Travel: 48 hours in Milan
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you might have noticed that I popped over to Milan for a little city break last weekend. Sam bought me the flights for Christmas, and we had such a dreamy weekend. A few people mentioned that they hadn't thought much of the city when they visited, so my expectations were pretty low. But boy, oh boy, was I wrong - I fell head over heels in love with Milan. So much so that I spent the entire weekend plotting my return...
It's a city that has everything I want for a weekend break - beautiful architecture, amazing food, stylish streets, ace wine and some very lovely shops. And then there is the atmosphere - the buzz hit us as soon as we got off the train at the central station and we lapped it up for the whole weekend. It's a city that feels alive and exciting and a bit edgy, something which some of the Scandi cities we've visited lately have lacked a little.
So anyway, enough of me professing my OTT love, how about I show you what we got up to during our 48 hours in Milan? Be warned - this is a humongous post, you might wanna grab a cuppa before digging in!
Dinner and drinks at Eataly
We rented a little Airbnb apartment for our trip and our lovely host, Edwin, very kindly drew us a little map and gave us some recommendations of things to do and places to eat. One of the places he mentioned was Eataly, and mine and Sam's eyes simultaneously lit up when he told us about it. You see, we visited the New York branch of Eataly last September, and absolutely fell in love with it, so we knew we were in for a treat!
Eataly is a bit of a supermarket/restaurant hybrid, but that description doesn't really do it justice. They sell tonnes of amazing Italian produce (including wines, cheese, fresh pasta, meats, gelato... the list goes on!) and also have a couple of restaurants dedicated to different types of food, including pasta, pizza, fish and meat.
We started our evening with a couple of Aperol spritzes on the terrace out front - the sun was setting, they had a DJ playing some ace songs and it felt like that first moment of "ahhhhh, we're on holiday!" excitement. We then headed inside for dinner, choosing the pasta restaurant as the setting for our first Italian feast.
We shared a meat platter and then followed it up with a pizza for Sam and pasta for me - it was a super simple tomato and basil concoction, but I've honestly never had a better tasting pasta sauce in my whole life!It was such a lovely start to our weekend and I would definitely recommend Eataly if you're visiting Milan (or New York for that matter!) - I was really wishing that we were staying for longer so that I could buy some fresh ingredients and cook something up back at our apartment, but I suppose we'll just have to visit again...
Breakfast at Pavè
We woke up the next day craving some good Italian coffee, and after a quick Google we decided to head to Pavè. It was a super cool place and we soaked up the atmosphere over sourdough and croissants and homemade jam and cappucinos - it was lovely!
Next up on our hitlist was the Duomo, which is Milan's cathedral. It was SO beautiful and the detail was just amazing - it really reminded me of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which will give you a bit of an idea of scale and sheer wow-ness. It's set in a really pretty square where we milled about for a little while, people watching and taking in the view. You can go inside and have a look around, but the queue was huge, and as we didn't have loads of time we decided to skip that on this trip.
While we were in the area, we decided to head up to the Aperol roof terrace for a drink overlooking the Duomo. We were lucky enough to get a table pretty much straight away but there were big queues when we left, so it might be worth getting there early! The drinks were probably the most expensive ones we had in Milan, but it was so worth it for such an amazing view.
Located right off Piazza del Duomo is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an incredibly beautiful mall that houses some pretty heavyweight designer stores, including Prada, Gucci and Versace. Unfortunately our spending money budget didn't quite stretch to fancy handbags, but it was well worth a look around anyway for the architecture alone - just look at that ceiling!
By this point our bellies were starting to rumble a little, and so we walked up to the Brera district for a spot of lunch in the sunshine. Brera is such a gorgeous area of Milan - think cobbled streets, colourful buildings and plenty of charm. We sat outside a restaurant eating pasta, drinking local wine and watching people pass by on the pavement - it was such a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
After doing a bit of research before our trip, we knew there was only one place that we would be spending Saturday night and that was Navigli. The area of Navigli is based around 5 navigable and connected canals, and each canal is lined with tonnes of bars and restaurants. By the time we arrived at 7pm the streets were already teeming with people and it just got busier and busier throughout the evening. We got there just in time to enjoy the typical aperitivo time - it's a bit like a British happy hour, but instead of getting deals on drinks, you buy a drink and it gets served with lots of lovely nibbles or you can help yourself to a table of food. My kind of happy hour.
We bar hopped our way along the canals, people watching and catching up and enjoying being able to sit outside all evening - it was so much fun. The buzz in this area was ace, and even though we weren't there until super late you could just tell that it would only get better as the night went on.
Breakfast at Bar Luce
We knew we wouldn't have tonnes of time on our last day as our flight home was in the afternoon, but we still had one place we were desperate to tick off our list - Bar Luce. Bar Luce is a cafe/bar designed by the amazing director Wes Anderson and it looks like a set straight from one of his films. Think pretty pastels, gold gilt and plenty of 50s touches - I was swooning all over the place.
We indulged in a couple of their pastries and cakes for breakfast (that custard doughnut was the tastiest thing in the world, but also made me high as a kite after going without sugar for so long!) and then played on the super kitsch pinball machines and fangirled a bit more over how gorgeous the place was. It's a bit of a trek out of the city centre, but so worth checking out if you're in Milan - it's one of the coolest places I've ever been!
And with that it was time for us to head back to the airport ready to fly home - sigh! We had SUCH an ace weekend - it was so chilled and lovely and exactly what we both needed. Milan has definitely get a very warm place in our hearts now, and I'm sure we'll be back one day.
Have you been to Milan before? Did you love it as much as I did?