Planning a Weekend in Milan

Planning a Weekend in Milan

  • Jens headshot 2:6:23
  • The Travel Mum

A weekend in Milan is the perfect way to break up the working weeks. Located in the north of Italy it is famous for being one of the worlds four fashion capitals (the others being Paris, London and New York). It houses some of the most important art collections in the world, has some of Europes most successful football teams and is full of beautiful historic landmarks. Milan is the richest city in Italy and its business district hosts Italys stock exchange. As a result it is the wealthiest of all EU non-capital cities. Whether you want to shop, watch a football match or just mooch around eating, enjoying an Aperitivo or two (The Italian tradition of having a pre-meal alcoholic drink to ‘whet’ the appetite) – A weekend in Milan will never disappoint!

weekend in milan

Getting there


Getting to Milan is really easy. Budget airlines offer a cheap and convenient way to get there from many European airports. Milan has three main airports, so pay attention to where your cheap flights are taking you. Sourcing cheap flights is essential for keeping your Weekend in Milan cheap. We flew return for £20 from Manchester, which was an amazing price we bagged in a Ryanair sale. Use our “Start your journey” feature to specifically look for Milan over a 2 or 3 night period. You can set specific periods that you are available or search the whole month for the absolute best prices. We look at flights and hotels simultaneously to get you the best value trip for your budget. 


Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)

The largest airport which accepts most long haul international arrivals. It is also the hub for easyJet. It is 52km north west of Milan. You can get a taxi to Milan Centrale that will take around 45 minutes and costs upwards of 70 euros. The cheapest way to access the city is by train, a ticket will set you back around 13 euros and can be purchased through Trenitalia, either in advance or at ticket machines at the airport. Another option is to use the bus. Terravision run a shuttle service that runs from 5am to midnight and departs every 20 minutes.


Milan Linate Airport (LIN)

The closest airport to the city centre, it mainly accepts domestic flights from around Italy. It only has one terminal and doesn’t currently have a direct train link to the centre. A taxi will take around 20 minutes and cost around 40 euros.


Milan-Bergamo Airport (BGY)

This is the airport we flew into, and very likely the one you will too if you are looking for the cheapest possible flights. Ryanair fly here along with some other budget airlines. It is around 50km east of Milan Centre and doesn’t have a train station within the airport. You can get a taxi which will set you back at least 75 euros. Alternatively, do what we did and use the Terravision bus service. This is a really convenient service that departs from right outside the arrivals area, takes around an hour and drops you off at Milan centrale. It is around £7 when booked online and your ticket is still valid for later buses if your flight is delayed and you arrive late. Bergamo itself is a beautiful city, especially the old town. Consider staying here and commuting into Milan one day for an even cheaper stay.


Where to Stay


The most convenient place to stay for a weekend in Milan is going to be close to Milan Centrale. It means easy access to and from the airport, you have a convenient way to reach the centre and if you are planning on getting an early train to Lake Como, being close to the train station means some extra zzz’s in the morning! We actually stayed a short metro ride away from Centrale, making our accommodation even cheaper. Our apartment was close to the Lambrate station and only cost us £230 for three nights (there was a genius discount on when we booked). Our search feature finds well rated accommodation options to go with your flights.

Super Budget options


If you are wanting the cheapest possible options, these are some great places to check out:

Ca Bela – Lambrate Flat 1 is the apartment where we stayed. A small studio apartment just a 5 minute walk from Lambrate station. The apartment is modern and comfortable, it has a small kitchen with coffee and some basics like toast and jam provided. Getting to the centre of Milan involved a short walk to the Lambrate station, we then took line 2 on the subway four stops to Centrale. From there we got line 3 to the Duomo subway stop.

weekend in milan

AV Boutique Hotel is a highly rated boutique hotel right across from Milan Centrale. The hotel is beautifully decorated with AC and WiFi throughout. It is a small family run place with excellent value rooms.

weekend in milan

Great Value Luxury


If you are wanting something a little fancier, the 4 star NYX Hotel Milan by Leonardo Hotels is a beautiful hotel with excellent reviews. It is just a 3 minute walk to Milan Centrale. Outside of the summer months you can get really great value room options from around £100 per night. Look in April for good weather whilst still making the most of the best value hotel rooms.

weekend in milan

If money is not a problem…

If money is no object, then check out the 4 star Uptown Palace. Only a 10 minute walk to Duomo, it has a high end restaurant and bar serving food all day. Rooms come with bathrobes and slippers. The highlight of this hotel is the Duomo views enjoyed from the executive and presidential suites. The Duomo view suites start from £280/night in low season.

weekend in milan

What to do


Tailor your Milan adventure based on your flight times and the duration of your stay, how rushed the weekend feels will depend what you try to cram in and whether your visit is a 2-night escape or an extended 3-night trip. Consider two essential must-dos: Immerse yourself in the heart of Milan’s vibrant center and take a picturesque day trip to the breathtaking Lake Como.


10 things to do in Milans Centre


Pick out your favourites from the list below and spend a whole day exploring the city. Many people choose to take advantage of the cheap and regularly departing flights to Milan and simply spend the day there. Arriving early in the morning and departing on a late flight home. Return flights can often be found for as little as £20pp, so it usually works out cheaper than getting the train to somewhere in the UK! If you are spending a Weekend in Milan and arriving late on a Friday then returning home late on the Sunday (Gold standard flights for the weekend) then you will be best visiting Como on the Saturday and saving Milan centre for the Sunday.


1) Start your day at the Duomo.

Get the subway to Duomo station, as you walk up the stairs to the plaza the view greeting you is breathtaking. The cathedral’s intricate Gothic façade is worth stopping and admiring. Incredibly it took nearly SIX CENTURIES to complete. Me and Joao had a bet of how long we thought it took to build… I ridiculously guessed 70 years and laughed when he guessed 300! Construction started in 1386 and it was only completed in 1965. It is the third largest church in the world, beaten only by St Peters Basilica in the Vatican City and Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida in Brazil. For 15 euros you can visit the cathedral, archaeological area, museum and roof top. The rooftop is spectacular and definitely worth visiting. Check ticket prices here.

weekend in milan

2) Enjoy a breakfast, the Italian way

Breakfast in Italy is quick and efficient. Different to the traditional English breakfast of bacon and sausage, Italians opt to start their day with the lighter option of a milky coffee and pastry. Aimed to provide a quick burst of energy to get them going for the day. We found a great little cafe a short walk from Duomo called “Princi“. Breakfast is served until 11am each day, they have a huge variety of cakes and pastries, fruit with granola and greek yoghurt and croissant sandwiches with a variety of fillings. We got two coffees and four pastries (As we couldn’t settle on just one each!) and it came to around £15, which we thought was reasonable given the location.


3) Explore The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Italys oldest active shopping gallery can be accessed from the plaza in front of the Cathedral. It is one of Milans most famous landmarks. It connects two other famous landmarks – the Cathedral and Teatro Alla Scala (a famous opera house). Spend a while walking around and admiring the glass ceilings and window shop at some of Italys most luxurious high end boutiques. The floor in the central area is made up of four distinct intricate mosaics representing the coat of arms of the three capitals of the kingdom of Italy (Roma, Florence, Turin) plus the symbol of Milan. Rome shows Romulus and Remus with the she-wolf, Florence shows a lily flower and Milan is a red cross. Turin, possibly the most interesting of the four, has a bull or in Italian, “Torino”. Legend says if you spin on the bulls testicles, 360 degrees with your eyes closed, you will receive good luck!

Weekend in Milan

4) Admire Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”.

This famous mural painting represents the Last supper of Jesus with the twelve apostles. It is housed in the dining room of the church Santa Maria delle Grazie which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Entry to the church is free but you must pre book tickets for viewings of The Last Supper as they are limited and sell out well in advance.


5) Take a walk to Castello Sforzesco

A medieval fortification built in the 15th Century. There is a huge water fountain located at the entrance making a nice place to sit and have a break from all the walking you will be doing. The castle houses a variety of museums including the museum of ancient art, an Egyptian museum and Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco containing artwork from the 15th Century.

Weekend in Milan

Castello Sforzesco


6) Escape the bustling city in Sempione Park

This is a great thing to do especially if you have kids. Children can quickly get bored during city breaks, so having somewhere to go for an hour where they can play and burn off some energy is essential. Sempione park is located just behind Castello Sforzesco. It is a huge 95 acre park with Porta Sempione (a large 19th century city gate) located at the back. It has a decent sized playground with climbing frames, swings, a roundabout and a few little rides. There is a small aquarium within the park. The Aquarium has an impressive statue of Neptune, Roman god of water, outside of the building. The tanks contain over 100 types of sealife with particular attention on species that can be found in the Italian seas, rivers and lakes. It is small but for five euros per adult, it is money well spent to cheer up a bored child.

weekend in milan

Porta Sempione


7) Get lunch at Salsamenteria di Parma

We found this place as it was close to the park (where we were when we decided we wanted lunch) and was recommended by Lonely Planet. We went to the branch in the Brera district and had a fantastic lunch. They specialise in cold cuts of meat to eat with bread. We had a large plate of meats and cheese to start, then pasta and polenta with pork cheeks – the food was delicious and the outdoor seating out in the street added to the authentic vibes. We also had two alcoholic drinks each and it came to around 70 euros. Not the most budget friendly lunch, but this was going to be the only restaurant meal we enjoyed in Milan.


8) Visit one of the most important art galleries in the world – Pinacoteca di Brera

This beautiful building hosts the main gallery for paintings in Milan. It contains one of the most important collections of Italian paintings from the 13th – 20th paintings. There is a beautiful central courtyard with a huge statue of Napoleon. Tickets online were 15 euros but we turned up and bought them at the ticket screens in the courtyard – bizarrely this worked out cheaper as we only paid 10 euros.

weekend in milan

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9) Watch a football match at San Siro

This stadium is home to two of Europes most successful football teams, AC Milan and Inter Milan. It has a capacity of 80,018 making it the biggest stadium in Italy and one of the biggest in Europe. Between 10am – 6pm you can take a tour of the stadium and visit the museum. The tour takes you to the locker rooms, down the players tunnel and on to view the pitch. A perfect addition to the day for any football fan.


10) Enjoy Sunset drinks at La Rinascente Rooftop

Accessed via Rinascente shopping mall. Take the lift to the 7th floor and walk towards the dining area. There is a bar out there as well as some restaurants. The view of Duomo from the terrace is fantastic, a great place to finish off your day. Drinks are pricey, around 16 euros for a cocktail, but worth it for an unforgettable end to your Weekend in Milan. Check out this TikTok I made about this place!


Visiting Lake Como


You are going to need a full day for this day trip. If your Weekend in Milan is Friday – Sunday, you will need to do this day trip on the Saturday. Try and get a night time flight home on the final day so you can spend the day exploring Milan using the tips above. I have written a whole blog post on how you can visit Lake Como from Milan here.

Check out this reel I made about getting to Lake Como from Milan. 


Some links in this post are affiliate links and will earn us a small commission if bookings are made via them. This does not affect the recommendations we provide. Thank you in advance – Jen 

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