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I am studying in Oslo at the moment and this is my first year living in Europe. I will be flying to Milan to visit the cities around, I heard that they are beautiful. Can someone suggest which city I should I stay at by considering the following factors:

  1. I will be staying for 5 nights
  2. I will continue flying to Brussels from Milan at the end of the trip
  3. I don't know how to drive, so I will have to depend a lot on public transportation.
  4. I am traveling on a tight budget.

I will appreciate it very much if someone can also suggest a website where I can look up places to visit, and how to get there with public transportation, foods that I should try.

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Would you mind specify what roughly your budget range is? –  Geeo Nov 21 '13 at 8:26
    
Regarding the budget, I would say 15 euro a night for the hostel. –  dresden Nov 21 '13 at 14:01
    
Could you tell us if you are the kind of traveller interested also in minor places (I mean cities around 50000 inhabitants) or if you only like the big cities? –  shard Nov 22 '13 at 8:11
    
You're not supposed to ask two questions in one question but as the part requesting a website is pretty minor it's not really a problem. There's two and a half websites that cover the whole world, WikiTravel which has forked into WikiVoyage - they are editable by anyone like Wikipedia, and TripAdvisor - it's a business with advertising and such but is based on crowdsourced reviews, photos, etc. –  hippietrail Nov 23 '13 at 17:12

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Michael gave you some pretty common destination so I'm going to add some less touristy but awesome places around Milan. Since I love lakes I would suggest you a visit around the many lakes you can find in the area, Lake Garda being probably the most famous one.

  • Lake Garda

    What to do

    It is where the Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio lived after his defenestration in 1922 until his death in 1938. The estate consists of the residence of d'Annunzio called the Prioria (priory), an amphitheatre, the light cruiser Puglia set into a hillside, a boathouse containing the MAS vessel used by D'Annunzio in 1918 and a circular mausoleum.

  • Verona
    Verona is a pretty nice and small city which was awarded the World Heritage Site. The city itself is beautiful and there's the famous amphitheatre and well.. the balcony of Juliet, of course, among many others thing you may want to visit.

One option you may consider is to stay somewhere in Verona or Desenzano and then do day trips to the places I listed (or others you have found yourself). You may also consider to ride a bike so you won't be bus-bounded (even tho the bus system in that area works pretty well).
Trenitalia is the official site for trains schedule. Milano - Verona is about 1h 20mins and it runs pretty frequently. A ticket is around 20 €.

The area around Lake Como is also very beautiful and closer.

Honestly, tho, If you have never been to Venice, I would spend the five days there since five days are perfect to really start to get to know the city, not just the most crowded touristy places. If you are lucky you can find hostels for about 20 € / night but you better book in advance. After visiting the most famous places just roam around the city and get lost, go to Castello, Dorsoduro, sestieri where people hang out the clothes outside (well, probably not with these weather :)) far from all the tourists. Venice is also pretty safe so roaming around night (less tourists as a bonus) it's highly recommended. Don't be afraid to get lost in those small calli, it's totally awesome. I love to just walk and look around and Venice is a good place to practice this degeneration but I don't know if it's the same for you. If you are more for a quick visit to the touristy places than you may want to stay in Venice two to three days and then move somewhere else. If you are on a tight budget you may want to consider grab some food at the grocery store instead of going to the restaurant (eating something reasonably good for a reasonable price in Venice it's very difficult). Grocery stores that I know are:

  • Coop
  • Billa (in Italian but pretty easy to figure out the address)

Local dishes you may want to try are:

  • Cotoletta alla milanese

    Cotoletta alla milanese (milanese after its place of origin, Milan) is a fried cutlet similar to Wiener schnitzel, but cooked "bone-in". It is fried in clarified butter or olive oil[1] and traditionally uses exclusively milk-fed veal.

  • Risotto alla Milanese

    Risotto alla milanese is made with beef stock, beef bone marrow, lard (instead of butter) and cheese, flavored and colored with saffron.

  • Polenta

  • Panettone

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It depends on what you want to do. Milan is a great city that you could easily spend 5 days in.

I LOVED Bologna but it's more like two days kind of thing. It's a 35 minute train ride.

Florence is close to 2 hours by train and you could easily spend 5 days there.

Venice is 2 1/2 hours away by train. Not sure if it's an ideal place to be for 5 days though.

Check out the rates here to travel by train http://www.italiarail.com. It's by far the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to get around in Italy. You won't need a car in any of the cities I mentioned. Everything is pretty much walking distance in Florence, Venice, and Bologna. Milan is a huge city so you might need to take the metro or get a cab to get to your hotel or hostel depending where it's located.

Have fun!

share|improve this answer
    
Milano - Bologna should be a hour ride with frecciarossa, two with slower trains. –  Geeo Nov 22 '13 at 8:11
    
@Geeo You're right. Not sure where I got 35 minutes from. –  Michael T Nov 22 '13 at 13:47
    
no worries mate :-) –  Geeo Nov 22 '13 at 13:52

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