Travel is like shopping except you shop for new experiences and culture. During a 3-country back to back budget backpacking tour, we stopped by Milan. Milan is rich in architecture, Old World-ness and Italian charm. Italy, as you know, is the home to pizza, pasta, gelato, soccer and fashion. We arrived at Malpensa Airport at 7 a.m aboard a 30 dollar early morning flight from Orly Airport in Paris. Yes you read that right, it costs less to travel from Paris to Milan than it is to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa. We had booked our apartment via AirBnB and you can check it out on this post: Italian décor . So just when you find yourself in Milan, here’s how to pack some punch in 2 days.
Open Bus Tour
Italians do not like to speak much English, this means if you mostly speak English you will have trouble finding places to see and getting directions. We opted for an open top bus tour. It turned out to be worth it! The bus has inbuilt recorded translation in over 13 languages. The recorded voice narrates the history of each attraction via individual headphones. The bus ride is 2 hours and you can hop off at any stop and hop onto the next bus to continue your ride. We began at Centrale train station and went through Napoleon’s residence, 10 Corso Como (Milan fashion district), The Duomo, Plazza Lombardia, San Siro Stadium and Porta Venezia and more stops.
Visit The Duomo
The Duomo is the second largest cathedral in Italy (after the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome) and one of the most beautiful in the world. It took 600 years to complete it and it has intricate detail. You can take a tour of it’s inside at a fee. We skipped going inside, the glory from outside was enough.
Walk Through Galerria Vitorrio Emmanuele II
Next to Duomo is the Galerria Vitorrio Emmanuele, which is the world’s oldest shopping mall. The Galerria Vitorrio is an arched steel and glass structure that has inspired the use of the word gallery in most shopping buildings.
Where better to eat Italian than in Italy? From risotto, pasta, pizza, gelato to Italian pastry. There is so much to choose from. Also do not ask for pepperoni pizza because pepperoni in Italy are bell peppers and not processed sausages. Read about another traveler’s shock on ordering pepperoni pizza in Italy
Shop At 10 Corso Como
Or window shop. 10 Corso Como was founded by Italian Vogue’s editor Carla Sozzani. It is a complex that sells fashion, design, art and lifestyle. You can also dine here in several of the restaurants.
Visit Giardinni Pubblici Indro Montanelli
It is the oldest park in Porta Venezia. This park had lush grass and tall trees surrounded by historical sites.
Visit The Canals
We took a trip to the Naviglio Grande. Milan was initially on canals as major transport but most of them have been covered up to create modern methods of transport. We went to Naviglio Grande by train and got off at Porta Genova station then walked about 1 kilometer to the canals. The canals are littered with restaurants, pizzerias, gelatarias and old buildings. We dined at a floating restaurant and danced to street music as the sun set behind the canals.
Two nights in Italy gave me life, I look forward to more future visits. Check out more on travel guides here
Thanks for stopping by,
Love & Light,