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Milan: 7 Things Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

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Milan prides itself on being the world’s capital of fashion and design and is home to some of the most famous fashion brands in the world.

While shopping (or window shopping if you are on a budget) could easily consume an entire trip to Milan, the city has much more to offer.

Milan Duomo with a colorful sky

With both a fascinating cultural and industrial history, impressive architecture, and a culinary scene that pushes traditional dishes to new levels, Milan is a fantastic city to explore.

But before setting off to Milan, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Milan, including:

  • What are the costs for travelers?
  • Things to know about culture and etiquette
  • What are the top attractions?
  • How safe is it?
  • Local food and drinks
  • How good is the WiFi?
  • How long can you stay?

Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Milan:

a woman carries multiple colorful shopping bags in Milan Italy

Did you know… Milan takes its pride in fashion to another level when it celebrates twice yearly fashion weeks. With one occurring in September, and the other in March, the city puts its best foot forward when fashionistas from around the world come to enjoy the countless shows, events, and parties throughout the city.

1) Milan Affordability

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Milan is not known as a budget travel destination. With high-end hotels, shops, and restaurants galore, Milan is a great place for a splurge vacation.

The currency in Milan is the Euro or EUR. The current exchange rate is €1 EUR = $1.08 USD and $1 USD = €0.93.

Here are the average costs for travelers in USD:

Accommodation

  • Average hotel price: One night at a 3-star hotel typically costs around $140, or $215 for a 4-star hotel.
  • Luxury 5-star hotels: Milan has some great 5-star hotels which can cost about $700 per night. However, there are also plenty of spendier options if you want to indulge – like the iconic Bulgari Hotel where rooms start at $1500.
  • If you're on a budget: Milan’s hostels average $30 – $50 for a bed in a dorm, or around $80 – $100 per night for a private room.

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An ariel view of Milan, Italy

Food

  • A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $90.
  • For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to pay around $20.
  • A beer costs between $5.50 – $6.50, while a cappuccino is a steal at $1.75.

Transportation

Milan is one of the top European Cities that is easy to get around and has efficient public transportation.

  • Getting around Milan on public transportation is a great option. The buses, trams, and subway are priced according to zone, and fares within the city center cost $2 for a 90-minute ticket or $7 for a 24-hour pass.
  • Cycling in Milan is also a great way to get around. Bike rentals typically cost about $15/day.
  • Taxi fares start at $6 and cost an additional $3.50 per mile traveled. Uber is available in Milan but has similar rates to taxis.
an orange tram travels through the streets of Milan Italy

2) Culture And Etiquette In Milan

Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Milan.

  • DO learn some Italian: A few words will go a long way, for example, please (per favore), thank you (grazie), and hello (buongiorno)
  • DON’T expect to eat early: Italians eat late – typically around 9 or 10 pm. So make sure you have a late afternoon snack or an aperitivo so you can make it to dinner without getting hangry.  
  • DO be respectful: When visiting churches silence your phone, speak in a quiet voice, and do not disturb people who are praying. It is also a good idea to dress modestly when visiting a church and never bring food inside.
  • DON’T wait for the check: When you are ready to leave a restaurant, you’ll have to ask your waiter for the check.  
  • DO leave a tip: leave a few extra euros or include a tip of around 10% at restaurants and cafes.
Via Dante in Milan, Italy leading to Sforza Castle

3) Top Attractions in Milan

Milan is full of fun things to do. Here are a few of the top things to see and do while visiting the city:

  • Visit Milan’s Duomo – Tourists can visit Italy’s largest church and explore the thousands of statues contained within. Access to the rooftop is via stairs or an elevator, and you will be rewarded with amazing views of the city.
  • See the Last Supper – Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural of The Last Supper is tucked away by the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Tickets book up fast, so be sure to reserve well in advance if you plan on going.
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – An iconic and beautifully designed 19th-century shopping mall topped with a glass roof and perfect for window shopping and people-watching.
shoppers walk through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As far as big cities go, Milan is relatively safe. However, there are still some things that travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:

  • Beware of thieves: pickpocketing is the most common crime that tourists encounter in Milan. Be on high alert in busy areas like Central Station and the Piazza Duca D’Aosta.
  • Research your neighborhood: some neighborhoods in Milan have a higher rate of crime. In particular, avoid Parco Sempione and Arc of Peace at night, especially if you are alone.
  • Know how to call for help: Emergency services can be reached by calling 113.
  • DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Milan trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
Tourist on top of Duomo Milan

5) Local Eats And Drinks

One of the best parts of travel is checking out the local cuisine, and Milan is a fantastic place to try new foods. Don't let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:

Food

Italians take their food very seriously, and Milan is no exception. Many classic Italian dishes were born here, so be sure to try some traditional favorites.

  • Minestrone Milanese – a hearty minestrone soup chock full of veggies that uses rice in place of pasta
  • Ossobucco – a super tender braised veal shank served on the bone, often served with risotto or polenta
  • Panettone – a famous fruitcake typically filled with candied citrus and raisins, which is most popular during Christmas, is available year-round at some bakeries in Milan
  • Piadina – A folded sandwich made with flaky Italian flatbread, usually filled with meats and cheeses

Drinks

Negroni – A popular cocktail made with gin, vermouth, and Campari. Also popular in Milan is the Negroni Sbagliato where prosecco is used in place of gin.

  • Campari  – A dark red Italian bitter infused with herbs and fruit. Drank on the rocks with a slice of orange or mixed into cocktails.
  • Espresso- Called a caffè normale in Italian, do as the locals do and drink it standing at the coffee bar.
  • Wine – Italy is famous all over the world for its exquisite wines, and Milan is a great city to sample some of the country’s finest.  
a barman in Taveggia cafeteria milan serves up a cup of espresso

6) How's the WiFi?

Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Milan for February 2023 were 53.83mbps download and 12.40mbps upload.

A red city metro sign is displayed in front of a majestic church in Milan, Italy

7) How Long Can I Stay?

Americans traveling to Italy can stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa. Passports need to have at least three months of validity past the date of your departure. Visitors who arrive from a Schengen country must obtain a declaration of presence form from their hotel or local police station, and submit it to police within eight days of arriving.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Simone

Wednesday 12th of April 2023

Please stop spreading the false myth that italy is a tipping culture. it is not and it is nowhere expected.