When to fly
Many Milanese are on holiday for the month of August, but the city is filled with foreign visitors. Twice a year the city fills up with fashion lovers in February/March and September/October when the city hosts Milan Fashion Week. Bear in mind that flights to Milan and accommodation prices can rise dramatically during this celebrity-filled event.
Spring (March to May) into early summer and autumn are the best times to see Milan and the lakes while the weather is comfortable and there are few crowds. Keep in mind, before booking a cheap flight to Milan that many of the ferry services stop running in October and do not start back up again until May.
Early September sees the ever so popular Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix on the track located 10 miles away from Milan so if you are planning your trip around that time, book your flights well in advance.
The city on the Lombardy plains is beautiful, dynamic and very well dressed. It's a financial centre, a city of the arts, a sporting town and a world-famous fashion capital. You can almost fall over the art works, churches, museums and statues spread around the city.
The spiky-spired, statue-laden cathedral (Duomo) occupies a central position in Milan - the streets fan out from there. No less impressive is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This enormous shopping mall is home to the likes of Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton.
The fashion district takes in Via Montenapoleone, Via Sant'Andrea, Via della Spiga and Via Manzoni - all high-end. A city where several designers including Armani, Missoni, Valentino, Versace and Prada started out.
The other Milanese passion is football. Home to two football teams - Inter FC and AC Milan. The San Siro is one of the temples of football.
Summers are hot and muggy, especially in July and August with temperatures reaching the 30s Celsius. Damp and cold in winter with temperatures below freezing, but the mountains protect the city from the Northern European winters. Spring and autumn temperatures are in the teens and 20s. October and November are typically most rain. Getting to town from the airportThree major airports serve the area so you might want to shop around in order to get the best deal on your flights. Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP) is well served by regular public transport options including buses, shuttles and trains. Taxi services are also available. Bergamo airport (BGY) is smaller than Malpensa and is known as the hub for low-cost airlines. There is a bus service which takes passengers to the city in around 1 hour. Linate Airport (LIN) is located closest to the city (around 5 miles) and is served by buses and taxis.
Getting around Milan
Between walking and using the city’s efficient public transport system, you won’t have any trouble getting around the city. The buses and trams run all night long and the metro stops at midnight. Buy tickets at Metropolitana Milanese (MM) stations and some newspaper stands, but be aware that the tickets expire. Stamp your ticket when you board; failure to do so can cost you a huge fine.
Taxis have to be picked up at stands, and you will be charged extra for luggage, late night trips and Sunday rides, something to keep in mind when booking your flight to Milan. Driving is not recommended. There are many one-way streets and reckless drivers and few parking spots. If you must drive, leave the car at an MM station outside the city.
Milan insider information
- The quadrilatero della moda, made up of via Montenapoleone, via della Spiga, Sant’Andrea and via Manzoni is home to the high priests of fashion including Gucci, Moschino and Giorgio Armani. Those without gold cards can find last year's stock at Salvagente. Fashion houses include Versace, Roberto Cavalli and Giorgio Armani. And for more shopping, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a huge shopping arcade with cafés, restaurants, and shops.
- The Duomo (cathedral), in the centre of town, was started in the 14th century and only finished in the early 19th century – it has a mix of architectural styles. The views from the roof are beautiful and take in the city and the Alps.
- Leonardo da Vinci spent almost 20 years in Milan under the patronage of the Sforza family. His Last Supper fresco can be seen in the Church and Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie. He also worked on the city’s waterways, designing canals and locks. Although many of the navigli have long since been paved over, the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese are still operating. Where they meet, the Navigli district, is home to bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Visit in the early evening. The bars have free nibbles for a short time.
- La Scala opera house is world famous. Built in 1778, it has had a major renovation in the past couple of years. It has a museum, which has paintings, costumes, statues and other artifacts covering the opera house’s long history.