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10 Things to Do in Milan in January

During your visit to Milan in January, discover the most impressive natural landscapes, while enjoying a pleasant winter atmosphere. Also, experience the Italian fashion by the hand of talented designers.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Milan in January

Ancient Milan traverses | ©Maxime Guilbot

Thinking about traveling to Milan in January may cause you to worry because the weather in this month is wintry. However, the city's tourist activity will not limit you only to visit indoor places. On the contrary, you will have several outdoor options to enjoy the natural and architectural beauty that characterizes this historic city.

You can hop on Milan's best tourist buses, ride a bicycle through the streets or board an emblematic train to the Swiss Alps. In addition, during your trip to this ancient Italian city you may taste the local cuisine and attend important fashion events. You will have plenty to see and do in Milan during your stay.

1. Join the procession on January 6 and welcome the Befana

Milan Duomo| ©Benjamin Voros
Milan Duomo| ©Benjamin Voros

On January 6th Milan welcomes the Befana, who, according to Italian folklore, is a good witch who brings gifts to children. It is an ancient procession, which runs from the Duomo to the church Sant'Eustorgio.

You will be amused by the passage of the participants, whose historical costumes will capture your attention. This thanks to the delicate tailoring of the garments and the colorful fabrics. Undoubtedly, a visual spectacle you will not forget.

Also, if you are traveling with the little ones of the house, they will enjoy this colorful procession, the traditional music in the streets and the treats they will be given. So, join this national celebration and put it on your list of the top 10 things to do in Milan with kids.

Practical details

  • Direction: From the Duomo to the Sant'Eustorgio church.
  • Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
  • Price: Free of charge.

2. Shop for souvenirs and handicrafts in Milan's Christmas markets

Christmas Markets in Piazza Duomo| ©Claudio e Lucia
Christmas Markets in Piazza Duomo| ©Claudio e Lucia

Usually the Christmas markets in Milan have their doors open until January 6. Therefore, if you are in the Italian city during the first week of the year, you can visit these magical places.

Walk through the O'Bej O'Bej in the vicinity of the Sforzesco Castle. This is one of the most traditional Christmas fairs in the city and brings together more than 400 artisans. Another market that will surprise you in January is the Banco di Garabombo in Pagano, whose exhibition has many eco-sustainable products.

In addition, if you are traveling with your children and want to give them a fun time, you will want to go to the Villaggio delle Meraviglie flea market in Porta Venezie. There, you will find an indoor skating rink, an elves' circus and Santa Claus' House. You can also buy souvenirs, desserts and local foods.

3. Travel through the Swiss Alps aboard the "little red train" and enjoy the snowy landscapes

Swiss Alps| ©Daniel Lobo
Swiss Alps| ©Daniel Lobo

The Bernina Express or "little red train" was specially designed to make the excursion from Milan to the Swiss Alps, thus completing the journey from Milan to Tirano.

It is a popular tour for tourists and locals in January, as it allows them to enjoy a breathtaking alpine view.

Once you board the train and it gets underway, you can begin to appreciate through its windows all the natural beauty of the region. You will be amazed by the imposing snow-capped mountains and the majesty of the glacial lakes, formed thanks to the winter.

In addition, when you arrive in St. Moritz you will have the opportunity to get off the train to get to know this elegant town and its tourist attractions. All this, while drinking a delicious cup of Swiss chocolate.

Practical details

  • Address: Tirano train station.
  • Duration: The tour aboard the Bernina Express lasts approximately 4 hours.
  • Price: The Bernina Express ticket has an average price of 40 euros.

Book your excursion to the Swiss Alps from Milan

4. Climb up to the Duomo Terrace in Milan to see the city in snow

People on the Terrace| ©Guilhem Vellut
People on the Terrace| ©Guilhem Vellut

Among the tourist activities that you can not miss is a visit to the huge terrace of the Duomo of Milan. Climb this ancient building over 100 meters high and contemplate the Italian city, which in January is dressed in a beautiful blanket of snow.

Once you are on the terrace you will be able to observe the majesty of the Duomo Square. You will also enjoy a panoramic view of the 135 spires crowned with statues of saints. All this, while the characteristic cold current of winter caresses your face.

Also, you should know thatto go up to the Duomo Terrace in Milan you can use the stairs or, for convenience, use the elevator. However, the latter option is usually a bit more expensive.

Practical details

  • Address: Piazza del Duomo in Milan.
  • Duration: There is no minimum time to be in the tower. However, an hour is enough to admire the scenery and take pictures.
  • Price: The entrance by stairs has an average price of 7 euros, while by elevator is about 12 euros.

Buy your ticket to the Duomo of Milan

5. Hop on a double-decker bus with free stops and explore the city without being cold

Travelers on top of a sightseeing bus in Milan| ©David Davies
Travelers on top of a sightseeing bus in Milan| ©David Davies

Exploring Milan from the comfort of a bus is a suitable sightseeing activity to do during the month of January, because this way you will be protected from the characteristic cold of this season. In the meantime, you will observe the streets of the Italian city and all the points of interest.

The best thing about this guided tour is that you do it at your own pace, that is, you can get off the bus to do an activity independently. For example, buy a souvenir, have a snack, visit the castle of Milan, a museum or a square. Afterwards, you can wait for the bus route you have booked and get back on.

You can buy tickets for 24 or 48 hours and they usually pass by the Milan Duomo, the Scala Opera House, the Sforzesco Castle, the skyscrapers of Palazzo Lombardia, the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church, Porta Venezia, the Monumental Cemetery, among other attractive places.

Book your Milan sightseeing bus

6. Take advantage of the concert program during January at La Scala theater and join a tour to visit this iconic building

Teatro alla Scala| ©Jean-Christophe BENOIST
Teatro alla Scala| ©Jean-Christophe BENOIST

La Scala Theater during January usually offers a smaller number of concerts compared to the rest of the year, so you will find available several times during the day for a guided tour of this iconic building. Join this activity and enjoy the architectural beauty of one of the most famous opera houses in the world.

Ideally, you should book a tour that offers several activities, for example, these tours inside the La Scala Theater.

On this guided tour you will see the exterior and interior of the theater, sit in the boxes and walk around the stage. In addition, you will have access to the museum and libraryarea.

You will also be able to see some manuscripts of plays, Beethoven's compositions, musical instruments, paintings, costumes used in the plays, sketches, statues, among other curiosities that will convey the history of this legendary theater.

Practical details

  • Address: Via Filodrammatici, 2
  • Duration: The guided tour lasts approximately 1 hour. Please note that these tours are suspended when there are rehearsals.
  • Price: Approximately 28 €.

7. Taste delicious winter snacks with an authentic Milan flavor and accompany them with a good glass of wine at a bar

Tasting Wine| ©Maria Orlova
Tasting Wine| ©Maria Orlova

Among the things to do in Milan in winter you should not forget tasting the local gastronomy, wine tasting and savoring a delicious cup of coffee.

As far as the gastronomic tour is concerned, you can start in the Porta Ticinese and Navigli district. In these areas you will find a number of restaurants and bars with different snacks. But, if you are interested in tasting Italian-made cured meats, your must-visit destination is Via Vigevano, where you will find a number of shops with these products.

You should also stop by Naviglio Grande and try some stuffed potatoes full of tradition. Meanwhile, on your way along the well-known Via Corsico, you will find wineries and wine tasting places. Finally, if you head for Viale Coni Zugna street, you will discover some pastry shops and cafes with a delicious espresso to warm you up during these cold days.

Book a gastronomic tour of Milan

8. Visit Lago Di Como in January and enjoy the snowy scenery

Lake Como and Snowy Alps| ©Giuliana
Lake Como and Snowy Alps| ©Giuliana

Excursions to Lake Como from Milan are a popular tourist activity, which you should visit in January. You will find the combination of the cold, the blanket of snow on the ground and the tranquility characteristic of this period, when the days are shorter, appealing.

Upon your arrival at Lake Como you will see a pleasant alpine landscape, which you can detail as you walk along its shores. The mountains are large in size and, due to their irregularity, give the impression that they intermingle with the water. This particularity gives rise to small populated areas on the banks.

You can make a short one-day tour, but it is recommended that you extend your visit a little longer. In this way, you can stay in the surrounding towns (Bellagio and Como). This way, you will enjoy the Renaissance architecture of the region, the warmth of its inhabitants, a delicious traditional cuisine and the best panoramic view of the lake.

Book your excursion to Lake Como

9. Take advantage of the winter sales and renew your closet in Milan

Taking advantage of the sales| ©Sam Lion
Taking advantage of the sales| ©Sam Lion

Winter sales in Milan take place in the first two months of the year. But January is the most recommended period for shopping, as you will get a wider variety of clothing, footwear, bags and accessories.

Therefore, if you are planning your trip to the Italian fashion capital, you should take advantage of the winter sales offered in stores, boutiques and shopping malls in the city. This way, you will renew your closet with garments from world-renowned designers: Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Valentino, among others.

Start the tour in the so-called "fashion district", walk through the streets of Corso Buenos Aires and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Also, if you want to find more bargains you have the option of visiting the shopping malls located on the outskirts of the city. You will be able to shop cheaply while walking around the city and appreciating the facades of the buildings.

10. Celebrate fashion during your visit to Milan in January

Milan Cathedral| ©a_marga
Milan Cathedral| ©a_marga

Annually during the month of January, emerging Italian fashion houses and couturiers present their autumn-winter collections at the well-known Milan Fashion Week. However, the entrance to the more than 100 professional fashion shows is usually by invitation or by paying a high amount of euros per ticket.

In case you do not have that kind of privilege and your visit to Milan coincides with the date of the fashion shows, you can go to Piazza San Babila in Corso Venezia, 2/A. There, you will find a giant screen through which you can watch the live broadcast of the fashion shows.

There are also some events open to the public, which vary from year to year:

  • Exhibitions of jewelry and embroidered silks.
  • Sustainable fashion events.
  • Samples of the work of famous stylists, and much more.

In fact, for more information before the trip you can visit the official website of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion.

Practical information

  • Where they are held: In various locations in the city. The best known are the Spazio Cavallirizze in the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci, the Quadrilatero della Moda, the Palazzo Barozzi and in the Duomo itself.
  • Price: They vary a lot, as they depend on the designers presenting their collections that day. For the more exclusive shows, be prepared to shell out several hundred euros. Fortunately, you can also attend a considerable number of free events open to the general public.

Prices in Milan in January

Money in Euros| ©Pixabay
Money in Euros| ©Pixabay

January is a time of low prices in Milan. The Italian capital offers a series of discounts between 70% and 90% on clothes by famous designers. You can also find sales on accessories and shoes. A real paradise for shopaholics.

The influx of tourists in this season is low, so you can walk freely through the streets in search of the products you want. Also, you will get good prices for transfers between the airport and Milan, in some cultural tourist activities, tours, excursions, lodging, among others.

Temperatures in Milan in January

Streets of Milan| ©mi chiel
Streets of Milan| ©mi chiel

Before embarking on a trip to Milan it is necessary to know the weather conditions to which we will be exposed. Thus, we will be able to wear the appropriate clothing and organize the itinerary that we want to fulfill during our stay in the city, without the bad weather getting in the way.

Therefore, you should know that January is one of the coldest months in Milan. The temperature in the Italian city usually ranges between -5 °C and 7 °C, so it is not surprising the presence of snow, fog and rain. In addition, due to the winter there are shorter days than usual during January.