Thursday, 17 September 2009

Ultimate Milan on a Budget, Part Two

(Make sure you read Part One first!)

Where to Eat

Milan has a not-so-secret source of as much great food as you can eat on a purse-perfect budget: their ‘Aperitivo’ or Happy Hour. If you’ve swung into Milan on a shoestring there’s no smarter way to eat. I only ate at one bar and can’t remember its name, but from the impression I got you don’t have to go far to find a good one. Typically, it’s between 5-8 Euros for a cocktail, beer or soft drink, and then you’re free to eat as much as you want! Sometimes, there is a ticket system, but often there’s not and you can even start munching before you’ve ordered your drink. To discover more and hear about some of the top options read this.

Top tip: Be prepared for the food to be very salty – the Italians like their salt as it is, not least when they’re trying to encourage you to drink more!

Of course, this is just dinner. Although, as long as you’re not loitering around the main tourist sites and are prepared to venture the side streets, a coffee and pastry (the typically light Italian breakfast) can be as little as 2 Euros, and lunch can be a bakery-fresh slice of focaccia and a gelato, meaning you could realistically get by on 10-15 Euro a day on eating out. Bargain.

Where to Play

Milan, like a lot of the great European cities, is a place where just heading out of your hotel in the morning armed with your camera and a cute outfit and walking and walking and walking until you can’t walk anymore, is the best way to discover it’s delights. And that’s always totally free.


Things to see: The Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology, Lake Como (reached by train.)

It’s also possible to take the train to Verona from Milan for just 8 Euros each way if you travel at certain times of day, and I’d truly recommend it for an equal dose of architectural awe and shopping. It’s even possible to get to Venice for the day, but that’s more like 25 Euros each way and is about a 3 hour journey so we decided to save that for another time. Check out train times and prices here.

If you fancy some beach time, the nearest spot is Varazze and makes for a wonderful day out if you can cope with the very busy (and largely privatised) beach. Reach it by train.

My one slice of Milano nightlife was 'Zoo Latino' which is truly a find if you’re at all into salsa dancing and is as entertaining to sit and watch as it is to take part. It’s free to enter before 11pm; although you’re given a card which means you’re obliged to buy at least one drink (they are expensive so stick to one, which is okay, because it isn't Italian culture to get drunk). Check out their Facebook page here, although it’s all in Italian unfortunately. The club isn’t central meaning you’ll have to reach it by taxi.

What to Take

♥ Comfy shoes. As always on a city break, these are essential for trekking your way around town.

♥ Insect repellent. Just because you’re in the original city of too-cool-for-school, don’t think that the sultry weather doesn’t attract the dreaded mozzies. I was victim to a bunch of truly eye-watering bites on my trip – not a good look.

Some Italian phrases. Italian is one of the most romantic and fun languages to speak, so shake off those apprehensions and get nattering. You might feel silly at times, but they’ll appreciate it. I had the grumpiest waiter in the world at one coffee bar who I managed to soften with an authentic request for a cappuccino, even if it was only because it was spoken like a true novice!

Style. There’s a lot of it going around in Milan, and if you don’t want to feel like a scruffy tourist and fit in with the best of them, make an effort.

More, more, more...

Check out A Cheap and Chic Weekend in Milan where the budget was £200 all in.

And that was my trip to Milan! Hopefully, I'll get to go back in the not to distant future and can update this guide accordingly.


HereBeDragons said...

Love the photos! Are they yours?

Voila Megan said...

HereBeDragons - Why, yes they are mine! And thanks!

Kb said...

Thanks for this, I'm going to check out these bars!

Aury said...

Fabulous post as always Megan. And Thanks SOOOOO MUCH for the prize. I just got it today. I love everything inside and I cant wait to use it all.
By the way, I just published a new post and would absolutely love to hear what you think of it cos this post is particularly dear to my heart.

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