Milan, known for its fashion and finance is one of my favourite travel destinations for many reasons including spectacular sightseeing, world-class shopping, and gourmet dining. Here are some of the best places to visit in Milan.
Sightsee & Explore
Duomo di Milano
One of the largest cathedrals in the world, the magnificent Duomo di Milano towers over the historic Piazza del Duomo in central Milan.
Walk 919 steps to the roof of the Duomo di Milano for incredible views of the city and a unique experience. You can ride an elevator almost to the top if you prefer.
Apparently, there are more statues on the Duomo di Milano than any other in the world – 3159 in total.
Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II
The recently restored Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls and one of the best places to visit in Milan. The luxury shops, cafes, and restaurants housed in the beautiful Galleria make it one of Milan’s most popular sights.
The colorful tile flooring contains many designs including a bull, the symbol of the city of Turin, represented on a mosaic near the centre of the Galleria. Legend has it that you must pivot on your right heel three times on the well-worn private parts of the tile bull to bring good luck.
Leonardo’s Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie
It is possible to view Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper inside the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Be sure to book your tickets in advance.
Navigli means ‘canal’ in Italian, and you might be surprised to learn that an extensive network of canals used to exist in Milan. These canals connected Milan with Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, and Switzerland and were used to transport material for construction of the Duomo di Milano. Trains and vehicles eventually replaced the extensive network of canals. Today the Navigli area refers to two canals – Navigli Grande and Navigli Pavese. You can read more about the Navigli neighbourhood here.
The Golden Quadrilateral
The Golden Quadrilateral also known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro is home to the best luxury shopping in the city. Bordered by Via Montenapoleone, Via Sant’ Andrea, Via Borgospesso and Via della Spiga, the Golden Quadrilateral includes boutiques by well-known designers including Giorgio Armani, Prada, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, and Versace.
La Rinascente, located in Piazza Duomo, is an excellent choice for moderately prices items. This multi-level department store offers an extensive selection of retail items, plus a large Food Hall with terraces overlooking the magnificent Duomo.
Mercantino del Naviglio Grande Flea Market
The Mercantino del Naviglio Grande flea market occurs along the Navigli Grande on the last Sunday of each month. Stalls from over 400 vendors include ceramics, books, art, and more.
Eat and Drink
After a leisurely breakfast over perfectly prepared espresso, plan on a late lunch, early evening aperitivo – an Italian tradition of cocktails and salty snacks, followed by a late dinner.
Delicious pastries, espresso, chocolates, and champagne await inside jewel-box-like Pasticceria Marchesi – operating in Milan since 1824.
Located at the Four Seasons Milano, La Veranda is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sit in the manicured courtyard during the warmer months or dine inside, and enjoy innovative Mediterranean and local cuisine. A separate children’s menu is available.
Giacomo Arengario, located at the Museo del Novecento overlooking the Piazza del Duomo and the Duomo, is a fabulous restaurant. With delicious food, attentive service, and a unique view of the Duomo – Giacomo Arengario is a winner.
Paper Moon, an authentic Italian restaurant located in the Golden Quadrilateral neighbourhood, is one of our favourites places for dinner. Casual attire is acceptable, but many patrons are well-dressed – it is Milan after all!
Il Foyer is an elegant lounge in the Four Seasons Hotel Milan, offering light snacks, desserts and cocktails. Bright and airy during by day and candlelit by night, Il Foyer is a beautiful spot to enjoy traditional Italian aperitivo. Piano entertainment is offered Monday-Saturday, from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm.
Best Places to Visit in Milan Travel Tips
- Reserve your tickets well in advance if you plan to visit The Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie.
- Be sure to make lunch and dinner reservations if you visit Milan. Contact information is included in the Google map below.
- The shopping in Milan is fabulous. Be sure to read this article on how to save money when you shop in Europe.
- The Four Seasons Hotel Milan is walking distance from many of the best places to visit in Milan. Read more about this fabulous hotel here.