Milan, what a charming city! This Northern Italian city is easy and cheap to get to, and makes for a wonderful weekend trip! Here’s my guide to a full day in Milan on a super budget; perfect for students!
Firstly, budget for the ride to and from the airport! Flights fly into Milan through one of two airports, Malpenesa or Bergamo. The express train into the city from Malpensa takes about 40 minutes andd costs 13Euro each way. The bus from Bergamo takes about an hour and costs 9Euro round trip. Unfortunately, there’s no real good way to get around this.
Once you arrive:
The Malpensa express train can leave you at Cadorna FN, from which you can see the facade of the Castello Sforzeco and the magnificent fountain that graces it’s entrance. While there are multiple different museums inside the castle (with an entrance fee to all of them for just 3 Euro), the grounds are free to wander around. The castle itself is interesting to walk around, but the park behind it is also worth a stroll through. Walk to one of the old gates to the city that is straight out the castle’s walls, or just to the beautiful bridge that crosses a stream which winds itself through the grounds.
From here, visit a museum! For art, visit the Pinacoteca di Brera! While the fee is 10 Euro for non-EU residents and 7 for EU residents, the art housed here is extensive and very representative of the various Italian art movements. For those a bit tired of the art of Europe, try the Leonardo da Vinci science museum! Unlike anything else in the world, this museum has models of many of Leonardo da Vinci’s designs as well as exhibits on current scientific discoveries (I was able to see an exhibit on nuclear physics and one on space)! It also has a fee of 10 Euro for non-EU residents or 7.50 for EU residents, but is worth every penny for the many hours of interesting material presented.
After one of those museums (either North or South of the castle), head to the center to visit the Duomo! While the outside of this gorgeous creation could take you an hour to appreciate, I suggest joining the queue early to go inside the building. Tickets to see the inside cost 2 Euro and are completely worth it (Don’t worry about the audioguide, since as always, a quick Wikipedia search will get you the history lesson you seek). The line can take more than half an hour if you are there at peak hours, which you will be if you’re following this guide. Alternatively, try getting there around it’s opening (8am) to avoid queues.
After the Duomo, walk through the galleries and along the road to the right of the cathedral. This is the fashion district of the city that’s know for it’s incredible fashion and you can find obscenely priced items that are prefect for window shopping. You’ll also find some of the best people watching in the city. In the evening this area truly comes alive.
A visit to Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper mural is also an activity that’s on many people’s must-do list. However, if you’re interested in seeing this masterpiece, it is necessary to purchase tickets multiple weeks in advance (not joking, they really do run out). Tickets that are not part of an (obscenely expensive) tour are available from various sites that often sell them in bundles with admission to other museums (just google for the extensive array of options), but generally cost around 35 Euro for the non-reduced price and 28 Euro for the reduced cost (under 26 EU residents).
Obviously, there are many more things to discover and experience in Milan. Between the multitude of churches you will stumble upon (Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio and Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore are good ones to find!) and the availability of 1.30 Euro coffee, Milan will keep you entertained. Enjoy the pizza, pasta, gelato and pastries.