Whether you’re a certified fashionista, you’re looking to up your style game, or you’re seeking amazing Instagram shots, you have to go to Milan. From designer shops to historic architecture to fantastic museums to pretty plazas, this Italian hotspot has it all. Find out how to design the perfect day, how to get around the airport, and where to stay in Milan.

Your Milan Itinerary

Be sure to get plenty of beauty sleep because Milan’s fast pace is unrelenting. Start off with a little history and culture, and then get ready to explore the city’s stylish side.

Morning: Kick Things Off With Coffee

To check off everything on your Milan itinerary, you’ll need to stay focused. Coffee is key, and if you want to start things off with the city’s best cappuccino, head to Bastianello. You’ll love the perfectly foamy espresso drinks, which are best enjoyed with an apricot pastry or your choice of sfogliatelle. Cova is another local favorite that’s guided the city’s espresso scene for decades. Like Bastianello, Cova has a grand interior and excellent cappuccinos, and it offers a fantastic opportunity to practice your Italian.

If you’re looking for a slightly quieter spot, head to Fioraio Bianchi Caffé, a coffee shop that’s anchored the artsy Brera neighborhood for more than four decades. The interior is adorably shabby chic, and you won’t be able to resist snapping at least a few photos as you sip your cappuccino and admire the plentiful flower displays. If one really catches your eye, you can even take the displays with you, as this cute spot doubles as a florist.

Milan Cathedral
The Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) in Milan.

Noon: Immerse Yourself in Milan’s History and Culture

In Milan, everything starts with the Duomo, the massive Gothic cathedral that dominate the city center. You’ll want to spend at least a few minutes admiring the sculptures and carvings outside, but save plenty of time for the interior. With stained glass, statues, and jaw-dropping architectural details, the Duomo aims to impress. Don’t miss your chance to ascend to the roof for some of the most stunning views of Milan, either.

Even if you don’t necessarily love exploring churches, you’ll want to stop by Santa Maria delle Gazie. This church houses Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” which is a must-see. Be sure to reserve your spot as far in advance as possible, since this is one popular ticket.

If you have energy for a little more art and history, head over to Castello Sforzesco, where you’ll find Milan’s Museum of Decorative Arts, the Oreficerie collection of musical instruments, some gorgeous gardens, and tons more. You could easily spend a day or more here, so map out your visit in advance to ensure that you don’t miss any highlights.

Once you’ve had your fill of Milan’s history, spin by one of the hottest tickets in town. The Fondazione Prada hosts some of the city’s most cutting-edge art exhibitions at its Largo Isarco complex, which will pull you in with its shiny gold exterior. Exhibitions change every few months, so check to see which world-renowned contemporary artists are showing here during your visit. Be sure to leave time for a few selfies in the courtyard, too.

After all that art and history, you need a pick-me-up before you hit the shopping streets. Like many Italian cities, Milan is known for its amazing gelato, which you can find on just about every block. When only the best gelato will do, however, set your sights on La Bottega del Gelato. This hotspot offers year-round favorites and seasonal flavors, but everything is made in house. Try the strawberries with red wine, the passionfruit, or the hazelnut.

If you’re a certified chocaholic, there’s only one place you should go. Head straight for Cioccolati Italiani, where you’ll find towers of milk and white chocolate gelato beautifully topped with Nutella and hazelnuts.

Bosco verticale
The Bosco Verticale in Milan.

Late Afternoon: Shop Till You Drop

After a quick gelato break, you’ll truly be ready to tackle Milan’s famous shopping streets. Start on Via Montenapoleone, a star-studded avenue lined with all of the major designer shops. This is the perfect place to window shop or to treat yourself to those Miu Miu shoes or that Fendi bag you’ve been dreaming of.

You also won’t want to miss the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a huge shopping arcade that’s been tempting shoppers since 1867. This is where you’ll find the flagship Prada store, along with Gucci, Armani, and other designer shops. If you’re on a budget, though, try the outlet stores on the streets surrounding the arcade. You might have to do some digging, but you’ll score much lower prices for designer finds.

Evening: Sit Down to a Stylish Meal

Milan is all about charming trattorias and lovely little osterias. If you want to splash out, check out Osteria del Pesce al Pontile, a buzzy seafood spot with show-stopping seafood platters, melt-in-your-mouth seafood risotto, and inventive octopus dishes.

Looking for some hip veggie eats in Milan? Joia is your spot, as this place elevates vegetarian cuisine to a whole new level. Treat yourself to one of the indulgent prix fixe menus or choose out-of-this world antipasti like parmesan fondue, mains like slow-cooked artichoke with tandoori tempeh and almond cheese, or desserts like apple tatin with cinnamon sorbet.

If you get a second wind after dinner, don’t hesitate to go out on the town. Milan’s nightlife tends to span until the early morning hours, and there’s a little something for everyone. Armani / Prive is one of the most legendary upscale spots, and it’s the perfect place to sip champagne while rubbing elbows with stylish celebrities. If you want to dance the night away, head over to Magazzini Generali, a former warehouse that now hosts DJs and high-energy concerts.

Arco della pace
The Porta Sempione (also known as Arco Della Pace) in Milan.

Malpensa Airport Guide

To get to Milan in style, you’ll want to fly into Malpensa Airport (MXP). When it comes to international passengers, this is Italy’s second-busiest airport, but it’s safe to say that MXP is first when it comes to style.

MXP is pretty easy to navigate, since it only has two terminals. Terminal 2 is a bit more dated, and Terminal 1 is a bit larger, with three concourses. If you’re flying easyJet to or from its two dozen or so European and Middle Eastern destinations, you’ll be flying out of Terminal 2. If you’re flying Alitalia, AlbaStar, Flybe, Meridiana, Neos, Ryanair, Vueling, or any of the other airlines that serve the airport, you’ll be flying out of Terminal 1. With destinations ranging from Europe to North America to Asia to Africa, you can get to almost anywhere from here.

How to Get to and From Malpensa Airport

MXP is about 30 miles northwest of Milan, and you can take your pick of transit options to get to and from the airport. Always dreamed of driving through Italy? Rent a car at the airport and do the 50-minute drive yourself. You can also take a taxi, but the price can be a little steep. It’s usually €95 for a taxi to the city center, which is a little more affordable if you’re splitting it with friends.

If you’re trying to save your euro for experiences in Milan, try the train instead. You can take the Malpensa Express from the city’s central train station directly to the airport, or vice versa. It costs €13 for a one-way ticket, the ride takes about 50 minutes, and trains run every 30 minutes.

What to Do at Malpensa Airport

Have a few minutes to kill before your flight? Chill out on your choice of piazzas, take a long walk through the terminals, or do a little shopping. MXP is packed with high-end shops, so you can stock up on Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Burberry, or Salvatore Ferragamo while you’re waiting. Shopping on a budget? Don’t worry. You’ll also find Zara and United Colors of Benetton here, too.

Want to skip the airline food and grab a bite to eat at the airport? Grab a coffee at Moka or Illy, have a glass of wine at the Ferrari Spazio Bollicine wine bar, or nosh on a slice of pizza at Spizzico.

Alternatives to Malpensa Airport

Not feeling MXP? Try flying into Milan Linate Airport (LIN) instead. Flight options are somewhat limited here, but Alitalia, Air France, Blue Air, British Airways, easyJet, Meridiana, and other airlines fly between LIN and European destinations like Rome, London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and many more. This airport is actually closer than MXP to the city center, so you can taxi into Milan in just 30 minutes or take the local bus in just 45 minutes.

Another option is Lugano Airport (LUG), which is just over the border in Switzerland. This small airport has limited services, but Swiss Air flies to and from Zürich, while Adria Airways flies to and from Geneva and Rome. It takes about 75 minutes to drive between LUG and Milan, and taking the train will run you about two hours.

Porta ticinese
The Porta Ticinese in Milan.

Where to Stay in Milan

From design-centric boutique hotels to buzzing hostels to trendy private rentals, Milan offers all kinds of accommodations. Take a look at some of your best options for staying in the city.

Top Hotels in Milan

Given its reputation as a design hub, it’s no wonder that Milan has so many amazing boutique hotels to choose from. Base yourself at the Senato Hotel Milano, and you’ll be just a few blocks from the best high-end shopping in Milan. You’ll love the location near Via della Spiga, the clean design, the cool outdoor courtyard, and the local products for breakfast.

If you’re looking for something a little more palatial, try Palazzo Parigi, which has rooms with private balconies so you can slip out and breathe in that crisp Milan air. You’ll love the distinctive style, which balances opulence with minimalism, along with the sunny outdoor breakfast area and the unbeatable location in the middle of everything.

Prefer a small, intimate spot over a larger hotel? Check out LaFavia Four Rooms, a bed and breakfast with just four rooms but plenty of style. You’ll love the historic building, the contemporary decor, and the location in Milan’s artsy Brera neighborhood.

Best Hostels in Milan

Whether you want to keep your trip costs in check or you’re looking for a fun place to connect with fellow travelers, hostels check all the boxes. Don’t just stay in any old dorm, though. Set your sights on one of the best hostels in Milan.

Located about five seconds from Milan’s central train station, Ostello Bello Grande has an amazing location with tons of fun amenities. All rooms are en suite, you can dig into the free Italian Aperitivo meal every evening, and you can chill out in a hammock on one of the three terraces.

Right around the corner from some of the coolest bars, cafés, and historic sites in Milan, Atmos Luxe Navigli has en suite rooms, a comfy common area, and free Wi-Fi. In Porta Romana, Madama Hostel & Bistrot is a great option in a reused police station. With free breakfast, free activities, free walking tours, and a free buffet dinner, this welcoming spot is packed with freebies.

Teatro alla scala
The Teatro Alla Scala (La Scala) in Milan.

Coolest Private Rentals in Milan

Snagging a private rental in Milan is the easiest way to feel like a local here, with no prior experience required. So which neighborhoods have the coolest flats?

For a fashion-focused area with an edge, check out Brera. It’s right next door to the fashion hub of Milan, but with an artsy touch. If you’re looking for an area that’s a bit grittier and boasts some seriously amazing street art, countless cute shops, and weekend street markets try Isola. For a buzzing neighborhood right on the waterfront, check out Naviglio Grande, Milan’s largest canal.

Whether you’re making a quick stop in Milan en route to other Italian destinations or you’re planning to settle in and stay awhile, you’ll fall head over heels for this fashion-focused city. Plan transit, flights, and attractions with GoDoTrip and get ready for a seriously stylish trip.