One night in Milan?

Old Mar 14th, 2015, 08:38 AM
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One night in Milan?

I have an opportunity to spend one night in Milan after a stay near Lake Garda (long story) - essentially a Sunday afternoon and evening before flying out of Milan at around 11 AM on Monday. I believe it would be crazy to try to get even a small flavor of Milan (strolling, seeing maybe one attraction) in that amount of time, and I should just save this city for another visit. Am I wrong? My husband and I like absorbing ambiance, eating, and people-watching, but would that be worth it or even possible in less than 24 hours?

All opinions welcome. Thanks!
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Old Mar 14th, 2015, 09:30 AM
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The first time I was in Milan was for about five hours. I arrived by train and had a flight later that day. I went to the Duomo and the Galleria. didn't have time to go to the roof terraces of the Duomo, which would really have enhanced the experience.

Another possibility would be to visit the Naviglio Grande, one of the few remaining of a former large network of canals. There are some nice bars and restaurants along the banks; I don't know if a lot of them would be closed on a Sunday evening.
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Old Mar 14th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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I suspect you are looking at the visit as something that must be done in certain predetermined chunks -- place A is not worth visiting unless you can spend so many days.

You can also look at in different ways.

With that time, what are ALL your options?
Which one gives you what you are looking for in a visit - now or across all your future visits to Italy?

If you plan to start/end future visits to Northern Italy in the future, chances are you are likely to use Milan as entry or exit airport over perhaps Venice. In this case, you are forced to overnight around Milan, especially for departing flights, even if your future plan does not include Milan. I have done overnights in Milan many times, but it was never the primary reason for visiting Italy. However, because I could often get good flights out of Milan, overnights in Milan got automatically included into my itinerary without trying.
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Old Mar 14th, 2015, 10:22 AM
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I think your best bet is to go to Duomo and the Galleria. You can eat dinner in Galleria restaurant...I think that would be it...enjoy
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Old Mar 14th, 2015, 01:52 PM
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Thanks all! Is it easy to get between central Milan and the airport? I think on Sunday we would need to drop the rental car off at the airport and use public transportation (or a taxi?) to get into the city and then back to the airport on Monday.
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Old Mar 14th, 2015, 02:55 PM
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Which airport? - Linate (practically in the city) or Malpensa (far away from the city)?
Both airport offices for major rental companies are open on Sunday.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 12:22 AM
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The airport is Malpensa, which looks to be a hike.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 02:03 AM
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As others have said, there are things you can do -- and do enjoyably -- with that amount of time in Milan.

What I'm not seeing is any discussion of your alternative: What will you give up if you decide to go to Milan? (You don't need to say -- I'm just suggesting that that should be a consideration.)
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 05:05 AM
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Why would you have to drop off the rental car at Malpensa? If possible, drop it off at Linate and take a taxi into town for about 20 euros. You could take a bus for a lot less, but I'm recommending taxi to conserve your limited time.

I say yes to a day in Milan.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 05:08 AM
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You can probably change your drop off rental office to Linate just by calling your rental company. After gettting rid off the car, it is easy to take the bus into town (30 minutes) and stay in that neighborhood near the train station. I like the Brera Hotel.

But if you can't switch your rental for some reason, then when you drop off the car at Malpensa, take the Malpensa Xpress to Cadorna station (40 minutes) and stay at a hotel near there so you can take the Xpress back the next day (buy a round trip ticket). It's a great part of town for easy sightseeing. Sorry I can't give you a hotel recommendation for that area, but there are plenty. Look on booking.com.

Better to switch to Linate, I think, if you are coming from Lago di Garda, and want to visit Milan.

I don't know where you are coming from on Lago di Garda, but something you could do instead of visiting Milan is to go spend the afternoon/night on Lago Maggiore or Lago d'Orta and drive yourselves to Malpensa the next morning (1 hour).
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 05:10 AM
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forgot to add that if you want to see the Last Supper in Milan, you need to make a reservation.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 07:37 AM
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Rec for a centrally located hotel: We liked the Star Hotel. Small, reasonably priced, clean and modern, helpful staff. Great location, too -- you will have to go into somewhat of an alley to get to the front door, but don't be turned off by that.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 04:03 PM
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You are all super helpful!

I probably should clarify my plan: I am flying into Malpensa Thursday morning and driving to Bardolino, where I can stay either three nights or four nights in a rental with a bunch of family and friends. So Thursday afternoon, Friday, and Saturday, I want to toodle around the villages on Lake Garda and also have a day in Verona. I have a flight from Malpensa on Monday at about 11 a.m.

The dilemma is whether to just keep relaxing and enjoying the Lake Garda experience on Sunday, or to check out on Sunday to go see a bit of Milan. I haven't rented a car yet, so I can arrange a drop-off at Linate (great tip!!), but the remaining question (which now has expanded) is whether I should stay one more night around Lake Garda or pop into Milan.

I'm still pretty wary of trying to get even slightly acquainted with a big city in such a short amount of time, and there's still a pretty long trip from Milan to Malpensa on Monday morning. BUT - that trip from Milan to Malpensa is a lot shorter than the trip from Bardolino to Malpensa, so I guess I should factor that into the equation.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 05:33 PM
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Why don't you wait until you are in Italy to decide? You shouldn't encounter any problem calling your car rental agency and changing the drop off arrangements.

To me the only issues would be if you leave Bardolino early, does everybody else need to check out too? Also, booking last minute on a Sunday night in Milan is usually not a huge problem but it helps if you are not looking for a budget stay.

If someone asked me to show them around Milan for an afternoon and evening, I think I could pick 2 or 3 highlights that would be of personal interest to them (depending on whether they were mainly interested in art, or fashion/design, or opera, or science, or food) plus also give them a feeling for the vibe of Milan as Italy's foremost city of finance and fashion. On the other hand, if you personally really don't like such a gloss, nothing wrong with giving it a pass. You'll probably have other chances to enter or leave Italy via Milan when you can give it more time.
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 08:46 PM
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I would recommend you look at hotel availability and rate now and make booking that can be cancelled at the last minutes if you want to keep Milan as a last minutes option. I don't know when you are heading to Milan, but if there is something big going on in the city, which is quite often, the hotel rates skyrocket -- really high. If you can't find any acceptable lodging now, it might spare you from wobbling between choices
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Old Mar 15th, 2015, 09:31 PM
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Good advice to book a hotel with a 24 hour cancellation policy
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 04:48 AM
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You are all just phenomenal. I think I have distilled your comments into a plan: I booked a room at the Star Hotel (VERY central and an 11-minute walk from Cordona Station, which will get us to Malpensa on Monday morning). To answer a question, yes, everyone else is leaving our house in Bardolino on Sunday. Now I'm feeling like it would be reassuring to wake up on Monday free of a car and just an hour from the airport...

Thanks again! All additional thoughts are welcome!
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 05:13 AM
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If it's in the budget, you might consider a taxi from Linate to the Star Hotel. E-mail the hotel and ask them their estimate of the cost. Otherwise, I would take the bus to the Central Station and then a taxi from there. It is possible to use the metro, which is safe and incredibly zippy, but if you have never done it before, it's not easy to explain where to get a ticket, and if you are wheeling luggage, it's a busy urban station, even on Sundays.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 07:11 AM
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The taxi from Linate to the Star is about 20 euros. As I mentioned earlier, I think that's a good time-saving investment. The taxi stand is just around the corner from the rental-car-return area.

The Star is a good choice, especially for the location -- short walk to La Scala, the Duomo, etc. You of course can't cover everything in a city like Milan in that space of time, but being in that location will give you a nice flavor for the city. BTW, we liked the Al Mercante restaurant, but ask for recs at the hotel desk.
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