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If you love stunning architecture, beautiful food and designer shopping, Milan has got to be your next European city break. If the pizza and pasta isn’t enough to attract you to Italy, Milan’s Duomo and beautiful surrounding streets might be the thing that makes you finally visit this amazing country. Milan feels very upmarket, so if you like the more luxury break, it definitely is the place for you. However, there are still lots of ways to experience Milan on a budget, as long as you’re satisfied with window shopping!
Churches and chapels - The obvious first point to visit in Milan is the Duomo. This building is absolutely incredible, and not to be missed. You can pay to go inside, and even pay to go up on the rooftop too, but the exterior is breathtaking if you don’t want to pay the fees. However, don’t go to the Duomo and think that you’re done with religious buildings for the rest of your trip. Milan has so many beautiful churches and chapels dotted around the city which are worth going into as you pass by. One really unique church that isn’t to be missed is Santuario Bernardino Alle Ossa - which seems like your standard small Italian church on entry. But if you turn right as you enter, (you may be asked to leave a small donation to enter this part) and go down the narrow corridor to the “Ossario”, you’ll be extremely surprised at what you find. We won’t ruin the surprise as to what you’ll find in the ossario, but maybe don’t enter if you’re really squeamish. It’s definitely worth experiencing, and something we will never forget!!
Deep fried pizza?? - We know what you’re thinking, can you get any more unhealthy than a deep fried calzone? When we were told about panzerotti, which is popular all across Italy but especially in Milan, we didn’t even think we’d like it, but we were most definitely proven wrong. If you’re on a budget, this can also be a brilliant filling but very cheap lunch. We headed to Panzerotti Luini, a famous, ancient bakery near the Duomo which sells panzerotti in many flavours as well as other baked goods for only a couple of euros. They’re delicious, and worth the wait if there’s a line! If you just fancy a normal pizza and you’re trying to save your money for the shopping scene, head to Rosso Mattone, a pizzeria close to the central station that makes fresh, generous pizzas for only 8 euros! The restaurant is quiet and traditional, and the service is so friendly and welcoming. Is it really a trip to Italy if you don’t have a pizza?
Shop ‘til you drop - If you’ve got the budget and love a bit of luxury, Milan is the place to be for designer fashion! Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a mouthful to ask for directions to, but the best place to start if you want to shop in this city. It’s the oldest shopping centre in Milan, and worth a visit even if you’re not looking for anything, as the architecture and design of the space are breathtaking! Then you can move along and wander up and down the bustling streets of the city, full of some of the biggest brands and some that are pretty much unheard of! If all the shopping makes you exhausted, you could head to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery to recharge. In no way are you going to get a traditional Italian coffee break there, but it’s an amazing place to see. The best way we can describe it is that it's like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but for coffee!
Whether you’re budget travelling and have to just look longingly at the designer bags, or you’re heading for a well-needed break and are ready to splash out, Milan could be moving to the top of your bucket list. Don't forget that this trip to Italy doesn't just have to be a short city break, you could extend it by visiting some other Italian cities or take a day trip from Milan! Just make sure to take plenty of Euros if you want to live the luxury life!
Getting there: Milan is easily accessible by air, with direct flights from many major cities around the UK. It's often one of the most affordable destinations to fly to from a lot of UK airports.
Visas: Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Italy for a stay of up to 90 days.
Currency: The currency of Italy is the Euro.
Language: The official language of Italy is Italian, but English is widely spoken.
Time zone: Milan is in the Central European Summer Time, usually an hour ahead of the UK.
Ready to go?
- Search for somewhere to stay in Milan on Expedia here
- Look for things to do in Milan on GetYourGuide here