Milan, what a charming city! This northern Italian city is easy and cheap to get to and makes for a wonderful weekend trip! Here’s my guide to a full day in Milan on a budget; perfect for students!
Firstly, take into account the costs for the ride to and from the airport! Flights come into Milan through one of two airports, ake Malpenesa or Bergamo. The express train into the city from Malpensa takes about 40 minutes and costs 13 Euros each way. The bus from Bergamo takes about an hour and costs 9 Euros round trip. Unfortunately, there’s no real good way to get around this as the airports are too far for a taxi ride and there are no cheaper options.
Once you arrive: The Malpensa Express train can leave you at Cadorna FN, from which you can see the facade of the Castello Sforzeco and the magnificent fountain that graces its entrance. While there are multiple museums inside the castle (with an entry fee to all of them for just 3 Euros), the grounds are free to explore. The park behind the castle is also worth a stroll! Walk to one of the old gates to the city that is directly across from the castle walls, or to the beautiful bridge that crosses the stream which winds itself through the grounds.
After the Castello, visit a museum! For art, visit the Pinacoteca di Brera. While the fee is 10 Euros for non-EU residents and 7 for EU resident students, the art housed here is extensive and very representative of the various Italian art movements. For those, a bit tired of the art of Europe, try the Leonardo da Vinci Science museum! Unlike anything else in the world, this museum has models of many of Leonardo da Vinci’s designs as well as exhibits on current scientific discoveries (I was able to see an exhibit on nuclear physics and one on space)! It also has a fee of 10 Euros for non-EU residents or 7.50 for EU resident students but is worth every penny for the many hours of interesting material presented.
After one of those museums (they are either North or South of the castle), head to the center to visit the Duomo! While the outside of this gorgeous creation could take you an hour to appreciate, I suggest joining the typically half-hour-long queue early to go inside the building. Tickets to see the inside cost 2 Euros and are worth it (Don’t worry about the audioguide since as always, a quick Wikipedia search will get you the history lesson you seek). If you have more than one day in Milan, try getting there around it’s opening (8 am) to avoid queues.
After the Duomo, walk through the galleries and along the road to the left of the cathedral. This is the high-end district of the city that is known for its incredible fashion, and you can find obscenely priced items that are perfect for window shopping. You’ll also find some of the best people-watching in the city. In the evening this area truly comes alive.
A visit to Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper mural is also an activity that is on many people’s must-do list. However, if you’re interested in seeing this masterpiece, it is necessary to purchase tickets many weeks in advance. Tickets that are not part of a tour are available from various sites that often sell them in bundles with admission to other museums (just google for the extensive array of options), but generally cost around 35 Euro for the non-reduced price and 28 Euro for the reduced cost (EU residents under the age of 26).
Between the multitude of churches, you will stumble upon (Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio and Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore are good ones to find!) and the availability of 1.30 Euro coffee, Milan will keep you entertained. Don’t forget to enjoy the pizza, pasta, gelato and pastries as well as the Italian culture during your 24 hours in Milan!