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Undecided Milan or .....??

Hello, I am taking my 18 year old daughter for her first time to Europe. (as usual my itinerary keeps changing) I am up in the air because I have been to many places in Europe myself and although I plan to go to places that I have been been before for her benefit, I would also like to incorporate something in that I have not done. The basic plan now is ... 15 days total - London 4-5 days(we may visit friends so this is why so long) Paris 4 days Milan 3-4 days (2 extra days to add somewhere) I have been all over Italy except for Milan, so I thought why not Milan. So, I am now unsure that Milan would be as exciting and have as much to see (historically) as say somewhere else. I can definitely see going to see the Last Supper, the Duomo and city center, but it is it worth the time?? I would love to take my daughter to Rome, however, I have been there multiple times before and that would rule out "seeing something new".
Fyi... I have been to major cities in Poland, Greece, Sweden, France, Amsterdam, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Scotland What do any of you think of Prauge, or Munich in place of Milan? Thanks in advance for your input!

Posted by
340 posts

It would help to know the age of your daughter. If she is a child I would suggest something different than a teenager or adult. Exploring a new city together would probably be fun for you both and would eliminate any "Oh, I've seen that before" comments from you that might spoil your daughter's enthusiasm. Frankly, if this is her first visit, and you are going to London and Paris, Rome would be an ideal complement. Can you really have seen everything in Rome? Looking at it all through her fresh eyes and hearing her observations could give you a new experience of the city, too. Otherwise, do Milan or Barcelona or Munich, whichever you have not seen, and have a "first" together. Then let her do the "backpacking" thing with friends if/when she is old enough, to explore Rome, etc. herself.

Posted by
3551 posts

Milan pales in comp to London, Paris etc. It is OK if you are flying out of Milan airports to just stop over for a day,though.
Why not another blockbuster like Venice? Your daughter no matter what age will be spellbound.

Posted by
31622 posts

Jenivee, Although you've been to Rome "multiple times", I'm assuming your daughter has never been there so it would probably still be a worthwhile stop. There's a LOT of history there and she'd probably enjoy seeing the Colosseum or a few other famous sites. Rome would also be a good location to depart for the flight home. IMHO, Milan is not worth 3-4 days, although your daughter may have a great time shopping in the la Rinascente stores (bring money!). You might consider stopping for two days in Milan to see The Last Supper, the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele, etc. Spend the other two days in Varenna on Lago di Como, which is only an hour by train. In addition to Varenna, you can explore the resort town of Bellagio which is about a 20-minute Ferry ride. There are some beautiful Villas on the lake, some of which can be toured. Who knows, maybe Clooney will invite you for lunch! If you decide to stop in Varenna, be sure to try Laura's Ravioli at Albergo Olivedo (right by the Ferry dock). It's incredible (at least IMHO)! Happy travels!

Posted by
6 posts

Great input so far guys, thank you! FYI, for clarification, my daughter will have just turned 18. Maybe we could just make a 2 day trip to Milan and then on to Venice or Rome. Ha ha, I tend to always want to over do it, but I think it can be done.

Posted by
500 posts

I think 3 countries in under 2 weeks is a bit of a stretch. How about keeping London and Paris on your itinerary and adding one smaller city in England or France. York, England or Strasbourg or Colmar in France might be interesting contrasts to 2 major cities. Any of these options are easy train trips.

Posted by
951 posts

Belgium is nearby and so are the Netherlands. For an 18 year old, Amsterdam would be fun. Those countries would be a lot easier to get to by train, as opposed to Milan. I just spent 1 night in Milan and felt I had my fill. If you were thinking of Italy, why not Venice or even Florence? Edit: Munich would be another cool place, especially with the castles nearby.

Posted by
358 posts

Milano is my least favorite large city I have been to in europe. Fortunately only spend part of one day. Other than the Duomo and the Lord's Supper not much to see in this industrial city. Shopping is much better in Paris/London. I would substitue Amsterdam for Milano.

Posted by
8301 posts

I will buck the trend and say I happened to enjoy Milan a lot. We strolled around some beautiful old neighborhoods, popped into some old churches, walked through one of the best farmers markets that I have seen, hands down better than the open market in Paris. We visited the Leonardo Da Venci museum and spent a good portion of the day there. The park with the castle (sorry, can't remember the name) was also very pretty. Walking on top of the Duomo was fantastic and the Galleria was cool too. Wonderful architecture. No one has mentioned the Opera house either. Once you leave the more modern city center, Milan is just as pretty as any other city. Shopping here is fun though and I think a teen daughter might enjoy this aspect of Italy. One of the joys of being in a city like Milan is that you can relax a bit and not need to run from one tourist attraction to another, you can simply have a good time walking around, eating yummy food, and doing what pleases you.

Posted by
28826 posts

I agree with most comments about Milan including Jo's. We have assiduously avoided Milan since our first trip there. Yes, we enjoyed the roof of the Duomo, spinning on the bull, and the little streetcars. We thought it was nice enough but thought it paled relative to other Italian places. I think we were disappointed because of all the Dan Brown madness which prevented us from seeing the Last Supper. I would like to see the Certosa di Pavia which is nearby. But enough about me.... Give her the experience of the Fontana di Trevi at night (ignore the idiotic street vendors) and let her turn her back on it, and toss a coin over her shoulder to guarantee her returning. It worked for me.... Venice ... ahhh Munich, very nice and close to all sorts.... Ah, but Rome? .... by the way - have you asked her what she would like?

Posted by
340 posts

Thanks for adding your daughter's age to your post. You have been given some good suggestions here. I would agree with a previous poster to keep your trip to 2 or 3 main cities and explore from there. Otherwise your time will be eaten up with transportation and checking into/out of lodging. Have you asked her where she would like to go? When we planned our trips with our children during their teenage years, we would have them choose one of our destinations. We would give them a list to choose from that worked for transportation and budget. Also, within each city we would give them the challenge of planning a day - what we would see or do, how we would get there, how much it would cost. This developed good travel skills, we saw places that we may not have chosen on our own, and let them know this was their trip, too. As young adults they now tell us how much they appreciated this. When they travel on their own they already know how to search through guidebooks, read the metro map, plan bus routes, convert euros to dollars, etc. As parents, we were also much more comfortable with them taking trips with friends when they were college students, since they already "knew the ropes". Whatever you end up doing, cheriish the time together. You will both look back on this trip, reminiscing about all the adventures and silly experiences, for years to come.

Posted by
689 posts

I agree with ByronMilan is hands down my least favorite city in Europe. If you look at your guidebook and see 2 days worth of things you really want to see there, then greatgo for it. But I can't imagine how you'll fill your time. I've been through 3 times, with lots of time to kill between train changes, and was bored every time. I've never been bored anywhere else in Europe.

Posted by
3149 posts

In place of Milan, you could go to a couple of smaller Italian cities not so far away from Milan like Bologna and/or Verona. Both are very fun with great restaurants and some interesting smaller sites. Perhaps 2 nights each.

Posted by
1035 posts

Show her Rome or Venice! I'm saying that while also defending Milan. I like it there. It is more of a vibe than anything else. I feel comfortable there.

Posted by
966 posts

When we travel with our teens, everyone including me needs rest to get along well. So I suggest limiting to a week in London and a week in Paris and day trips from each: Bath and Stonehenge, Windsor, Hampton Court, Kew Gardens, Cambridge, and Versailles, Loire Valley, Giverny, Chartres. Amsterdam is much closer than Munich, Prague or Milan for this trip, and is very enjoyable for young people. I like Munich, and I liked Milan much more than I expected to,( I agree with Jo here) but I like Venice over these others. Perhaps in a couple of years you two could go to Munich, Venice, Florence and Milan whcih are much closer and therefore less travel time. Didnt really care for Prague, tho it may have been the crowds,3 days was sufficient. Whereas I loved just looking at the Italian flair and style in Milan and would have stayed more than 3 nights happily.
It's a wonderful memory you are making. Don't forget to take a vacation from your vacation as RS says, chilling one day does recharge the batteries- as does spending a little time apart.

Posted by
6 posts

I really appreciate everyones input, thank you. I was definitely feeling uncertain about making Milan a stop (I think this is why I have put it off on previous trips) and although I am sure I would find Milan a lovely place to visit, Milan will have to wait until next time. My daughter is really excited and opened to going anywhere which is nice to have the flexibility and she's not dead set on any one particular place.
She had mentioned Amsterdam sounded like fun as most of you were suggesting. Both Rome and Venice are wonderful places that I think would have more of an impact on her as a first time visit. So with everyones help I think I have narrowed it down, yay! These memories last forever and I really look forward to sharing this time with her and showing her how fabulous and infectious traveling is.

Posted by
227 posts

A visit to Milan should include a stop at the Ambrosiana Library & Picture Gallery (Biblioteca-Pinacoteca Ambrosiana). It contains a wonderful DaVinci and the setting is incredible. Only a couple of blocks from the Duomo it's a MUST SEE when in Milan....doesn't take that long as the collection is small but the inside of the building is gorgeous. It's never crowded and you will be surprised it's not more well known and packed with visitors. Last year we spent a week in Rome, then took a train to Florence for 5 days. Initially, we were going to stay in Milan for a week and then take train back to Rome for trip home to DFW but my next door neighbor, a travel agent, suggested we take train to Milan and fly home from there. Our round trip airfare was not only cheaper by flying open jaw but the scenery on the train trip to Milan from Florence was so much more enjoyable and only slightly more expensive than the train back to Rome....but with the flight back to the US being cheaper, we actually saved $$.
We arrived in Milan about noon on day 1, went immediately to the Ambrosiana Library & Picture Gallery where we ended up spending a couple of hours, then a leisurely walk around the old town of Milan. Day two was filled with the usual Milan sights of the Duomo and the Last Supper..along with a short trip to the Cemetary. Day 3 we flew back to the US. We were very happy we included this short jaunt in our itinery - we both proclaimed the Ambrosiana Library & Picture Gallery one of the nicest museums we had the pleasure of visiting!

Posted by
227 posts

Whoops! I should have said that "originally we were going to stay in Florence for a week"...sorry for the confusion!

Posted by
1631 posts

My husband and I went to Milan this past October and really enjoyed it. Spent only one night so we didn't get to see the Last Supper or many other sites (we need to return). Also, you two would love shopping in this city. Right in the area of the Duomo, there are some great shops. We stayed in the city at the Best Western Major. It was 104 Euros with a great buffet breakfast and right by the subway entrance. The Best Western hotels are a LOT better there than here in the States. Have fun making lifetime memories with your daughter!

Posted by
199 posts

Jenivee, I enjoyed Milan but was not bowled over by it. Since you're leaving from Paris have you thought of the Mosel and Rhine River valleys? You can get to Trier, Germany by train in about 4 hours. Trier has lots of Roman architecture including public baths and an amphitheater. You didn't mention Switzerland. Have you been to Switzerland? That would be something new for you. If you have to go back to Italy I would pick Florence. Then you can daytrip to Siena. Good Luck.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks Mike. I am definitely considering Munich and have not considered Rhine River valleys, I will look into it. I have not been to Switzerland, it was a fleeting thought, perhaps I will revisit that thought. I have been to Florence and Siena as well and get the feeling that at least Siena would be too slow for my daughter ha ha.

Posted by
331 posts

Having lived in Europe for all of my life I have visited many different cities, although perhaps not as many as some of you seasoned travelers!, and Munich is by far my favourite, closely followed by Prague, so if either of, these were up for consideration in lieu of Milan as you mention in your orginal post, I would recommend you choose one of them. (Venice is also high on my list if only because there is no where quite like it despite the crowds.) Unfortunately I have only spent one afternoon in Milan (waiting for a train connection) and so cannot say that I know it at all, but as I always considered it an industrial city I realise I may have had preconceived ideas about it so it was interesting to read what Jo and others had to say about it. Next time I might give it a little longer, although I wouldn't make a special trip. Whatever you decide you are sure to have fun together, it's always nice to spend one on one time with a daughter (or son for that matter if you can get them out of bed before midday)

Posted by
3696 posts

I would opt for Prague or Venice. Although Amsterdam and Munich are really fun places for young adults not quite sure it would be the same with mom. I would stick to more historical and touristy places, or unique villages. If you stayed in France you could take the fast train south to Avignon and possibly go along the French Riviera. If you just do big cities she will not get to see the Mediterranean! With London, Paris and possibly another large city she will be missing a lot of what Europe is. You could also do a day or so in Munich and then tour the villages and castles of southern Germany.
So much to do and so little time!!!I spent 17 days there with my 21 year old daughter on both of our first trips to Europe and I have been back about 20 times since. It opened up a whole new world for both of us. Have a wonderful time! I like Milan, but I would skip it.

Posted by
1020 posts

I think Milan is definitely worth a couple of days. I don't know if anyone has mentioned designer shopping, but all the big names have shops in the fashion district. You could combine Milan with a couple of nights at Lake Como, perhaps staying in Bellagio which is beautiful.