Milan isn’t just about the high-end boutiques and designer shops, but rather a sprawling city with many of the world’s most important landmarks like the impressive Milan Cathedral. Though Milan can be a weeklong trip for many, the city can also be seen in one day. Come with us on a tour of Milan and see what the city has to offer to its budget travellers that have only 24 hours to make the most of their visit.
8:00 am until 8:30 am: Transfer to city center Stazione Nord
Flights to Milan arrive at one of the city’s three airports: Malpensa International, Linate Airport, or Orio al Serio. Malpensa International serves most traditional airlines and is located 25 miles outside of Milan. Linate Airport is located within the city limits of Milan and serves mainly domestic and short-haul flights. Orio al Serio is located 28 miles outside of Milan in the city of Bergamo, and is the “low cost airport”, operating flights by companies like Ryanair.
To reach the city center of Milan from each of these airports these are the best options:
From Malpensa International to Milan: The “Malpensa Express” railway.
From Linate Airport to Milan: ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi) public bus lines 73 or X73.
From Orio al Serio to Milan: Coach services provided by Autostradale, Orio Shuttle, or Terravision.
8:30 am until 10:30 am: Castello Sforzesco
Sforza Castle is located at Via Nazionale 87, a short walk from the Stazione Nord. Built in the 15th century, it became one of Europe’s largest citadels during the 16th and 17th centuries. Visitors can simply walk around the large complex full of parks or visit some of the many museums housed there like the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, which has works by artists like Tintoretto and Andrea Mantegna.
10:45 am until 11:30 am: Coffee break
After a long stroll at the Sforza Castle, take a break for one of Italy’s most famous drinks, the capuccino. If the weather is nice, we recommend choosing a caffé with an outdoor terrace to do a bit of people watching while you sip on your coffee.
12:15 pm until 1:15 pm: Santa Maria delle Grazie
About 1/2 a mile from Sforza Castle is the church Santa Maria delle Grazie, UNESCO World Heritage site and home to Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” mural.
1:30 pm until 2:30 pm: Lunch
After seeing the world famous work of Leonardo da Vinci, it’s time to sample something that Italy does best, food! For authentic Milanese plates that are sure to give you enough energy for the rest of the day try risotto alla milanese, cassoeula (meat and veggie casserole) , or cotoletta alla milanese (veal bone-in cutlet). If those don’t sound good you can always find delicious pizza and pasta to keep your cravings at bay.
Tip: The next stop is a 20 minute walk away so we suggest finding a place to eat in the direction of the Duomo.
2:45 pm until 4:00 pm: Piazza del Duomo + Duomo
The Piazza del Duomo and the Duomo (Milan Cathedral) are Milan’s most famous landmarks. The Milan Cathedral is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and is free to visit from 7am-7pm everyday. However, to visit the terraces, baptistry, or treasury there is a cost.
4:00 pm until 6:00 pm: Window shop at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and at the Rectangle of Gold
Directly off the Piazza del Duomo you can find the entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the oldest shopping centres in the world. Today the Galleria is well known for its expensive designer shops, but it is still well worth the visit whether it is just to admire the architecture, window shop, or actually buy a thing or two.
If you’re in for more window shopping, about 1/2 mile walk away you will find the Quadrilatero d’Oro (Rectangle of Gold) located at Via della Spiga 2. Here you will find even more retail designers and boutiques selling articles straight off the Milan runways.
6:15 pm: Teatro alla Scala
When you walk from the Duomo through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II you will end up outside one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world, the Teatro alla Scala. Though Milan in 24 hours doesn’t leave much time to actually see an opera show, you can still admire the 18th century architecture from afar.
6:15 pm until 7:30 pm: Pinacoteca di Brera
A ten minute walk from the Teatro alla Scala you will find Milan’s main public gallery for paintings, the Pinacoteca de Brera. One of the most famous works of art in the museum is the Madonna of the Cherubim by Andrea Mantegna. While at the museum you can also visit the botanical garden, Orto Botanico di Brera.
8:00 pm until 2:00 am: Dinner + Nightlife
As you make your way back to the heart of the historical city centre, it’s time to grab a bite to eat! If you are looking for authentic, homemade Italian food we recommend trying Antica Hostaria della Lanterna on Via Mercalli, 3. Prices range from £10 – £22 per person.
Once you’ve filled up on your share of traditional cuisine, it’s time for a bit of nightlife. Whether you’re looking for something more low-key like a martini bar, something relaxing and musical like a jazz bar, or a big night out on the town at Alcatraz, Milan’s largest dance club, there is a little bit of everything to make for a good night out.
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