I've been visiting Milan for quite a few years now, since my sister moved there to study, fell in love and settled.
Milan is not known as the most picturesque of Italian destinations. Having said this, it does have a lot to offer and I'd recommend it as a great mini-break destination. Apart from the art, architecture and opera there are loads of nice bars and places to go out, particularly if the weather is good. If you're lucky enough to be there on a warm spring day (spring is best as there are less mosquitos and more people about - the Milanese tend to leave the city en masse at the weekends in Summer) it's great to go out in the "Navigli" area which is full of nice bars and restaurants with tables and chairs outside looking over the ancient canals. This area is lovely although if you fancy having more than one beer or glass of wine it might sting a little as the prices are pretty high due to the "aperitivo" culture. This is basically Happy Hour time when drinks are expensive but the bar offers a buffet so you can eat and drink for 8-10 Euros which is great if you don't want to have more than one drink or go out for dinner afterwards.
I love going out for dinner and having more than one glass of wine so my top tip, to avoid getting stung, is the "Vineria" wine shop/bar on Via Casale, between the Porta Genova metro station and the "Naviglio Grande". This wine shop has big barrels inside and the staff pour out litres and bottle on request. It has no tables inside, no waiter service and no free aperitivo so it cuts out all the extra costs. You can sit outside with a glass of wine that costs €1.5 instead of €8 and, if you do fancy a bite, order a cheese and meat board, again for a very reasonable price. It's a great place allowing you to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the area, the good weather and wine and all on a budget.
Only 20 minutes away from the Duomo, this hostel is by Idroscalo, with its swimming beach and lake.
It's a really social hostel with a cool Italian bar and is opposite the 'rolling stone' nightclub if you want to go out.
Lots of good freebies - breakfast, linen, wi-fi and a city map.
The Castello Sofrzesco, an easy walk from the Duomo, was largely rebuilt during the 19th-century, so there is little left of the original medieval structure, but it now hosts an array of exhibitions. All of these can be visited for as little as three euros per person, under-18s get in free.
Piazza Castello, subway line 1 (red), Cairoli stop; www.milanocastello.it/ita/home.html
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com