From the Milan Cathedral to San Babila and La Scala - in this article, we share our tips and highlights for a Milan city break.
7 Exciting Facts About Milan
- The origins of Milan date back to the time of 600 B.C.
- Milan was the capital of the Western Roman Empire
- The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping mall in Italy
- The Milan Cathedral was constructed over a period of six centuries
- With a population of around 1,4 million residents (as of February 2021), Milan is Italy's second-largest city - right after Rome
- Most of Italy’s skyscrapers can be found in Milan
- La Scala in Milan is one of the most important opera houses worldwide
When Is the Best Time to Visit Milan?
Due to its geographical location, Milan boasts the classic Mediterranean climate. Thus, high temperatures and few rainy days can be expected during the summer months, while mild temperatures await you in winter. This makes Milan suitable for a city break or short trip almost all year round. It can only get a little uncomfortable and wet in January, February and December. And those who are sensitive to heat should not visit the city in high summer. In the months of July and August, the average temperature in Milan can easily exceed 30 degrees and it becomes very hot and dry in the city. Even many locals frequently leave the city during summer to spend the day at nearby lakes, such as Lake Como, or at the seaside.
Therefore, spring and autumn seem just perfect for a Milan city break. While it is still too cold or already cold in many other European destinations at this time of year, it is often much warmer and drier in the Italian metropolis. And who doesn't savour a cappuccino in the spring sun or an aperitif on a balmy autumn evening?
What Is the Best Way to Get Around Milan?
From metros to suburban trains, from delightfully old-fashioned trams to buses - you can get around Milan quickly and cheaply. Our favourite: the metro. Especially in the city centre, the most important squares, highlights and sights can be reached easily and at a good price, while other means of transport often depend on traffic. From Milan Malpensa Airport, on the other hand, there are three ways to get into the city: by taxi, rental car or train.
Tip: The cheapest and usually fastest option is the train (Malpensa express). You can reach the central station in less than one hour for around 30 euros. The prices for taxis or rental cars are about three times as high.
All Milan Highlights at a Glance
What Are the Must-See Attractions in Milan?
The Milan Cathedral
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Milan? Without a doubt, the Milan Cathedral! The "Duomo" is THE landmark of the fashion metropolis Milan and boasts a long history. It took more than six centuries to complete the sacred building. But with its 3,400 statues on the roof and its imposing appearance, the cathedral is more than just worth seeing today. It is a perfect example of Italian architecture from the Middle Ages and is now the heart of the city. Particularly interesting and also recommended: the roof of the cathedral is accessible!
The Romanesque Church of San Babila in Milan
Our next highlight is the Romanesque church of San Babila. The church was built in the 11th century and is one of the oldest churches in Milan. It was further expanded in the 16th and 17th century, giving the building baroque features. Make sure to visit the church from the inside, it is absolutely beautiful!
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping mall in Italy. In addition to Louis Vuitton and Prada shops, it is home to beautiful bars and restaurants that invite you to take a break. The octagonal central place of the Galleria, the "Ottagono", is called the living room of Milan. Italians love to take a break in this place, have a coffee and let the colourful hustle and bustle pass by. If you're planning a short trip or holiday to Milan, be sure to look out for the mosaic tiles in the Galleria! In the middle of the Ottagono, you will find the coat of arms of the House of Savoy. Turning your heel here is supposed to bring you luck!
La Scala in Milan
La Scala in Milan, or the "Teatro alla Scala", is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Today's Scala was built in the 18th century by order of Maria Theresa, when Milan was still the capital of Austrian Lombardy. The opera thus represented the replacement of the "Teatro Regio Ducale", which had burned down at the time. Since then, La Scala has been one of the most important opera houses in Italy - and even worldwide. Although the architecture of the exterior façade is quite simple, the interior of the opera is even more breathtaking. Absolutely worth seeing!
What Are the Top Things to Do in Milan?
Visit One of the Many Museums
From Antiquity to Renaissance, from Baroque to Modernism - Milan's museums certainly satisfy your individual preferences. Nevertheless, the Castello Sforzesco is clearly one of our favourites. Here, you can admire various municipal collections and go on a journey from Antiquity to the Renaissance. If you are more interested in Modern Art, the Galleria d'arte moderna is the place to be. In the Santa Maria delle Grazie, on the other hand, you can admire the world-famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper.
Go on a Shopping Tour
Where, if not here? It is not for nothing that the city in Lombardy is called THE fashion metropolis. If you don't necessarily have to keep an eye on your budget, you can look forward to numerous luxury brands in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Another must-see: the Excelsior concept store, which is also close by. Here, you'll find all the season's trends on several floors - just like in the traditional Italian department store La Rinascente, right across the street. If you prefer price-conscious shopping, but don't want to miss out on the latest trends and good quality, one of the well-known shopping streets is the place to be. For example, Corso Venezia, Corso di Porta Ticinese or Corso Buenos Aires.
Taste Your Way Through Italian Cuisine
Anyone who has ever been to Italy knows that the Italian cuisine has many delicacies and highlights up its sleeve. The Antica Trattoria della Pesa and Il piccolo della Pesa are particularly suitable for savouring some of the culinary delights. And what should not be missed in Milan? Of course, the risotto alla Milanese! And if you want to get to know the full range of Italian cuisine, you should visit the Mecca for any lover of Italian food: Eataly! Countless dishes, drinks, delicacies and products are offered here on several floors, leaving no wish unfulfilled.
Have a L'Aperitivo
As the sun goes down, Milan's most important time of the day begins: l'aperitivo! It's when the locals get together after work and before dinner for a glass of Campari. The citrus liqueur is the classic Milanese aperitif and is preferably served "shakerato" (shaken) and "con una lacrima di gin" (a tear of gin). Between 6pm and 8pm, all the bars serve small appetisers along with the drinks. Gaspare Campari invented the drink and opened the Milanese institution Camparino in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in 1915. The café quickly became a hotspot for artists such as Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini.
What Should Not Be Missed on a Trip to Milan?
Although it is no insider tip any more, it is still worth a visit: the Navigli district in Milan. Especially in the evening, it gets quite atmospheric here and the numerous bars and restaurants invite you to linger. Narrow alleys, a picturesque canal, gondolas and beautiful architecture - if you didn't know that Venice is just a few kilometres away, you might think you were there. So, if you are going on a short trip or holiday to Milan, you should definitely not miss this beautiful district!
Flights to Milan With Austrian Airlines
Go on an incomparable shopping spree? Enjoy a classic "l'aperitivo" in the evening sun? Or admire the unique view over the city from the roof of Milan's Duomo? Book your next flight to Milan with Austrian Airlines right here and enjoy "la dolce vita" soon: