This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Milan.
Considered by most as the fashion capital of Italy, Milan is known for its international vibe and stunning architecture. This makes it the perfect destination for those wanting to visit this country in style! Located in the heart of northern Italy, Milan is served by three main airports, Malpensa, Linate, and Bergamo. Milan Malpensa is one of the largest airports in the country, meaning that if you are flying to some Italian or southern European destinations, there is a good chance you may have a layover here. But is it worth it to visit Milan if you are stuck here for a few hours waiting for your next flight? Let’s find out together!
Malpensa Airport is unfortunately not too close to Milan and it will take you at least one hour to reach the city centre from here. This means that if you only have a few hours between flights, you will not want to venture all the way to Milan. If this is your case, don’t worry. Milano Malpensa can entertain you in all sorts of ways. For instance, you can spend some time shopping in Piazza del Lusso, Luxury Square, home to world-renowned brands such as Hermès, Armani, Burberry, Moncler, Bulgari, and more. Alternatively, you can stroll through Piazza del Gusto, Taste Square, where you will find a variety of cafés and restaurants, serving all sorts of Italian delicacies. If you want to treat yourself to a bit of comfort, you can use one of the VIP lounges at the airport or, if you are on a budget, simply spend some time surfing the net, thanks to the free WIFI available throughout the terminal. For more information on the airport itself, check out our Milan Malpensa Airport Guide.
Milan Sightseeing Attractions
Below are a few of the top things to do in Milan:
Known for being the third-largest church in the world, Milan Cathedral is regarded as one of the most iconic examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture in the world. Located in the heart of Milan, this majestic cathedral was started in 1386 and has a capacity of 40,000 people.
- Plan your sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about the Duomo di Milano, read traveller reviews or book a tour.
- How to get there: Head to Milano Centrale by train and then hop on the metro. Budget about an hour for the trip to Milan and an extra 10 to 15 minutes for the metro.
- Time Required: Visits last from one to two hours, however queuing times can also be long, lasting from 30 minutes to an hour. To avoid these, you can opt for one of the official tours found on the Milan Cathedral’s website.
Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
Hop-on Hop-off bus tours are ideal for travellers who want to see the most while exploring each spot in depth. You can either opt for Milan’s official Hop-On Hop-Off tour or choose one of the many private ones in the city. Stop at the main attractions including: La Scala Opera, Duomo di Milano, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro), Brera District, Monumental Cemetery,
Castello Sforzesco and more.
- Plan your sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to see a few bus options, read reviews and book tours.
- How to get there: Every tour departs from a different location. Head to Milano Centrale with one of the many trains or buses departing from Malpensa and figure it out from there.
- Time Required: This depends on the company you choose. On average tours last from one to two hours, to which you will have to add all your extra stops.
The Navigli District is one of the most vibrant areas of Milan. This neighbourhood is characterized by water canals, vintage shops, and unique cafés and restaurants. Choose a random café and treat yourself to an Italian espresso; find a great deal in the vintage-clothes boutiques in the area; or simply buy a bottle of wine and enjoy it while sitting on one of the many canals in the Navigli. If you were wondering, yes, drinking outdoors in Italy is fully legal!
- Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about the Navigli District, read traveller reviews or book a tour.
- How to get there: Take the train to Milan Central and then get a train or metro to Porta Genova Station. The trip to Milan will take about an hour and you will have to add an extra 15 minutes to Porta Genova.
- Time Required: We would suggest you spend at least two to three hours here, but you can stay for way longer.
Museo del Novecento
If you like modern art, you cannot miss the Museo del Novecento. This museum is focused on twentieth-century art in northern Italy and is home to world-renowned works of art by artists, such as Umberto Boccioni, Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, and more. Here you will also find a room dedicated to foreign artists, containing paintings by Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse, Mondrian, and Klee.
- Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor for more information about Museo del Novecento, read traveller reviews or book a tour.
- How to get there: Located right next to the Duomo, you can hop on a train departing from Malpensa Airport and reach the city centre within an hour. From here, opt for the metro and stop at the Duomo. The Museo del Novecento is one of the buildings facing the square where the cathedral is located.
- Time Required: Budget at least two hours to see this museum properly.
Despite serving Milan, Malpensa Airport is quite far from the city centre as it is located roughly 50 km northwest of Milan. Despite this, there are a few efficient ways to reach the centre of Milan.
- Trains: After years of complaints, the Italian government finally listened to its citizens and built a train connection between Malpensa Airport and Milan city centre. Trains depart every 30 minutes and a ride will cost you from 10 to 13 euros, taking you to Milano Centrale in about an hour. You can book your ticket in advance on the Trenitalia website.
- Buses: A great alternative to trains are buses. Four main bus companies operate from Malpensa Airport to Milan, all of which can be found on this page. Transfer times depend on the company you will choose and a trip will cost you from 10 to 16 euros.
- Taxis: Of course, you can always opt for a taxi. However, you have to keep in mind that the distance from Malpensa Airport to Milano Centrale is about 50 km, so this option is going to be quite pricey, with an average trip costing about 104.00 euros. Uber operates in Italy but only through their black taxis, namely the luxurious ones. This means that the price won’t be any cheaper.
Before You Go: Layover Tips
Time to fasten your seatbelt and take off! But wait a second, we still have a few things to discuss with you to make sure your layover trip goes as smoothly as possible.
- Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost and procedures of obtaining a transit visa. Check the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Farnesina, for info on visa requirements.
- When is your next flight’s check-in time? Make sure you double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
- What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for long security wait times, so be sure to do a bit of research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
- What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, be sure to confirm whether your luggage will be checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Check out our Milan Malpensa Airport Guide for information on luggage storage.