Sunday, May 27, 2012

Milan, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland

Milan, Italy

We spent a weekend in Milan in Mar 2012. 

Milan is one of the more cosmopolitan cities in Italy, so you will for instance find more people speaking in English here than in Rome.

Tourism in Milan is very centralized. So as soon as you have freshened up and are ready to start exploring the city, proceed to the Milan Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Milano) via Tram, Metro, Bus, or rented car whichever you find convenient.

Milan Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Milano)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

For panoramic shots of Milan, climb up the Cathedral. The entrance to the elevator/staircase may be a bit difficult to locate at first but try going around the Cathedral and you will see it.

View from Milan Cathedral over Milan City, Italy
View from Milan Cathedral over Milan City

Milan being one of the fashion capitals of the world along with Paris, you are probably wondering for a place to sample the collection here. The nearest mall to Duomo that we can definitely recommend is "La Rinascente".  We have been to many big cities over the world and seen many impressive shopping malls, but "La Rinascente" has a collection of top brands like no other.  Note that the avg. price of goods here can easily be $500 with no restriction on the upper limit - but that never deterred us serious window shoppers now, did it?

Lugano, Switzerland

Milan is located close to the Swiss border. So if you have time, it is worth it to cross over and visit some places in the (Italian speaking part of) Switzerland. One such city is Lugano.  There are both buses and trains connecting Milan airport with Lugano. The journey by train takes around 50mins and by bus 1.30 hrs.

Lugano is a picturesque lake side town in the Italian side of Switzerland.

Lake Lugano
Lake Lugano

The fastest and easiest way to see the town and go up the hills (for those nice lake shots) is to take the Funicular from Lugano train station (frequency: 1 every 5-10 mins). It is definitely worth spending a night here (see the beautiful lake views at night below!)

Lake Lugano at night
Lake Lugano at night

If you wish to keep traveling further into Switzerland from here, the German side is closer (Zurich is 2 hours by train from Lugano). 


  1. Hi soma
    We are soon getting transfered from singapore to milan.
    Can you advise us if we can drive in Italy with an Indian driving licence.

    1. Hi Aarti,

      As far as I know, you can drive in Italy (and in most EU countries for that matter) with an Indian driving license for up to 1 year. After 1 year, you need to get your license converted to an Italian one.

      To be on the safe side, you can get an International Drivers Permit (IDP) from your local RTO office in India - costs about Rs. 5000. Actually, the normal driving itself is sufficient, but sometimes the Italian policemen are not aware of this rule, or do not understand English, and this is where the IDP might prove handy if you get pulled over.

      Hope this helps and have a great stay in Milan!