The 15 Best Milan Travel Tips In 2023: To Have The Perfect Italian Getaway

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Are you booking your first trip to Milan? Well, you will need to know the best Milan travel tips to make sure you avoid making rookie first-timer mistakes like we did! We packed wrong, wore the wrong clothes, and shoes, got sunburns, got blisters, lost power, and ran out of water, and got scammed all in one day. So safe to say that was a smack of a lesson for us to always be prepared when we travel and no city or country is the same!

That’s why we compiled this list of great tips for newbies like how we were when we first visited Milano!

This post is all about the Best Travel Tips For Milan! Whether you are a novice traveler without knowing about traveling Italy or a seasoned traveler. We are sure these tips will do you some good on your next trip to the beautiful city of Milano!

Duomo Di Milano
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Best Travel Tips Milan

Plan Your Milan Trip early!

We recommend you start planning for a trip at least six months in advance; this will give you time to get the time off, secure flights, find accommodations, and figure out your plan of action for the days you’ll be spending in Milan.

We recommend you plan your Milan trip in these steps:

  1. If International Trip: Start by looking for flights 4-6 months in advance, then plan on booking within three months of the trip. If Domestic, you can book your flights 2-3 months before the trip date.
  2. Look for your accommodations 2-3 months before the trip; if you plan too far ahead, the hotels or stays you want will be high. The opposite can be the same if you plan too close to the trip date; you’ll see less availability and higher prices.
  3. Next, you’ll want to plan how you will get around the city for the month of the trip; For example, how will you get to your hotel from the airport? What’re the best ways to get around Milan?
  4. Then, plan what you’ll be doing a month before the trip if you’ll visit touristy attractions such as the Duomo Milano, The last supper mural, and other popular tourist hot spots.
  5. Finally, map out your Milan itinerary for the month of the trip; this will give you a broad idea of gaps in your day and if you can squeeze more or need to reduce the day’s activities.

Learn Basic Italian words & common phrases in Italian

One of the best ways that you can immerse yourself into a culture is to learn the language, and no we aren’t saying you have to be a master of the language and be able to recite a dissertation in fluent italian. No, we honestly just recommend learning some of the most common phrases and basic italian words. of course if you could learn the language fluently and have a passion for it, then by all means!

Italian is a beautiful language, and if you know any of the other romance languages, such as Spanish or French, then you’ll have an easier time learning.

Dang, even knowing how to say hello in Italian would be better than nothing 👀

Pack your bag for a day out

The last thing you want is to be out and about in Milano and then have your phone die on you or forget to bring medicine and have a raging migraine 😟. It happened to us so many times during our first time abroad. This is why packing your travel bag is so important, and this changes depending on the season you are visiting Milan.

So you should plan on if you’re Packing for Italy in the Summer you’ll want to focus on light weight items, sunglasses, swimwear, etc. While a winter pack list you’ll want to bring some rain items, warm layerable clothing, and winter accessories.

Milan was our first time abroad, and we made about every mistake you can think of ughh. We didn’t pack well at all, and our day bags were just plain horrible. Since then, learning the art of minimalist packing has been a savior for our trips!

So make sure to pack these essentials to avoid making the same mistakes as us:

  • sunblock
  • sanitizer and wipes
  • tissue
  • umbrella or poncho if the weather forecast rain
  • makeup for touch ups and small comb
  • battery pack
  • chargers
  • pen and paper
  • extra memory card for camera
  • cash and identification papers

Wear comfortable clothes and shoes

You might want to dress a little fancier than you usually do in Milan, but this is entirely up to you. At the end of the day, if you aren’t comfortable, it can ruin your day, so we always say to dress casually and comfortably. We aren’t fashionistas ourselves and honestly could care less about the latest fashions.

Funny story, when in Milan for the first time, we got the ugliest looks because we decided to throw jeans on over our rompers and wore mismatched cardigans. Hey, in our defense, we were trying to get into the Duomo Milano 😆.

Anyways wear comfortable shoes, with good support. Don’t think about heels or cute sandals. You’ll get blisters and horrible foot pain. Instead, opt for some stylish and comfy travel sandals.

Also, if you plan on going to any religious areas, make sure to pack a shawl and some pants to slip into. You can’t show your knees or shoulders in churches.

Also, you can just opt for neutral colors and nothing too trendy. The last thing you want is to look back at a photo and regret what you wear 😆.

Milan public transportation
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The Best Milan Travel TIps

Travel via public transport

One of the best ways to get around Milan is to walk, but if you are short on time and need to get around quickly, or maybe you can’t walk long distances, or a member in your group has a disability. Utilizing public transportation may be the best route for you then.

We chose to walk around pretty much everywhere, to really get a feel for the city. However, we used the buses occasionally when we had to get across the city quickly.

The buses are easy to use, and you can buy tickets via sms and online via the Milan transportation site if you need a pass.

Honestly, Public transportation in all of Europe is amazing so don’t sleep on it!

Milan restaurant bar brera
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Enjoy Authentic Italian Food without being scammed

If you love Italian Food, then trying authentic Italian food should be on your agenda while exploring Milan. However, whatever you do, do not stop at and eat at the tourist traps near popular tourist hotspots. For example, all those lovely restaurants near the Duomo di Milano? Yeah, SKIRTTTTT!

Instead, visit the mom-and-pop restaurants that are located a few streets behind all the hustle and bustle of the touristy areas. Not only will the prices be way better, but the food will usually taste better ☺️.

 💶 Don't forget to learn about tipping culture in Italy 👀, it's a little complicated, but we got you covered!

Go Wine Tasting

When we first traveled to Milan, we had no idea how popular Wine was, it was commonly served without about every meal we saw being made! Locals just drinking it up, but casually and far from sloppy.

We have a big thing for wine and beer varieties in the states, especially locally-made versions. However, wine in Italy is just something else; maybe it’s the scenery, the vibe, or perhaps it’s because you’re out traveling, and wine compliments the day after a long day of walking.

Whatever the reason, going wine tasting is a must when exploring Milan!

There are a few ways you can go about this; you could go on a wine-tasting tour, aka our favorite option. You could also, go to different wine-tasting rooms and try different wine varieties. Finally, you could enjoy some wine with your dinner or during our favorite evening past time, Aperitivo!

Aperol spritz on Milan rooftop bar
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Enjoy Aperitivo

Ever been to Italy and wondered why are all these people sitting and drinking wine during what you thought was dinner time? Well, that’s called Aperitivo!

This can shock those who are used to Dinner being around 5-7.

Well it turns out Aperitivo is pretty similar to what we call back in the states Cocktail hour or happy hour. Usually locals will hang out around this time and sip on glass of wine or our personal favorite an aperol spritz, and munch on some finger foods like nuts, olives or cheese and bread.

The point of Aperitivo is much more than just sipping on wine; it’s a moment to unwind from the long day and have real conversations with your friends and family. This is enough to hold them over until dinner, usually around 8:00 – 10:00 pm, and can even go long into the night.

Now that you know what Aperitivo is, make sure to enjoy it in these popular Italian cities!

 ❤️ Catch stunning views in Venice, then go hang out and relax during aperitivo with friends.

 ❤️ Explore Venice at night after a wind-down of Wine and cheese during Aperitivo.

❤️ More of a renaissance art and wine gal? Then don't sleep on Florence and it's amazing views!

❤️ Want more a city feel but with Roman vibes? Then Rome the city of eternity is your place to be!
Park Sempione arco del pace
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Take A Walk In Park Sempione

When you need a break from the city, taking a stroll through the famous park, Sempione is a must-do activity! This large and lush green park is a favorite for everyone as it’s centrally located and near many other tourist attractions.

You’ll find tourists and locals alike strolling through the park and making their way through it and eventually stopping at nearby tourist destinations such as the popular arco del pace and Castle Sforzesco.

Make sure to bring extra water; it gets very hot during the summer and the vendors nearby will charge a load of money for a small bottle.

Visiting Park Sempione was one of our favorite parts of visiting Milan! But want to know what the Best Things To Do in Milan are?
water fountain near Castle Sforzesco
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Avoid Common Tourist Scams!

With popular tourist attractions comes along with common tourist traps! While we respect the hustle and everyone has to make money somehow. We do stress the importance of being careful with your shopping, dining, and interactions with others.

Common tourist traps in Milan:

  • Friendship bracelet scam: You’ll be approached by a person who will have bracelets. They will say they are free, but they are not and as soon as they get that piece of cheap string on your wrist they will demand payment. We recommend offering whatever you like, if the person is less scammy about it, or tell the person to remove the band and you’ll be on your way.
  • Tourist Restaurants: These restaurants are situated near popular attractions such as the duomo di milano, or the galleries. The restaurants will charge way higher prices than typical for the area. So we suggest heading back at least a few blocks and finding dining there. Of course if you want to experience a great view then there are a few potentially tourist trap rooftop bars near the cathedral that might be worth it 👀.
  • Taxi scam: Make sure you’re in an official taxi always, with up-to-date registration. Also, make sure the route is being monitored; a common scam that happens a lot is taxi drivers will forget to start the monitor and then charge you a crap ton. Also, gps the route to make sure the driver isn’t giving the tour of the land to get more miles out of the trip.
Navigli District
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Visit The Navigli District

We are so sad we didn’t know about this area till the last day of our trip; I’m not even sure how that happened because we had planned the trip so well and yet skipped this area???

Anyways, if you haven’t heard about the Navigli District, it’s this cool area near the Navigli Canal. It has a bountiful club scene, yummy restaurants, and the cutest shops for varying tastes! The nighttime scene in this area is where the Navigli district shines, it’s lively and full of lights and music, and it is even better during festival seasons! If you love the idea of exploring Milan at night then you have to this area dedicated night, trust! You won’t regret it 😎

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
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Visit The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of Europe’s grandest and most upscale shopping areas. It’s an iconic shopping gallery and is also Italy’s oldest and still running shopping mall. This stunning shopping destination is much more than a mall, though, it’s full of prized restaurants that have been around for ages such as Biffi Caffè and Savini restaurant.

It’s also full of luxury brands for those who can’t help but get an itch to grab an Italian luxury good while abroad, don’t worry, we would too 😉.

Catch an opera at Teatro alla Scala

Is it just us, or is Opera in Europe way better than in the states? Take this place, for example, Teatro Alla Scala, which is full of worldwide known classics and famous Italian masterpieces.

If you have the chance and the funds, we definitely recommend watching a classical Italian opera at this authentic teatro! You won’t regret it, and it’s of our favorite things to do in Milan!

Milan city center near Milan cathedral
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Take a Tour Through Milan

We personally love tours, after all when its your first time visiting a place, even if you study the city and have the greatest itinerary planned. You’ll never know it better than a local our tour guide.

Sure, some of the touristy tours can be really corny and cliche.

But there are a few gem tours that will show you the secrets of Milan and help you visit everything you wanted in way less time than it would have taken you to do it alone!

Popular Milan Tourist Attractions Tours :

Popular Milan Dining and Drinks Tours:

  • Aperitivo Tour with Street Food: Ummm, need we say more? You’ll be learning all about the popular Aperitivo specialty and there’s street food!
  • Milan Walking Tour with Street Food: If you love food, this tour is for you, buddy! You’ll get to try Italian classics and learn about Milan’s history simultaneously, a win-win!

Milan Travel Tips FAQ

Is Milan a walkable city?

Yes, Milan is a walkable city, most of the tourist areas will be within a few miles from each other and almost all of them are located near the center of Milan. So you’ll be able to knock each one off your list in about a day.

Do people speak English in Milan?

Yes, many locals and workers in cafes, restaurants, hotels, and tourist destinations will speak English. However, it’s good manners to try to speak a little Italian if possible.

What do I need to know before traveling to Milan?

How to avoid tourist traps, what tours are best for exploring Milan, and where the best night life is in Milan, which is Navigli District by the way.

How many days in Milan is enough?

While you can visit Milan in under a day and knock out most Milan tourist bucket lists, we recommend 2-3 days to get a feel for the city from a locals perspective.

Is Milan friendly to tourists?

Milan is relatively friendly to tourists and safe. However, you should always practice safety when traveling. Especially when you are alone, be mindful of your surroundings and don’t travel with headphones in or staring at your phone.

What to do in Milan for the first time?

Take a walking tour through Milan City Center and visit the Duomo di Milano and Last supper. Then enjoy Aperitivo and authentic Italian cuisine, followed by a stroll through Park Sempione.

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