It’s taken me way longer than planned to get this post up – I took an overwhelming amount of pictures and the thought of going through and condensing them to one blog post felt like a lengthy task (and it was!). Pre going I tried to find vlogs or posts about Milan and struggled, so I’ve gone into quite a bit of detail and decided to split into two posts as I couldn’t find what I wanted, so you may want to skim read/look at the pretty pictures. I was planning on vlogging but had a cold and cough and couldn’t say a sentence without an annoying tickly cough happening!
Day 1 – Saturday
We didn’t arrive into Milan until about 4pm, after a mild airport disaster where I stubbed my toe (not even that hard), and my big toe nail was literally hanging off, Ben ran to Boots we bandaged it up and headed. We flew into Malpensa airport (there’s two main ones for Milan), we heard that getting the bus was both the easiest and cheapest way to get into the city – as it’s about an hour out. Tickets were 5 Euros each (8 Return, but we were flying out of the other airport, so couldn’t get the return!) and it took just under an hour being dropped off at the main train and bus station for the city.
Ben had booked the hotel, flights etc and I said before we left please make sure you know how to get from the bus to the hotel, 40 minutes of walking we finally ended up back near the train station at the Metro station to get out of the city (and it turned out we could have literally used the one at the Train Station too, MEN!). Our hotel was described as being out of the city, but Milan is a small city – it’s not like being on the outskirts of London, it took us about 15 minutes (with a change) to get to our hotel from where we were. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Milan North. The hotel was predominately a business hotel, which means swish finishes, and was the most reasonable hotel that we’d found. We checked in, unpacked, freshened up and headed into the city to do a little bit of sightseeing and grab dinner (by this time it was about 8pm), it was a ten minute journey straight down the line to the ‘Duomo’ stop where the main Cathedral and hub of activity is.First stop was H&M, I needed to go and grab some Pyjamas as I didn’t pack any and was surprised at the airport by my monthly visitor about a ten days early. (Romantic break ruined, ha!).
We then had a little look at the spectacular Cathedral all lit up from the outside before heading to find some dinner. We went to find a restaurant that was rated well online, we found and discovered that it’s a restaurant that wasn’t open in the evenings. We headed back to the main square as we’d passed lots of nice restaurants en-route and stopped at ‘Mercanti Cafe‘ which was both a bakery and restaurant, it was located just off a side street from the main palazzo – and I was facing down towards the square and it was lovely. I must say the food here was lovely, and I think it was the nicest that we had during our trip – we ordered two pizzas but split them and the salami and buffalo mozzarella on them was to die for. It was also the most expensive meal we had, it was in a tourist trap area, bottles of wine started at 40euros, we had 2 glasses (which were small), shared a bruschetta and two pizzas and it was 80 Euros + Service charge – The trip advisor reviews on this place are awful, other than the fact it was expensive our experience was fine! We’d been told not to eat in the tourist areas and we didn’t again!
After that we got a gelato from the main square and had a little wander through the Galleria (where all the designer shops are) before heading back as we were knackered and knew we were going to have a long second day.
Day 2 – Sunday
Breakfast was included within our hotel and had a full selection of cooked goods, fruit, cereal, normal continental breakfast, fresh pastries, and waffles that you made yourself. We’d decided to include breakfast as we’d read that the breakfast was good at the hotel (they weren’t wrong) and that there wasn’t really anywhere close to the hotel to go and get it, so we didn’t want to be wasting time trying to find cafes in the morning.
One thing we really wanted to do was head up to Lake Como – but was holding off to see whether the weather would have been good to go up there – as it was going to be a day full of walking and sightseeing and didn’t want to be stuck in the rain. Luckily we could go and I couldn’t of been happier – I think it’s genuinely the most beautiful place I’ve visited and none of the photos did it any justice, look at how pretty these are and times it by ten, that’s how nice it was in real life.
We got the train up from the main train station on Sunday’s the trains ran every hour both two and from Milan, the trip up took about an hour. The trains themselves were luxury but were packed and hot – luckily I managed to find a spot under an air-con vent otherwise I’d have passed out – I was still sweating it was that unbearable. The journey was worth the wait. We got off the train at a small town called Varenna, in the mid region Lake Como, it’s impossible to do the whole of Lake Como in the day, we thought it would be nicer to explore a couple of places properly than spread ourselves too thin and try to see too much. I think the ferry tickets were about 15 Euros each, we opted for all day pass so we could visit multiple places if we wanted/had time to to but ended up only in Bellagio and a small part of Varenna.
The main place we wanted to go was Bellagio – often credited as being the main home for George Clooney, but in fact he lives in a smaller village close by, so we didn’t start rubbing shoulders with him. Bellagio was incredible and there’s so much I could talk about, by the time we’d actually arrived at Bellagio it was about 12 and we decided to stop for lunch before going for an explore. We ate at somewhere they named the Heated Terrace (but on Trip advisor it’s called the Terrace Metropole), which overlooked the lake and was beautiful spot for dinner. We had Paninis and Cocktails (I had the most minty mojito I’ve had in my life), and all in all it was a pretty good Sunday Lunch.
We then explored the streets for about an hour and half, going into the shops and browsing their fashion and handcrafted items for the home. We ended up back at the port deciding which way to walk next when we decided to get a land train called the Trombetta Express to take us around the area so we could see more than we could have walked, the tickets were reasonable at 5 Euros each, and included one hop on and hop off if you desired to one of the stops on the trip.
We also decided to hop off at one of the stops and explore the gardens just outside of Bellagio called ‘Giardini Di Villa’ which were stunning, We spent about an hour or so in the gardens before leaving – there was no cafe and it was hot, and the land trains only ran every hour and we didn’t think we could wait another hour before being able to get a drink.
These gardens were probably one of my favourite parts of the trip, it was quiet away from the Touristy streets of Bellagio. I could have stayed there all day, if they’d had a cafe or ice creams!
After this we decided to head back to the Varenna and had a little wander and sat and had a beer before we got our train back at 6.15. The journey back was much less crammed and we managed to have seats for the journey. We got back into Milan at 7.30 ish and I was pleased to see that the Sephora I’d spotted whilst running to the train in the morning (we were almost late!), was still open – I popped in and did a little shopping (haul here!).
Peroni Beers were a refreshing choice in Varenna
We went back to the hotel, freshened up and headed out to dinner. We went to another place found on trip advisor called ‘Restaurant Pizzeria Maruzzella‘. I was still really full (and suffering from my ongoing mystery illness quite badly at this point which killed my appetite), We happened to fancy the same things and ordered the a Bruschetta and Spaghetti Carbonara each – both were delicious, Ben had a quite large Carafe of Wine for one person, whilst I had a coke and the whole meal was 40 Euros. The service here wasn’t brilliant – I think we had the one dodgy forgetful waiter as the rest of the staff seemed fantastic. We were wiped by this point and went home, we decided to go home – my phone had said we’d walked 10 miles that day, and it had died half way through the day so hadn’t captured all of what we actually walked.
I hope you enjoyed this post – days 3 & 4 will be up tomorrow (hopefully)! These days are more from a Milan point of view, don’t worry!