My Milan trip already feels like a distant memory thanks to the adverse weather and distractions here of the last few days. We were lucky we got back when we did as we literally woke up in Narnia on Wednesday morning and have been housebound since. It was already snowing when we landed but only a light dusting and not the 3 foot that ensued for days on end with no sign of any let up. Had we not got back we’d have been in a similar situation in Milan as it also fell victim to a snow storm.
Anyway we enjoyed clear blue skies and crisp cold sunshine while we were there and thoroughly enjoyed our 4 days in the beautiful Italian city.
We stayed at Hotel Rio which is situated just off the Duomo square. The location could not have been better and it worked out so well given the sub zero temperatures allowing us to pop in and out, dropping off shopping bags, heating up and enjoying a little afternoon nap now and again. Shopping and exploring is hard work after all. The room was toasty and the heat hit you as soon as you opened the door which I absolutely loved. Unfortunately the hotel in general is in need of a refurbishment and I probably wouldn’t return until this has taken place as it was very dated, the decor dark, furniture needing replaced and just generally in need of some TLC. The location was the highlight but also a bit of a challenge given the tram stop directly out front with services running from 4:30am – 2:30am with bins being conveniently emptied in between the two hour period of no trams meaning the noise was constant. There was no soundproofing whatsoever in the rooms so on top of all the external noise, you could literally hear people even if tip-toeing around the rooms above and adjacent. As a light sleeper this was a problem for me with my mums snoring just about sending me over the edge on the last night as I cannot function without sleep.
If you’re looking for an affordable option in the perfect location I’d highly recommend Hotel Rio but just keep the noise in mind.
What To Do
Having been to Milan before and ticking off most of the touristic and typical things to do, this trip was about taking things at a slower pace and enjoying good food and the finer things Milan has to offer. Below are my top recommendations of things to do/places to visit.
The most famous landmark in the city and the focal point for all activities. I’d definitely recommend a visit and exploring the rooftops. I’d say take the lift even if you’re fit as a fiddle as there’s still stairs to climb when you reach the roof terraces and you’ll want to make the most of it rather than spending a while catching your breath from climbing a gazillion stairs. The view from the top is incredible and well worth a visit.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
One of the grandest shopping malls and from a quick look on google, it’s actually the world’s oldest which is insane as the architecture is incredible, the detail is simply stunning and it’s in immaculate condition. It’s an arcade style with a lot of high end shops but also restaurants and coffee shops to enjoy the views and partake in a spot of people watching. It’s definitely the best place for that as it’s always a hive of activity with people passing through constantly.
Modern art museum which overlooks Duomo with spectacular views from the top floor. I’ll be completely honest, I did not spend much time admiring the art as we entered at 5:30pm and I wanted to watch the sunset from the top. There was a lot to take in and we could have easily spent a few hours exploring but we were short on time and getting hungry. I’d definitely go back and do it properly next time.
Oh where do I start? Milan is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world and I totally understand why. I think I need to make an annual trip just for shopping alone. It’s so good and not just at the designer end, the Zara store next to Duomo is literally the most beautiful shop I’ve ever been in. You could easily mistake it for a palace, the entrance is simply incredible. The chandelier is made of coat hangers and is absolutely stunning. The normal stores like Zara, Mango, H&M, & Other Stories just seem to have a better variety of stock compared to here in Glasgow. It’s hard to explain, maybe they simply have more stock or display things better but I could (did) easily spend a pretty penny stocking up on a whole new wardrobe.
There’s a wider variety of stores including Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Bershka, Calzedonia, OVS and of course Sephora. Plus department style stores such as Rinascente and Excelsior. It’s basically a shoppers paradise, that’s all you really need to know.
Where To Eat
Very reasonably priced restaurant with excellent pizzas.
Great selection of sandwiches, paninis and toasties for a lunch pit stop. Avoid the green detox drink. It tastes vile.
Expensive but great quality & perfect spot for people watching.
How To Get Around
As our hotel was ideally located, we didn’t use any public transport apart from the train to and from the airport. I prefer to explore new places above ground rather than underground and therefore try to avoid the tube as much as possible. I really don’t enjoy travelling by tube (does anyone?) although I appreciate it is convenient and in some cases essential but where possible I’d recommend walking. The last time we visited our hotel was about 10-15 minute walk from Duomo. We discovered good places to eat and breakfast spots along the way which we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
Everything is quite centrally located in Milan and you can easily get from one place to the next while enjoying the beautiful views and stunning architecture the Italian city offers.
We took an Uber to the station before heading to the airport and it was very reasonably priced so I’d recommend this method of transport if necessary.
I hope you find this post useful. If you’re planning a trip to Milan and have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.