A girl’s cheap guide to Milan

The Duomo Cathedral in Milan, by Stacey Cosens

Romantic old-time glamour, with an urban heartbeat. A place often overlooked for city weekends, Milan has some excellent hidden delights.

Think Milan, and you think fashion. As one of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan hosts designers such as Moschino and Versace. As you walk into the city’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, your eyes are drawn to its two central main players Prada and Louis Vuttion.

The other thing that will grab your eye in the Galleria is its rather posh McDonalds. Careful not to break the elegant theme of the shopping mall too much, it’s usual logo, is black and gold to match it’s neighbours. Everything has a touch of elegance here.

In the main Piazza del Duomo, you will find yourself surrounded by tourists and pidgeons as you stare at the main attraction, the Duomo Cathedral. Visible from throughout the city, and one of the biggest cathedrals in the world, the gothic Duomo cathedral has over 3000 statues built into its walls. As you circle this magnificent building, the sheer detail of this building is remarkable. The cathedral took over five centuries to complete, and it’s easy to see why.

A short walk down the road from the Piazza del Duomo is the Castello Sforzesco. The 14th century castle was once home to the Visconti family and restored to its original splendour by the equally aristocratic Sforza family in the 1450s.

The castle is now considered one of Milan’s most loved attractions, and hosts twelve mini-museums running all the way from Palaeolithic history through to 1950s furniture. If you don’t fancy exploring the museums, just walking through its grounds is entertaining enough. Outside you are greeted by an impressive water fountain and as you walk through the grounds you’ll spot statues and courtyards before you come into Milan’s answer to Central Park.

While you explore Milan’s historic monuments, you’ll have a sense of being transported to another time. The city has so much history, and you’ll get an instant sense of this.

While exploring Milan’s intertwining streets and avoiding getting flattened by the ever present trams, you’ll find yourself on Milan’s main high street, think of it as Milan’s Oxford Street. As you make your way down this road you’ll spot familar brands such as H&M and Mango, as well as less familiar European brands such as Pull and Bear and local boutiques.

No matter what your budget, you should find something that catches your eye. Pull and Bear is a particularly impressive brand with cheap t-shirts and stylish fashion staples; it is the perfect mix of H&M and Topshop. While we have a few of our own Pull and Bear stores in the UK, it’s well worth checking out the Milan store with its blaring dance music and three floors of clothes.

Flights and hotels are cheaper than you think, Ryanair has previously sold return flights to Milan for as little as £2 and hotels can be as little as £35 per night. This city is perfect for a short two day break.

Profile photo of Stacey Cosens

About Stacey Cosens