Due to the size of the city, choosing where to stay in Milan isn’t simple. While it’s considered one of the best shopping and travel destinations in Italy, and the world, Milan has a lot more for you to discover.
Beyond the haute couture and fashion-forward shops, you’ll find a city full of hidden attractions and world-famous landmarks. From Milan Cathedral to Sforza Castle and Central Railway Station, Milan has numerous architectural treasures and cultural sites.
As you travel further from the centre, you’ll come across hipster neighbourhoods full of small museums, bars, and shops. Other parts of the city offer sprawling parks and family-friendly residential districts.
No matter where you go, take the time to choose the best hotel. Some of the districts are far apart. If you stay on the outskirts of the city, you may find it hard to see all the sites on your itinerary.
Not sure where to go? Start searching for the best accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Milan.
Where to stay in Milan: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods and areas for travellers
Milan is the second-most populous city in Italy, with a metropolitan area that covers over 1,891 square kilometres. It contains dozens of districts and even more neighbourhoods.
People often think of the high-end streets lined with fashionable boutiques and designer shops when picturing Milan. Fashion is big in the downtown area, but the rest of Milan offers a variety of attractions.
It’s a large city and where you stay may determine the types of places you want to visit. Depending on where you go, Milan has museums, historic churches, craft breweries, small art galleries, vintage markets, and quaint little coffee shops.
The diverse selection of neighbourhoods has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a thriving nightlife, culture, or shopping.
The best areas to stay in Milan for travellers include:
- Milan City Center
- Citta Studi
Milan City Center
✔ Best area to stay in Milan for culture and sightseeing
If you’re only spending one day in Milan, consider staying in the centre of the city. It has the largest selection of historic sites, museums, and attractions in Milan. It also encompasses several smaller neighbourhoods, including Brera.
While people flock to the city centre of Milan for the Gothic cathedrals and world-class museums, they stay for the high-end shopping and dining. In fact, the city is home to many award-winning designers and hosts several fashion events throughout the year.
The main fashion district is in the central part of the city. It contains some of the most expensive shopping streets in the world.
The refined tastes extend beyond clothing. The city centre also offers some of the finest dining options. After a day of shopping, treat yourself to dinner at Michelin-rated restaurants. Coffee culture is also big, especially in Brera.
When you get tired of the crowded streets closer to the heart of the city, spend some time in the quieter streets of Brera. The small neighbourhood in the northern part of the city centre is full of little coffee shops and artisanal stores selling all types of handcrafted items.
Recommended hotels in Milan City Centre
Also called Centro Storico, the city centre has a selection of some of the best hotels in Milan for any budget. In fact, you can choose from almost 100 different hotels in the central part of the city, but we’ve shortened the list to these options.
- Room Mate Giulia: Located just a few steps from the cathedral, this is the most central hotel in Milan. It also offers four-star accommodations with every amenity needed to help you feel at home.
- Hotel Spadari Al Duomo: Offering luxurious linens and views of historic architecture from your window, this hotel treats each guest like royalty. It’s a highly rated four-star hotel with friendly staff and a convenient location in the heart of Milan.
- Hotel Manzoni: This is another four-star hotel, with slightly lower rates compared to the previous options, mostly due to the location. It’s about 15-minutes from the Sforzesco Castle and 10-minutes from Milan Cathedral.
- Hotel Gran Duca Di York: A boutique-style hotel with affordable prices, this location is within walking distance of some of the main sites and housed inside an 18th-century historic palace. As you walk the halls, you’ll see original period frescoes.
✔ Top-rated neighbourhood to stay in Milan for nightlife and vintage markets
Navigli is a neighbourhood located just south of the city centre. It’s where you’ll find the city’s nightlife and a diverse range of shops and galleries. This district is named after a series of canals that cut through the landscape.
Most people find that Navigli offers a more laid-back vibe compared to the city centre. The area mostly contains pedestrian-friendly streets flanked by bars, original food shops, and renowned restaurants. It’s a great place to simply walk around and explore day or night.
During the day, visit the various antique markets and shops. In the evening, check out the most popular bars and clubs in Milan.
Architectural buffs may also enjoy staying in this part of the city. It’s one of the older districts and doesn’t contain any skyscrapers. Most of the buildings are at least a century old, especially near the hip riverfront area of Navigli and nearby Porta Ticinese.
Thanks to the network of canals, parts of Navigli resemble Venice. The streets near some of the canals have cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants facing the water. You can sit outside and watch boats and gondolas float by.
Recommended hotels in Navigli
Navigli has a mixture of mid-range hotels, some of which are still within walking distance of the city centre. The hotels toward the southern end of Navigli tend to cost less and have more vacancies available on short notice.
- Savona 18 Suites: This four-star hotel boasts a great location and helpful staff. It’s a short walk from nearby shops and restaurants and a short trip from the downtown area. Just hop on the bus and you’ll reach the city centre in minutes.
- Hotel Magna Pars: As a luxury five-star hotel located close to the downtown area, this location tends to get booked quickly during busy travel seasons. It’s also a short walk from some of the busiest fashion streets and offers rooms with views of an elegant garden.
- Zebra Naviglio: This three-star hotel is one of the more affordable options in the neighbourhood. It’s also right next to the metro station, making it easy to reach other parts of Milan. Some of the rooms are a little small, but they’re comfortable.
- Maison Borella: Located inside an 18th-century building, this hotel features all the charm of a quaint European neighbourhood. It has its own courtyard and onsite restaurant serving both Milanese cuisine and classic Italian dishes.
✔ Top area to stay in Milan for shopping and walks through the park
Bicocca doesn’t contain the top things to see & do in Milan, but it’s a nice getaway from the busier neighbourhoods. This district is north of the city centre, located mostly along a major roadway with multiple bus stops, making it easy to reach downtown Milan.
Unlike Navigli, Bicocca is a newer district and contains a lot of modern architecture, including the Arcimboldi Theater. The contemporary building holds numerous concerts throughout the year.
Bicocca is a little more residential compared to the other areas. You’ll find quiet streets with middle-class houses and small commercial strips with restaurants and shops. The area also has a couple of malls and shopping centres.
While Bicocca offers endless shopping, the real highlight is North Park (Parco Nord). The site of the park was once a major industrial area. The city repurposed it as a large green space, with beautiful trees and walking paths. It also has a few areas to sit and simply watch people walk or jog past.
Bicocca is also a university district, as it’s home to the University of Milan Bicocca. Near the campus, you can visit a few museums, including the Fondazione Hangar Bicocca museum of contemporary art.
Recommended hotels in Bicocca
Bicocca is one of the more affordable areas to stay in Milan. You’ll find a wide range of hotels that appear to cater to business travellers, decorated with plain furnishings and featuring basic amenities. However, you’ll also find a few luxury hotels.
- Hotel Degli Arcimboldi: This boutique-style hotel is one of the most popular choices in the entire city. It’s a short walk from the metro station and offers sweeping views of the city. While the hotel doesn’t offer a lot of extra features or amenities, it does have its own coffee shop.
- Starhotels Tourist: Located next to another metro station, this hotel also provides convenient access to the rest of the city. You’ll also start your day with a fresh breakfast buffet full of fruit and cereals. In the evening, enjoy cocktails at the hotel bar.
- iHotels Milano Gioia: This is one of the most stylish choices in Bicocca. The rooms and lobby feature elegant, modern décor. It’s also located away from the busy streets filled with tourists, offering more peace and quiet after a long day of sightseeing.
✔ Best district to stay in Milan for craft beer and a lively atmosphere
Citta Studi is the University District, giving the area a youthful vibe. It’s an easy part of the city to overlook when planning your Milan itinerary. It doesn’t include a lot of historic attractions or cultural landmarks, it has its own interesting features, including a monument to Leonardo da Vinci.
This district is home to the School of Architecture and the College of Engineering, so it also has a bit of a university-town feel. As with parts of Navigli and Bicocca, you’ll find clubs, bars, and small shops full of students and younger travellers.
While Bicocca has many newer buildings with modern architecture, Citta Studi still has quite a few historic buildings. In fact, most of the university buildings are historically preserved sites. Other attractions include the many microbreweries in the area. The craft brewing scene has exploded in recent years and Citta Studi contains one of the oldest breweries in the city.
If you stay near the western edge of the district, you won’t be far from the city centre. Numerous bus routes also take you into the downtown area. It’s a convenient place to stay if you want to explore the main attractions in Milan.
Recommended hotels in Citta Studi
Citta Studi has a surprisingly large selection of hotels for all price ranges. From budget hotels to mid-range accommodations and five-star hotels, the area has everything. However, most of these hotels are at least two or three kilometres from the city centre.
- Mia Aparthotel: Located a short distance from a metro stop, this hotel is a convenient choice for those that want to stay away from the downtown area. The rooms are spacious and luxuriously furnished.
- Hotel Magville: With terraces, a shared lounge, and a garden, this hotel tries to help you feel relaxed. It’s located in the middle of a quiet neighbourhood and has its own bar. You’ll also find a few restaurants in the surrounding block.
- Nu Hotel: This next option is a four-star hotel with its own restaurant and bar. It’s located in a quiet spot, away from the hustle and bustle of Milan. Just keep in mind that it’s further from the city centre. It’ll take about 30 minutes to reach downtown.