A fun, exciting short break, Milan has cool places to eat, sleep and sight see.
Read on for our carefully researched and tried recommendations for restaurants, hotels and things to see in Milan.
A perfect short break holiday from Dubai or anywhere in Europe.
Milan which airport should you head for
There are 2 main airports in Milan, Malpensa and Linate. Linate is much more convenient for the city centre BUT it’s not served well with many international airlines.
If you’re flying Emirates you’ll need to fly to Malpensa. That’s an hour or so away by taxi to the centre. Linate is just about 25 minutes or so. British passport holders do not need a visa at the moment!
Just in March 2023
FlyDubai has started flying to Milan Bergamo airport, currently 5 times a week, to increase to a daily flight from April 18th.
Air Arabia also flies to Milan Bergamo – BGY four times a week from Sharjah.
It’s about an hour or so away from Milan BUT while Malpensa is in the middle of nowhere, Bergamo is definitely a place to stay a while. Go for the Cita Alta area of the city. Check our Travel Tips page for more new destinations and ideas.
Getting from the airport to the city centre of Milan
We took a taxi as there was no metro near our hotel. It costs about 120 euros for a direct taxi. You can get them right outside the airport.
Which area to stay in Milan
That depends on what you’d like to do while you’re there and your budget! But note that Milan is a very walkable city. So getting around from wherever you’re staying will be easy.
Some people like staying in the Duomo area of Milan so that’s about a 7 to 10 minute radius walk from the main cathedral.
While it’s super easy to walk to the cathedral, restaurants are very touristy in that area. Hotels are also expensive and rooms tend to be on the smaller side.
The Mandarin Oriental Milan is located in this area. Their best room is the Fornasetti suite, often reserved for high profile guests. See our Milan Stories on instagram to have a look!
If you’re a Mandarin Oriental “fan” then we suggest you also check out our post on the Mandarin Oriental in Prague, highly recommended if you like characterful, historic hotels.
We chose to stay in Navigli area which is about a 20 to 25 minute walk away or a 10 minute tram ride away from the Duomo area.
We chose the Aethos Milan the Yard hotel to stay at. See details of our experience at the Aethos hotel on our site here in this post
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Navigli is a very characterful area with great shops and restaurants as well as 2 canals you can walk along for quite a way. We suggest you avoid any of the restaurants by the waterside as they are super touristy and the food is average at best.
Brera is another super area to stay in, it’s more upmarket and has a lovely vibe with it’s shops and restaurants. It’s quieter than Navigli but it is expensive.
A bit like a Marylebone High street but bigger. We recommend the Palazzo Parigi hotel there.
What should I see in Milan on a short break
That depends on your interests, there are shops galore so this blog won’t talk about those other than to wander through the pretty streets of Brera and stop where you feel like!
Of course the outlet mall Serravalle is tempting, 1.5 hours away by car or bus, the Fidenza outlet is a little closer. That one is similar to the one in Bicester Village in the UK.
We suggest you select from the following range of things to see depending on your interests.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper painting – book at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance!
Leonardo Da Vinci’s house, garden and vineyard – the inspiration for many classic books, again book early. All part of the Santa Maria delle Grazie complex.
The Prada foundation building if you’re into contemporary art. The Fondazione Prada also has a cool, small cafetria/bar with a little terrace. Good value for apperitivo at Bar Luce.
The Pinotecca at Brera and of course the world famous Duomo cathedral and it’s museum. See the picture above. It also has a museum.
We also recommend seeing the Necchi villa in Brera, good idea to to this before or after a meal at Lu Bar See the picture further down.
Our Milan restaurant recommendations
While Milan has all sorts of cuisines we stuck to Italian food for almost all of our meals!
With the exception of 1 evening on our return late from Como we ate just Italian or Mediterranean type food. Our train stopped at Garibaldi train station which was a short walk from Chinatown! So yes we had one pretty good Chinese meal in Milan!
We loved Lu Bar in Brera, book a table in the 18th century greenhouse for lunch. Great seafood, super service and a lovely vibe! It reminded us of Petersham nursery cafe in London if you know that place! Great for special occasion, totally affordable.
Note there is no chicken on the menu, maybe an issue for some people!
For a very good casual meal, this time in Navigli area, we recommend NicoNoce, a home style Italian restaurant serving great food in a relaxed setting. Plenty of local, Italian people regularly eat here.
We also really liked our lunch on the rooftop of the Rinascente Centre. That’s a bit like the Selfridges of Milan!
It gets busy so you may have to wait for a table. Super views of the cathedral from here and the place has a lovely vibe too.
Go early for lunch as some dishes run out fast! Note that Il Bar and Obica menus served in both venues.
We also tried a 5 course tasting menu at Bistro 28 Posti. While our meal was good, this is a long session as each course comes with new cutlery and plates too!
It’s a simple restaurant in the quieter section of Navigli, but it has a solid reputation. But note the setting is basic despite the food being quite sophisticated, don’t be in a hurry or expect any posh ambience.
Also note we didn’t hear diners speaking Italian here..
We also loved our lunch in Como at the Baia di Moltrasio just near the jetty. A gorgeous, tasty, Italian lunch in a perfect waterside setting. Fantastic food and drink, great service.
If you want to see more about our food experience in Milan check out this Tik Tok post by My_Food_Moods.
Essential to book! See our instagram post on that experience.
A great page to check out for the latest on Milan food and drink is MILANO SECRETS here. We trust the people who run this page to give us honest recommendations.
How about getting to Como from Milan
A new blog post on that coming soon! But it’s very easy, just an hour by train to Como station at a cost of just 10 euros round trip per adult!
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If you want some other ideas for a short break from Dubai, try KENYA, just 4.5 hours away!
Ciao bellas and grazie!
You may want to look at some prints at KAPILA GALLERY available to buy here.