I have always wanted to visit Milan and Lake Como, so I was unbelievably excited for this trip! It is amazing what you can see and do in a weekend in this city. It’s definitely enough time to get a taste of what Milan has to offer. Here’s what we got up to in our 48 hours in Milan…
We checked in to The Yard Milan for 2 nights. This hotel was unlike any other we have stayed in before. From the moment we entered we instantly felt like we were in an exclusive, almost secret-like location. Every room in this stylish boutique hotel was a complete surprise, we didn’t know what we were going to find as we turned the corner. From the unique furnishings and sheer attention to detail, The Yard Milan was very impressive! I would definitely recommend visiting if you are in Milan. The hotel is centrally positioned within the city, located next to the Navigli canals, a charming area of Milan surrounded by bars, cafes and boutiques.
After exploring the hotel, we quickly freshened up and off we went to explore the city.
The end of May was a great time to visit Milan as it was sunny and 30 degrees for the whole weekend. Inevitably, ice cream was first on my list and in under 2 minutes we had already found a gelato shop. In Italy, you’re never too far from ice cream, pizza or pasta.
We strolled through the beautiful streets of Milan until we arrived at the Piazza del Duomo, the thriving tourist hub dominated by the Cathedral. We were completely blown away by the grandeur of the gothic building!
After a few photos in front of the Duomo di Milano, it was time for our first Aperol Spritz of the trip at the Duomo 21 Terrace, a perfectly located rooftop bar overlooking the Piazza. We spent an hour or so sitting on the edge of the terrace soaking in the beautiful views of the city.
Afterwards, we spent most of the afternoon window shopping and exploring the quaint little streets.
We had dinner at the Palazzo Parigi hotel – the most spectacular and breath-taking hotel I have ever stepped foot in. As we entered the lobby we were immediately presented with a grand sweeping staircase, marble columns and a tremendous chandelier, oozing old-school glamour! We had booked a table at the Gastronomic Restaurant, serving traditional Italian and Milanese dishes. It was a beautiful evening, so we were seated outside in the private garden of Palazzo Parigi, a peaceful oasis in the centre of the bustling city. We opted for the homemade veal spaghetti and Milanese risotto, paired with a bottle of Moscato – it was an absolute feast. The staff were extremely friendly and the hotel was stunning, a true masterpiece. I cannot wait to return.
On our second day, we were up bright and early as we had a day trip to Bellagio planned. We hopped on a train from Milano Centrale station and within an hour we had arrived at Varenna-Esino (these trains run every hour and return tickets are around €12 each). Travelling to Varenna-Esino train station was perfect as it was only a 15 minute ferry ride to Bellagio (rather than an hour drive from Como San Giovanni station).
Bellagio was beautiful, I now understand why it is referred to as the ‘Pearl of Lake Como.’ We spent hours wandering the cobbled streets and looking in the silk, leather and jewellery boutiques. We were mesmerised by every turn we took, it was picture perfect. I never wanted to leave!
We had lunch at Hotel Florence in the charming restaurant on the edge of the water. I would definitely advise booking a table here in advance as it got very busy at lunchtime. They had also reserved one of the prime tables for us.
To start, we had a caprese salad with bread and oil, followed by spaghetti Bolognese with an Aperol Spritz… you’ll start to notice a pattern here. The food was delicious and the views were spectacular. I couldn’t ask for any more.
Next on our itinerary was a boat trip round the lake. We hired a boat from ‘Bellagio Rent a Boat,’ they were amazing, I would definitely recommend. This was the highlight of our day in Lake Como! We went to the Villa del Balbianello (featured in James Bond and Star Wars) and around to Bellagio’s neighbouring towns. It was a great way to get a feel for Lake Como.
After a day full of exploring Bellagio, we made our way back to Milan for dinner. We chose to eat at Maio Restaurant (mostly because of the beautiful backdrop of the Duomo cathedral). We ordered more antipasti, bread and pasta (we had to make the most of it while we could).
This was our last day in Milan and we wanted to fill it with doing the touristy things, so we went straight to Duomo di Milano with skip-the-line tickets (around €18). We spent the entire morning walking around the terraces on top of the Cathedral – the perfect place to enjoy the magnificent views of the city. Inside the Cathedral we gazed at the extraordinary stain-glassed windows and discovered the archaeological sites down below, which was utterly fascinating.
Next on our list was to walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – the ultimate shopping destination in the fashion capital of the world. Everything about it was quintessentially Italian. This is a must-visit when in Milan, even just to window shop and admire.
We stopped for lunch at the Galleria Restaurant located opposite the Gucci shop in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. We had the most amazing pizza and cocktails here! It was such a perfect location for our last lunch in Milan.
In the centre of the mosaic floor in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a dancing bull, and there is a long-standing tradition to spin on it with your heel to bring good luck. I am superstitious, so I had to do it!
We just had one more thing to do before we caught our flight back to London… get our last ice cream of the trip!
The more I visit Italy, the more I am falling in love with the country.
To see more on city breaks in Italy, check out my guide to Rome here.
The Blonde Sunchaser x