Milan, Italy

When it comes to 'cosmopolitan' cities, Milan is about as good as it gets. Shopping, dining, shopping, nightlife, shopping, history, shopping, sports, shopping, fashion- Milan has it ALL (Did we mention SHOPPING???). One of the oldest cities in all of Europe, Milan is an incredible mix of the ancient and the modern, with gothic cathedrals and medieval castles standing resolutely amidst trendy shops and fashionable boutiques. Steeped in history while embracing the present, Milan is all about enjoying life- sipping coffee, indulging in gelato, and living life the 'Milano' way.

    Sforza Castle in Milan

  • Visit the Duomo- The famous Duomo is Milan's main cathedral- one of the largest and most ornate Gothic cathedrals in the world. The facade and upper terraces are covered with thousands of intricately carved statues and reliefs. Climb the stairs up to the terraces for great views out over central Milan.
  • The Famous Duomo in Milan

  • Walk around the city- Central Milan is very pedestrian-friendly. Take a good walk around the city to help get the lay of the land, and you're sure to find a few gems along the way. Stop in a cafe, have a coffee and a sandwich, and watch the Milano world go by.
  • Walking around Milan

  • Explore the Castle Sforzesco (Sforza Castle)- Built by the Duke of Milan in the 15th Century, this medeival castle is HUGE. It is free to walk through the grounds, but history buffs may be inclined to take a guided tour, or pursue a few of the numerous museums and galleries that are housed within the castle walls. Find the castle in Parqco Sempione.
  • Parco Sempione- a massive park in central Milan, and a great place to get lost for awhile. Take a book, take a blanket, take a picnic, and enjoy a few hours away from the hum of the city. As mentioned above, you can even take a walk through Sforza Castle...
  • Gelato- an Italian delicacy, we dare you to try walking along Milan's gelato-lined streets and not give into the temptation… Go on- it's a cultural thing!
  • Piazza del Duomo in Milan

  • Dining- Milan is renowned for its dining scene. True- being a backpacker, you'll be traveling on a budget, but if there's a place to splurge a night or two on food, Milan is it. Amazing pasta, incredible wine, delicious deserts, and  plentiful digestifs- now THIS is dining, Milano-style...
  • Fashion- if you're into the fashion scene, or just like seeing supermodels strutting the streets, Milan is the place for you. While there are two main fashion festivals in town (Spring and Fall), Milan is the year-round HOME of fashion in Italy- maybe in all of Europe.
  • Shopping- Along with the fashion scene come the shopping. Obviously, we're talking high-end shopping here, but believe it or not, Milan caters to all budgets when it comes to shopping. You just might have to search a bit harder for something that fits your Backpacker's budget...
  • The town of Bellagio on Lago Como

  • Day trip to Lago Como- Lago Como, a beautiful lake settled amid the foothills of the Italian Alps, is a short train ride (2 hours) north of Milan, and well worth a day trip at least. There are numerous towns along the lakeshore, all serviced by ferries that transport people all across the lake. Depending on your timing, you can take a slow ferry and make multiple stops, or if you've only got a few hours, hop on a fast ferry to the town of Bellagio- a picturesquely 'Italian' village that has amazing charm and character.

Bellagio, Lago Como