Back today with another travel post! In case you missed it, you can catch my most recent one here. At the beginning of February, we took a mad dash through Europe. We started out in Germany, made our way through Switzerland, and ended the trip in Italy. We spent our first day in Italy exploring the beautiful city of Milan. Our stay was right at 24 hours long, so we had to be a little picky about what we did. Below I’m sharing where we stayed, ate, and played in case you need a few tips!
First and foremost, always be sure to read the most recent travel requirements. It’s important to know what’s expected of you as a visitor in regard to the pandemic and other current events. As of February 1, 2022, we were required to wear KN95 masks (no cloth or surgical masks). We were also required to present a negative covid-19 test. Either a rapid test taken within 24 hours of arrival or a PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival was acceptable. We also obtained a Super Green Pass prior to our arrival. in Europe to allow us to enter restaurants, museums, and other indoor activities.
Where We Stayed
Our train arrived at approximately 11am into the Milano Centrale Railway Station. Upon arrival, we took the metro from Milano Centrale to Duomo which was a 3-minute walk to our hotel. The original plan was to stay at the Park Hyatt Milan booked with Hyatt points. However, they had to push back their grand-reopening just a few days prior to our trip. This meant they unfortunately had to cancel our reservation. Although we were disappointed, it was handled very well, like all our other interactions with Hyatt. They assisted us with a reservation at partner hotel just across the street, the Galleria Vik Milano.
It’s located in the heart of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II, a luxury outdoor mall located just next to the Duomo di Milano. There are restaurants, bars, and lots of shopping in the area. The hotel has a major focus on art which is evident upon walking into the lobby. Each of the 89 rooms is completely different, decorated with paintings which are actually for sale! I’d love to come back just to see which room we ended up in.
Our check-in process was fairly seamless, and the service was impeccable. Everyone was incredibly warm and welcoming, and we received a thorough tour of our room and the amenities available to us during our stay. There are two restaurants available in the hotel, a pizzeria and a bar. We did not visit either of them, but it would be convenient had we stayed a bit longer.
My favorite part of the room was our view from the balcony. We were above the crowds browsing at the Galleria, and it was fun to open up all the windows and listen to the music playing from the streets. When we checked in, there happened to be a children’s choir doing a performance that echoed throughout the entire area.
Where We Ate
For a quick bite on the go, we stopped for a panzerotti at Luini. They are well-known in the area for baked and fried panzerotti. If you’re unfamiliar, they are essentially like little handheld calzones. The classic filling is tomato and mozzarella, but there are lots of different kinds to choose from. I went with a fried ham and mozzarella panzerotti and washed it down with a cold Peroni. I could have easily gone back for another if we had stayed longer, but I highly recommend stopping by if you need something light for lunch or a small meal to tide you over until dinner. It’s only a short walk from the Duomo and the Galleria.
For dinner, there were several places to choose from around our hotel, but we were able to get a table at La Locanda del Gatto Rosso. Milanese classics filled the menu. I went with the mushroom risotto and it was fantastic! It was really busy, which is always a good sign, and the service was great, although they didn’t have much patience with explaining things to us. It’s worth a try if you’re staying in the area.
Where We Played
One of the major attractions in Milan is paying a visit Leonardo da Vinci’s famed mural “The Last Supper”. It’s located within the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, and it does require a ticket to get in. Be sure and purchase your tickets from the official website to avoid any sort of scams. Tickets are limited, as only 25 people are allowed into the area where the mural is located for 15 minutes in order to preserve the painting as much as possible. The tickets are released for purchase 2 months in advance, so grab them sooner rather than later to ensure you get your spot. We opted for a guided tour, and she was brilliant. She was knowledgeable and extremely passionate about the painting, but also the history of the city as well. Even as someone who isn’t an art aficionado, it’s definitely worth seeing.
The other major attraction in Milan is the Duomo. It’s beautiful from the outside, and the piazza out front is a great place to people watch. You can also purchase a ticket to go inside and even climb the stairs (or take an elevator for a higher fee) to the roof for a lovely view of the city which I definitely recommend, especially at sunset. We opted to climb the steps which is not for the faint of heart, ha! Thankfully it was winter, so the weather was kind to us, but I cannot imagine climbing all those stairs in the heat of summer. One thing to note, if you plan to go inside the cathedral, be sure to keep in mind the dress code (no shorts, spaghetti straps, etc.).
That wraps up our day in Milan! There are many more things we would have done with more time, but I was really happy with our choices. Have you ever visited Milan? Is there something we should add to our list next time? I’d love to hear in the comments below! And as always, thanks for reading!