Milan - with friends
We flew from Lille towards Malpensa airport which is located approximately 50 km from the city center. We selected the Malpensa express to get to the city, which costs around 30 euro including a MilanoCard which gives reduction to several attractions. This journey takes easily up to 1 hour and if you then have to take a metro to reach your hotel, you should not under estimate this.
We found a nice deal for our hotel by booking at Ibis Styles Milano Palmanova, but you have to be careful as in November 2017 they were still renovating the hotel and not all rooms were renovated at that time. However, we fixed at reservation time that we wanted renovated rooms and those were nice and clean. It was just outside of the city center, but metro stop was only 50 meter away, which was in combination with price the key drive to book this hotel. Also a breakfast buffet was included. For the total price of around 100 euro per person for 2 nights, you will have to do your best to find a better deal.
For moving around the city it can be easy to take a multiple metro day card. It makes you can navigate quickly around town
Before we hit the center we decided to have a drink in a local pub close next to our hotel. When you get outside the hotel, turn right and walk around 500 meter. The pub is a newsagent as well. The people nearly spoke English and a regular customer had to assist to get our drinks ordered. The prices were incredible, we paid 5 euro per bottle of wine. In Belgium you often don’t have a glass of wine for that amount. Once we got our drinks the host started to bring us all kinds of local appetizers. After another bottle we had to force ourselves to move to the city, as atmosphere was so authentic, that you would be seduced to stick around.
In the city we had food in a local pizzeria, but nothing special to recommend. After we went to an Irish pub called O’Connell Country Pub, not far from the real tourist center. Later on we moved through the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II to the Plaza del Duomo. We can only advise you to go there very late (after 22:00). It will be quite abandoned and peaceful. The next day, there will be thousands of tourists. What a difference! We had nice weather and on the square you then have a roof top bar where on Friday there was an afterwork party with an awesome atmosphere. Entrance costs 15 euro including a drink to choice (you can pick an Gin-Tonic if you want). All subsequent drinks are 10 euro (cola, beer, wine, …) or 15 euro (cocktails, Gin, …). We had an awesome evening outside on the terrace looking at the Duomo.
After a short night we planned to explore the city by bike. We rented them at Milano Bike Renting which provided us with a tremendous service. They delivered the bikes on Friday evening at our hotel and picked them up on Saturday evening, and that all for the sharp price of 21 euro per bike. The folding bikes were brand new and in top condition. I can really recommend renting with them.
By exploring the city by bike, you can move around quickly and really experience the city. It allows you to visit places which are less accessible by public transportation and you don’t lose time by waiting or switching constantly between different metro lines. Traffic is acceptable and we could safely navigate to wherever we wanted to be.
As one of our friends is a real soccer addict, we headed with our bikes towards San Siro home of AC and Inter Milan. We did the tour and got some reduction with our MilanoCard, but for us this was not that special, after we already visited Bernabeu during our Madrid city trip in 2013.
In the evening we started with an early dinner at Lentini’s and as we didn’t had a reservation we were lucky to get in and although the score on Tripadvisor is mixed, we had a great night. The interior is really nice (we were upstairs), the staff was friendly and food was great. It got very busy later on the night and maybe that’s the moment that quality drops a bit, but we had an awesome dinner with drinks, desserts and all you can wish for and still “only” paid around 45 euro per person.
After a heavy Friday night and very short night we called it quite early a day and headed back towards the hotel for a good night of sleep.
After the breakfast we had to split up. I left early to the airport for a business trip towards California and the others headed to the center for a closing drink and stroll around the city. Can’t say much about that. They took the plan back to Lille around 14:00.