Where To Stay
Now this is the eternal question. My criteria is usually the following: enough room to comfortably open two suitscases, reliable wifi, walking distance to at least a few key spots and restaurants, and affordable. I’m yet to find this magic equation in Milan, so if you have any tips, let me know of on Instagram.
Hotel VIU Milan is a relatively new spot that offers modern rooms (some with chic balconies), stylish interiors, a decent restaurant and, most impressively, a panoramic rooftop terrace with a small swimming pool and bar. The only catch is the location may not be ideal for a Milan first-timer. VIU is in Chinatown – an area I love and enjoy staying in (plus there’s excellent Thai and Vietnamese food). It may not be super convenient for all the usual cultural spots listed in your guide book, but it’s definitely one of the more wallet-friendly options available.
Via Aristotile Fioravanti, 6, 20154 Milano MI
Maison Borella, situated right on the canal in Naviglio is a boutique hotel with a super cute courtyard and thoughtfully decorated rooms. I think it’s safe to say Naviglio is almost every visitors favourite area of Milan and the staff here are really lovely.
Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 8, 20144 Milano MI
If you’re looking for an apartment rather than a hotel, Concoct Milano offers super chic rooms and apartments; think wooden floors, polished concrete, minimally designed spacious rooms and a cute courtyard. It’s slightly out of the city (also in Chinatown) but it’s also excellent value.
Concoct Milano, Via Arnolfo di Cambio, 8, 20154 Milano MI
For Local, Thoughtfully Produced Fare
u barba is a Ligurian restaurant which focuses on seasonal fare offers fresh, thoughtfully produced food with cool interiors and friendly service. Extra points for the courtyard and petanque out the back. They also have craft beer and plenty of veg-friendly options – which can be hard to come by in Milan.
u barba, Via Pier Candido Decembrio, 33, 20137
The Perfect Spot For An Aperitif
Situated right on the canal, Mag Cafè is a local haunt, despite being smack bang in the middle of tourist heaven. The ideal spot to grab a spritz and a snack and enjoy the serenity of Naviglio.
Mag Cafè, Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43, 20143 Milano
Unfortunately the rumours about Italian taxi’s being extortionate are all true (a driver informed us this time around that the meter starts from when you call the cab, not when when it arrives – which explained countless overpriced rides where I always wondered where the fee came from).
There’s no Uber, and you can’t hail a cab, so your best bet is to either download Auto Radio Taxi app (the rule above about the meter starting straight away still applies soz) or asking a local where the nearest taxi stand is.
Despite my first world woes about taxis above, my point is actually that you’re best to rely on public transport. The tram and metro system in Milan is efficient and easy to use; even for an outsider. You can buy a 10 trip card from an metro station or tabac/newsagent. Too easy.