Our trip to Milan was impromptu; it was almost as if we decided to not go anywhere for the holidays but then we ended somewhere and that somewhere was Milan. Now Milan is a big city (unlike the one we live in); so the moment you get here: you experience the Italian railway station, too many people (getting ironic, I say) and this big city vibe.
Getting to Milan
The railway station; my previous memories of landing in Rome and Venice have been filled with devastation, hence, I was being extra cautious with my bag, my child – everything else was not that valuable. (you get my humour by now, tell me you do?) So yea, getting here was a super easy – a direct train from Basel SBB to Milano central, takes about 4 hours, is not particularly scenic – but is convenient and comfortable.
Engaging the 8-year-old child, not as much – but this time we travelled with friends and it was great. We ate, drank and played – the 4.5 hours didn’t pass in a jiffy but then they passed.
Pro tip: Carry snacks, water and then some entertainment. Charge your phones, carry your charger and a hair brush! Sometimes, it’s almost important to say it out LOUD. Not everyone remembers, except you divas.
So what do you do in Milan when you have no itinerary?
Since the time I have started to live in Switzerland, I have gotten extremely lazy; I mean I want to travel but then I don’t want to plan. To call a spade a spade, if I was travelling all the way from Asia (read India), I would have shopped, planned and made lists for a trip like this. Whoever does that for “impromptu” trips?
Fortunately (or not), Milan is a very “all work and less play” kind of a city and there isn’t a whole lot to do – one discovers that when you take the next best thing to no planning – the hop off hop on bus.
Places To See In Milan
We visited the Duomo, Milan on all the 3 days; this is where everything was – the culture, the museums, the hysteria, the shopping, the Christmas markets and the cafes. So if you go to the Duomo, you are sorted. Apart from that, we also visited the Castello, which was gorgeous; the biggest regret was not finding the tickets to the Last Supper (for this I might need to go back). However, what you could also do while in Milan would be to relax in the Parco Sempione, walk along the corso magenta and tour the canals.
What one shouldn’t or can’t miss in Milan is the shopping; it is after all the fashion capital and rightly so. Everyone around me had their own style statements and I was shaken; winters have always been tricky – one can either be warm or stylish. Striking the balance between the two is a subtle art of giving a fuck.
Places To Stay In Milan: Hilton Review
We stayed at the Hilton; and trust me when I say this, the hotel was the highlight of our trip. The staff was friendly and warm; the breakfast buffet spread was sumptuous and the Italian food at their restaurant was the best we could find.
Apart from the obvious choices of pizza and pasta (which are exceptional), we also tried the Milanese cuisine. If yours and my palettes resonate with each other; give it a pass, the saffron risotto is not to die for (it could kill you). Just kidding.
But full marks to the hotel; When you travel as families, the hotel pretty much becomes the backbone of your trip. A good hotel is equivalent to a good start and a good end. Cuz, even if you have an average day, you return back with some shopping bags to your cozy hotel which has a sparkly Christmas vibe.
I am giving the Hilton Milan a 4 on 5, I would say go for it.
Day Trips from Milan
So there are many options for day trips around Milan: if you are in the mood for some cultural satisfaction, Florence which is an hour away by train could be a great option or if you are into natural beauty then Como is a beautiful city to venture into. I will do a separate post on Como, since I have some great pictures to show off and Como totally deserves it.
I am sure there are more options, but these were the ones on our mind for a winter vacation.
Pro Tip: Do plan your trip; the problem that we faced the most was, things were sold out – like the tickets to the last supper or the train tickets to Florence.
Family travel to Milan
Travel with family friends; it’s always more fun. The kids entertain each other and the adults get some time to cut off from the usual conversations around work, household and budgets. It was a refreshing break for me to travel with another couple, so if possible – I would say do it.
Weather Report: Milan in Winters
We travelled between the Christmas and New Year period and the temperatures were surprisingly comfortable; we even saw the Sun on most of the days, which was great (for our mood and for the pictures). During the day time, the temperatures ranged between 7 to 12 degrees which was pretty good if you packed a good jacket.
Pro Tip: At this time of the year, Milan is very crowded – so hold on to your purses, passports and offsprings. (obviously not in the same order)
Most of the pictures in this post have been taken by my friend Sohani who would make us stop and pose relentlessly (haha), but the end results make you super happy. (Don’t they?)
Have you been to Milan? Are you planning to visit Milan? Tell us more in the comments section, you know we love to hear back.