A reputation as the fashion capital of the world (or at least the window shopping capital of the world) is Milan’s biggest draw and those who come to experience retail therapy at its most will not be disappointed.
The names of the most powerful fashion houses in the world, from Gucci and Versace to Valentino and Armani give Milan its glamorous edge. Everything about Milan oozes sophistication and chic. Put simply, Milan is one of the most stylish cities in the world.
Milan isn’t as romantic as Venice or as ancient as Rome but it does have some architectural gems such as the masterful Gothic Duomo, one of the largest in the world – particularly breathtaking when illuminated at night. The beautiful La Scala Opera House, the Medieval Castello Sforzesco and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele are all ancient historical masterpieces that warrant further exploration. Milan also happens to be the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century magnum opus, The Last Supper while the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology houses even more of his incredible works.
For the finest in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, don’t miss the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, the Museo del Novecento and the spectacular Galleria d'Arte Moderna. The tree palaces of Anguissola Antona Traversi, Brentani and della Banca Commerciale d'Italia are home to the magnificent Gallerie d'Italia Piazza Scala, while Sforzesco Castle hides Michelangelo’s exquisite statue, the Pietà Rondanini.
Walk the Via Dante, the street in Milan named after the famous poet, to browse the chic boutiques or to re-fuel on cappuccino in one of its many beautiful cafes or ready yourself for a shopping experience like no other on the Corso Buenos Aires – one of the longest shopping streets in Europe! There are more shops here than Imelda Marcos had shoes.
After a hard day of flexing the plastic, kick back in the Piazza del Duomo — the social heart of Milan or, for a stroll back in time, visit the enchanting medieval Piazza Mercanti square. Sempione Park and the 18th century Giardini Pubblici are two tranquil green spaces that promise a little respite from the crowds.
Navigli and Brera are the best districts to head for as the sun goes down. With lively cafes, bars and restaurants perfect for that Italian tradition, the ‘apperitivo’, don’t be fooled by the sophisticated exterior – the Milanese know how to party!
The following information is correct as of November 2014 and is subject to change. Please check with the airline directly for complete accuracy.
Milan is served by three airports. Milan Malpensa is the city’s principal international airport located 30 miles from Milan, taking an hour to reach by car. An express train links the airport to the city in 50 minutes while shuttle buses and taxis are also available.
The second airport is Linate, the closest of the three, located 6 miles away, taking just 30 minutes to reach Milan by car. Mostly served by European and domestic flights, Linate has bus and taxi services taking travellers to Milan in approximately 30 minutes.
The third airport is Bergamo, located approximately 35 miles from Milan, taking over an hour by car. This airport is served mainly by budget airlines. A regular bus services operates from outside the airport taking almost 2 hours to reach Milan, while taxis are also available for hire.
What you need to know
Currency: The Euro (€)
Visas: UK and EU nationals do not require a visa to visit Italy. A valid passport is required for the duration of stay. Other nationalities may require a visa to enter Italy – more information can be obtained from a local embassy or the Foreign Office website.
Laws: The legal age for consumption of alcohol in Milan is 16. There is a smoking ban which prohibits smoking in all indoor public places including on public transport and in workplaces. By law some form of identification must be carried at all times. Local police will ask for a passport if they stop you while driving.
Best Time to Visit
Shopping in Milan is a joy at any time of year, apart from August, when the hot temperatures mean Italians shut down their shops and head for the coast.
March and April are often balmy with occasional rain but are cheaper and quieter months to visit. September and October are also quieter months to visit, with temperatures still vastly warmer than the UK! From July through to August the temperatures increase drastically, where high humidity can make sightseeing a little unpleasant. December is chilly, although never usually reaching below zero, but the allure of the twinkling lights and aromatic treats of the beautiful Christmas markets, it is still well worth a visit.
Being the fashion capital of the world, one of the most popular times to visit Milan is ‘the Season of the Sales’ which take place towards the end of each fashion ‘season’ and see reductions of up to 50% on stunning designer clothing. February brings with it Milan Fashion Week – another iconic event that sees visitors flocking in their droves for a spot of celebrity spotting. Early September brings another heart-stopping event – the F1 Grand Prix, to its Monza circuit for more celebrity spotting and some high octane driving. More sedate events like the beautiful Antiques Fair take place in July, where hundreds of merchants sell stunning porcelains, clocks, jewellery, dolls, books, furniture and much more. Oggi Aperto, in March, means the opening up of all historical monuments and architectural wonders normally out of bounds to visitors, for one day only. This really is an unmissable treat. Another is the incredible Milan Film Festival in September.
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Airports near Milan
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