Hello travelers! Today I want to tell you about my very last trip that husband and I had in Milan, Italy’s fashion capital. But please don’t let its reputation for style distract you because underneath it all, Milan can be more than this! Although I have to be honest and tell you that we were quite reserved at the beginning and did not expect much when we decided to visit this city, but in the end, it really surprised us in a pleasant way!
When we started traveling on our own, we also started chasing the best deals, meaning also the cheapest ones, of course. For this trip we booked our Ryanair flight, from Bucharest to Milan, with only 5 Euros. I am not kidding. Only 5 Euros, it’s true. And for the return flight, we booked Wizzair with 10 Euros. So this means no more and no less than 15 Euros each. AWEEESOME!
Ryanair and Wizzair both operate on Bergamo Airport. To get to Milano Centrale FS you should take one of the buses which are right in front of the airport. We bought our round-trip tickets online from Orio Shuttle and we paid 8 Euros each. It was a 60 minutes ride.
We stayed at Rezidenza Cenisio for 2 nights (rated as “Good 7.2” on Booking) and we paid 109 Euros for a double room. We also paid the city tax – 2 Euros per person per night. The room was really spacious, had a comfy bed and big windows that were letting in a lot of natural light. However, it had some downsides as well. Big ones, if you ask me. Well, it was kind of cold, the AC did not function properly during our stay, Wifi was really slow and our windows were 50 meters away from the trains so you can all imagine the noise. Therefore, I don’t think we would stay here again. It was not that bad, but it totally could have been better.
We’ve chosen this hotel because it is really close to Cenisio metro station, only 5 minutes walk. From there you can easily get to the city center in aprox. 15 minutes, which is very good. Interesting thing: on the purple line M5 the trains are driverless. The systems are controlled by a fully automated computer system, located at the control and maintenance center. Nice!
Public transportation makes getting around in Milan very easy and cheap. The metro operates roughly from 6 AM to midnight every day. Trams and buses start about an hour earlier and run until an hour or so later. Additionally, several night buses run on Friday and Saturday nights. Check www.atm.it for complete timetables. Tickets must be purchased in advance from newsstands or vending machines (exact change only).
|Standard Ticket||90 Minutes after validation||1,50€|
|Carnet 10 tickets||Ten 90 Minutes tickets||13,80€|
|1 Day Ticket||24 Hours after validation||4,50€|
|2 Days Ticket||48 Hours after validation||8,25€|
So, basically, here starts our DAY 1. After we checked in, we changed our clothes and went straight to the Duomo, Milan’s Cathedral. You all know it, for sure. It’s clearly the landmark of this city being the most impressive structure in Milan. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy (the larger St. Peter’s Basilica is in the State of Vatican City) and the fifth largest in the world. The entire building is made up of this pink-hued white marble. Thousands of artists, sculptors and specialized workers were involved in the construction of the Cathedral of Milan.
We paid 9 Euros each to visit the terrace of the Cathedral and we climbed to the top of the Duomo via a spiral stone staircase of 919 steps. More info about hours and admission here. Below you can see some photos I took up there. It was quite impressive!
One thing I didn’t like about the Duomo is the fact that on the outside of the building it had a huge advertising panel attached and it really ruined the Cathedral’s appearance. I know it’s all about the money in the end, but why not keep its beauty intact?
After that, we went inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. Housed within a four-story double arcade, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It’s the place where all great fashion designers‘ shops are: Luis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Versace, Fendi, Dolce&Gabbana, Dior, Prada, Alexander McQueen etc. But to be honest, I was more impressed of the architecture, paintings and size of this building, rather than being impressed of the shops within. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t there for shopping… yep, this might be the answer haha.
After all this walking, we were kind of thirsty so we bought some beers outside the shopping mall from a street vendor, 5 Euros each. Hmm a bit pricey though. Oh and do you remember I’ve told you about discovering Ceres beer when we were in Rome? Well we couldn’t wait to drink this beer again. And I am sorry Carlsberg, but Ceres is probably the best beer in the world. Funny thing is that it’s from Denmark, not from Italy. Oh well, we don’t care haha.
Also, we couldn’t visit Italy again and not have their famous gelato. I really like how italians have their gelato no matter how the weather is outside. Cold, hot, warm, freezing, foggy, chilly… a gelato is always perfect!
We tried to find a place to eat that night that wasn’t very central, because near the Duomo the prices are really high. So we wandered the area for like almost 2 hours, time in which I also bought some sneakers because my boots were not that comfortable (so I guess I did some shopping after all).
After 2 hours we realized we were still in the same area so we just sat down in the first restaurant that came in our way. We had one big shared pizza and 2 draught beers and we paid 32 Euros. Yep, pricey.
Afterwards, we walked to the hotel, and on our way back, we passed by Santa Maria delle Grazie (the church contains the mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, which is one of the world’s most famous paintings), Castello Sforzesco, Torre Branca (a steel panoramic tower where it’s possible to reach the top by elevator and admire the incomparable panoramic view over the city), Parco Sempione + Porta Sempione.
On DAY 2 we woke up early because we had a lot of things to do and visit that day. We planned on walking around Isola neighborhood and then take the train to Varenna + ferry to Bellagio. YAY^^
Isola means “island” in Italian. The Milan neighborhood that goes by the name of Isola is exactly that; an urban island. Hemmed in on two sides by Garibaldi station and the rail tracks, Isola is an island in the physical sense of the word. It’s cut off – a separate entity, from the busy surrounds of Garibaldi, Corso Como and the gleaming Porta Nuova skyscrapers.
Will you laugh if I tell you Milan has some great street art? Most of it is found around the Isola district, not far from Garibaldi station. But first, let’s take some selfies, right? Haha.
At 12 PM we were in the Garibaldi FS station on our train to Varenna and Bellagio. But I will tell you more about this little trip in another blog post because I have so many wonderful photos to share with you guys. Just to maintain your interest, here’s one photo from Bellagio. Amazing right? So stay tuned for more^^
Later that night, after we returned from this trip, we walked to the hotel through the Chinatown district. Since main drag Via Paolo Sarpi, was made pedestrian, the district has become a pleasant place to walk around, buy some Chinese-style knick knacks and have a tasty Chinese meal.
DAY 3 was our last day in Milan. We had our return flight at 15.15 PM so we had a little time to visit one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Milan, if you ask me. I am talking about Navigli and I’m so glad we had the time to see this part of the city.
The districts of Navigli and Porta Ticinese have been important places for trade and commerce since the Middle Ages. Today this area is the heart of Milan’s nightlife, with many bars and restaurants staying open late into the night to the delight of both locals and visitors.
I will just show you some photos to convince yourselves of Navigli’s beauty. Ready set GO!
So colorful and so… Italian, right? Oh, but there’s more ^^
Also, I loved Milan’s iconic orange trams. They are not used for sightseeing tours, they’re public transport! The oldest-running public transport vehicles in the world, to be precise, having been in service since 1928.
Elsewhere in the world, a ride on such a cool-looking tram will be rather expensive, but in Milan it will cost you nothing more than an ordinary ticket (€1.50).
Unfortunately, we also had to return in Bucharest that day, so we took the metro until Milano Centrale FS and from there we took the Orio Shuttle back to the airport.
But we couldn’t leave just like that, not before eating some of their tasty paninis!
We managed to be on time at the airport, because we’ve learned our lessons from Berlin and Rome, but guess what, our return flight was delayed with one hour. So it was 1.20 PM when we were already at the airport and our flight was at 4.20 PM. Oh well, but is always better being safe than being sorry right?
These being said, later that evening we were back in our “not that weather-friendly” Bucharest where it was snowing and freezing. Brrrr
Until next time,