I had a pretty good time in Milan the first two times I visited (check out my post about them here), but my latest trip definitely stood out as the favourite. Maybe it was because it was such a relaxed, casual break – when you’ve seen all the major sites you no longer feel compelled to run around like a headless chicken, trying to squeeze all the top attractions into a limited amount of time, and snap as many pictures as your fingers possibly can before giving out.
And the best part about not necessarily expecting to come across something extraordinary when you’ve been to a place twice already, is that actually you are more likely to be pleasantly surprised…
That’s exactly how it happened for me – we discovered a lovely glade in Parco Sempione to hide in the shade from the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun; we climbed the Duomo for a nice view and actually spotted a terrace bar which turned out to be the best bet of the day, even with the 15 minute wait. My friend Lidiya had never been to Milan, so showing her around all my favourite places and getting to discover a few new gems was an absolute delight!
View from the top of Duomo di Milano
An old favourite. I just can’t resist the opportunity for panoramic shots from the roof of the Duomo! And it’s free if you take the stairs, so I recommend doing it as a little challenge for seriously *breathtaking* 360 views of Milan.
Refreshing aperitif at Terrazza Aperol
This lovely terrace bar looks out onto Piazza del Duomo, and unsurprisingly it’s quite popular. Even so, we only had to wait for about 15 minutes to be seated, and we were lucky enough to get a great table! They serve some complimentary tapas and bags of homemade crisps when you order a cocktail, so it’s definitely not to be missed! The entrance is from the Vittorio Emanuele shopping arcade.
Window shopping in Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II
This stunning architectural delight is also a luxury shopping arcade. Rain or shine, it’s great to walk under the cover of the glass roof and oggle the luxury items on display in the beautifully arranged shopping windows.
At the far end of the arcade you can exit out to a little square with a monument to Leonardo da Vinci. The famous Teatro alla Scala is just across the street from there.
Al fresco dinner at Obica
Obica was the perfect choice for a light dinner out on another terrace (enter through the Rinascente department store). It’s a great mozzarella bar offering amazing stracciatella cheese (pictured) and a good range of salads, pizzas and traditional Italian pasta dishes. You can finish your meal off with some funky chocolates and cakes from the Rinascente food court just by the entrance of the bar.
Evening stroll around central Milan
As the light of day was starting to dwindle into a rosy glow on the horizon, we headed out on a relaxing after-dinner stroll along Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II. Going around the Duomo we got to see the beautiful stained-glass windows at the back of the cathedral, which we might have missed otherwise.
Having a lovely time out in the park!
Day two was even hotter than the previous one, so we thought we would spend it out in central Milan’s greatest green space, Parco Sempione. We took Via Dante from Piazza Cordusio, which leads directly to the gates of Castello Sforzesco, a 15th century castle with a huge courtyard you can freely walk through.
But there are certain priorities on hot days, such as getting gelato from Van Bol & Feste, who have been making the amazing stuff since 1890. Do not miss it, it is seriously special!
At the exit of the park is Arco della Pace, another beautiful historic monument built right on the site of the old city gate. Spending our last few moments in Milan looking out to it and basking in the warmth of the late afternoon sun was a glorious end to another great trip there. It is genuinely one of my favourite places for a city break!
If it so happens that Milan makes it into the list of places you’re weighing up for your next quick escape, then my work here is done. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! Don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to the blog for more adventures from around the world.
Until next time!