Italy’s style capital

There’s nowhere quite like Milan. The stylish city in northern Italy is where it all started for fashion superstars such as Armani, Versace, Prada, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. The city’s gilded city centre is packed with their flagship boutiques, plus locals who really know how to put an outfit together. It’s a centre for interiors too, so if you fancy browsing the most cutting-edge design, you’re in the right place.

However, Milan holidays are not only about style worship. A visit is a chance to encounter some spectacular bucket-list treasures, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and the city’s extraordinary Gothic cathedral. Milan really knows how to have a good time. There are some superlative restaurants in the city centre, and the city is famous for being the home of ‘aperitivo’, a delicious buffet of snacks to accompany your sundowner.

As well as the dazzling architecture of the city centre, Milan boasts the charming Navigli district, a network of canals lined with bars and restaurants that’s a favourite nightlife spot for glammed-up locals. Holidays to Milan will thrill those who love clothes and design, but there’s plenty here for everyone, from art and architecture to fantastic food and wine.

All resorts in Milan

Three tips for a top trip

Take public transport

Milan has an efficient local metro, buses and trams, and both trains and buses serve the airport. Only hire a car if you want to explore the area outside of the city.

Dine on aperitivo

From around 6pm until 9-ish cocktail hour strikes, and buffets of snacks appear in bars citywide. This is aperitivo – a Milanese invention, and an essential part of city life.

Learn some phrases

Many Milanese don’t speak English, so it’s a good idea to learn a few key phrases while you’re there – locals will appreciate you making the effort.

Best attractions to see in Milan

The Cathedral

Milan’s Duomo is a Gothic masterpiece, with 135 spires and more than 3,000 statues, that took over five centuries to build. Take a walk around its terraces for superb views.

The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of Christ and his disciples is one of his most famous works, a huge mural housed in an adjoining a church. You can visit by reserving ahead.

The Parmesan at Peck

Open since 1883, this glorious food and wine emporium is a Milanese institution. Check out the huge range of cheeses, great places to eat, ice cream and foodie gifts.

Your Milan questions, answered

Milan caters to all budgets, and the cathedral is free to enter. You can also eat cheaply by dining on aperitivo – snacks with a drink.
Italians are always extremely welcoming to children, and with pizza, pasta and some of the world’s finest ice cream on the menu, kids will be in culinary heaven.
Milan is quite far north, and near the mountains, so you'll find it damp and chilly between November and March, with rain and possibly snow. Temperatures in January and February hover around the freezing mark. It's warm and rainy in May, heating up in June, and in July and August temperatures can reach 30°C. The city will also be very crowded with tourists in high summer. If you go in April/May or September/October, you'll find pleasantly warm weather, fewer people and activities like fashion weeks and the film festival. Or you could go in November for the popular jazz festival.
The elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a gilded shrine to some of Milan’s grandest boutiques. It was built in the 19th century and features ostentatious frescoes, glass roofs and mosaics.
Milan is what you want it to be. You could spend your whole time in the many excellent art galleries and museums, walking the city and seeing its historic architecture. Or you could come for the pre-Lent carnival or the Christmas fair. Milan has lots of opportunities for families, and it's close enough to Lake Como for a side trip. Fashion is Milan's middle name and you'll have many opportunities to see the new collections in the various fashion weeks. You might simply come to shop and make the most of the designer brands that you'll find at every turn.
If you’ve never been to Milan before, you’ll probably want to stay central to easily reach the main attractions. You can go for luxury in the heart of Milan, even in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II itself. Only a short walk from the Duomo and the Sforzesco Castle, you'll find many historical buildings in the artsy Brera district. The Art Academy is here and lots of galleries, as well as bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs and shops. Porto Venezia is a favourite for couples while, if you have a family, you might want to stop somewhere quieter, like San Siro.
You can fly direct from London Gatwick or London Luton all year round in about two hours. It's also about two hours' direct from Bristol, and it'll take you an extra 15 minutes direct from Manchester. These airports operate flights during the summer. You can depart any time of the year straight through from Edinburgh, and you'll be in the air for approximately two-and-a-half hours. In the winter or from other airports, you'll have to change and this could take anything from three to four hours or more with a layover.
You can see most of the sights in Milan in three days if you just want a city break. Also, if you're travelling to another part of Italy, you might combine a few days in Milan with a few days at the Lakes or in Venice. If you're going for one of the designer fashion weeks, you'll probably want to stay the whole week, particularly if you need to fit in time for shopping. To take in museums, galleries and historic buildings, you should probably give yourself at least a week if you don't want to be exhausted and footsore.
While Milan is hip and trendy, it's still a great place to take your kids. They can travel for free on public transport, but you can also reach most of the major sights on foot. Right in the city centre, you can visit the castle, go to the park and go to look at the view from the top of Torre Branca observation tower. Your children will also love the rooftops and catacombs of the Duomo cathedral. At the Science and Technology Museum, you can see the works of Leonardo da Vinci, or you can just ride around on the city trams.