Top 20 Things to Do in Milan, Italy: Milan Travel Guide For Visitors!

We had heard from friends that Milan, Italy was less than stellar from a travel perspective; however, what we found while exploring the fashion capital of Europe was that it surprisingly has a lot more to offer for those willing to delve a bit deeper. With only three full days to explore Milan we hit the ground running and tried to see and do as much as possible.

20 Things to do in Milan, Italy Travel Guide
20 Things to do in Milan, Italy Travel Guide

We made time for major attractions like Il Duomo, Sforza Castle, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, but we also veered away from the crowds in search of street art and interesting neighborhoods. This being Italy, we also tried to prioritize meals, sampling everything from pizza to risotto, and cappuccinos to aperitivos. The following travel guide will highlight 20 things to do when you visit Milan, Italy.

Top 20 Things to Do in Milan, Italy

Views of Il Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy
Views of Il Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy

1) Milan Catherdral

(Italian: Il Duomo – Duomo di Milano – Domm de Milan)

Our first stop was Il Duomo, which is the most recognized attraction in the city. The cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete and the exterior is covered in Candoglia marble, which gives it its off-white pinkish colour. Make sure to visit both during the day and at night for an entirely different experience.

Il Duomo is an architectural marvel that took nearly six centuries to complete. Its façade is adorned with over 3,400 statues, 135 spires, and 700 figures. Hence, it is one of the most stunning examples of Gothic architecture in the world. Construction began in 1386, and over the centuries, it has witnessed significant events, from coronations to invasions.

From the rooftop, you can see the bustling city below, the distant Alps, and the detailed spires up close. The perspective from above adds a whole new dimension to your appreciation of the cathedral and the city.

Il Duomo is centrally located in Piazza del Duomo with the nearest metro station is Duomo.

Tips for Visitors

  • Join a Guided Tour: Consider joining a guided tour to gain deeper insights into Il Duomo’s history and architecture. Tours are available in multiple languages and provide a richer experience.
  • Explore the Rooftop: Don’t miss the rooftop climb. The views are spectacular, and it’s a unique way to experience the cathedral’s architecture.
  • Visit the Museum: The Duomo Museum offers additional context and exhibits related to the cathedral. It’s well worth a visit to enhance your understanding and appreciation of Il Duomo.
Views of Milan, Italy from high atop Il Duomo Cathedral Terrace
Views of Milan, Italy from high atop Il Duomo Cathedral Terrace

2) Il Duomo Terrace

Climbing up to the cathedral’s rooftop was one of the coolest things we did in Milan. We got some great views of the city and it was also really nice getting a closer look at the architecture. A fun little fact we learned: if you donate enough money you can get one of those church spires all to yourself.

The spires, adorned with statues and intricate carvings, reach towards the sky and offer a unique perspective of the cathedral’s grandeur. From this elevated vantage point, you can see iconic landmarks like the Sforza Castle, the modern skyscrapers of Porta Nuova, and the distant Alps on a clear day.

Despite being in the heart of a bustling city, the terrace offers a sense of peace and tranquility. The nearest metro station is Duomo, which is just a short walk from the cathedral’s entrance.

Tips for Visitors

  • Take Your Time: Allow yourself plenty of time to explore the terrace and absorb its beauty. The views and details are rich and deserve leisurely appreciation.
  • Join a Guided Tour: Consider joining a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the history and architecture of the Duomo and its terrace. Tours are available in multiple languages.
  • Explore the Cathedral: Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the interior of the Milan Cathedral. Its grandeur and artistry are equally impressive.
Italian breakfast including cappuccino and pastries in Milan, Italy
Italian breakfast including cappuccino and pastries in Milan, Italy

3) Italian Breakfast

Prior to arriving in Milan, we weren’t entirely sure what an Italian breakfast looked like so we did a bit of research and asked around. Apparently, it is just a coffee and anything sweet including pastries, bread with jam, cake or cookies. A friend mentioned a great little cafe worth visiting and we ended up having our breakfast there every day. Considering downing a cappuccino and/or espresso along with a pecan filled pastry 😉

An Italian breakfast is all about simplicity and quality. Unlike the hearty breakfasts of other cultures, the Italian version focuses on light, fresh, and delicious ingredients. Think perfectly brewed espresso, flaky croissants (cornetti), and perhaps a slice of fresh fruit.

One of the most epic aspects of an Italian breakfast is the quality of the ingredients yet it is surprisingly affordable. For just a few euros, you can enjoy a delicious meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and ready to take on the day. It’s an indulgence that doesn’t break the bank, making it a great option for travelers on a budget.

Tips for Visitors

  • Stand or Sit: In many Italian cafés, you have the option to stand at the bar or sit at a table. Standing is often cheaper and quicker, while sitting allows for a more leisurely experience.
  • Embrace the Simplicity: Remember that Italian breakfasts are meant to be simple and light. Enjoy the flavors and the moment without expecting a full meal.
  • Practice Your Italian: Even a few basic phrases in Italian can enhance your experience and endear you to the locals. Try ordering your coffee and pastry in Italian for a more authentic interaction.
That Backpacker (Audrey Bergner) standing beside column ruins at Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy
That Backpacker (Audrey Bergner) standing beside column ruins at Sforza Castle in Milan, Italy

4) Sforza Castle

(Italian: Castello Sforzesco)

Something that surprised us about Milan is that there is a castle right in the middle of the city. Sforza Castle was built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan, and it then underwent several restorations and expansions in the following centuries. Today it houses several of the city’s most prized art possessions, including frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo’s very last sculpture.

Built in the 15th century, the castle has witnessed countless historical events, from royal courts and military battles to Renaissance artistic endeavors. Its massive walls, imposing towers, and intricate details are a testament to the craftsmanship of the time.

The castle’s design reflects both defensive capabilities and refined elegance, making it a marvel of medieval and Renaissance architecture. The central Filarete Tower, standing tall as the castle’s main entrance, is particularly striking and sets the tone for your visit.

Sforza Castle is centrally located with the nearest metro station is Cairoli, just a short walk from the castle’s entrance.

Tips for Visitors

  • Join a Guided Tour: Consider joining a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the history and art of Sforza Castle. Tours are available in multiple languages and provide a richer experience.
  • Explore the Museums: Don’t miss the various museums within the castle. Each offers a unique perspective on Milan’s art and history.
  • Relax in the Gardens: Take some time to enjoy the castle’s gardens and Parco Sempione. It’s a perfect way to unwind after exploring the castle’s interior.
Crowds shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy
Crowds shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy

5) The Galleria

(Italian: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II)

For some upscale designer shopping, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the place to be. It is considered one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful shopping malls, and its most impressive feature is an arching glass and cast iron roof.

Opened in 1877, the stunning iron-and-glass roof, the intricate mosaics on the floors, and the grand archways transports you back to the 19th century.

If you love fashion and luxury, The Galleria is paradise. It houses some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. Even if shopping isn’t on your agenda, window shopping in such an opulent setting is an experience in itself.

The nearest metro station is Duomo, just a short walk from the entrance. Buses and trams also serve the area, providing convenient options for reaching this iconic site.

Tips for Visitors

  • Look Up: Don’t forget to look up and admire the beautiful glass dome and detailed ceilings. The views from below are spectacular.
  • Spin for Luck: Tradition says that spinning on the mosaic of the bull’s testicles, located on the floor in the center of The Galleria, brings good luck. You’ll often see visitors taking a spin – it’s a fun and quirky part of the experience.
  • Take Your Time: Allow yourself plenty of time to explore, shop, and relax. The Galleria is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, soaking in the ambiance and discovering its many charms.
Risotto alla Milanese with lots of cheese in Milan, Italy
Risotto alla Milanese with lots of cheese in Milan, Italy

6) Risotto alla Milanese

If you’re looking to try a pasta dish unique to Milan than definitely consider Risotto alla Milanese. In case you’re not too familiar with risotto it is basically a type of rice that is thick, starchy and absorbs a lot of liquids. It gets its bright yellow color from saffron that is a bit of a reddish orange color when it is dry; however, when you stick it and mix it with the rice it turns it yellow. If you like pasta that is creamy, buttery and cheesy your taste buds will be in heaven.

Originally created to celebrate a wedding in the 16th century, Risotto alla Milanese has become a symbol of Milan’s gastronomic identity. Enjoying this dish connects you to centuries of Milanese culture and culinary expertise.

Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, and its inclusion in the risotto not only imparts a unique flavor but also adds a touch of luxury. The vibrant color and the rich, aromatic flavor elevate this dish to epic culinary heights. It’s a feast for both the eyes and the palate.

Consider pairing your risotto with a glass of local wine. A crisp white wine or a light red, such as a Barbera or Pinot Noir, complements the flavors beautifully. Many restaurants also offer side dishes like Ossobuco, a traditional Milanese veal dish that combines perfectly with Risotto alla Milanese.

Tips for Visitors

  • Savor Each Bite: Risotto alla Milanese is a dish meant to be savored slowly. Take your time to enjoy the flavors and textures with each bite.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Don’t hesitate to ask the waiter for recommendations on the best wine pairings or side dishes. They can enhance your dining experience.
  • Explore and Enjoy: If possible, try Risotto alla Milanese in a few different places. Each chef brings their own touch to the dish, offering you a variety of interpretations to enjoy.
Street Art around Porta Ticinese in Milan, Italy
Street Art around Porta Ticinese in Milan, Italy

7) Street Art around Porta Ticinese

Milan has a lot of really cool street art and you’ll often stumble upon it when you’re not even looking. We spotted some really cool pieces around Porta Ticinese.

The street art around Porta Ticinese is a testament to Milan’s dynamic and ever-evolving creative scene. Artists from all over the world come here to leave their mark. Hence, transforming ordinary walls into extraordinary works of art.

Each piece is unique, reflecting a blend of styles, themes, and messages. This outdoor gallery is constantly changing, ensuring that every visit offers something new and exciting.

From large-scale murals and graffiti to stencils and paste-ups, the variety is astounding. This diversity showcases the range of artistic talent and innovation in the street art community.

You can easily check out Porta Ticinese with the nearest metro stations being Porta Genova and Sant’Agostino.

Tips for Visitors

  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush. Take your time to explore and appreciate the artwork. Each piece has its own story and details worth discovering.
  • Talk to Locals: If you have the chance, talk to locals or shop owners in the area. They often have interesting insights and stories about the artwork and the artists.
  • Respect the Art: Remember that street art is a form of expression and creativity. Respect the artwork and the spaces where it’s displayed.
People walking nearby Colonne di San Lorenzo Roman Ruins in Milan, Italy
People walking nearby Colonne di San Lorenzo Roman Ruins in Milan, Italy

8) Columns of San Lorenzo Roman Ruins

(Italian: Colonne di San Lorenzo)

The Colonne di San Lorenzo are the remains of Roman ruins that date back to the 2nd century. They are believed to have been part of a bath house before they were moved to their current location at some point during the 4th century.

These 16 marble columns are a rare surviving example of Roman architecture in the city. Standing tall these columns are a striking sight against the backdrop of the modern city.

Surrounding the Columns are numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants where you can enjoy a taste of Milan. The site is easily accessible by public transport, with the nearest metro stations being Duomo and Missori. Buses and trams also serve the area.

Tips for Visitors

  • Explore the Surroundings: Don’t just stop at the columns. The nearby Basilica of San Lorenzo is also worth a visit, offering additional historical and architectural insights.
  • Enjoy the Local Scene: Take some time to enjoy the local cafes and bars. It’s a great way to relax and soak in the atmosphere.
  • Respect the Site: Remember that the Columns are an important historical site. Respect the area and avoid climbing or damaging the columns.
Views from our canal boat tour down linea traghetti gaggiano milano in Milan, Italy
Views from our canal boat tour down linea traghetti gaggiano milano in Milan, Italy

9) Canal Boat tour

(Italian: linea traghetti gaggiano milano)

Another fun activity to try in Milan is a boat tour of the canals. The city’s canals are attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci, who in 1482 was called over by the Duke of Milan to help renovate the city’s canal system. So cruise on down knowing that Da Vinci once strolled the same neighbourhood you are visiting.

A canal boat tour offers a unique vantage point to see Milan. Unlike the typical city tours, this experience allows you to view historic sites and modern landmarks from the water. It gives you a new appreciation of the city’s architecture and landscape. The gentle pace of the boat lets you take in the surroundings in a relaxed manner.

The Navigli district is particularly picturesque, with its charming bridges, colorful buildings, and vibrant street life. There are several companies offering canal boat tours in Milan, each with its own unique route and offerings.

Tips for Visitors

  • Arrive Early: Arriving a little early gives you time to get settled and pick a good seat on the boat.
  • Listen to the Guide: Pay attention to the guide’s commentary. It’s full of interesting insights and stories that enhance the experience.
  • Relax and Enjoy: Take a deep breath and let yourself relax. The beauty of the canal boat tour is in its slow pace and tranquil atmosphere.
Sunset dining views along Navigli District in Milan, Italy
Sunset dining views along Navigli District in Milan, Italy

10) Navigli District Dining

Milan’s Navigli District is one of the liveliest parts of town especially when the sun goes down. We recommend finding a little restaurant along the water’s edge and enjoying a proper Italian meal al fresco.

From traditional Italian trattorias to contemporary fusion restaurants, there are options galore. You can savor classic Milanese dishes like Risotto alla Milanese and Ossobuco, indulge in fresh seafood, or enjoy an international cuisine twist.

The cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and picturesque canals create an enchanting backdrop for your dining experience. It’s like stepping back in time, yet with all the comforts and excitement of the present.

One of the most epic aspects of dining in Navigli is the stunning canal views. Many restaurants and cafes are situated right along the water, offering al fresco dining with a view.

Navigli District is home to numerous restaurants, each offering a unique dining experience. Popular choices include Al Pont de Ferr for gourmet dining, El Brellin for traditional Milanese cuisine, and Officina 12 for a modern twist on Italian classics.

Tips for Visitors

  • Arrive Early: Arriving a bit earlier than your reservation time allows you to explore the area, enjoy a pre-dinner drink, and soak in the atmosphere.
  • Try Local Specialties: Don’t miss the chance to try local Milanese dishes. Ask your server for recommendations to ensure you experience the best of the district’s culinary offerings.
  • Enjoy the Evening Stroll: After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the canals. The district’s charm is heightened at night, making it a perfect way to end your evening.


11) Aperitivo: drinks and buffet

For the best value drink/meal combination in Milan be sure to have an Aperitivo in the evening. In a nutshell, you get yourself a cocktail for about 10 Euros and that gives you access to this massive buffet of like pizzas, pastas, olives. Anything you could possibly imagine. Although this is technically not a Vegas style dinner buffet, I’m quite certain you will be full to the point you won’t want to grab dinner afterwards.

The aperitivo is a quintessential part of Italian culture, particularly in Milan. It’s more than just a pre-dinner drink. It’s a social ritual that brings people together to unwind and enjoy each other’s company.

Aperitivo is surprisingly affordable. For the price of a drink, you get access to a generous buffet, making it an excellent value for money. It’s a budget-friendly way to enjoy a taste of Milanese luxury without denting your wallet too severly.

Tips for Visitors

  • Pace Yourself: The buffet offers a lot of tempting options, but remember it’s meant to be a pre-dinner snack. Enjoy the variety without overindulging.
  • Engage with Locals: Don’t be shy to strike up a conversation. Italians are friendly and love to share their culture, making the experience even richer.
  • Enjoy the Moment: Aperitivo is about savoring the moment. Relax, sip your drink, enjoy the food, and take in the ambiance.
Shopping along Via Torino in Milan, Italy
Shopping along Via Torino in Milan, Italy

12) Shopping along Via Torino

And because Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world you couldn’t come to this city and not go shopping. We walked along Via Torino which boasts lots of different boutiques but there is several different areas around the city that you can check out.

You’ll find everything from international brands like Zara and H&M to unique Italian boutiques and specialty shops. Whether you’re hunting for the latest fashion trends, tech gadgets, or artisanal crafts, you’ll find it here.

The street itself is one of Milan’s oldest, with many buildings dating back to the Renaissance period. As you browse the shops you’ll be able to admire the beautiful architecture and historical details that give this street its unique character.

Via Torino’s location adds to itsc appeal. Situated close to major attractions like the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, it’s a perfect starting point or conclusion to a day of sightseeing.

Tips for Visitors

  • Plan Your Route: With so many stores to explore, it’s helpful to have a rough plan of which shops you want to visit. This way, you can make the most of your time and ensure you don’t miss any must-see spots.
  • Take Breaks: Don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy the local cafes and eateries. A coffee or gelato break can make your shopping trip even more enjoyable.
  • Explore Side Streets: Don’t just stick to Via Torino. The surrounding side streets are home to many hidden gems, from quaint boutiques to artisan shops. Exploring these areas can lead to unexpected and delightful finds.

13) Visiting Chinatown

One of the most distinct neighborhoods in Milan in Chinatown. If you want to have a nice Chinese meal and/or pickup some exotic fruits and vegetables this is your best bet.

This neighborhood is home to the largest Chinese community in Italy, and it showcases the beauty of cultural diversity. From traditional Chinese medicine shops and bustling markets to contemporary art galleries and chic cafes, Chinatown offers a unique experience that highlights the multicultural fabric of Milan.

Chinatown is for foodies. You’ll find a plethora of restaurants offering everything from dim sum and Peking duck to hot pot and street food delicacies.

Milan’s Chinatown is located in the Porta Volta area, near Corso Sempione and Via Paolo Sarpi. The closest stations are Moscova and Monumentale.

Tips for Visitors

  • Explore the Side Streets: Don’t just stick to the main thoroughfares. The side streets often hide some of the best shops and eateries.
  • Try Something New: Be adventurous with your food choices. Ask for recommendations or try dishes you haven’t had before to fully experience the culinary diversity.
  • Engage with Locals: The shopkeepers and restaurant staff are usually friendly and eager to share their culture. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or learn more about the traditions and history of the area.
Colorful decorated bicycle in Milan, Italy
Colorful decorated bicycle in Milan, Italy

14) Riding a bicycle like a local

Another thing we noticed about Milan is that locals bike everywhere. So if you want to do as locals do, consider hiring a bike for the day to help you get familiarized with the city.

Cycling is ingrained in Milanese culture. It’s how locals commute to work, meet friends, and run errands. By hopping on a bike, you’re immersing yourself in the local lifestyle. You’ll get to see the city from a fresh perspective. It’s a chance to move at your own pace whilst discovering hidden gems.

One of the greatest joys of cycling is the freedom it offers. Milan has an extensive network of bike lanes and cyclist-friendly routes, making it easy to explore. Thus, you can create your own itinerary, venturing into neighborhoods that you might miss otherwise.

Milan boasts numerous scenic cycling routes. Ride along the Navigli for beautiful canal views, explore Parco Sempione with its lush greenery and iconic landmarks, or pedal through the trendy Brera district. You have options galore.

Biking in Milan is accessible and affordable for everyone. The city offers various bike-sharing programs, such as BikeMi, which allow you to rent bikes at low cost.

Tips for Visitors

  • Start Early: Begin your ride early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
  • Stay Safe: Follow traffic rules, use bike lanes where available, and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Take Breaks: Stop frequently to rest, take photos, and enjoy the scenery. Milan is full of cafes and parks, perfect for a relaxing break.

15) Pizza al taglio

Prior to arriving in Italy I was already salivating over the opportunity to try Italian pizza. What I ended up liking best was pizza al taglio (also called pizza al trancio) which is basically extra thick slabs of pizza that almost looks a bit like focaccia bread. Oozing with gooey cheese and coming with all kinds of different toppings it’s hard to limit yourself to just one slice 😉

Unlike the round, sit-down pizzas you might be used to, pizza al taglio is baked in large rectangular trays and sold by the slice. This makes it a perfect on-the-go snack or a casual meal. Each slice is cut to your preferred size and priced by weight, allowing you to sample a variety of flavors without committing to a full pie.

One of the greatest joys of pizza al taglio is the incredible variety. Pizzerias specializing in this style often offer an array of toppings and flavor combinations, from classic margherita and pepperoni to more adventurous options like truffle and porcini mushrooms or prosciutto with fig.

One of the most epic aspects of pizza al taglio is the crust. The combination of a chewy interior and a crunchy exterior creates a delightful texture that’s super satisfying. Each bite offers the perfect balance of crunch and softness, making it a true masterpiece of pizza-making.

Tips for Visitors

  • Try Multiple Flavors: Don’t stick to just one type. Sample a few different slices to fully experience the variety and creativity of pizza al taglio.
  • Ask for Recommendations: If you’re unsure what to try, ask the staff for their recommendations. They often have insights into the best and freshest options.
  • Enjoy the Atmosphere: Part of the fun of eating pizza al taglio is soaking in the local atmosphere. Take your time, enjoy your surroundings, and savor each bite.
Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio in Milan, Italy
Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio in Milan, Italy

16) Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio

We visited the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio (nearby our neighborhood), which is believed to have once held the relics of the Three Magi.

The Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio holds a pivotal place in Milan’s history. Founded in the 4th century, it is one of the city’s oldest churches. These relics were brought to Milan in the 4th century by St. Eustorgio making it a significant pilgrimage site.

The basilica is a treasure trove of art and architecture. It features stunning frescoes, intricate sculptures, and beautiful chapels that showcase the work of prominent artists from different periods. The Portinari Chapel, with its exquisite Renaissance frescoes by Vincenzo Foppa, is a highlight not to be missed.

One of the most epic aspects of the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio is its connection to the relics of the Magi. According to tradition, the relics were stolen and taken to Cologne in the 12th century, but the basilica still holds a special place in the hearts of many for its association with these sacred objects.

Tips for Visitors

  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush your visit. Take the time to explore each chapel, admire the artworks, and soak in the serene atmosphere.
  • Join a Guided Tour: Consider joining a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the history and significance of the basilica. Tours are often available in multiple languages.
  • Respect the Space: Remember that the basilica is a place of worship. Maintain a respectful demeanor, keep noise to a minimum, and dress modestly.

17) Duomo Museum

If you didn’t get enough of the Duomo and the rooftop terrace, you can also visit the Duomo Museum, which covers the cathedrals history and art a little more in depth.

By exploring the museum, you gain a deeper understanding of the architectural marvel that is the Duomo, from its initial conception to its ongoing restoration projects.

The museum houses an impressive collection of sculptures, tapestries, stained glass windows, and architectural models. These pieces, crafted by some of the greatest artists and artisans of their time, showcase the incredible skill and creativity that went into building the Duomo.

Highlights include the original statues from the cathedral’s facade and intricate wooden models of the cathedral. The intricacy of the sculptures and the beauty of the stained glass windows are impressive to say the least.

Tips for Visitors

  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush through the museum. Each exhibit is packed with details worth exploring. Give yourself enough time to fully appreciate everything on display.
  • Use the Audio Guide: An audio guide can provide valuable context and enhance your understanding of the exhibits. It’s a worthwhile addition to your visit.
  • Combine with a Cathedral Tour: For the best experience, combine your museum visit with a tour of the Duomo. Seeing the artifacts in the museum first can enrich your experience of the cathedral itself.

18) New City Views

Like most European cities, Milan is steeped in history but that doesn’t mean there aren’t newer parts with modern architecture. We made some time to take a Hop-On-Hop-Off tour of the city, and that helped us see a different side of Milan.

While the city is renowned for its historical landmarks, its contemporary skyline is equally captivating. From the futuristic towers of Porta Nuova to the vertical forests of Bosco Verticale, the city showcases cutting-edge designs that push the boundaries of conventional architecture.

The Porta Nuova district is the epitome of modern Milan. Home to some of the city’s newest buildings. For example, the Unicredit Tower, Italy’s tallest building, dominates the skyline with its sleek, curved design. Nearby, the Gae Aulenti Square is a bustling public space surrounded by futuristic architecture, fountains, and public art installations.

Bosco Verticale, or the Vertical Forest, is one of Milan’s most impressive and unique architectural achievements. These residential towers are covered in thousands of trees and plants, creating a vertical forest that improves air quality and provides a habitat for wildlife.

Tips for Visitors

  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush through the sites. Spend time exploring each building, understanding its design, and enjoying the views.
  • Join a Tour: Consider joining an architectural tour. These tours provide valuable insights into the buildings and their significance, enriching your experience.
  • Enjoy the Surroundings: Many of the new architectural sites are located in vibrant districts with cafes, shops, and parks. Take some time to enjoy the surroundings and experience the local culture.

19) Museum of Natural History

(Italian: Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano)

We dropped by the Museum of Natural History, which is probably geared more towards children, but we were still curious to see their dinosaur displays.

Founded in 1838, it houses an extensive collection of over 3 million specimens, ranging from fossils and minerals to exotic animals and plants. This rich scientific heritage makes it a fascinating destination for anyone interested in the natural world.

One of the most epic aspects of the Museum of Natural History is its impressive collection of dinosaur fossils. The lifelike dinosaur reconstructions and skeletons transport you back to the Mesozoic era, giving you a glimpse of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.

The Museum of Natural History is situated in the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens, close to the Porta Venezia metro station (Line 1). It’s also accessible by several tram and bus lines.

Tips for Visitors

  • Take Your Time: Don’t rush through the exhibits. Take the time to read the information panels and engage with the interactive displays.
  • Join a Guided Tour: Consider joining a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the exhibits and the museum’s history. Tours are often available in multiple languages.
  • Explore the Gardens: After your museum visit, take a stroll through the Indro Montanelli Public Gardens. The peaceful surroundings and beautiful landscapes are a perfect complement to your museum experience.

20) Night views of Milan

Lastly, on our final night in Milan we went out for one last stroll around the city to enjoy some nighttime views. Swing by Il Duomo if you get a chance – it feels completely different when the lights come on and the crowds disperse.

Milan’s skyline undergoes a magical transformation at night. Landmarks like the Duomo, Sforza Castle, and the modern skyscrapers of Porta Nuova are all beautifully illuminated, creating a stunning contrast against the night sky. The soft glow of streetlights and the reflections on the Navigli canals add to the enchanting atmosphere.

Milan offers several spots where you can enjoy panoramic night views. The rooftop terraces of the Duomo and the Galleria provide breathtaking perspectives of the city. The Branca Tower in Parco Sempione offers a 360-degree view, where you can see the city lights stretching out to the horizon.

Tips for Visitors

  • Plan Ahead: Check the opening hours of rooftop terraces and observation points. Some may close earlier in the evening.
  • Stay Safe: Stick to well-lit and populated areas, and be mindful of your belongings.
  • Enjoy the Moment: Take time to simply enjoy the views without the distraction of a camera. The beauty of Milan at night is best appreciated in person.

Milan Travel Video

Milan Photo Essay

xAudrey Bergner of That Backpacker jumping in front of a window at Il Duomo in Milan, Italy
Audrey Bergner of That Backpacker jumping in front of a window at Il Duomo in Milan, Italy
Views of the architecture of the impressive Galleria in Milan, Italy
Views of the architecture of the impressive Galleria in Milan, Italy
Views of the spires and of the city of Milan, Italy from high atop Il Duomo terrace.
Views of the spires and of the city of Milan, Italy from high atop Il Duomo terrace.
The incredible Galleria from inside in Milan, Italy
The incredible Galleria from inside in Milan, Italy
Sunset silhouette views of the city of Milan, Italy
Sunset silhouette views of the city of Milan, Italy

Milan Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

And that’s all for our visit to Milan. We hope this 20 things to do Milan travel guide, attractions video and photo essay will give you some cool ideas of sights and places to check out around town, and if you have any other suggestions for travellers, feel free to add those to the comments below.

Our trip to Milan, Lombardy was part of the #Blogville project where we stayed in a local apartment and experienced all of the best cultural activities, museums, restaurants, arts and entertainment the city has to offer. 

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  1. says: Darren

    Awesome info, thanks! We’re planning to be there for just three days next summer as well, so this will be a great list to work from. Side note: the caption in your first photo in the photo essay section has a bit of a humorous typo!

  2. says: John

    I’ve been to Milan but I must say the coffee there isn’t as great as the one in naples. From what I heard they filter the water in such a way to make the coffee taste even better, not sure if that is entirely true but you do get a big difference.

  3. says: Liam

    Great ideas. I found Milan to be a “less Italian” city than other cities in the country, so I was a bit disappointed at first. I think I need to give it another go with a more open mind.

  4. says: noel

    I’ve only made a pit stop at the train station in Milan and did a quick tour. Definitely need to spend more time and check out the Chinatown there – who knew?

  5. says: Aaron

    Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous place in this article, sir. Milan is a fun historic city that both works hard and plays hard.