What to see in Milan: 

Milan’s top attractions

When planning a trip to Italy, Milan might not be the first place you think of. And that’s exactly why you should visit.

While it doesn’t have the pulling power of Rome, Florence or Venice, Milan doesn’t suffer tourist crowds and isn’t short on must-visit attractions and cultural hotspots either. So, though it may be a less conspicuous holiday destination, there’s plenty to see and do in ever-fashionable Milan – from architectural wonders and palazzos filled with renaissance paintings to awe-inspiring cathedrals and an iconic cathedral of football.

Sounds good? Watch our video, read through our recommendations and discover some unmissable Milan attractions

Duomo di Milano

One of the brilliant things about Milan is how its oldest buildings sit so nicely amongst modern skyscrapers. But for the efforts of all the ‘starchitects’ that have increasingly flocked to the city in recent years, one building is still the undisputed must-see in Milan – the Duomo di Milano. Far from being ‘just another cathedral’, this gothic masterpiece sits slap-bang at the heart of Milan and looks just as good on the inside as it does from the outside. Visit early to avoid crowds, and swing by Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo for legit Neapolitan pizza while you’re in the area.

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
Public Transport: M1, M3 Duomo

Santa Maria delle Grazie 

Another church? You bet. The Santa Maria della Grazie is stunning, gothic, and stunningly gothic all at once… oh, and it’s home to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. You know it. You’ve seen it a million times before. But if you’ve never seen it up-close then you should do so when you’re in Milan. The paint has been deteriorating since the 16th century, so check it out before it disappears forever. 

Address: Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Public Transport: Metro: M1 Conciliazione ; Bus: 43, 68, 94;

Sforza Castle 

Not far from the Duomo di Milano is Sforza Castle. Built in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, this impressive citadel is home to extensive gardens and a number of museums including the Museum of Ancient Art – home to some Da Vinci frescoes – and the Pinacoteca gallery, where you’ll find works by the likes of Bronzino, Tintoretto and Titian. It made people go ‘phwoar’ then (we assume) and it’ll make you go ‘phwoar’ now. 

Address: Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Public Transport: M1 - Cadorna, Cairoli ;  M2 - Lanza 

Bar Luce

We’ve already put together a guide on where to eat in Milan when taking a break from sightseeing but for moments when you want both, head to Bar Luce. If visiting this 1950’s-style bar/café feels a little like walking into the set of a Wes Anderson film, you’d be half right – it was designed by the film auteur himself. Suddenly the pastel colours, ‘Steve Zissou’ pinball machine and kitsch design all make sense. This ludicrously Instagrammable bar is open 9 am - 8 pm (10 pm on weekends) daily except for Tuesdays. 

Address: Largo Isarco, 2, 20139 Milano MI, Italy 
Public Transport: Bus 65 

Navigli District 

A cyclist-friendly city , and you’ll find some of the best cycle routes in the city in the canal-heavy Navigli district. An undeniably scenic one follows the Naviglio della Martesana out of town, through ancient villages, noble villas and picturesque parks. The beautiful lakeside city of Lecco is one potential destination, but if you’re a cheese lover you’ll want to head to Gorgonzola – it’s fine, you’ll (probably) burn all those calories off on the cycle back into the city. Simply hop on a BikeMi or Mobike and gorge on this creamy blue cheese until your heart is content. 

Address: Alzaia Naviglio Pavese, 20143 Milano MI, Italy
Public transport: M2 P.ta Genova FS 

Street Art

There’s no shortage of places to go in Milan if you want to seek out superlative renaissance paintings and frescos, but if you fancy something more modern, head to the city’s Isola neighbourhood for some modern-day masterpieces. Milan is a mecca of street art, and this modest, creative neighbourhood is ground zero – the area is filled with street art, often created by locals. Walk it yourself or book onto a street art walking tour to make sure you don’t miss the best bits! 

Address: 20124 Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy
Public transport: Metro: M3 Zara, M5 Isola ; Bike

San Siro

Milan’s famed San Siro stadium is home to two of Europe’s football giants – AC Milan and Inter Milan. With a capacity of 80,000, this football temple is one of the biggest in Europe and juggles home games between the two teams from August until May each year. Concerts take over in the summer, and over the years this iconic stadium has hosted Madonna, Beyoncé & Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna and more. Its set to be demolished and replaced before the 2022/23 Serie A season, so time is running out to catch a game here. There aren’t many places like it. 

Address: Piazzale Angelo Moratti, 20151 Milano MI, Italy 
Public transport: M5 San Siro Stadio; Bus 16,49 

Day Trips

But Lecco and Gorgonzola aren’t the only day trips you can take from Milan. Hire a car and head for the handsome, historic fortress town of Bergamo (only an hour drive away) or postcard-perfect Lake Como (less than 45 minutes by train). Visiting Milan with a star-crossed lover? Hop on a train and visit nearby Verona (just over an hour away) for Romeo and Juliet-y stuff, charming architecture, fine food and irresistible regional wines. If you don’t mind early starts and sitting on trains for ages, or simply fancy a more substantial trip away from Milan, St. Moritz in Switzerland could be an option – it’s roughly 4 hours away by train.

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