic on a sunny day.
5. Arco della Pace – The Arch of Peace
The Arco della Pace, made of marble and topped with horse drawn statues, is an impressive arch that’s part of Porta Sempione, one of Milan’s old city gates.
The arch was built under Napoleon’s rule to echo the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
6. The Last Supper Portrait
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper is one of the most famous works of art and most reproduced paintings in the world.
You can find it on the wall of the dining room of the former Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
But, as this is one of the most popular things to see in Milan, you will have to book this well in advance as there are always long waiting lists.
7. Navigli District
The Navigli District is definitely something not to miss in Milan.
It’s a neighborhood known for its canals and aperitivos near Porta Genova station.
There are two canals here: Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese. Both of them are surrounded by different types of cafés, restaurants, design shops, art galleries, etc. You can go on a boat tour along the canals (the Naviglio Grande being the most scenic), or just walk around and explore the small shops, cafes, restaurants and the many art studios and galleries that fill the cobblestone streets.
It is a charming district where you can go for a nice peaceful walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. And it’s a lovely place to watch the sunset from too.
Every last Sunday of the month they have a market here that’s worth checking out.
Tip: check out this aperitivo tour if you love trying different food while exploring some of the best parts of Milan
8. Teatro alla Scala
Teatro alla Scala is one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world, which was inaugurated on August 3rd, 1778.
It’s a beautiful theater! If you like opera or ballet I’d definitely recommend checking what’s playing when you are visiting Milan.
But if you don’t, you can also book a tour of the theater and its museum.
9. Cimitero Monumentale
Cimitero Monumentale is one of the largest monumental cemeteries.
It is located near Garibaldi station, just a short distance from the center of the city.
The grave tombs at this burial show a glimpse of, and is known for, its Italian artistic styles.
This cemetery is huge and it’s is like an open-air museum. People usually spend about an hour here and it is free of charge to enter.
10. Casa Galimberti
Beautiful Art Nouveau style architectural buildings decorated with colorful paintings and iron balconies.
This palace was designed and created by Giovanni Battista Bossi between 1903-1905.
You might not find this in every travel guide as a must see in Milan, but I would definitely say it is a must see if you are near Porta Venezia station.
11. Bosco Verticale
Known as the vertical forest, these unique tree lined residential towers are award-winning buildings located in the Porto Nuova district near Garibaldi station.
If you are in Milan, you have to check these out!
12. Spontini Pizza for Some Incredible Pizza
A must do in Milan, and in any place in Italy, is, of course, trying the best pizza!
Located on Via Santa Radegonda, this is the best pizza I’ve had in Milan’s city center. It’s perfect to take away and eat on the steps outside the Duomo watching the hustle and bustle of the city.
How to Explore Milan – Public Transport in Milan
I suggest using public transport in Milan. It is easy to get around this way and so much cheaper (and often quicker) than using taxis.
Prices for the 1 or 3-day passes are reasonable and are valid for all buses, trams, and subways. Just remember to validate your ticket in the machine as soon as you step on the bus or tram.
Also, tickets cannot be purchased on trams or buses. Instead, you can buy them from a newsagent shop. I learned this the hard way as I couldn’t understand what the tram driver was saying to me when I asked him for a ticket. He eventually signaled to me to come on anyway and shortly after I received a fine from the ticket inspectors due to the language barriers.
Tip: if you are coming to Milan and are planning to visit some of the main attractions, you can buy this 48-Hour City Pass. It gives you free entrance to museums, discounts and shops and restaurants, and a ticket to use Milan’s public transport.
I hope this has given you an idea of what to do in Milan. Enjoy exploring this stylish Italian city!
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Map of What Not to Miss in Milan, Italy
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