I guess everyone knows Milan – some knows Milan for the high fashion, some for shopping, others for football, EXPO or even food… Even though we have known Milan for all its stereotypes, this was our first time to be traveling there.
Everyone needs a reasons for traveling somewhere and we we needed one for Milan as well. Traveling to Milan had been on our radars for long, but we traveled there on MasterCard invitation.
As users of MasterCard, we were invited to try-out their relatively new product Priceless cities. If you are an owner of the MasterCard, you can sign-in in the Priceless cities program for free and have different kind of advantages all around the world – lower prices for hotels, tickets for unique events, welcome drinks in restaurants and lots more.
Because we are based in Slovenia, traveling to Milan is close – in fact we needed only 4,5 hours by car to reach it from Ljubljana. The closeness was great for a short weekend getaway. We actually spent only one day in Milan.
We reached our gorgeous hotel Grand Visconti Palace at around noon. It was pre-booked via MasterCard’s’ Priceless cities, what gave us a bit lower price than anywhere else. The Grand Visconti Palace hotel was around 30 minutes on foot or 4 metro stops to the Milan’s famous cathedral. If you are without a MasterCard, you can still book this beautiful, vintage looking like hotel also via booking.com.
To really enjoy the benefits of the MasterCard’s Priceless cities program, we have also booked a dinner in one of the traditional Milanese restaurants. Receiving the voucher, we had free booking of the table with a welcome drink. We loved the fact, that almost all the restaurants in the Priceless Cities program were not typical touristic places, but more popular among locals. We wanted an authentic experience, without flashing white tablecloths, so we went for Grand’ Italia Restaurant, where they served typical food for Milan, including Milanese pizza Al Trancio, which was delicious.
Spending only one day in Milan, we did not just enjoy its food, but we were determined to explore some of the most famous Milan tourist attractions and feel the city’s vibe too.
One day in Milan for tourist attractions
- Il Duomo
Our first Milan tourist attraction which we attended to see was of course the famous city’s cathedral. You will not be able to miss it as it stands in the city center, at the Piazza del Duomo. You will notice it from a far. It is truly magnificent sight, even more if you are familiar with the fact, that 6 centuries were needed to be completely built. The Milan’s cathedral is also the third largest in the world. (Entrance ticket: 2€/pp)
- Galerria Vitorrio Emanuele II
Shopaholic or not, you have to stroll through the grand galleria Vitorrio Emanuele II. A walk under the glorious arcades and the glass roof is truly a walk you will not forget easily.
- Sempione Park
If you want to avoid hustle and bustle on the busy streets of Milan, you won’t be wrong when visiting the city park Sempione. It is especially nice during the summer, where locals are here to enjoy the sun – sunbathing, picnicking, jogging and hanging out with friends. There are also two tourist attractions, worth the attention – Arco Della Pace (arch) and Castello Sforzesco (castle).
- Naviglio Canal
If you really want to experience the typical »dolce vita« lifestyle, close your day somewhere around Naviglio Canal. There are loads of bars, restaurants and gelateries with normal, local prices, as this is the place to hang out if living in Milan. There were 5 canals in Milan once, which were constructed in 12th century due to transportation and irrigation, but now, the two (Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese) are more or less the ones, you can enjoy at.
- Last supper
Who doesn’t know Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of the Last Supper? If you are keen of art and Leonardo da Vinci, make sure to book the tickets in advance and see this magnificent piece of art yourself.
Milan travel tips
- It is best to plan your Milan trip for the weekend to avoid the crowds and traffic on a daily, working day.
- If you are traveling to Milan by car you will need to pay for parking – 1,20€-2€/hours for a parking space. Be careful to park only at the blue lines, as the yellow lines are only for residents. Milan also has many parking garages, but they cost more than open parking spaces.
- Your best choice to explore Milan is by local transport – we would suggest metro (1,50€/ride or 4,50€ for 24 hours ticket). The city center can be easily explored on foot too.
- If you are tight with budget on your Milan trip, avoid eating and drinking near the tourist attractions. Just few streets away from the touristy areas, everything becomes more affordable.
- Visiting cafés and gelaterias, you will soon realize there are two different prices – for take-away or for sitting behind the table. It is cheaper to drink your coffee at the bar than to sit down too.
- No matter which restaurant you will choose, you will not be able to avoid paying for service. The cost of this is different from the restaurants, but 3€/pp is often a minimal fee.
- When you visit Milan for shopping and are mad on prestigious brands, you go straight to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, at the main square, near the cathedral. If you are looking for more affordable brands, the street (via Dante) is the place, which connects the Piazza Del Duomo and Park Sempione. There are also different outlets at the outskirts of the city.
Even though we only had one day in Milan, this day was full of adventures and unforgettable memories. We were pleasantly surprised about Milan, as we did not expect such colorful and picturesque place, but rather gray and heavy industrial feel. I guess we can also thank MasterCard – because of it and its Priceless cities offers; we visited less known and less touristy areas in Milan, which we probably would never even bother to visit. And we can easily say this was really priceless.