Milan was a layover from Poland to Germany, so I had less than 24 hours to cram an authentic Italian experience. In August, Italy was definitely the hottest country so far on this trip. After saying a prayer in one of the chapels in the airport, I googled how to get to the city and made my way to Milan.
Travel tip: The airport has free wifi and several public/private buses that drive into the city for €7 (approx. $8). I purchased my bus ticket from the driver with a credit card, but it's always good to have cash (euros) available. I always recommend using ATMs at the airport or at a bank to withdraw foreign currency. Be prepared for warmer weather, I learned my lesson with jeans and a black shirt.
After waiting an hour for a bus that never came, I hopped on another bus towards the city. I arrived at the central station in Milan around 16:00, and most of the vegan/vegetarian restaurants were closed until dinner. I didn't have time to waste dropping my bags at the hotel, so I had to give this entire tour toting a backpack in 80°F (27°C) humidity.
There is an underground metro station available right next to where the buses drop you off, and you can take the subway that drops you right in front of the Milan Cathedral. After taking the wrong train and getting off at the wrong stop, I finally got off and walked out to this majestic beauty of architecture.
Travel tip: Pack light and small, you never know how much walking you'll be doing. Also, most airlines will charge you extra fees per weight and bag size. I have carry-on size backpacks from Ethnotek, the smaller bags help you avoid fees and get super low airfare rates. Try to avoid the large hiking/travel backpacks and rolling luggage, I've seen travelers pay as mush as $100 for their bags and be denied access on public transportation.
The cathedral has a plaza around it with monuments, shopping and restaurants so there's plenty to see. Even after exploring the whole area, I still needed to kill more time before I could get food. I'm not a fan of coffee, but everyone recommend that I HAD to see the Starbucks Reserve Milano Roastery. It's a short walk from the plaza of the cathedral, and it's definitely a must-see experience with bar, cafe and lounge.
When you leave the roastery, you can look down the street towards the Castello Sforzesco Di Milano. It's a massive castle where you can walk through and explore for free. Beyond the castle, you can keep walking towards a large park, museums and the Arco della Pace. I chose not to continue walking because I was extremely hot and hungry.
Flower Burger was one of the top-rated vegan spots on Happy Cow, and it was finally time for it to open. It's a vegan burger bar with buns of different colors and a variety of plant-based patties. I ordered the Flower Burger which comes with a black charcoal bun, red kidney bean patty and 'magic sauce.' The burger was bomb; definitely recommend bringing a friend to try multiple burgers. Plus they have a few sweet treats on the menu, I got the crunchy raspby raw cake (not pictured, because I was all gas no brakes on this meal).
At this point, I was exhausted and headed back to pass out for an early flight. There's a city bus that will take you to the central station where you can catch a ride to the airport. It's usually hard to find early morning vegan options; fortunately, there were a couple vegan options in my terminal at the airport. I never found vegan pistachio gelato for the ultimate Italian experience, but Milan didn't disappoint. Highly recommend a trip to this beautiful city to witness its enchanting beauty and plant-based vibes.
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