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Plan Your Milan Holiday: Best of Milan

What is Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travellers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
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Explore Milan

Milan sits right at the heart of Italy's fashion, design, and architecture scenes—so much so, in fact, that creatives from all over the world come every year for events like Salone del Mobile (the Milan Furniture Fair) and Milan Fashion Week. And the scenery and sights truly live up to the hype. There's the iconic Duomo di Milano, the world's largest Gothic Cathedral; the amazing mosaics and glass vaults of the Scala Opera House and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; not to mention museums and galleries like Pinacoteca di Brera. And as an added bonus: Milan's food scene has really grown over the last decade. Now, you can not only find regional classics, but you can also explore a variety of solid international flavours, including Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Ethiopian fare. (Milan is also the birthplace of the negroni sbagliato—so don't skip a chance to get one straight from the source.) We've got even more Milan recs below.
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Travel Advice

How to do Milan in 1 day

From art to fashion to the best pizza
Read on

Toasting Milan’s aperitivo culture

One of my favourite rituals in Milan is gathering with friends for a pre-dinner cocktail— called l’aperitivo—and the little tapas-like snacks, stuzzichini, that bars offer as a complimentary perk. These free bites are offered roughly 6 to 9 p.m. nightly, and while almost every bar serves an Aperol spritz and a salty snack, some are definitely more fun than others. Here are seven not to miss.
  • Bar Basso
    492
    Bar Basso claims to be the first place to serve aperitivo in Milan. It’s also famous as the birthplace of the Negroni Sbagliato, or “mistaken” negroni, created when the owner accidentally made the iconic cocktail with prosecco instead of gin. Wood-paneled and unabashedly old fashioned, Bar Basso is loved by locals, but it can get a little too popular during the city’s Fashion and Design weeks. Plan accordingly.
  • Escobrillo
    60
    Off the beaten path, this neighbourhood enoteca (wine bar) specialises in lesser-known wines from small producers, and has a knowledgeable staff that always points me to a new favourite. You won’t find cocktails here, but if you’re wine-lover looking for a local spot with generous outdoor seating, complimentary charcuterie plates with classic Italian salamis and cheese, and wine varietals you may not have tried before, this is a solid choice.
  • Living Liqueurs & Delights
    687
    A good place to see upper class Milanese in action, this sleek, marble-lined restaurant near Parco Sempione offers something for everyone. The bar’s well stocked with wines and the bartenders are quick to mix up aperol spritzes (a classic aperitivo option) and negronis. The food menu includes reliable club sandwiches, salads, and pastas. Plus Living’s hours are unusually generous for Milan: 7 a.m. until 2 a.m.
  • The Botanical Club
    290
    Gin aficionados, follow me to the Botanical Club, which has locations in two gentrifying neighbourhoods of the city: Via Pastrengo in Isola and Via Tortona in Porta Genova. The bars offer fun snacks like edamame and fish burgers, but are best known for their tweaks of classic cocktails. The “Stranger Mule” uses the club’s own brand of gin and purple bitters; their “Jackson Five”, a reimagined negroni, gets a kick from kaffir lime leaves.
  • Ceresio 7 Pools & Restaurant
    2,268
    This is the bar for when you want a view of the city, and, on a warm day, a swim. Located in a landmarked 1930s building, the bar offers poolside seating, immensely Instagrammable views, and a long list of wine, cocktails, and a few mocktails. The bar snacks aren’t particularly compelling, but if you’re hungry after the aperitivo, the building also has a restaurant with great views.
  • 10_11
    233
    Owned by the famed Ferragamo fashion family, this bar in the Portrait Hotel has become a magnet for Milan’s most glamourous residents. The people watching is first rate, as are the drinks, elevated with aromatic ingredients like juniper sprigs and caper flowers. Appealing to the ladies who lunch (known locally as sciure), the bar also has a good selection of alcohol-free options.
  • BackDoor43
    113
    This miniscule bar–just four tables–is worth the squeeze for a singular, bespoke cocktail experience. Bookings are required and include exclusive use of the space for one hour, during which the bartender will ask about your taste preferences and create cocktails to suit them. Protip: If you can’t get a booking, or are claustrophobic, knock on the bar window and get a cocktail to go.

Milan Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Milan

Erica F

Remember that saying "grazie," "per favore," and "prego" will get you far more than any amount of euros.

Stef S

Italy's famed gelato is a big hit with kids of all ages. Make a game of tasting throughout the city (there's no shame in several gelati a day)!

Sonia C.

Many parks, especially the bigger ones, have cafeterias and kiosks that are ideal for a quick meal, a drink or an ice cream stop.

Sonia C.

Welcome to Milan, the Italian capital of fashion! This beautiful city has so much to offer — from history to shopping to gorgeous architecture — but you can still catch its top highlights in a single day.

Stef S

Although Milan is a big city for (would-be) important people like businessmen, designers and fashionistas, it also offers some "divertimento" for the smaller set of humans. Family fun!

Sonia C.

Milan may be best known for its splashy runways, but this fashionable city is also full of cozy trattorias and hidden corners that just scream "amore."

What is the best way to get there?

flying

There are three international airports in Milan: Malpensa Airport (MXP), Linate Airport (LIN), Orio al Serio Airport (BGY). MXP is Italy’s second-busiest airport, and so has the most international flights. LIN mostly offers domestic service, while BGY, in nearby Bergamo, is a European hub.

train

There are several major train stations in Milan, and RailEurope offers rail service to/from many European destinations.

bus

Flixbus has routes to/from many European cities.

Do I need a visa?

Italy is a Schengen Country, so visit Schengen Visa Info page to know if you need a visa to visit Milan.

When is the best time to visit?

End of summer. The semi-annual Milan Fashion Week, held at the tail end of both summer and winter, is the most popular time to visit Milan. During the sweltering month of August, Milanese flock to the Italian lakes and the city all but shuts down. You can expect average daily temperatures to hit highs of 30°C/85°F and lows of 19°C/75°F.

Get around

public transit

ATM operates Milan’s extensive public transportation network. Download its app here for tickets, fares, schedules and more. Get its Travel Card for unlimited service.

Additionally, the MilanoCard provides free ATM transit service and discounts or free entry at hundreds of attractions in Milan. More info here.

metro

There are four subway lines in Milan and an underground service to the suburbs. They do not run overnight.

tram

There are more than a dozen tram lines in Milan.

buses

Buses run overnight after the metro closes.

bikes

ATM oversees the BikeMi bike-share program, and there are docking stations all over the city. MoBike is another bike-share.

scooters

There are a few scooter-sharing companies in Milan, and they work via an app. More info here.

taxis

Taxis are available in Milan, and while you sometimes may be able to hail one on the street, your best bet is getting one outside a hotel, train station or landmark. You can also book via the Milan Taxi app.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Central European

What are the voltage/plug types?

Plugs and sockets are type F and L with standard voltage 230V and frequency 50 Hz.

What is the currency?

Euro

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Is it easy to find a bank?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Tipping in Milan is at your discretion as most places automatically add a service charge to your bill. As always, if service went above and beyond, extra is often appreciated.

Restaurants

Leave 10-15% if service isn’t already added.

Bars

Most locals round up to the nearest euro.

Hotels

At least two euros per bag for bellhops helping with your luggage and at least two euros per each day of your stay for the housekeeping staff.

Taxis

Tipping taxis in Milan is not standard, but most locals add up to the nearest euro.

Tour guides

Tipping tour guides is one of the only tipping customs in Italy, and how much depends on the size and length of your tour. Per person, five euros is standard for a half-day excursion or 10 euros for full-day. It’s customary to give at least 10 percent of the total cost of a private tour.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The legal drinking age in Italy is 18.

Drugs

Cannabis is legal for medical use in Italy.

Greetings

“Ciao” is an informal way to say hello and goodbye. For more formal greetings in Milan, say “buongiorno” (good day) and “buonasera” (good evening). And be sure to say “per favore” (please) and “grazie” (thank you).

Museums

Milan’s museums are free on the first Sunday of every month, but do know they can be more crowded those days.

Frugal fashion

Twice a year, fashion-forward Milan has two saldi, aka sales periods: generally between January to March (fall/winter collections) and July to September (spring/summer collections). Discounts can be as much as 70% off!

Dress to impress

As Milan is one of the world’s fashion capitals, think “smart casual” and accessories when packing.