The best time to visit Milan and what to expect in each season

Our guide to the best time to visit Milan, what to expect in each season and what to pack to feel comfortable and stylish when visiting Milan, Italy.

Milan is not known for great weather. The second largest city in Italy sits at the North of the Italian peninsula and while it does get some gorgeous days, it is also known for gray winters and hot summers. After spending freezing days and scorching hot ones in the city, these are my tips on the best time to visit Milan.

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The best time to visit Milan: overview

Milan experiences 4 distinctive seasons:

A hot summer, with high temperatures and high humidity (end of June, July and August especially).

A cold and grey winter, with frequent rain and overcast days (November already feels wintery in Milan).

Mild spring and autumn, with pleasant temperatures and thinner crowds (April and May, September and October).

In terms of tourism, the high season is mostly during the summer but the city also gets busy at other times of the year namely fashion week, which happens in September.

When planning your trip, take this into account as during this time accommodation prices shoot up and advanced booking is a must.

Check latest offers and availability in Milan hotels here. Already have a hotel in mind? make sure you get the best price comparing option here

At a glance:

  • The best time to visit Milan for people watching is September
  • The best time to go to Milan for sightseeing is Spring and early autumn
  • Winter is the best time to visit Milan for Christmas shopping and sales
  • Summer is the best time to go to Milan if you want to mix city exploring with local day trips

 

Spring in Milan

Spring is the best time to visit Milan for sightseeing. At this time, the temperatures are mild, the crowds are not excessive and the city starts waking up after the long, gray winters flaunting its outdoor terraces and parks.

This is a great time of the year if you are visiting Milan with kids and if you wan to mix time in the city with day trips to the beautiful lakes and mountains outside the city, which are a delight in spring. However, if you visit Milan in spring be ready for rain as showers are frequent.

What is the best time to visit Milan? How hot or cold will it be, what should you pack to visit Italy's most stylish city? Find out in this guide to the best time to go to Milan (in the photo: Milan's duomo)
Our guide to Milan season by season: what to expect, what to pack, what to do in Milan at different times of the year

If visiting Milan in spring:

Dress in layers. April and May in Milan see increasingly climbing temperatures but are definitely not summer months. Especially in the evening, make sure you have a jumper, light jacket and a light scarf. Closed shoes are recommended.

Be ready for mosquitoes.  The month of June brings the start of the summer to the city of Milan and with it one of its most annoying side effects: mosquitoes! Mosquitoes in Milan are a right pain: they are frequent, hungry and persistent and the only way to protect yourself from them is air conditioning in your room and good insect repellent.

You can buy mosquito repellent in supermarkets and pharmacies or even better: bring your own so you can be sure of the ingredients and suitability to your skin type.

In spring, plan day trips to Lake Como, the Bernina pass, Lake Maggiore and, if you don’t mind a very long day, Cinque Terre.

Spring events in Milan. Milan has a busy spring season with many recurring events. Some of the most popular are: Salone del mobile (furniture design fair), Milan Marathon, MiArt (art show), Cultural heritage week (with free entrance to many city museums).

Summer in Milan

Summer in Milan is hot, humid and crowded and definitely not the best time to visit Milan, if you can avoid it. Because of higher temperatures and school holidays, summer in Milan is the time that sees the highest concentrations of visitors too: skip the line tickets and advance bookings for hotels and attractions are a must.

If visiting Milan in summer:

Pack for hot weather: short sleeves, sandals and sun hats are a must this time of the year and so is sun screen and mosquito repellent (see above)

Book skip the line tickets for all the main Milan attractions: skip the line tickets for the duomo roof  and priority access to the last supper will save hours of your time.

Book accommodation well in advance: accommodation books up quickly in Milan and this, paired up with the steep prices in the city, means finding a good room without breaking the budget can be hard.

My go-to accommodation booking website is booking.com: I love their free cancellation policy and in Milan they have a good selection not just of hotels but also self catering apartments. You can find their city page here.

In summer, book day trips to Lake Como, the Bernina pass, Lake Maggiore to get respite from the city heat

Summer events in Milan. Milan has a busy summer season with some interesting, outdoor events. Some of the most popular are Festa del Naviglio (local fete in the Navigli area), the White Night, and summer concerts in the Sforza castle.


Autumn in Milan

Autumn can be rainy in Milan but it is still a good time to visit the city for a couple of reasons. First, temperatures are mild and mosquitoes scarce. Second, this is the time of the year when fashion week happens!

Fashion week is a peculiar time to visit Milan and depending on your interests and expectations, it can be the best time to go to Milan or the worst.

If you are into fashion, the pros about visiting Milan during these events are obvious. Even without tickets to fashion shows, you will be dazzled by the beautiful people flocking the city streets and if you want, you flaunt your wardrobe and fashion sense to you heart content. There is no such thing as being overdressed in Milan during fashion week!

If you don’t care about fashion and just want to see the city, fashion week becomes an alright pain.

The city bursts at its seams with people at this time of the year, accommodation comes at a premium and let’s be honest: if you tend to compare yourself with the beautiful people and feel down about yourself, then you are better off just staying away. You will run into models on the street and while they will have various levels of fame, they all share an alien-esque and positively eye grabbing appearance.

If you love shopping, autumn and winter can be the best time to visit Milan. In the photo, Milan's shopping street at sunset
Busy Milan shopping street. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

If visiting Milan in autumn:

Check the dates of fashion week and plan accordingly. Book hotels and skip the line tickets the Milan’s attractions should you travel at this time.

Dress in layers: while September can still be very summery, October and November are chilly and rain is frequent. Closed shoes, jacket and scarf are recommended at this time.

Enjoy Milan’s food scene. the fall is a great time to visit Milan if you love food. Milanese cuisine is rich and delicious and many of its plates were born to fill up you during the long winter months. Tisotto and ossobuco are only two of the most famous but there are many more you can discover on one of the many Milan food tours available.

You can find some of our favourite food addresses in Milan in this post

Main events in Milan in fall: fashion week, Milano Film festival, MiJazz (Milano Jazz Festival)

Milan in winter

Put it simply, winter is not the best time to visit Milan. The weather between December and March is depressing and gray and the Milanese are very much busy working, at this time, rather than playing.

However, you can still enjoy Milan at this time if you come in December, when the Christmas decorations are up and when the Festival di Sant’Ambrogio, the city’s saint patron, takes place.


If visiting Milan in winter:

Pack warm clothes: warm, water poof jackets, closed winter shoes, scarf and hat are a must.

Make the most of the lower accommodation prices to stay in one of Milan’s best hotels

Keep an eye on bargains since this is often sales season. If you want to secure designer labels at (more) reasonable prices, consider also a trip to the Serravalle outlet served by a quick and efficient bus service.

Make the most of thinner crowds to visit some of Milan’s most popular museums: The duomo, the last supper, la scala theatre Brera art gallery are some of the most famous and worth visiting.

Main events in Milan in winter: Sant’Ambrogio’s festival (city’s patron Saint).

I hope you found this introduction to the best time to visit Milan useful. Safe travels!

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