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Milan is a city like no other. It’s a bustling metropolis where fashion and design are king, and there’s no shortage of art and culture. The fun doesn’t end there, as it’s home to various attractions where past meets present and delicious food is found throughout. However, this much splendor makes it hard to choose where to stay in Milan.
Milan has a diverse range of neighborhoods, with each district offering its own unique charm suitable to different travelers. That’s why this guide exists; it’ll help you find the perfect area for you, as well as the best accommodation in each district.
Summary of the Best Areas to Stay in Milan By Neighborhood
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a glance at the best Milan area to stay in for different types of travelers.
- Centro Storico – best area in Milan to stay for first-time visitors or travelers limited on time. You’ll be in the city center with many tourist attractions within a short distance.
- Brera – best for artsy travelers. Brera is the city’s trendy art and culture mecca close to the city center.
- Navigli – best for lovers of nightlife. It’s the hotspot for trendy bars and Milan’s party scene and is frequented by younger people.
- Stazione Centrale – best for visitors who want to travel to different parts of Milan and beyond. You’ll be near all of the city’s transit stations, allowing you to visit various areas around the city.
- Quadrilatero d’Oro – best for fashionistas. This is the fashion district of Milan, and you can shop til you drop here.
- Porta Nuova – best for travelers after quiet. This is Milan’s business district which also has a number of attractions.
- Citta Studi – best neighborhood to stay in Milan for young travelers or those visiting Milan on a budget.
Centro Storico – City Centre
Many people travel to Milan because they’re often enchanted by the city’s rich history and architecture. Since Milan Centro Storico (Central Milan) is the historic city center, it’s often chosen as the prime location for first-time visitors.
It’s a lively neighborhood in the heart of the city, meaning it has everything you want from a visit to the Italian city. It also happens to be the most popular of all Milan neighborhoods, so be prepared to run into crowds.
If you know a bit of Italian and want to mingle with the locals, you’re guaranteed to have fun here. It’s always overflowing with both locals and tourists flocking to many of the city’s famous landmarks.
There is no shortage of things to do in Centro Storico, so much so that some people never venture past it, and they honestly can’t be blamed.
One must-do activity in Milan is to stop by the Duomo, which is arguably Milan’s most iconic landmark. The Gothic cathedral is a masterpiece of architecture with soaring spires that houses the works of Italy’s most famous artists, including Leonardo da Vinci. You can also climb a flight of stairs to reach the rooftop, which offers a scenic view of the city.
Nearby is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a 19th-century shopping arcade that inspires awe with its architecture.
Also close to the Centro Storico is the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to the world-renowned “The Last Supper” painting.
Another can’t-miss attraction here is Palazzo Reale. This grand Renaissance-style palace was once the seat of the Duchy of Milan. The palace is now home to a number of museums and art galleries, as well as a beautiful garden.
Best for: First-time visitors who want to stay nearby Milan’s iconic landmarks.
Best Hotels in Centro Storico
- Luxury – Park Hyatt Milano – a 5-star hotel with a convenient location, complete with spacious rooms offering free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. There’s also a wellness center with a Turkish bath, and some rooms have terraces.
- Mid-range – SCF Collection Duomo – apartment-style accommodation in Milan’s city center with a bar, free Wi-Fi, and a continental breakfast.
- Budget – Babila Hostel & Bistrot – budget hostel with free Wi-Fi, a buffet breakfast, and spacious private rooms including family options, which sits just a short walk from the Duomo Cathedral.
Apartments and Airbnbs Near Centro Storico
If you’d rather stay in an apartment, you’ll find a long list of options on Plum Guide. Plum Guide handpicks the fantastic properties on their website, only accepting a small percentage of applications, and all rooms are of superb quality.
Brera is Milan’s flagship trendy neighborhood replete with character and history. Once an artist’s district, it’s now a vibrant area with more well-rounded attractions, but it hasn’t lost its artistic touch. It’s home to the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, one of the oldest and most prestigious art schools in Europe, if you need further proof of its credentials.
One of its best attractions is the Pinacoteca di Brera, a modern art gallery that is globally renowned. It houses Renaissance masterpieces from artists like Raphael and Caravaggio, as well as some more modern pieces.
Continue the art exploration at the Palazzo Brera, a grand building that once hosted an astronomical observatory. Today, it’s home to several museums and cultural institutions. These feature places to learn about the palazzo’s storied past and artistic treasures from the city.
Take a break from Milan’s artistic exploits and step outside to take in the city’s natural splendor at The Giardini Botanici di Brera. These are beautiful gardens filled with exotic plants from all over the globe. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and stunning floral displays.
In addition to its many cultural attractions, Brera is also a lively neighborhood with plenty of bars and shops to explore. Alongside Navigli, it’s one of the best areas in Milan to stay for those who’re after incredible nightlife. Between your strolls in the city’s narrow streets, stop at one of its cafes or restaurants to enjoy Italian and international gourmet dishes.
Best for: Art enthusiasts in search of Italian artistic treasures.
Best Hotels in Brera
- Luxury – Bulgari Hotel Milano – Inspired by the fashion house of the same name, this modern hotel features a sleek design and rooms that overlook the beautiful hotel garden.
- Mid-range – The Unique – Well-located rooms with a minibar, Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TV, some rooms come with balconies.
- Budget – YellowSquare Milan – Their private rooms have free Wi-Fi and fun decor. Guests have access to a bar, restaurant, and a la carte breakfast.
Apartments and Airbnbs Near Brera
Brera is also home to a variety of apartments and Airbnb-type accommodations. This cozy home offers plenty of natural light and a balcony perfect for stretching after a restful evening.
Navigli is Milan’s historic canal system, with origins stretching back to the Middle Ages. They were primarily used for transportation, irrigation, and drainage. Their surrounding area has undergone a ton of development and this has propelled it into contention for the Milan best area to stay.
Dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops line the canals, all of which can be seen on a walking or biking escapade. You can also take in the sights and sounds of the channels courtesy of boat tours of the canal system for anyone interested in their history.
Amongst its most famous canals are the Navigli Grande and the Navigli Pavese. The former is the largest canal and the prime spot for anyone who wants to walk along its cobbled streets. Navigli Pavese is most famous for its weekly flea market, which you can visit on a scavenger hunt for Italian treasures.
Despite all this, Navigli’s main drawcard is its bustling nightlife. Replete with nightclubs, bars, and the like, it’s Milan’s party scene. The Navigli are also popular spots for events such as open-air concerts and markets, which all add to the fun. One of the neighborhood’s most popular attractions is the Navigli Festival, which is one of the largest street parties in Europe.
While Navigli is a fun-loving neighborhood, it doesn’t lack in the cultural department. It’s home to a number of historical sites, art galleries, and iconic landmarks.
Best for: Nightlife lovers who want to party the night away in Milan.
Best Hotels in Navigli
- Luxury – Magna Pars I’Hotel a Parfum – A 5-star hotel with a wellness center, buffet breakfast daily, and a fantastic garden.
- Mid-range – Zebra Naviglio – Rooms feature balconies offering city views, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi.
- Budget – Atmos Luxe Navigli – A luxury hostel that offers colorful guest rooms, free Wi-Fi, and Italian breakfast at a cost.
Apartments and Airbnbs Near Navigli
On Navigli’s list of apartments is this beautiful place that enjoys a central location within walking distance from the city’s main attractions. It has original wooden ceilings as well as a balcony to enjoy the fresh air and take in the rays of sunshine.
Stazione Centrale – Central Station
Stazione Centrale is home to the city’s central train station and offers one of the best forms of transportation in Italy. Built in 1931, it was designed by famous architect Piero Portaluppi and is one of Europe’s biggest train stations. Today, it features amazing architecture and sees thousands of passengers transfer through it.
Don’t let the name fool you; Milan’s Central Station isn’t just a place where people board trains. It’s a neighborhood that’s been rebranded into a district where people get off the train and can spend a day or two. However, it’s still essentially a train station area, so it isn’t as jampacked with attractions like other Milan areas.
The district is home to some great hotels, fast food spots, cafes, and shops. You will also find the Galleria dei Mosaici, which has previously hosted exhibits by Banksy. Alternatively, the fun Museo delle Illusioni is worth a visit for its optical illusions and innovative exhibitions.
Stazione Centrale has routes to just about every corner of Milan and even beyond. The station is closest to central Milan, and staying here is a popular alternative due to lower costs and smaller crowds.
Stay here, and you will have a long list of attractions in close proximity to you. One of the most popular attractions close to Stazione Centrale is the Duomo is a few stops from Stazione Centrale, Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is about 15 minutes away, and so are many of Milan’s top attractions.
However, you also have the opportunity to visit some of the other cities found on the outskirts of Milan. You can find yourself in Bergamo with a 40-minute train ride, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Take the chance to experience the history and romance of Verona, just over an hour away. Or head west on a more extended trip to Lake Como for its awe-inspiring vistas of the Alps.
Best for: Travelers with a quick train stopover in Milan.
Best Hotels in Stazione Centrale
- Luxury – Excelsior Hotel Gallia, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Milan – The hotel offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner atop a terrace as well as rooms donning Italian design furniture with floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Mid-range – Hotel Folen – The hotel offers a concierge service, room service, a bar, and a safety deposit box.
- Budget – Spice Hotel Milano – Five minutes from the train station and features soundproofed rooms.
Apartments and Airbnbs Near Stazione Centrale
Wake up a few minutes from the station at this lovely apartment covered in beautiful azure colors. Plum Guide carefully vets all its properties, including this one, to ensure they’re the best available.
Quadrilatero d’Oro – Golden Quadrangle
Quadrilatero d’Oro, or “Golden Rectangle,” is Milan’s most famous shopping district. The district gets its name from the high concentration of luxury jewelers and boutique shops that can be found here. From Gucci and Prada to Louis Vuitton and Versace, the Quadrilatero d’Oro is synonymous with the who’s who of fashion.
While here, shop til you drop or go window shopping along Via Monte Napoleone, which is lined with boutique fashion shops. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fun to drool over the high-end merchandise on this luxurious shopping street! A minute away is the Palazzo Morando, an ornate 18th-century building housing a fashion museum.
In addition to being the city’s shopping mecca, Quadrilatero d’Oro is also home to some of the best restaurants, bars, and cafes in Milan. It’s conveniently located in Milan’s central part, so you can easily access it using public transport.
Its convenient location is also fantastic as it means you have many attractions in the other incredible neighborhoods well within reach.
From Quadrilatero d’Oro, you can enjoy a core part of Italian and Milan culture — opera! The Teatro alla Scala (La Scala Opera House) is an opera house that hosts seasonal performances of opera, ballet, and concerts.
Best for: Trendy fashionistas who want to buy garments from some of the world’s leading fashion houses.
Best Hotels in Quadrilatero d’Oro
- Luxury – Four Seasons Hotel Milano – This is a hotel with a buffet breakfast, wine tasting events, and guests can enjoy hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and cocktails in the Four Seasons’ foyer before taking a dip in the indoor pool.
- Mid-range – The Couper Sant’Andrea – This accommodation has free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms and is within walking distance from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade.
- Budget – Della Spiga Suites by Brera Apartments – A 7-minute walk from Montenapoleone Metro Station, some of these apartments have balconies and all have air conditioning and a coffee machine.
Apartments and Airbnbs Near Quadrilatero d’Oro
The apartments in the Quadrilatero d’Oro are just as stylish as the area. One spot to consider is this minimalist apartment with wooden floors, high ceilings, and free Wi-Fi.
Porta Nuova is the top business district in Milan, Italy, and has undergone a significant transformation in the past few years. once an industrial area characterized by dilapidated warehouses and factories It is now a thriving metropolitan center with high-rise office towers, luxury apartments, and stylish shops and restaurants.
Even with all this transformation, Porta Nuova is still one of Europe’s most sustainable districts, with a focus on public transportation and green spaces. The quiet neighborhood is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and there is always something new to see and do.
One of the most typical examples of its modernization is the mirrored Unicredit Tower. This is a collection of offices, but it’s also an attraction that forms the background of the neoclassical arch in Piazza XXV Aprile. Another block of buildings-turned-attraction is the Bosco Verticale, a residential building that’s both green and innovative, a sight you have to see for yourself.
Porta Nuova’s green sights don’t end with the building, though, as it’s home to several parks you can enjoy a stroll through. The Parco Nord Milano is the most popular park and features impressive green scenery.
While here, also check out La Rinascente. At first glance, this seems like just a department store made for buying the essentials, but there’s more to it than that. It has become an iconic landmark in Porta Nuova thanks to the unbeatable views found at the rooftop, which can be reached using the escalator.
Best for: Travelers looking to discover modern Milan.
Best Hotels in Porta Nuova
- Luxury – NH Collection Porta Nuova – One of the best luxury hotels in Milan, it features a fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and a bar. Rooms have a safe, air conditioning, and a minibar.
- Mid-range – ComeCasa Prestigious Turati – Guests here get private parking, bike rental services, and free Wi-Fi.
- Budget – Heart Hotel Milano – Porta Nuova doesn’t have many real budget options, but this is the area’s best value hotel. Guests can enjoy breakfast at a cost and have free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms.
Apartments and Airbnbs Near Porta Nuova
The Plum Guide properties here cater to both business and leisure travelers. For instance, this gorgeous apartment has a minimum 3-night stay policy. Guests will be cooped up in a space with floral wallpaper donning the walls, parquet flooring, and an open-plan kitchen.
Citta Studi is a vibrant district frequented by young people thanks to being home to the main campus of the University of Milan. Due to being Milan’s student quarter, it’s one of the best places to stay in Milan for budget travelers.
On its short list of things to do is a visit to the Botanical Garden Citta Studi or the Parco Giochi for green spaces. You can also catch a contemporary stage production at the MTM Teatro Leonardo da Vinci.
The area is also home to various restaurants and cafes, including the Upcycle Milano Bike Cafe. Alternatively, you can enjoy street-themed Chinese food at Maoji Street Food or Italian cuisine at Trattoria Bertamè.
Best for: Budget travelers who want to save and those who want to mingle with younger crowds.
Best Hotels in Citta Studi
- Luxury – TownHouse 33 – Hotel amenities include free Wi-Fi, a bar, a garden, rooms with air conditioning, and continental and buffet breakfast options.
- Mid-range – Golden Milano Hotel – Property offering a bar, a safety deposit box, paid continental or buffet breakfasts, and a paid airport shuttle.
- Budget – MEININGER Milano Lambrate – With a variety of options for private rooms to suit couples and families, guests get access to free Wi-Fi, a shared kitchen, laundry, and a games room. A buffet-style breakfast is available and all rooms have air conditioning.
Apartments and Airbnbs near Citta Studi
Citta Studi doesn’t have many Plum Guide properties, but it has plenty close by. That includes this cozy studio which is within walking distance of the metro station and features minimalist designs. It features air conditioning and heating for the summer and the winter.
Have You Found the Best Area to Stay in Milan for You?
Ultimately, the best place to stay in Milan, Italy, depends on your budget and what you’re looking for during your trip. If you want to be near the Duomo and experience the Old World feel of Milan, then staying in the Centro Storico is an excellent option.
However, if you’re looking for more of a modern vibe with easy access to public transportation, choosing to stay in one of the districts outside the city center might be a better fit.
Now that you know the best places to stay in Milan, Italy, pack your bags and start planning your trip to Italy!