So our trip to Milan was fairly short (arriving Tuesday in the afternoon and leaving Thursday Morning) but we wanted to sightsee before our day trip to Lake Como on that Wednesday. We learned a lot in these three days and how scary it can be to go to a new city as two young women. It’s hard because you can research and plan but sometimes things don’t work out because you truly don’t know what you don’t know. Hopefully, some of this information helps you on your trip to Milan.
Where to Stay: Excelsior Hotel Gallia
Personally, I absolutely loved this hotel! It had amazing reviews before booking it and we were able to experience why. The hotel was gorgeous, with beautiful staircases, rooms, and the rooftop restaurant that overlooked the train station.
The reason we chose this hotel over others was that the meeting location for our Lake Como tour was right outside of it. It was also directly next to the train station which was nice because we didn’t have to figure out how to call a taxi with our bags and suitcases. This made it easy to walk straight there and feel safe in this brand-new environment.
The only negative thing I have to say about the hotel is the overall location. A lot of the sights we wanted to see were in the city center which was a taxi ride away. The taxi ride was short and cheap but still not ideal. This was not an issue for us because we taxied over to the center and walked around. So if you are looking to spend most of your time in the city center this may not be the best fit for you. We also learned one evening that walking directly left out of the hotel we came across an area where we did not feel safe walking around. There were many groups of cat-calling men hanging one block down from the hotel so we learned fast to stay away from that area! Keep this in mind especially if you are young, alone, or a female.
Website to Book Hotel:
I primarily focused on researching food in Florence because that was where we were staying the majority of the time. So when it came to food in Milan I had figured we would eat at the hotel and grab something to eat while in the city center. Not doing my research was a BIG MISTAKE.
I don’t know if anyone else has had this luck in Milan but every place was closed from 3-7… we would look up a restaurant where it would say online it was open and when we would show up it would be closed with no indication of when it actually opened. We were fixated on getting sushi and tried three separate times. All were closed after saying they were open online…. One night we got stranded and just wanted to find literally any place open to eat. The only place that was open was a hookah lounge. I was very skeptical walking in. However…. surprisingly, they had the best Mediterranean food and we were so happy we found the place. Never thought we would love the food at a hookah lounge in Milan but highly recommend lol.
The next night we finally were able to get our sushi! After trying to go to two more sushi places THAT WERE CLOSED, we grabbed drinks on the rooftop of our hotel and postmated sushi to eat in bed. We were extremely happy and even ate the leftovers the next day!
In all honesty, I am very curious if anyone else has had this weird food experience in Milan … or if it was just us?
The drinks and food at the rooftop of the hotel were amazing!
Places We Went:
Starbucks Milan Roastery:
I have to say even though this was one of the literal most basic things I have ever done it was so so cool. I mean my first Starbucks was a vanilla bean frappuccino when I was in like 5th grade…
I had never even heard of a Starbucks Roastery until it was mentioned to us at our hotel. We were both so happy we went because it was such a cool concept. At least in the United States, you are used to seeing a Starbucks on every corner but to sit down at an entire restaurant and see the coffee beans in the process was crazy! The outside of the roastery has a gorgeous restaurant where you can order an assortment of coffees, cocktails and food. The inside was the absolute craziest part. I feel like pictures don’t do it justice.
My favorite part was seeing all of the pastries and how many options there were.
I got my favorite Starbucks drink which was an ice skinny vanilla latte! Tasted better here and out of a real glass. If you are in Milan or somewhere that has a Starbucks Roastery (Chicago, Seattle, New York… there are 43 locations total).
Duomo di Milano:
This was an essential place to visit while we were in Milan, and it was only a half a mile walk from the Starbucks Roastery! We stopped here after and just like most things it was so much prettier in person. It’s so crazy to see pictures of something and then get to experience it in real life. The Duomo di Milano is also the second largest cathedral in the world. Through research, people have said that the best time to go is within the early morning hours when there are fewer people. We went around 5 o’clock pm and it was busy but not terrible.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II:
I had no idea this was going to be right next to the Duomo di Milano. It is literally right there! This was absolutely stunning and again.… prettier in person. The shops and restaurants lined the inside tunnels that were painted with glass windows. The architecture is beautiful and we walked around here for a while just admiring it all.
Type in Maps: Near Giardini Perego
Researching where this Iconic Vogue Stand was took me FOREVER. I had always seen pictures of it on Pinterest and Instagram. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the excitement at all. We finally found it after walking almost a mile to a back hidden street. It was completely closed, maybe because we went around 6 o’clock, and graffiti covered the stand. As we left we watched a man pee on the stand and decided to leave and not come back.
Here is what I thought we were seeing and what we ended up seeing….. If I had known this before we went we would not have walked out of our way!
Lake Como Tour:
This was the tour that made us so excited to go to Milan! I have dreamed of going to Lake Como and seeing the gorgeous houses that outline the lake. I picked this tour that stopped at multiple locations including Bellagio, City of Como and Varenna.
Also if you chose to do this tour make sure you have printouts of your tickets. For most other tours we did not need to have anything besides the name of the booking but our tour guide collected all tickets before letting us on the bus!
The first stop was in Como where we were able to learn about the city and do a very intriguing walking tour. We were given an hour of free time to walk around and admire the lake up close. Ellie and I sat at a restaurant along the water and ordered espresso martinis. This was a great first stop on the tour. The bus then took us to the gardens where we were able to walk around for a bit also. The garden was stunning and had a great view of the lake.
The bus then drove along the gorgeous coast of Lake Como for about an hour stopping to drop us off for our boat tour. This boat tour was breathtaking because we were able to see everything from the water. The Swiss Alps are also visible from Lake Como which made us excited to go to Switzerland one day! I get very boat sick but this boat didn’t make me sick for some reason!
The boat then stopped in Bellagio for lunch where we were able to walk around for a while. This town was very very busy making it difficult to walk around so we sat at the restaurant for most of our time. The weather was amazing near the water so it made this whole day very enjoyable! We ate at a restaurant overlooking the lake and took in the gorgeous views.
Our last stop on the boat tour was Varenna which is such a gorgeous town. We got gelato and sat in the shade for a while before doing a beautiful walk along the water to our meeting spot. We then met back up with our tour and hopped on the bus to go back to Milan. Some of my absolute favorite pictures were from this tour so I highly recommend doing it.
Book through Get Your Guide: