Stunning art pieces, remarkable architectural styles, and luxurious fashion boutiques will greet you as you start strolling down the streets of Milan. Only once you fully dive into the city’s unique combination of fashion and art charm you will be able to understand how many things are there to do in Milan. To prepare for your next trip to the city, keep reading as we share the ten best things to do in Milan.
1. Climb On Top of the Duomo
Milan Cathedral is by far the city’s most popular tourist attraction. While admiring its unique Gothic architectural style from the outside is a compulsory part of your travel itinerary, you should also book a ticket to visit it from the inside and even climb to the very top of the Duomo! The interior will allow you to appreciate its great size fully.
Many tourists do not realize that Milan Cathedral is the second largest in Europe and the world’s fourth-largest. Getting to the very top, on the other hand, will not only present you the beautiful panoramic views of the city, but will also allow you to have a closer look at the delicate pinnacles and spires. Once you notice all the facade details, you will realize why it took six centuries for the entire structure to be completed!
2. See The Last Supper
No trip to Milan would be complete without seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic masterpieces – The Last Supper. The mural is located in Santa Marie Delle Grazie church, declared one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Dating back to the 15th century, the red basilica has a prominent Gothic style and you might need a second or two to fully understand its historic importance.
Keep in mind that you would need to book tickets approximately 3 months in advance, as access to the incredible artwork is fairly limited. Once inside you will only have a few minutes to marvel at the art piece, however, it is certainly worth it!
Admiring Italy, check our 5 Day Tours from Rome to Amalfi Coast
3. Take a Step Back in Time at Sforzesco Castle
Next on our list of the top 10 things to do in Milan, we have a visit to the incredible Sforzesco Castle. What first started just as a simple medieval fornication wall was transformed significantly and became Europe’s most enormous citadel during the 15th century.
You can start by admiring the brick wall with a tall guard tower from the outside. Then you should head inside and get to enjoy the massive covered with green grass courtyard. The history buffs would also enjoy taking a step back in time and getting to see the various relics and art pieces inside the castle.
4. Spin on The Bull's Balls
Situated just next to the impressive Milan Cathedral, visitors will be able to find another equally magnificent building to stop by. Dating back to the 1860s, Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II is one of the world’s oldest shopping centers. It is the incredible structure with its great glass roof, massive arches and beautiful architectural elements that make this one of the top things to visit in Milan.
A lot of visitors may not know, though, that at the very heart of the building, there is a mosaic forming a bull. Do not miss spinning three times on your right foot, as this would bring you good luck for the rest of the year!
5. Go For a Walk in Navigli District
After you have spent the day exploring Milan’s central areas, you should head to the charming Navigli district. It is not until you go for a walk in the quaint neighborhood that you will realize that Milan has some peaceful and beautiful canals as well.
The artificial canal network was constructed during the 1180s, and after numerous changes and developments throughout the years it has now become a fantastic spot to take a sunset walk. The district is also packed with hipster and chick restaurants and bars, so you should definitely plan to have a delicious Italian dinner or a few drinks when visiting.
6. Have a Picnic in Sempione Park
One of the best things to do in Milan, especially during the warm spring days, is having a picnic in Sempione Park.
Covering more than 90 acres, the park is located just next to Sforzesco Castle. Home to Arch of Peace, numerous fascinating museums, and a massive lake, the grounds are connected through narrow winding paved and bike trails.
Regardless if you prefer to explore on foot or by bike, make sure to also pack some lunch snacks and find a quiet spot in the shades under one of the large green trees for a relaxing and laid-back afternoon.
7. Go Shopping
Milan is the city of fashion and art. It would be a shame if you have been there without going on a shopping spree. Do not limit yourself just to Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, but also make sure to visit Quadrilatero d’Oro District. It might be just a small cobblestone alley, but it is lined with luxury boutiques and shops.
Visitors will find everything they have always dreamed of by some of the most popular fashion brands in the world, such as Prada, Gucci, Armani, D&G, Versace, and many more.
8. Do as the Locals Do at Brera District
Slightly off-the-beaten-path, Brera District is not among the most popular tourist destinations. If you enjoy fully immersing yourself in the destination and paying a visit to all the local hidden gems, though, exploring Brera District should be one of your top things to do in Milan.
The narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings and hipster bars and restaurants will allow you to dive into the Bohemian vibe of the neighborhood quickly. Regardless of which place you will choose to grab a drink or a delicious Italian meal, you can be sure that they are all among the local’s favorites!
9. Take A Day Trip
If you are a nature lover and prefer more remote locations away from the large city’s hustle and bustle, you should undoubtedly take a day trip from Milan.
The fantastic Lake Como, for example, is in close proximity and you can easily plan a day trip. The best part is that even if you have decided not to rent a car, you can reach the small picturesque towns surrounding the peaceful blue waters of Lake Como by train.
Situated less than an hour and a half away from the Italian fashion capital, you will find the colorful town of Bellagio. The narrow cobblestone streets lined with small shops, restaurants, and galleries are perfect just for getting lost in between. The stunning scenery that you can admire from the little coffee shops along the waterfront will prove you that taking a day trip is among the top 10 things to do when visiting Milan.
10 Get a Ticket for an Opera at La Scala Opera
Last but not least, on our list of the best things to do in Milan, we have an unusual suggestion only for the real enthusiasts looking to experience the city fully! And what better way to do this than to book a ticket for an opera at the stunning La Scala Opera.
The building itself dates back to the 18th century and is one of the world’s most remarkable structures. The interior is beautifully decorated with small details and grandeur red velvet drapes and seating chairs. While you can just pay a visit on one of the organized tours through the building, getting to see an opera at this unique place would be a once in a lifetime experience!
Are you excited to pack your bags and head to Milan? Contact us for more details and tours.