If you have just 48 hours to spend in Milan, here’s a pretty good way to experience what the city has to offer and spend a little time off the beaten path at the same time.
It’s a beautiful city no matter where you go, but if you want to do it right, here’s what I recommend based on past experience.
Stay: Park Hyatt Milano
I know what you’re thinking: “Park Hyatt?” Trust me when I say that the Park Hyatt Milano is the highest rated hotel in the city for a reason. It’s right in the heart of the city, practically located within Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and is pretty central to anywhere that you’re going to want to see in the city.
It’s pricey, but it’ll probably end up placing pretty high on the list of nicest hotels you’ve ever stayed at. The location is amazing, as is the hotel itself, but the real kicker is the service you receive.
Ask the concierge and they’ll take care of anything you could ever need. Have a postcard you want to mail back? They’ll ship it free of charge. Need a rental car? They’ll loan you a 2015 Fiat 500 Abarthe for free. You don’t even pay for the gas. Tell them where you want to go, they’ll program everything into the GPS so that all you have to do is drive to the next destination.
Side note: If you’re under 25 and can’t get a rental car yourself, this is a pretty good workaround as the hotel only requires you to be 18.
The room are extremely spacious –especially for Europe– with a full bedroom and massive bathroom/closet area. It’s nice, but I wouldn’t expect any less for the high cost of the room. They even offer nightly turn-down service which is nice if you spend the whole day exploring and want fresh towels or sparkling water waiting for you. There’s also a spa located in the basement that is about as secluded and relaxing as a spa can get in the middle of a downtown area. It’s fairly reasonable too, especially considering the high cost of the hotel and dining.
Dining options are excellent, though extremely overpriced. If you’re willing to pay high prices for the experience, spend a little time at the bar before you head out for the night. Sit at the bar and talk with the bartender, you can watch as he makes drinks and he’ll explain what he’s doing. Trust me, you’ll want to know. It’s one of the rare instances where your bartender isn’t rushed and can give drinks the care they deserve. Be forewarned though, our party of two had three drinks each and the total was nearly $200 USD, so you’re definitely paying for part of the experience there.
Breakfast is also quite amazing, with some of the most perfectly ripe strawberries I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Another suggestion, just get the French Toast. It’s wonderful and magically light; you won’t regret it. Breakfast can also be quite expensive –roughly $80 USD– but if you’re a Hyatt Diamond member, it’s all free.
Do: Como and Bellagio
Spend the day in Bellagio (yes, the real Bellagio) and Como. They surround the lake and provide gorgeous views while there and for the entire drive. Fair warning: the roads are very narrow and people aren’t much for staying on their side. This is where the Park Hyatt’s Fiat comes into play. Fiats are small and do well on these kinds of roads, but larger cars might be a bit tighter of a fit.
Hit up Bellagio first. You can head there around one side of the lake, then loop back around the other side to hit Como on your way back to Milan. It’s only a 65 minute drive to Bellagio, barring any blockage on the thin one-way roads, but it might just be one of the most beautiful hours you’ll ever spend driving.
When you get there, park your car and walk down to La Goletta at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. It’s right on the water, but slightly pulled back from the slight bustle of the streets. Relax, eat the wonderfully tasty food, and watch the ships sail by.
Once you’ve finished, take some time to explore the town. It might be bustling with tourists, but it’s still a small town at heart.
From here, head to Como. It’s a long drive, maybe 45 additional minutes down a long and windy side road on the edge of a mountain, but it’s worth it.
In Como, you’ll find Duomo di Como, a 600-year-old Cathedral dropped right in the center of a vibrant shopping district. While you won’t find much here beyond the Duomo and a few stores to shop in, there’s one cool view that I’d be remised not to mention.
On the top floor of the local department store, there’s a restaurant that has terrible food and terrible service, but the best view. Ask to be seated outside and you’ll might luck out with no smokers taking over the patio. It’s the best spot to grab a drink and take in the view of the Italian countryside. Eat a pretzel, have some beer, then bounce.
Make your way back to Milan and look for some grub. Just a few blocks away from the hotel is Royal Restaurant. It’s an outdoor cafe that has some of the best pasta you’ll find in Milan. Plus, their house wine and french fries are killer.
Despite only being three blocks from the hotel, you’ll encounter many gelato spots on the way back to the hotel. Pick some up and revel in its deliciousness. It’s worth it, you can go on a short run when you get home.
tl;dr of 48 Hours in Milan
Stay at the Park Hyatt Milan. Eat their breakfast, enjoy a massage in the spa, and take one of their cars for a road trip. Explore around the hotel. You’re in a great location filled with amazing restaurants and endless historical sites – not to mention every shopping spot you could ask for. It might be expensive, but you won’t regret it. Additionally, it’s a completely reasonable booking using Hyatt Gold Passport points, which are transferrable from Chase Ultimate Rewards so they’re fairly easy to acquire.
If you have questions or suggestions of your own, hit me up on Twitter at @alexrubens.