If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know how desperate I’ve been for years to visit Italy. Cheapflights.co.uk made my dreams come true last week and sent me off to Milan with my Mum on their #CheapFlightsChallenge. The challenge was to book a trip for two for three nights including flights and all expenses such as food & attraction entry for under £450. In hindsight, £225 each sounds like a good budget but on this challenge, I soon realised how quickly things added up…
Let’s start from the beginning, I booked my flights via Cheapflights.co.uk’s search engine around three weeks prior to travel for £59 return each from Manchester Airport. Searching for flights was super easy and Cheapflights pointed out the quickest and cheapest flights for the dates we wanted to travel. We actually ended up flying into Bergamo Airport which is around 45 minutes from Milan City Centre. On arrival, there were three different transfer companies all charging €9 return each.
I also found our hotel which was the Ibis Milano Centro on the Cheapflights website. The hotel was only about a 10-minute walk from the train station or two stops on the tram. For three nights, our stay cost £200 and included breakfast. I do have to admit, hotels in Milan aren’t the cheapest in the world so I was pretty thrilled to find this one which was still pretty central to the main sights and had good transport connections.
After arriving in Milan and getting a good night’s sleep, our first full proper day started with trying to suss out the Metro. We worked out it would be the most cost effective to buy a 48hr pass for €8.25 each. This allowed us unlimited use on the Metro, buses and my favourite, the trams!
Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world and I was excited to see this side of the city. Our first stop was checking out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is one of the world’s oldest shopping centres. The building itself is utterly stunning housing some of the biggest names in fashion including Prada, Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton. Obviously, to stick to the budget, I limited myself to window shopping. Not that I could afford anything! The shopping mall is literally right next to the famous Duomo cathedral which is breathtakingly beautiful. We decided to come back early another morning to avoid the already pretty long ques.
When I was doing a little bit of research on Milan, I came across the Armani/Silos Museum. As I was hellbent on visiting, I factored in the entry costs pretty early into our budget. Standard entry is €12 and as I’m under 26, I got in for €6 which is a fab discount! You’ll find three floors of stunning Armani clothing and accessories from the past forty years. On the ground floor was a temporary photography exhibition showcasing the work of Larry Fink and the Armani Caffé. We spent €7.50 in the Caffé on soft drinks. If you are into fashion like me, I would recommend visiting this museum.
After freshening up back at our hotel, we decided to check out the Navigli Canal District. I immediately fell in love with the area and it’s literally my new favourite place. We shot a few photos for this blog post and came across an American Diner called Tizzy’s NY Bar & Grill. The whole area has just got a great vibe on a night. It was so lovely to have some great burgers and watch the world go by. It wasn’t too expensive at Tizzy’s as our meal came to €22 and it was absolutely delicious. We came across the cutest little Italian restaurants and bars which we vowed to return to the following evening. Unfortunately, we didn’t which was such a shame as I didn’t get a lot of photos. Sad times.
After breakfast at our hotel, we headed off to a little bit more window shopping. I did the impossible and managed to refrain myself from buying anything in Sephora. There’s a huge shopping district right by the Duomo with high street favourites and designer stores galore. From what I saw, prices in stores such as H&M were a tad more expensive than the UK and even in Spain. Oh, also thought I’d mention, yes I am wearing the same outfit. I’m a little bit obsessed with this new top from Mango.
We then headed over to the Sforza Castle which you can look around the grounds for free. I don’t think it’s too expensive to view the Museum exhibits but we decided to just enjoy the grounds. The castle backs onto Parc Sempione which is a beautiful public park in the city centre. It’s the perfect place to hang out in the sunshine and enjoy an ice cream. We did initially want to visit the Aquarium which is also free entry and in the park until we realised it was closed on Mondays. It was a Monday. Rookie Error.
I love discovering different neighbourhoods away from the main sights. I’d read a lot about Corso Como for being quite a fashionable area. 10 Corso Como is a really interesting hidden space with a fashion and art concept store and cafe. It reminded me a lot of Colette in Paris and would be great if you’re looking for some interesting pieces and upstairs is a fab homeware and bookshop.
The café at 10 Corso Como was absolutely adorable but we opted to eat at the California Bakery which is along the same pedestrianised street. I’m sure it’ll have been slightly cheaper, we decided to get pancakes to share to tide us over until dinner. This came to €13.
Our plans for another night in the Navigli District by the canals were shattered as torrential rain and thunderstorms swept in. I was determined to get some proper Italian Neopolitan Pizza during my trip and after digging about online found Maruzella Pizzeria which was luckily only around the corner. Not only was this the cosiest authentic Italian restaurant, the pizza was amazing and only €5 for a Margherita! YES! In total, we spent only €14 here. It was pretty busy when we arrived about 8pm but the que for a table nearly around the block when we were leaving! Finally, I had a cheeky lemon sorbet ice lolly at the hotel for €2.50.
We had a few hours on our final day to squeeze a few more things in. We got up quite early, headed for breakfast, left our suitcases in left luggage and hot-footed it over to the Milano Duomo. There are so many options on tickets into the Duomo, it all depends on what you want to see or do. Entry into they Duomo & Museum is only €3 but as I wanted to visit the Rooftop Terrace we opted for a bundle for €12 each. You are able to enter to Duomo for free if you are going to pray. This entrance is to the side of the Duomo and you are unable to take photographs and will be in a small area to the side of the cathedral.
Our bundle included access to the Duomo, the archaeological site underneath, the Duomo Museum and the Rooftop via foot. It wasn’t too fun heading up to the terrace in 28 degrees heat up a small winding staircase but the elevators had broken. The views from the rooftop are incredible and great for taking beautiful photos. It was still quite early when we went up there and it was really busy. It’s not the most spacious of places and wouldn’t be great for you if you are uneasy on your feet.
Before heading to the airport, we did have a cheeky McDonalds which isn’t very Italian. They did have a meal deal for two meals for €9.10, which isn’t too bad. It was also a great place to people watch over the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. We also had to get an ice cream before leaving so headed to Granaio Caffé for some gelato using the last of our budget. Two small ice creams came to €6. Then it was time to leave Milano and head back to Manchester.
Milan is certainly one of those cities where you don’t have to constantly pay to get into attractions and museums and you can take in the city by exploring the streets and different districts. There are so many incredible little piazza’s, beautiful buildings and churches on every corner. So with three days in Milan, did we stay within our budget of £450?! Small items such as Metro Passes and Transfer Tickets soon add up.
Flights & Accommodation: £318
Expenses in € including Transfers: €150.60 (£130.58)
I’ve also put together a vlog of our time in Milan and a little breakdown of all of our costs. I really hope you enjoy it as I thought I would do something a little different with the challenge.
A massive thank you to Cheapflights.co.uk for arranging this trip for me. I had so much fun doing the #CheapFlightsChallenge and exploring Milan. I also would like to mention that Three had lent me Huawei 10+ phone for my trip. Most of the photos in this post was taken with it. I’ll be doing a full post on that next week. Hope you enjoyed this post and vlog, let me know what you thought of my trip.
Have you ever been to Milan before? How much would you tend to spend on 3 day city break for two?