Day 1 in Milan
Welcome to Milan, the fifth-largest city in the European Union! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do.
We suggest starting your day at the Piazza del Duomo and going for a walk in the area to get acquainted with the city center. This area is packed with great Italian restaurants and al fresco cafes, perfect to relax over a coffee or some lunch while taking in the ambiance of the city.
Next check out the must see Duomo Cathedral. The marble façade, the towers` details, the rich interior, everything is stunning at this church. We recommend you also visit the Crypt of St. Charles, Duomo Museum and the terrace while you are here. A tip for your visit: check the time for the last admission and go as late as possible so you can have a glimpse of the sunset from the Cathedral`s terraced rooftop, it`s impressive! You can take an elevator or walk up the stairs which is the cheapest and fastest way up.
After enjoying the impressive panoramic views of Milan, partake in the tradition of the aperitivo, which in Milan, is considered an institution, and no visit would be complete without this pre-dinner ritual. Every day around 5 or 6pm bars and cafes around the city starts serving the traditional aperitivo, Italy`s best own version of a happy hour. In some places they will bring finger food to your table, and as long as you order drinks the food keeps coming.
Afterward, grab some dinner in the area before heading back to your hotel for a restful night sleep.
Day 2 in Milan
Wake up early today and head to the famous painting The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci located in the refectory of Santa Maria Delle Grazie Convent. This is perhaps one of the most famous paintings in the world! Unlike frescoes, which are painted on wet plaster and thus must be completed rather quickly, da Vinci used tempera paints on a dry wall, after sealing the stone with dried plaster and adding an undercoat of white lead to achieve greater luminosity. It`s astonishing and overwhelming - even despite the fact that Jesus`s feet were lost in 1652 thanks to some ill-thought-out renovations. Entrance is limited and restricted to those with advance timed tickets so make sure to book these tickets in advance.
Spend your afternoon at Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II an elegant 19th-century shopping arcade that houses some of the most luxurious boutiques in Milan. The Galleria is situated between the Piazza del Duomo and opening on the other side to Piazza della Scala. This grand building was built between 1865 and 1877 and contains brands such as Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as other high-end boutiques. It also houses numerous well-decorated restaurants, including some of the oldest establishments of Milan such as Café Biffi, founded in 1867. If you walk around the galleries, the central dome has a stunning mosaic that represents the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and America. Browse the shops, relax at one of the restaurants, take in the architecture and enjoy the ambiance of the arcade.
Next, take in more of the culture of the city be spending some time at Pinacoteca di Brera, built between 1651 and 1773, this was originally a Jesuit college. Even if you are not into arts, this place is gorgeous so it is definitely worth fitting into your visit. Pinacoteca di Brera is located at Palazzo Brera and you will find a library, an astronomical observatory, a botanic garden, the Lombard Institute for Science and Arts, and the Academy of Fine Arts there. Not to mention that the building itself is worth visiting.
As the evening approaches, we recommend heading to the Naviglio district. This area, constructed over hundreds of years ago, is where you`ll see the city`s oldest canals, and around them have sprung up a surge of bars, restaurants and cafes that brings great energy in the evening hours. For spectacular views at a leisurely pace, join a boat tour and relax as you take in the city sights around you.
Day 3 in Milan
On your last day in Milan spend some time visiting more of the interesting sights and attractions of the city. Check out the Castello Sforzesco, built in 1368 and rebuilt in 1450, this is the former fortress and residence of Milan`s most powerful rulers. Today it serves as some of the city`s best cultural institutions. Castello Sforzesco features a plethora of museums and galleries focusing on art and history. There`s the Picture Gallery, the Furniture Collection, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museo Egizio, Egyptian Museum and so much more. There`s also the Oreficerie, which houses one of the largest collections of musical instruments in Europe.
Even if you don`t choose to spend a lot of time inside the museums and exhibitions, the architecture and lush grounds outside the castle are still worth a visit. The Castello Sforzesco is connected to the Parco Sempione which boasts beautiful walking paths, a small pond, cafes and its own points of interest, including the porta Sempione, which bears a striking resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Tuileries gardens in Paris. The castle is free to visit, but there is a fee if you wish to visit any of the museums.
Another must-visit site of the city is the Monumental Cemetery. Opened near the end of the 19th century, the cemetery is filled with graves, yes, but also Greek temples, ornate obelisks and impressive nearly life-like sculptures throughout. The cemetery is also decorative and boasts amazing architecture, so much so, that most visitors say it could easily double as an outdoor museum. The reason the cemetery looks as lovely as it does is because parts of the cemetery were once exclusively reserved for the rich and famous. So instead of rows of basic tombstones, the near and dear of the departed adorned burial sites with, or turned them into, works of art.
Alternatively, you may want to check out Milan`s Chinatown district, it`s not large, but it certainly packs a punch. There are markets to wander and restaurants to enjoy, as well as street food and bars that provide a perfect area to explore through your taste buds. From dumplings to delectable crepes, to wine bars and gelato stops, every turn offers new flavors to enjoy.
Of course you`ll want to make time for some shopping during your visit. You can`t visit the world` fashion capital and leave the city with empty hands. The best place to get some shopping in is the so-called `Golden Triangle,` an area that encompasses the Via della Spiga, Via Sant`Andrea and Via Montenapoleone. There you will find all the luxury brands, both Italian - Prada, Versace, Armani and Dolce and Gabbana and foreign, such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.
Spend your last evening in Milan at the Theatre. Since its founding by Archduchess Maria Theresa in the late 18th century, the Teatro alla Scala has remained one of the finest opera theatres in Europe. We`d highly recommend a night out at this grand auditorium, it`s truly an experience like no other.
Additional Days in Milan
Should you be able to spend additional days in Milan, then you may enjoy our day trips to Bergamo, sometimes described as the Siena of the North, as well as Cinque Terre, a cluster of vineyards and villages along five miles of rocky coast in eastern Liguria, recognized as a National Park in 1999 and a UNESCO protected territory since 1997.
For more scenic beauty, try the `Swiss Alps Bernina Express Rail Tour from Milan` where you will travel by coach to explore the Old Town of Tirano before boarding the Bernina Express train early in the afternoon. The spectacular journey through valleys, gorges and past glaciers is a photographer`s dream. Approximately two hours later arrive in the famous Swiss resort town of St. Moritz where you will have free time to explore this small mountain town before departing by coach for the return journey to Milan.
Finally, if you can`t afford a pricey piece from the Quadrilatero d`Oro, but can`t stand leaving empty handed then we suggest one of the outlet tours where you can find incredible deals on designer duds!
Your Last Day in Milan
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel, in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.