Milan

Milan

Overall Rating

Milan

Milan5/51
Milan5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Milan - Reviews

Milan - Reviews

Fascinating City Close to the Alps

27/05/2020

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Visitor Type
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  • Visitor Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    5

Fascinating City Close to the Alps

27/05/2020

Milano is a fascinating city. Gloriously stylish at its core but rough around its edges, we have visited Milan countless times for one reason only - its central location near the Alps. Over time the reasons have increased to include the city itself, not just the location.

From a skier point of view, Milan (and its Milan Malpensa Airport) is an affordable & convenient starting point for ski & snowboard trips into the Alps. My first European ski trip started in Milan. After landing at the airport at 5.30am, I exited by 6.30am, was on a train to Milano Centrale by 6.45am & then on my way to Switzerland before 9am. By morning tea time I was amongst precipitous peaks in Brig annoying a hotel reception due to my earlier than expected arrival. Whilst one could journey to Brig in Switzerland from the busy Geneva airport just as easily, I can’t get direct flights there, so Milan make sense. Car rental is the cheapest in the Alps, & the airport is utterly deserted when my flight arrives, allowing for a speedy exit. But the real point is, most skiers & snowboarders don't consider Milan to be close to the Alps and it most definitely is.

The closest powder hounds worthy ski area near Milan (or more importantly - Milan Malpensa airport) is Alagna in the Monterosa Ski Resort. The alpine freeride opportunities there are simply stunning. Our favourite at Andermatt is close(ish) too by train. Oh, mentioning trains. If one has never experienced a large European train station, Milano Centrale is a beauty. And if you can ignore the fact it was built at the behest of the fascists under Mussolini, well worth a few moments exploration.

As to Milan itself, just like Bolzano, Innsbruck, Lucerne, Montreux or Salzburg, it is worth a few days at the start, middle or end of a trip to explore & experience why European cities have one over other parts of the world.

The inner-city precinct between Milano Centrale station, Milano Cadorna station & the Duomo is simply fabulous. And the beauty of it is that the super busy touristy sights (like the Duomo, Via Dante, Galleria & Castello) are right next to hidden gems which carry a quiet majesty belying their position in this metropolis.

I’m talking about the church of San Maurizio, the Science & Da Vinci Museum, the Archaeological museum & the Pinacoteca di Brera to name a few. There are so many to discover. And whilst the Castello & such may be busy in the middle of the day, wandering around them at all hours is up there with the best I have experienced in Europe.

Despite the amount of times I have been in Milan, I must confess to never having stayed overnight within the inner city itself. My preferred option is to use an airport hotel, which saves moving skis around a big city, & then journey into the city on the train for day trips. What I have learnt is that the airport hotels near the terminals (Moxy & Sheraton) are good, but those others on the edge of the airport precinct in Casa Nuove are not so good. Casa Nuove has the initial feel of a derelict village after a war. If just going to hotel for one night, you may not notice, but if hanging about for a day or two, one certainly does. Surprisingly though, peeling away the veneer reveals a sensational local bakery (shuttered by 10am) & two exceptionally good restaurants (they serve the local airport workers at lunchtime & a handful of locals & hotel guests in the evenings).

One problem with Milan - it is the one place that makes me feel poorly dressed. Ok, I have limited capacity to bring decent street clothes* on my long forays overseas (*I don’t own many), AND I usually don’t care what I look like, but Milan just makes one wonder. So many stylish decked out individuals are strolling the inner-city neighbourhoods that it tugs at one’s base human instincts to belong, fit in………& dress up! Having a strength of character that knows few bounds, thankfully I have resisted the temptation to conform. But those shoes do look kinda cool…….

If ever in the area, spend a day or two wandering Milan. It has way more to offer than snow addicted travellers might expect.