A traveler visiting northern Italy must not forget to visit Milan for a couple of days before heading to the beautiful Florence, famous Rome or sunny Naples in the south. If you are a big fan of shopping, visiting this fashion capital can be expensive. Here are 7 things I recommend you do for 5 EUR (~5.50 USD) or less in Milan.
1. Visit the Duomo Cathedral and Museum
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Milan is the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano). This Gothic masterpiece is one of the most important pieces of symbolic and spiritual artwork in the city. The entrance fee to both the cathedral and the museum is only 2 EUR (~2.20 USD). Remember to dress appropriately to enter the cathedral, otherwise you can be turned away.
2. Go to a Basilica or church
For architecture lovers, there are many basilicas and churches, such as Saint Mary of the Graces (UNESCO’s World Heritage), Saint Ambrose, Saint Maurice, and Santa Maria del Carmine, to see in Milan. These churches and basilicas are free to enter. If you are into seeing the more ancient part of Milan than the shopping experience, come to the historical district of Cinque Vie.
3. Window shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Known as the oldest and most glamorous shopping center in Milan, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is the home of the most famous brands in the world such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent, etc. This grand shopping mall is more like a mini palace with its stunning mosaic floor, glass roof and cupola. Though this is a shopping area for the rich, many tourists can just enter to take a look and take photographs. Go for a cheaper shopping experience at the popular shopping street Via Torino just a 5 minute walk from there.
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4. Eat a pizza at Piazza del Duomo
Eating spaghetti in a restaurant is way more expensive than cooking at the hostel, so backpackers would often go for a take away pizza whilst in Milan. A slice of pizza here should cost no more than 5 EUR/~6 USD. The price of a typical traditional piece cut in a square shape is 3.50 EUR/~4 USD. Don’t forget to go for an ice cream as a dessert afterwards. Another Milanese cheap-eat is called panzarotti and can be found in Luini near Via San Radegonda.
5. Get a free CD from a street musician
There are many street artists playing their music around the Duomo Square or the Sforzesco Castle where there are the highest density of tourists on the street. Musicians bring their pianos and guitars with amplifiers to play all day long, which makes the atmosphere in Milan so much more lively especially during sunny days. You can usually get a CD with just a donation!
6. Join a free walking tour
There are many free guided walking tours offered by different organizations in Milan. They usually cover the most famous attractions in the city but do not focus on more unknown places. If you stick to the central area, the most important attractions are so close to each other that you can easily discover them on foot. You can explore the rest of Milan by traveling on the metro, tram or bus, which is also cheap as one single ticket for all means of transportation costs only 1.50 EUR (~2 USD).
7. Stay with a local via CouchSurfing
While hostels in Milan can be more expensive during high travel seasons, such as during the summer months or December, one of the cheapest choices of accommodation is to stay with a local on CouchSurfing. This is a site that connects travelers around the world and enables free hosting between locals and tourists.
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