What Not to Miss in Milan: 12 Tips From an Insider

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

 

1. Duomo

What not to miss in Milan: Duomo

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 Emmanuelle, a must see in Milan
a must see in Milan

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

What not to miss in Milan: Castello Sforzesco

Castellor Sforzesco or Sforzesco Castle was built in the 15th century on the remnants of a 14th-century fortification.

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

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

What not to miss in Milan: Arco della Pace

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

What not to miss in Milan: Last Supper

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.

You can book skip-the-line tickets and guided tours here.

7. Navigli District

What not to miss in Milan: Navigli

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

What not to miss in Milan: 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

What not to miss in Milan: Casa di 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

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

What not to miss in Milan: 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

How to travel around Milan, Itlay

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!

Also Read:

Map of What Not to Miss in Milan, Italy

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After having lived in Milan these are 12 things Farah recommends not to miss when visiting Milan

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Farah

Author: Farah
Farah is a law graduate and hairstylist who is completely obsessed with traveling and hiking and is a total adrenaline junkie and foodie. She was born and raised in Newcastle in the UK and has had the opportunity to live in Sweden and Milan. She is on a mission to travel to every single country in the world, and experience everything life has to offer. Her goal is to inspire everyone to be more adventurous, travel more and also encourage people to travel solo with her travel tips. Follow what she gets up to on her Instagram account Travel Unravelled.

6 thoughts on “What Not to Miss in Milan: 12 Tips From an Insider”

  1. Hi Linnea,
    Thanks! I would say the best times to visit Milan are either from April to May or from September to October. The weather is good around these times of the year and you avoid peak tourism season (June-August). Plus summers in Milan can get really hot.
    For hotels I would recommend checking hotelscombined.com to check out what fits your budget (there are so many options) or see if Airbnb has some good offers.

    Reply
  2. Loved this post! I’ve been to Italy, but never to Milan! I forgot that’s where the Last Supper was! What time of year do you recommend going? Any hotel recommendations? The Spontini Pizza looks so amazing! I pinned this too!

    Reply
  3. I can’t wait to visit Milan! So great to come across this post and know the things I must see while visiting!! Thanks!

    Reply

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