28 July 2013

Travel: Milan

Last Friday my friend Jodie and I headed off for a long weekend in Milan. Neither of us had been before and we'd both had such a manic few weeks neither of us had taken the time to look into the city itself so as we boarded our flight from Gatwick to Milan Linate neither of us knew what to expect!

I've never been to Italy but I've always been intrigued by the culture, the lifestyle, the fashion and the food so I was quite excited however when we arrived in Milan, I'm not going to lie, I felt a little disappointed. I didn't know what to expect but it wasn't what I got. We jumped in a cab at the airport and 20 minutes (and 20 euro) later we were at our hotel in the city centre. 

Never one to have our priorities wrong, we stowed our suitcases in our room and headed out in search of food! Milan is awash with cafes and restaurants boasting al fresco dining and some of the most incredible looking and smelling dishes, wines and gelato I have ever seen - it really is foodie heaven!

Before I'd left work my manager pointed out that I simply must try and Aperol Spritz whilst we were there, let's just say I didn't need much encouraging so it was the first drink we ordered when we arrived and we stuck with it throughout our stay!

Aperol is an Italian aperitif and the Spritz consists of Aperol, Prosecco (or champagne), a dash of soda and some slices of orange and it's well worth trying if you're over in Italy though it's making a comeback in the UK too!

After a long day of travelling we decided to have an early night and planned out our new few days: Jodie wanted to see the Duomo di Milano Cathedral, we both wanted to do the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour and I wanted to find Sephora!

I know this is an illusion but it still doesn't look comfortable for either party!

We decided that rather than use the underground or taxis whilst we were there, we would walk wherever possible and use the tour bus when needed. I love walking through new places and really getting to know an area so with Jodie's excellent map reading skills, we had no trouble navigating our way around Milan.

The shops in Milan open early and trade until early evening which is fantastic for those who want to sight see during the day and shop when it's a little cooler. The streets are filled with people, restaurants and boast a genuinely nice and relaxed atmosphere. Despite my initial disappointment I was warming up to Milan.

The Milan Cathedral or Duomo di Milano is one of the most incredible buildings I have ever seen, if not the most incredible. I love visiting Cathedrals when I'm in different places (my favourite being St Patrick's in Dublin - despite not being devoutly religious, I've never spent time in a more calming and enchanting building) and the Duomo di Milano is, in crude terms, the Rolls Royce of Cathedrals.

One of the most impressive things about the Duomo di Milano is that you are able to climb onto the roof as well as enter the Cathedral itself. This wasn't something I was aware of and I don't have a head for heights at all so I didn't make it all the way to the top for the incredible view like Jodie did - instead I settled on a lower level - knees weak and hands shaking as I tried to take in the incredible surroundings and hope that one of the 3400 individually crafted figurines didn't come unstuck and cause an untimely end to my existence!

You can either take the lift up to the basic level where I spent my time or you can climb the 250 steps to the same place - if like me, heights aren't your strong point I'd advise you take the lift as it deceives you as to how high up you will be!

Sadly we were unable to go inside the Cathedral as I had a summer dress on and Jodie had shorts on - as a Roman Catholic place of worship anyone wishing to enter the Cathedral must employ modest dress which includes covering your legs and shoulders. I was quite disappointed not to be able to go inside as I imagine it to have been stunning but it's a handy tip to remember for those travelling to Milan.

The rest of the weekend was spent scouring Sephora (separate post on that later) and enjoying good coffee, better food and beautiful weather.

It's no secret that I would live on parma ham and melon if I could and this was the best I had ever tasted! As you can see, there's a bowl of olives hidden from sight - I'm not a fan of olives though Jodie tells me they were brilliant.

We tried out a few different places for food but really liked the Majestic Cafe between the Duomo di Milano and the Castle and it's where we had the ham and melon. The food was excellent quality, the coffee was superb but above all the service was an absolute winner - friendly staff who couldn't have been more helpful. We tried a few other places and after one particularly bad experience a few doors away (the cafe on the left of Lush - avoid at ALL costs) we really couldn't have been happier with our service there.

I thought this man was an absolute genius - when I glanced him through the crowds of people I thought he was carving wooden flowers, it was only when I got to the front I saw he was carving vegetables! Simply amazing.

We flew home on Monday afternoon and Linate airport is one of the most boring I've flown from, especially if you like an extensive Duty Free selection though as it isn't the main airport for Milan it's understandable.

Milan is a great weekend away if you want to go somewhere different but that isn't too far, flight time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Gatwick and the fares are reasonably priced. If you like good food and good coffee it's well worth a long weekend just make sure you take mosquito spray!!

Have you been to Milan? Where are your favourite places for a City Break?

Vicky x


  1. I've been desperate to go to Italy for years and this post has made me incredibly jealous. Definitely making Milan my next city break (after Paris in November!) - it looks perfect. My favourite city is Madrid :) xx

  2. Looks lke you had a fab time hun! I've never been to Milan but I'd love to go visit, it seems amazing! <3 Lovely post and photos!

    Andrea | RosyChicc

    1. Thank you! It's a lovely city, especially if you're into art and classical history x

  3. Lovely pictures, it looks amazing! x

  4. Oh wow it looks soooo beautiful!
    I really want to go travelling around Europe.

    1. It is lovely. Ooh me too, I really want to travel! X


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