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Clustered with structures of both modern and classic architectural designs, Milan is not only home to some of the iconic landmarks in Italy, like the Duomo di Milano and La Scala, but also commercial buildings that serve as headquarters for national and international businesses and brands. This global city is the financial hub of Italy and is inarguably one of the richest cities in Europe.

Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region in Northern Italy. Aside from industrial, banking, media, and fashion, Milan has a robust tourism industry. If you will plan to spend more than a day in Milan, your itinerary, budget, and time will determine the best area to stay in the city. Here are some of the major tourist areas.

Best Milan Neighborhoods for Tourists

Centro Storico

Also known as Zone 1 of Milan, this is the city’s historic center, covering the blocks that are formerly part of a walled area during the Medieval era. The most prominent landmark is the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral), located at the heart of the city. Other landmarks are La Scala, Sforzesco Castle, and Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle shopping district. There are museums, churches, squares, and notable streets that you can also explore. This is the recommended base if you are pressed for time.

Pros: Close to most tourist attractions.
Cons: Because of its strategic location, expect the rates for accommodations to be expensive and the area to be pretty crowded.

Porta Nuova

This area is part of Zone 2 of Milan. It got its name from the historic gate that dates back to 1810. This is one of the central business districts in the city, peppered by modern entertainment options — fashionable shopping districts, chic restaurants, lively nightlife, and hip drinking bistros.

Pros: Aside from the establishments, this area is within spitting distance of Garibaldi train station, which is one of Milan’s two busiest railway stations.
Cons: Because it is still a prime area, the hotel rates are on the pricey end of the spectrum.


This is part of the Zone 1 administrative division but without the crowd that Centro Storico often receives. Located near the Old City (Centro Storico) and New Milan (Porta Nuova), Brera offers the best of both worlds at a more budget-friendly rate. The area is known for its bohemian vibe; thus, it is often described as the artist’s haven.

Pros: Quieter and cheaper than the first two. Close to Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione. The Duomo is not too far away either.
Cons: Also a bit high end.

Central Station Area

Milano Centrale is the city’s main transportation hub in terms of rail and metro transit, making it the busiest station in Milan. This area spans several blocks, fronting Milano Centrale station. Numerous hotels and international restaurants are clustered in this area. This is perfect for those who are using Milan as a jumpoff point to other destinations in Italy.

Pros: Easy access to Milano Centrale.
Cons: Most hotels here are expensive.


Quartiere Cinese or Chinatown is like a breath of fresh air from the usual European atmosphere. It is said to be the oldest and largest Chinatown in Italy. It’s located north of Parco Sempione and within a comfortable distance of the Garibaldi Station, Porta Nuova, and Brera. The streets, with Via Paolo Sarpi as the busiest, are lined with various Italian and Asian restaurants, fast food, and street food stalls. Chinatown is a great option for those traveling on a budget.

Pros: Budget-friendly accommodations. Close to Garibaldi Station, Parco Sempione, and Porta Nuova.
Cons: Although surrounded by tram stops, the nearest metro station is a 5-10-minute walk away.

Citta Studi

Located within Zone 3 administrative division, this area is called the city’s student quarter as it houses several educational institutions. Lying east of the Central Station Area, it’s a bit far from the historic center. But because it caters mostly to students, it’s one of the cheapest places to stay.

Pros: Cheap prices and close to Milano Centrale.
Cons: A bit far from the tourist attractions in Centro Storico.

Top Accommodations in Milan

Top Milan Hostels

Here are the top hostels in Milan, as rated by Agoda customers.

During our visit, we stayed at New Generation Hostel Brera, situated somewhere between Brera and Porta Nuova. What we liked about it is its proximity to the metro stations. From here, we were able to conveniently tick off most of our stops on our itinerary on foot and by metro.

Top Budget Hotels & Apartments

Here are the top apartments and budget hotels in Milan, as scored by Agoda guests.

Search for more Milan Hotels!

Written by Yosh Dimen & Asta Alvarez

2020 • 8 • 26

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