Each month we will bring you tips for a budget city trip with easyJet. We kick off this month with Milan; Italy’s capital of fashion and design.
Milan is situated in the North of Italy, and is a popular destination when it comes to the above mentioned. Two main attractions in line with that are the Milan Fashion Week twice a year, and the Salone di Mobile in April. When we’ve visited the city though, it was Milan Food Week. Because, as you should know, Italians and food…they are quite a pair!
There are several things you could do during a short stay in the city. One is: go shopping. Two is: go cultural. Three is: go foodie. We’ve opted for one and three. Okay, and an itsy bitsy of two because you can’t neglect the Duomo when it rises up in front of you!
The funny thing about Milan, is that there isn’t quite a mid-segment in fashion (except Patrizia Pepe, Pinko, Diesel, Miss Sixty and Fornarina). It’s either commercial and high street, or designer & luxury. So the smart thing to do when you’re on a short stay and don’t have a huge budget to spend, is to have an inspirational tour in the ‘Quadrilatero della Moda‘ (the fashion quadrangle) where you’ll find amazing flagship stores from Dolce&Gabbana (there’s even an escalator inside which is quite unusual), Versace or Armani, and then head to the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele where you’ll find the familiar high street shops. Though, thanks to your affordable easyJet tickets, you should save part of your budget to buy some designer sunnies. Can’t go Italian without the sunnies…Remember these keywords when you’re in Milan: sunglasses, shoes and lingerie. These are overall the best things you could buy when on budget, because you’ll find them everywhere.
When you’re done discovering the centro and its shopping area, you can head towards the Corso Como (metro to Garibaldi) where you’ll find some shops, trendy lunch hangouts and the inevitable conceptstore Corso Como 10. Afterwards if you’re up to a change of scenery we recommend to take a stroll around the Via Tortona and the Navigli (metro Porta Genova). The Navigli is the only canal in the city that has not been damped, and offers lively bars, café’s, ice cream parlors and nightclubs alongside both banks. Each last Sunday of the month, except in July and August, there’s the Navigli Antique Fair, where you could possibly find a little treasure.
Our Milan recommendations (or how we spend our 36 hours):
Sleep: Nhow hotel – Via Tortona 35. This design hotel – and at the same time an art & design gallery- is colourful, off beat and comfortable with a very good price/quality balance. The staff is friendly and helpful.
Eat: We had lunch the first day at Ristorante San Carlo (Piazza San Carlo), the next day at Cafe Radetsky which is also a popular spot for the ‘aperitivo’.
For dinner we went to Dal Bolognese (Via Amadei 8), a very good and authentic restaurant in the Centro Storico.
Drinking coffee is part of the ritual of a true Italian, so on day 2 we had an afternoon coffee -a doppio– at MAG caffe (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43), which transforms in a cocktailbar at night.
For high street items we shopped at &OtherStories (Milan has one of the European flagshipstores), Pinko (fashion), Kiko (makeup), Calzedonia and Oysho (bikini’s, lingerie), Lolita or Biba (Via Torino) for affordable leather shoes in a wide colour range, especially nice for a pair ballerina’s. All these shops are in the area of the Duomo and Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II.
Eral 55 (Piazza XXV Aprile 14) is a nice adress for the guys to shop. According to our Milanese male friends this shop is quite trendsetting, and aside from new collections they have some good vintage items.
An other very cool shop -but a tad expensive since it’s mainly high end designers they sell- is Antonioli (Via Pasquale Paoli 1). The owners also own the lounge bar BOND across the street.
Club: The relatively new club Byblos (Via Messina 38) has a big terrace outside. When you go out in Milan, you should dress up, otherwise you might feel out of place. Keep in mind that they have a specific ‘pay-as-you-leave’ system when it comes to clubs. Don’t lose your exit tickets because it might cost you.
Parco Sempione – the large and lovely city parc, adjacent to the gardens of the Sforza Castle and the Arch of Peace which are also important landmarks.
la Rinascente (Piazza del Duomo) – this is the exclusive department store if you like to get lost in luxury, and of course the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II.
The Designer Hospitality venues – to get a taste of the upscale Milanese lifestyle you can go have a drink at, for example, the Armani Caffe. Milan probably has the most collaborations of designer labels and hospitality venues. Besides the Armani Caffe you’ll find the Just Cavalli restaurant/club (nicely situated in Parco Sempione), Maison Moschino, the Gianfranco Ferré spa. etc
il aperitivo – this is actually one of the best budget tips. At most bars where you take the aperitivo during happy hour (6-9 pm), they’ll also serve you free antipasti to go along with it. So, if going out to a fancy dinner is no part of your budget stay, this is one to remember. Check this website to see where you can have your aperitivo.
Corso Garibaldi – according to our Milanese insiders this is the trendy going out district, and it houses the eldest nightclub of Milan; Hollywood, where you might just run into famous soccer players, international celebrities or local heroes…
easyJet has several flights a day, 7 days a week departing from Amsterdam -Schiphol to Milan Malpensa Airport . Tickets start at €32,02 p.p (single ticket incl. taxes and additional fees) or €59,43 p.p (return ticket incl. taxes and additional fees) Flight duration: 1 hr 45 mins
When arriving at Malpensa airport you could opt for the bus -what we did on arrival- that drops you off at Milan Stazione Centrale for €10 (tickets are available on flight, a return ticket is €16). From there on you can easily navigate by Metro, Tram or Taxi to your hotel. An other option is the Malpensa Express which will bring you to Cadorna station. The train leaves every 30 minutes. We took the Malpensa Express back to the airport, please take note that it stops at Terminal 1 and that you should take the quick shuttle from there to Terminal 2 (about 5 mins) for your easyJet-flight.
Milan is too big of a city to cover in a few days, but try to take a map with you (always available at the hotels) and walk as much as you can, which is the best way to discover the city.
Since there’s still some on our list to visit next time we’re in Milan, we say ‘Ciao Bella, alla prossima volta!’