Milan essentials bike tour

1 Castello sforzesco - 2 Parco Sempione - 3 Brera - 4 Giardini di Porta Venezia - 5 Via della Spiga - 6 Duomo - 7 Sant'Ambrogio - 8 Colonne di San Lorenzo - 9 Navigli

This tour lets you see most of Milan's highlights without having to pass by the same spot twice. It is possible to do it in one day if you only want to have a look at things from the outside, or two full days if you wish to take the time to visit some of them (suggested). It's a good solution for those who don't have much time but also don't want to leave anything important behind.

If you are a good walker you can also choose to follow this itinerary on foot, since the total distance is just under 10 kilometers.

For information on how to rent a bike check out the "mobility" section on our Live local page

1) The tour starts off at Castello sforzesco (metro Cairoli M1). You can walk around the castle for free, or visit one of its many exhibitions.

2) Go out through the back of the castle and discover Parco Sempione. Take the path to the left and walk through the park following a clockwise loop. First you'll see the Triennale museum and next to it the Torre Branca. If you look through the museum's fences you can see some of the artworks in the garden. Then, at the end of the park, you'll see the monumental Arco della Pace. Continuing the loop you'll pass by the historic Arena Civica and the Aquarium.

3) Exit the park by its eastern side and dive straight into the Brera district. Spend some time getting lost in its narrow streets and squares. At the middle of the neighbourhood is the Pinacoteca di Brera with its invaluable collection of paintings and fine art.

4) Find your way out of Brera through its alleys moving to the east towards Giardini di Porta Venezia, also known as Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli. It is the oldest public park in town, established in 1784. Here you will find the PAC (Padiglione di Arte Contemporanea - Contemporary Art Pavillion), the GAM (Galleria di Arte Moderna - Modern Art Gallery), the Civic Museum of Natural History and the Planetarium.

5) Once you have crossed the park head South-West down Corso Venezia and keep on going until you see the very narrow Via della Spiga on your right. This is the heart of the fashion district, and even if you're not in the market for a €20k handbag, it is nice to take a stroll through it.

6) Whether you go all the way to the end of Via della Spiga or you decide to immerse yourself in the narrow streets of the fashion quadrangle, you'll end up either in Via Monte Napoleone or Via Manzoni. Take your left on Via Manzoni and go down to Piazza della Scala, with the famous opera theatre La Scala on your right. Go through the magnificent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele (get off your bike in case you are riding one), and you'll find yourself in Piazza Duomo, right next to the world-famous Gothic cathedral. Take your time to visit the cathedral and its rooftop terraces. The ticket to the Cathedral is 2€; the one to the terraces is 8€ (or 13 if you choose the elevator) and queues can be long, but it is definitely worth it. The last admission to the terraces is at 20, and a visit at dusk is a good idea. If you fancy a snack, we suggest trying out Luini's panzerotti in tiny Via Santa Radegonda. Before moving on, go to the western edge of the cathedral square and have a look at the ancient Piazza dei Mercanti and its Palazzo della Ragione.

7) Take Via Torino. If you are on a bike you have to be careful since the paved surface of the road is uneven, there are tram tracks and heavy tram traffic. You can find alternative routes via alleys nearby. Via Torino is also a popular (and cheap) shopping destination. When you reach the Y intersection of Largo Carrobbio take the narrow Via del Torchio to your right and keep on going straight on through Via Lanzone (if on a bike you'll have to push it or find another path, since Via Lanzone is one-way) until you reach Sant'Ambrogio Basilica, jewel of Early Christian and Medieval history, which construction started in 379 AD.

8) Go back on Via Lanzone and then take your right to Via Caminadella and Via Gian Giacomo Mora. Turn right at the end of the street and you'll find yourself at the Colonne di San Lorenzo, a medieval structure built with ancient Roman columns. Many locals choose this spot to grab a drink at one of the many bars and stands and sip it on the church steps.

9) Summon your last energy reserves to pass beneath the medieval Porta Ticinese and continue straight on through trendy Corso di Porta Ticinese until you reach Piazza XXIV Maggio, the Darsena and the Navigli, the beautiful canals of Milan and the city's nightlife hotspot.

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