Milan is not Rome, but it still has many attractions. Our goal with this text is quite practical: to help you choosing where to stay in Milan. With nearly 8 million citizens, it is the biggest metropolitan area in Italy and the third one in the European Union. The two million tourists that visit the city every year are still growing in number and this only means one thing – Milan is quite big, especially if compared to the European standards. That is exactly why it is so important to choose a proper accommodation option while staying in Milan.
Before anything else, it is good to understand a little bit of the geography of Milan. The map bellow shows that the city is divided in 9 Zones. The Zone 1 is the Historical Center, where the most important attractions are located. Let’s start with that part of the city…
Where to stay in Milan
The Duomo is the most famous postal card of the city and, exactly for that reason, it is also the most crowded one. It is also close to the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele, the world oldest shopping center. In other words: when choosing where to stay in Milan, the Historic Center is the localization champion. Do you have many to spare and you want to be close to everything? This is the place for you.
Inside the Historic Center you will also find Brera, a neighborhood with many restaurants and bars, besides its many stores. Remember, not everything has to be expensive in the Historical Center. Generally, the farthest from the Duomo you are, the cheaper it will be and you will still be well located, believe me.
If I told you that this is the most beautiful area of the city, I would be lying. The central train station of Milan is in the Zone 2. As usual near the train and bus stations, the area is kind of dirty, ugly and doesn’t look good at all. It is like the Termini station in Rome, you know?
So, why should you stay in this area? There are two reasons: the first one is obvious – the price. In this area you will find several hostels. Do you want to stay in Milan without spending a lot of money and still stay close to the Historical Center? Then, stay close to Milano Centrale. Just don’t expect it to be a beautiful area with many attractions.
Besides the price, it is also worth it staying in Milano Centrale if you don’t have a lot of time to visit Milan and if you need to go to other Italian cities using the train station. If that is not your case (and if a hostel is not the kind of accommodation you are looking for), you should look for another place.
The second biggest train station in Milan is Garibaldi. Yes, it is an homage to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the revolutionary Italian that is seen as a hero in Brazil and in Italy. History aside, this part of Milan is relatively close to the Historical Center and it is possible to get there walking.
If you would rather use the subway, you are just two stations away from the Centrale. To go to the Duomo, the journey is a little bit bigger – five stations and you need to change from one line to another but you can still get there quickly. In case of doubt, check the Milan subway map below.
In the area of the Porta Garibaldi you will find several bars and restaurants. An advantage of this area is that it is not ugly, like it is around the central station.
You don’t need to stay close to the center but you don’t want to waive being close to the nightlife of Milan? The place you are looking for is called Navigli. This area has five canals that were built by man, like the ones you would find in Amsterdam. Those were projected by, no more no less, Leonardo da Vinci.
If this story did not convince you to stay there, then focus on the nightlife of Navigli. Nowadays, the area has many bars and restaurants that are always crowded with Milan citizens.
This neighborhood might not be close to the main touristic attractions of Milan but the subway is not far away – the closer station is the Porta Genova station (Green Line). From there, you are only six stops away from the Porta Garibaldi station. The Centrale station is just eight stops away and Duomo is just six stops away, but you will need to change lines once.
Where to stay in Milan: other options
Obviously there are many other regions to stay in Milan besides the ones we listed above.
I have once stayed close to the Porta Romana station (Yellow Line), in the Zone 4 of the city. It is a more residential area where many immigrants live. It nearly has no tourists and is only three stations away from the Duomo. It might represent an alternative for those who don’t enjoy areas crowded with tourists and who are looking for cheaper accommodation options. Check options in this area here.
Above all, remember that the best place to stay in Milan is the one that fulfills your desires, traveling options and your wallet.
Have you already stayed in those or in other regions of Milan? Let us know about your experience! Are you going to visit Roma? Check our text about the best neighborhoods to stay while there.