If you’ve happened to stumble across my Instagram or Twitter accounts within the past 4-6 months then you might have realised that someone from the male species has appeared in my life. As a (previously) very single singleton it seems to have sparked some soppy excitement on my socials -which is great, because I too, am a sop. And for Christmas, this sop right here got spoilt. Alex totally spoilt me with a surprise trip to Milan! I had mentioned a few months before that it was on my travel ‘to visit’ list and he actually had been paying attention and got it all very spot on. We decided to go for a long weekend in February. Although we were unsure on what the weather would be like we were super lucky in the end, and treated to glorious blue skies and sunshine for 2 out of the 3 days, until it chucked it down on our last half day – which wasn’t too bad really!
Accommodation & Flights
My very lovely boyfriend was in charge of the flights and accommodation as the trip was all his to own! When I was surprised with the trip over Christmas, (hidden in a packet of quavers nonetheless – long story), he had provisionally booked somewhere for 1 night, because he was unsure whether i’d be able to skive off of uni on the Friday. I was able to skive off in the end, but the original booking couldn’t accommodate Friday-Sunday, so we found another one instead. We decided to stay in an apartment via Air Bnb, as opposed to a hotel, as it was simple enough and I had some credit from referrals. We came across Michela’s ‘Cube’ flat, complete with a 60litre ‘hot tub’ for just £48 a night. It was an absolute steal as it had a bathroom to die for, a pretty simple but ample bedroom/kitchen/living room and it was a great place for us to recharge our batteries in between touristing about. The location was spot on as it was in the middle of quite a few main metro stations, just 5-10 minutes from the main Milan train station and a stones throw away from some supermarkets, bars and cafes. The trip was also the perfect excuse to test out my hand luggage skills as we saved on flight prices by choosing to fly just hand luggage.
Travel in Milan was SUPER simple. We bought some Milano Cards online before we went, and downloaded the app as it displayed a handy timer countdown that showed how long we had remaining on our 72hour travel cards. It also had sections that covered the various discounts available throughout the city with the card. The cards themselves are not available on the app and you do need to pick up the physical cards for your stay. Just a little tip, the desk where you collection the tickets from is from the 4th floor of the galleria by the shopping centre. We found it super hard to find as the alleyway/entrance looked like the entrance to a fancy hotel/bar/restaurant – we literally walked right past it at least 4 times!! We bought the 72hour card for 19euros each (about £16) and this covered all of our public transport across the 3 days that we were there for. We used it on the metro for all 3 days and for the bus back to Milane Linate airport on the Sunday and found the public transport super easy to use. We did also do a lot of walking, hitting about 20k steps each day, which only meant more room for pizza, pasta and wine….
Food and Drink
OH the food. I adore Italy and it’s food. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Italy around 10 times over the years, visiting various different regions and islands, experiencing all the incredible various local offerings, so I was obviously absolutely buzzing to inhale ALL of the delicious food and drink im Milan. And I was NOT dissapointed.
On the Friday we arrived into Milan pretty early, so we found our bearings, wandered around the city (aka got lost trying to collect our Milano cards) and settled on a nice looking spot for a bite to eat. We stumbled across Mi Gigi; where for just €10 per person we got a great lunch deal of a main meal and a glass of wine! For dinner we did a little research online before deciding on trying out Pizzium which was incredible. We’re STILL raving about the meal that we had there. Think Franco Manca, add in a touch of authentic Italian, a buzzing atmosphere, incredible food at bargain prices and you have Pizzium. Pizzas ranged in price from €6-12 and a bottle of wine costs about €20. I went for the Montecalvario (€12) white pizza; Fior di Latte Mozzarella Cheese Caseificio F.lli Fusco, caciocavallo cheese, crust filled with buffalo cheese ricotta Caseificio Franzese, porcini mushrooms. And it was INCREDIBLE. We loved the fast paced restaurant and it’s super friendly atmosphere and we felt like real Milan locals, whilst filling our boots on pizza and cheese!
On the Saturday we headed along to the Navilgi district for lunch and it was a gorgeous place. I’d love to go back to Navilgi again for a short break, just to eat my way around the place! The weather was gorgeous but we decided on a spot inside a lovely restaurant (of which the name has totally escaped me), where we were spoilt with yet another incredible meal. For dinner we decided we had to find a rooftop spot. Whilst visiting the Duomo rooftop earlier we had spotted some rooftop restaurants, so we checked out Maio which is one of the many restaurants that is spread out across the top floor of La Rinascente (a Milan department store). It was a stunning (albeit chilly) spot for some pre dinner drinks and food. Whilst we were enjoying our pre-din’s cocktails we had some complimentary olives/crisps to nibble on and we nabbed a few blankets to keep us cosy. We both went for risottos and they were delicious!
On the Sunday we only had time for lunch (boohoo) before hopping on a mid afternoon flight home. Whilst dodging the unexpected Sunday rain (luckily it was glorious sunshine until the day we left) we came across the Charleston which was an Instagrammers interior dream. As we were only grabbing a pre-flight bite to eat and a coffee, we didn’t go too all out, and instead decided to go for our last Italian pizza of the trip – and it did not dissapoint! A little while after we arrived it really started to fill up and by the time we left it was pretty much rammed, so if you do decide to visit for lunch/dinner – maybe look into booking where possible.
Overall we found food and drink in Milan to be reasonably priced. However watch out on the main Milan square. On the Saturday night we wandered into a rooftop bar to find out the cocktails were 20-50 euros a pop. Safe to say we quickly left. We definitely found cocktails to be super pricey, but wine in restaurants seemed reasonable.
We tried a few cocktail bars out, such as Tabloid (definitely recommend) – where the crowd wasn’t overly pretentious, drinks were super reasonable and you could actually sit down. We also tried cocktails out at Monkey – where there is no menu! You just tell the waiter what you like as a base and whether you like it sweet or sour, OR you can tell them a classic cocktail you do like, and they can make that up for you too.
Things to see & do
Milan offers an absolute abundance of things to do. From museums, to galleries, to exhibitions, to just people watching, bar hopping and shopping. On our first day we just found our bearings whilst getting lost, had a really good walk about the city and got a feel for the place.
At dinner on the Friday night we managed to book x2 Duomo Pass’s for €17.50 per person for the following Saturday morning – this included entry to the cathedral, crypt of St.Charles, the archaeological area, duomo museum, church of San Gottardo and of course the roof terraces via the lift. We rocked up at 9am on the Saturday and it was lovely to see the square outside of the Duomo pretty empty. We then didn’t have to queue to get into the cathedral either! However due to the cold night and it being so early, the roof terraces were actually too icy, so we had to go back later. But it was SO worth it. The views were absolutely incredible! We had to queue for about 40-50 minutes to get into the lift to go up but it was so worth it.
Galleria Skyline & Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Milan is ALL about the roof terraces and rooftop views. And so it should be. The place where we had to pick up our Milano Cards from is actually the entrance to the Galleria Skyline! Normally you get this entry for free with your card, but due to Pavarotti exhibition that was also on we instead got the ticket price at a reduced rate of €6. The skyline walk was pretty crazy as essentially you’re walking around the rooftop of the gigantic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping centre! The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is also a classic Milan must visit – but if you plan to actually go shopping, maybe take a loan out. As gorgeous as it is, it pretty much only houses luxury brands. Although not practical, it made for a great window shopping spot – although be warned, the place is swarming with tourists trying to get ‘that shot’.
Sforza Castle was probably our most unexpected win of the trip. We made our way over to the Parco Sempione originally to go up the Branca Tower as it was only about €5 with the Milano card. However when we got there we found out it was closed for a few weeks. So we headed back to the entrance of the park where Sforza Castle is located and had a little mosey. We ended up purchasing tickets for the castle which included entry to everything on site for just €5. Even though half of the stuff to see wasn’t really up our street, it was a total steal and we got to see the last sculpture of Michelangelo’s which was pretty special. We also had a bargain coffee break; x2 cappuccinos and pastries for just €7.20. Yes please.
I absolutely adored our 3 days in Milan and it was the perfect amount of time to visit the city! Although I definitely did need a day at home afterwards to recharge as we were pretty much go-go-go the whole time we were there. I loved that it was only a short 1.5 hour flight from London and the city captures the perfect Italian city vibe that I live for. If you find yourself thinking about treating yourself to a European mini break, I can’t recommend Milan enough!
Now where to next…..