The perfect stopover

If you’re lucky enough to be spending some time in Italy as a part of your European summer, chances are you will need to fly into Milan or Rome. For me, flying into Milan made sense.

Some people love Milan, others are indifferent. My view is always – the place is as good or as bad as you make it. If you don’t think you will enjoy it – limit your time there, pick things you know you’ll enjoy and have fun!

If it is just a stopover, chances are you won’t have much time. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to get things done on holiday. There is no point stressing about trying to fit everything in – you don’t need that kind of stress, it is a holiday after all. That being said, what you’re going to want to do is: eat, drink, and see something that makes you actually feel like went to that particular place.

Here are some great options in Milan – make your stop over the best it can be!


This one is easy in Milan. You can’t really leave Milan without seeing the Duomo. It is amazing. Its grandeur can’t be reduced to words. Check the open times and hopefully your stopover allows you to go inside and check it out for yourself.

The atmosphere in the piazza is also great (be warned, there will be pigeons). It is a great spot to grab a beer from a minimart and just sit and appreciate the Duomo from the outside. If that isn’t your thing and you’d prefer to have a cocktail in hand – you can’t get a much better view of the Duomo than from Terrazza Aperol.

Milan - Duomo

Right next to the Duomo is a shopping complex called Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which you have to check out. The architecture is extremely impressive. Every detail from the floor to the ceiling is captivating. It could be mistaken for a cathedral in Rome.

Something else I really enjoyed was walking around Sempione Park. The grounds are well kept and luscious year round. It is a great spot for a picnic and you can also visit the Arco della Pace while you are here.


Milan is at the apex of two things: fashion and food. You are not going to struggle to find good food in Milan. However, a little bit of research always pays off.

For breakfast, head to Pave. Great coffee and oh my goodness the best pastries you will ever have! The ham and cheese croissant – amazing. Pastries for breakfast are the norm in Italy. You’re not going to find bacon and eggs at any Italian breakfast spot. You’re in Italy, do as the Italians do. I recommend standing at the coffee bar. Strike up a conversation with the barista or a local who is on their way to work. You’ll also save on servizio (a service charge usually included when you sit down).

For a traditional Italian family dinner experience, head to Ristorante Da Oscar. The pasta is great, the portion sizes ridiculous and you are likely to be seated next to locals – immerse yourself in Italian culture. It does get busy – bookings recommended. If you can’t get a booking Portobello is another great option and also close by.

If its pizza you’re after, it doesn’t get much better than the pies they are serving at Marghe.

Maybe you’re sick of Italian food (blasphemy!) and keen for something different. The ramen at Casa Ramen is very good. However, the richness of the tonkotsu broth is toned down from traditional ramen you would expect to get in Japan. This might not be a bad thing, you are eating croissants for breakfast after all!


The craft beer scene in Milan is developing at an alarming rate. If you’re into it, check out Beershow or Hops Beer Shop. Both places boasting an extensive list of international and local craft beer. The difference being, Beershop is a typical pub setting where as Hops is more of a bottle shop with the ability to sit down and enjoy beers at the same time. This provides the opportunity to speak to the people working at Hops who have great knowledge in the local craft beer scene – an opportunity you might not get elsewhere!

Enjoy your stopover in Milan – remember, it is whatever you make it.

Follow my adventures on instagram – @vandermeerkat