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Paris and Milan are renowned for boasting architectural marvels, mouth-watering cuisine, and high-end luxury brands. But, if you’re planning a European trip in 2024 and only have time to visit one city, you might be wondering: Paris vs Milan, which is better to visit

Fortunately, as someone who lived in Paris and spent plenty of time in Milan, I’m here to compare Paris vs Milan honestly and comprehensively. This way, you have all the information you need to decide which one is better for you to visit in 2024.

Pros & Cons of Paris

Pros of Paris

Let’s start by taking a look at the pros of visiting Paris. First and foremost, Paris is known for its stunning architecture that can be spotted everywhere you go.

From the iconic Paris Opera House to the gilded Htel National des Invalides and all the distinct bridges over the Seine… there’s certainly no shortage of beautiful places to explore and architecture to admire in this city!

A picture of the iconic staircase that can be found in the Paris Opera House.
Half of the iconic staircase that the upper echelons of society would ascend before performances.

But what always excites me to return to Paris is the opportunity to indulge in exceptional French gastronomy. Sure, my bank account takes a hit, but the perfectly crispy, yet soft and fluffy baguettes that you can find available on every corner for less than 2 make up for it — at least that’s what I tell myself.

And of course, we can’t forget the famous caf culture or all the incredible Michelin-star dining experiences…

Fun Fact: Paris is the city with the second highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s only second to Tokyo!

Finally, the central location of Paris makes it incredibly easy to travel around this massive city. If you get overwhelmed and need a quick break, you can easily take a day trip to some of the most beautiful places right outside the city, such as Claude Monet’s Gardens in Giverny or Loire Valley, which is filled with castles!

With the amazing transportation network, you can even visit new countries, such as Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, or Belgium on a day trip!

Cons of Paris

But like all cities, Paris of course has its drawbacks too. For one, as the most visited city in all of Europe, it’s hard to find somewhere that isn’t swarming with tourists. This can be overwhelming for those who aren’t used to big-city environments where there’s always something happening somewhere.

My second biggest complaint about Paris is the poor air quality. As someone who comes from a non-smoking household and lives in an area where hardly anyone smokes, the amount of smoke in the air in Paris may take some getting used to.

Not to be dramatic but I remember the first time I visited Paris… My lungs actually burned for a couple of days because of the amount of smoke inhalation. This is more of a cultural difference, but if you’re not used to it, it can definitely suck.

A picture of Paris taken from Montmartre.
Taken from the top of Montmartre

Finally, Paris is far from a clean city. You’ll see lots of trash on the sidewalk, in the Seine River, and tons of alcohol bottles on the lawn around the Eiffel Tower. It’s a bit sad to see how people treat this beautiful city, but I also know it’s pretty challenging to keep somewhere as large and busy as Paris clean.

The good news is that a greater effort is being made to clean up the city in preparation for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games! Allegedly, there will even be designated areas where you can swim in the Seine!

All this said, these are just a few of my personal opinions about Paris. There are so many more pros (and cons) that I didn’t mention for brevity, but this should give you a decent idea of what to expect!

Pros & Cons of Milan

Pros of Milan

Now let’s look at the pros of visiting Milan, Italy. First, Milan is a shopping paradise! From the luxurious stores along Via Monte Napoleone to the affordable boutiques in Corso Buenos Aires, you can find anything and everything here. It’s one of those cities where you need to be prepared to spend some money while you’re there, especially if shopping is your thing.

Another upside to Milan is its efficient and easy-to-navigate transportation network. Like Paris, getting around the city is simple, whether you’re taking the metro, bus, or tram. Plus, Milan is a convenient home base if you’re interested in day-tripping to places like Lake Como and Bellagio!

The third major pro to Milan is that the city’s art and culture scene is fantastic! For art lovers, there are so many great art galleries, like the Brera Art Gallery, Pinacoteca di Brera, and Museo del Novecento. You can admire some of the finest works from Italy’s past and present creatives in each of these places!

A picture of the main square in Milan. You can see the statue with a horse and rider in the center, the Duomo, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ii
A picture of the main plaza in Milano.

Cons of Milan

Again, no city is perfect, so let’s look at some bits that I dislike about Milan. The first downside that comes to mind is how expensive things can be in Milan, especially the food.

When I first visited Milan, I remember struggling a lot to find affordable places to eat that wouldn’t cost me 25 for a single item. I know Italy is known for its amazing pasta, but it was just shockingly expensive at times, and on occasion, the serving sizes were so small!

Another drawback about Milan is that there isn’t a whole lot to do and see in the city. Sure if you’re staying in Milan for two or three days, you can find enough things to fill your itinerary. But, if you stay any longer, you start to run out of things to do, especially if you’re not into museums or shopping.

This is because geographically speaking, the city is pretty unremarkable. There are no rivers running through the city, the Mediterranean Sea is too far to reach on a day trip, and even getting to the Dolomites on a day trip is a challenging task.

A picture of the entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ii and the main square in Milan.
The view from the top of the Duomo

Lastly, I personally find that Milan lacks that dreamy Italian allure. What I mean is that many other cities in Italy, such as Rome and Venice, have cobblestone streets, old buildings, and a charming atmosphere that makes you want to explore.

Unfortunately, Milan doesn’t have this vibe or ambiance. It’s one of the most modernized cities in Italy and can often feel like you’re in any other major city. But remember, all these pros and cons are just my take on Milan, so take everything with a grain of salt…

Paris Top 5 Things to Do

To give you an idea of what Paris has to offer, here are some of the best things to do.

If you want to see a more holistic list, I have an entire post that gives reasons to vacation in Paris with tons of different things to do…both popular and hidden gem activities.

1. Eiffel Tower

The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Paris is the iconic Eiffel Tower. This world-famous marvel stands tall against the skyline and is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and honestly in the entire world!

Although the Eiffel Tower is as touristy as it gets, it’s still worth seeing at least once during your visit. Personally, I love seeing it during sunrise when I do my morning runs because it’s the only time of day the city feels quiet. Everything is still, and it feels like you have the entire view all to yourself!

Taken during one of my many early morning runs around Paris

And of course, it’s always fun to witness the famous light show that happens at the top of every hour from sunset until midnight.

One thing I highly recommend doing if you’ve got the time and money is taking a trip to the top of the tower. It truly is spectacular and you can take in incredible views of the cityscape and River Seine!

Check availability for tickets to the top of the Eiffel Tour via stairs
Check availability for tickets to the top of the Eiffel Tour via elevator

2. Arc de Triomphe

For those interested in French history or who want to catch a different panoramic view of the city, the Arc de Triomphe is another must-see! This monument was constructed back in the early 19th century to honor the French people who died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

As such, it still stands proudly at the center of one of Paris’ most famous roundabouts. And of course, you can admire the stunning architecture from both afar or up close!

Again, if you want an intimate view of the Arc de Triomphe, visit it at 6 AM! You can appreciate the famous monument with no cars zooming by or having to deal with hoards of other tourists.

Selfie from the Top of the Arc de Triomphe
One of the 12 avenues that radiate from the Arc!

And of course, you can climb several staircases to the roof of the Arc. From there, you’ll be able to spot the Eiffel Tower in the distance and see the star that’s formed by the 12 different avenues converging at the Arc de Triomphe! If this interests you, you can purchase an entry ticket below.

Purchase your skip-the-line entry ticket to the top of the Arc de Triomphe

3. Louvre

As one of the most iconic and renowned attractions in Paris (and in the world), the Louvre is the third part of what I like to call the Parisian trifecta. It’s likely not a surprise to see this on the list of top things to do, but I find that it’s worth every single bit of praise it receives.

Within the Louvre, you’ll discover some of the world’s most famous works of art. Everything from Liberty Leading the People and the Mona Lisa to lesser-known African masks and Greek statues. The museum houses tens of thousands of other pieces of artwork from all over the world and is constantly rotating pieces in and out.

Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre
Liberty Leading the People in the Louvre

Truly, no trip to Paris is complete without a few several hours at the world-renowned Louvre! Just know that it gets extremely crowded so get there bright and early to avoid wasting time in excessively long lines! You can purchase an entry ticket to the Louvre here.

And if you want to make the most of your visit, I’d recommend taking a guided tour. That way, you can learn about French history and get more insight into some of the museum’s most iconic pieces. Because even with a pretty strong art history background, I found myself learning all kinds of interesting tidbits about the pieces of artwork!

Purchase an entry ticket to the Louvre to avoid waiting in line.
Check availability for this awesome tour of the Louvre that I recommend

4. Day Trip to Giverny

For those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a bit, I recommend taking a day trip to Giverny. And, if you’re thinking what the heck is in Giverny?! It’s a small charming village just outside of Paris, where Claude Monet once lived and painted several of his most iconic works.

In addition to admiring the beautiful French countryside and the quaint little village, you can visit the French impressionist painter’s home, which he moved into in 1883. The house has been restored to its former glory, so you can walk through almost all the rooms of his home.

I often found myself peering out the windows, trying to envision what it must’ve been like to wake up to a sprawling, blossoming garden. Speaking of which, the gardens surrounding the house have also been nicely maintained. You can easily spend several hours here wandering around and admiring both the flowers and the tranquil water lily pond.

It’s honestly just a great place to just sit back, relax, and take in nature at its finest. Afterward, you can pop into local restaurants for a bite to eat or see some other sites nearby!

A picture of Kristin in Claude Monet's Gardens in Giverny. Paris is better than Milan for day trips since you can easy day trip to 30+ different famous cities and locations.
Taken in Claude Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, France

As you can likely tell, visiting Giverny is honestly one of my favorite activities to do. It’s also the ideal day trip if you’re looking for something a little different and off the beaten path during your stay in Paris! You can learn more about how to get to Giverny here or just opt to go with a guided tour group for a stress-free time.

Check Availability for a guided tour of Giverny from Paris

5. Dinner Cruise on the Seine

One of the best ways to round off any trip to Paris is to enjoy a dinner cruise on the Seine. This particular cruise lasts about 2.5 hours and is worth every cent. You’ll get to indulge in a delicious 3-course dinner while sipping on some bubbly and listening to live entertainment! And, as darkness falls, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing views of the city’s most prominent landmarks as they light up the night sky!

For me, a dinner cruise on the Seine was one of the most special experiences that I shared with my friends. And now it’s something I try to do every time I introduce my friends to the city. So, if you’re interested in experiencing something similar, here is the cruise I booked and thoroughly enjoyed.

Check Availability for a romantic dinner cruise along the Seine

A picture of the Seine at sunset.
There’s something so special about sunsets over the Seine.

That said, I know a dinner cruise along the Seine can be an expensive activity. So, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can do a 1-hour sightseeing tour for ~$19 USD.

In fact, this is one of the first things my professor told us to do when I was studying abroad in Paris. He said it was the easiest way to introduce and familiarize us with all the city’s sites. Plus, with the audio guide option, we were able to learn about all of the sights flying by in real time, which definitely helped.

With or without food, I recommend cruising down the Seine because it’s such a wonderful way to really take in the beauty of Paris.

Take the most popular Seine tour that I did when I first arrived in Paris all those years ago :’)

Milan Top 5 Things to Do

Now that you have a solid idea of some of the things to do in Paris, let’s take a glance at a few of the things available to do in Milan!

1. Duomo Di Milano

When people think or talk about Milan, the Duomo di Milano is usually the first thing that comes to mind. This awe-inspiring Gothic-style cathedral is the centerpiece of Milan and a definite must-see attraction!

It was built over a period of six centuries and is the largest church in the Italian Republic! And, while its sheer size is quite impressive, I find that it’s all the intricate details in the carvings, sculptures, and ornaments on the faade that make it worth visiting. I think I spent half an hour just walking around the exterior admiring everything…

I mean look at the striking architecture!

But to really experience the Duomo di Milano thoroughly, I highly recommend booking an entrance ticket to enter the cathedral and access its rooftop. It’s not often you get to examine and appreciate the meticulous architecture of a masterpiece like the Duomo.

Plus, this is pretty much the only place you can go in Milan where you can see sweeping panoramic views of the city! Well, that and it’s the best one in all of Milan.

The rooftop is accessed by climbing a long winding staircase, which I won’t lie is challenging. But, I promise the view from above is worth it! And if you don’t want to walk up several flights of stairs, they do have an elevator entry ticket to the roof available.

You just have to pay a couple of extra euros. Either way, just make sure you don’t miss out on experiencing the beauty of the Duomo up close!

Book your ticket to the top of the Duomo via stairs OR via elevator

2. Sforzesco Castle

Another fun thing to do in Milan is to make a stop at the Sforzesco Castle. This 15th-century castle is located in the heart of Milan and serves as an incredible symbol of Italian Renaissance architecture.

When I first visited, I did no research beforehand — oops. So, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the walls of this castle house not only antique furniture and decorations but also some of the world’s finest artworks! You’ll find magnificent works of art such as sculptures by Michelangelo and frescos by Da Vinci, just to name a few.

A picture of Sforzesco Castle in Milan. This is one of the main attractions in Milan.
You can find Michaelangelo’s final work in Sforzesco Castle! He was working on it 6 days before he died.

Plus, there are several on-site museums, such as the Museum of Ancient Art, the Egyptian Museum, and a few more. So you have tons of opportunities to learn more about the history of the castle and connect with the past.

There’s also a giant courtyard that is great for strolling around. Or, you can opt to have a chill afternoon picnic with friends since it’s technically a public park.

Given its impressive size, I’d recommend at least half a day to explore the Sforzesco Castle. I spent about 8 hours walking around the castle and some museums and still didn’t see everything I wanted to. Therefore, you’ll likely need a full day or more to see everything the castle has to offer.

Entrance tickets cost ~$10 USD and can be purchased here.

3. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The next stop is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is a stone’s throw away from the Duomo di Milano. This shopping galleria is the oldest functioning shopping mall in Italy and will literally make your jaw drop…at least it did mine.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was built over a period of 12 years in the 19th century and is a prime example of Italian Neo-Renaissance architecture. Within it, you’ll find impressive ornate sculptures, beautiful stained glass windows, and even four-floor mosaics of Turin’s, Rome’s, Florence’s, and Milan’s coat of arms.

And while the entire structure is impressive, the main attraction is its unique glass and iron dome. A dome of this size had never been accomplished before and proved to be quite the engineering feat!

A picture of the interior of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Compared to Paris, Milan is the greater fashion capital.
Believe it or not, there are a few normal people stores too!

Furthermore, directly beneath the dome, in the center of the Galleria, you’ll see some of the world’s most prestigious fashion brands: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior, Fendi, and Prada. Everything about the shopping galleria just screams opulence, luxury, and wealth. It’s for this reason, I call it a wealth check haha. One that I, unfortunately, do not pass.

So even if you can’t afford or don’t want to shop at the numerous high-end stores housed inside, it’s still fun to stroll around. I mean the architecture alone provides a magnificent enough backdrop to draw millions of visitors in. Oh! And there are also cafs and ice cream shops, which I do recommend for even budget travelers!

4. The Last Supper

Another top attraction in Milan is viewing The Last Supper in person. For those who don’t know, the Last Supper is a painted wall mural by Leonardo da Vinci. It depicts Jesus Christ eating his final meal with his apostles before his crucifixion.

This painting is one of the most iconic and recognizable works of art in the world and is housed in Milan’s Santa Maria Delle Grazie church.

See this work of art in person!

Today, tourists can see the masterpiece in person, but you’ll have to obtain an entry ticket to do so. And unless you fancy waiting in ridiculously long lines, your best option is to take a quick yet comprehensive 1-hour tour.

Essentially a guide meets you at a pre-determined meeting point 10 minutes before your start time. Then you will receive your skip-the-line ticket and a headset so you can hear your guide. From there, the guide gives you insight into everything about the painting: techniques, the restoration process, etc.

Since the mural is so popular, you only get 15 minutes in the room with The Last Supper. But, I found this to be plenty of time to marvel at it. Afterward, you’ll have the remaining time to interact with the guide and see the rest of the works inside the museum!

Overall, seeing the mural up close is such an awe-inspiring experience that I really do recommend it. Below is the tour I recommend booking to see the painting.

Check availability for the fantastic tour of Da Vinci’s Last supper that I enjoyed.

5. Day Trip to Lake Como & Bellagio

If you’re looking for other places to visit or to simply get out of the city, I recommend a day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio! This day trip feels like taking a step back in time to the Renaissance era. The entire area around Lake Como is blanketed with lush greenery, gorgeous villas, and quaint cobblestone streets that all make for an incredible experience.

A picture of Lake Como, which is one of the best day trips to do from Milan.
Lake Como as seen from the charming village of Varenna!

My favorite part of this day trip is your chance to explore Bellagio, a small town located near the center of the lake. Here, The streets are filled with designer boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. It’s also known for its beautiful gardens with Lake Como as the backdrop which makes it perfect for strolls or romantic picnics.

Oh, and you can take private boat cruises around the lake! Depending on the tour, you can even visit other nearby villages such as Varenna or Lugano! Aside from the Duomo, a day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio is my favorite thing to do in Milan!

Check rates and availability for this fantastic Lake Como tour

Paris vs Milan: Which is Better for Vacation?

You likely have an idea of which city you prefer. But if you’re still deciding on Paris vs Milan, here is my take on a few different situations.

Which Has Better Nightlife?

When it comes to nightlife, the cities are pretty similar. Both Paris and Milan offer a wide variety of choices that range from rooftop bars to comedy clubs, pubs, and more.

That said, I would say that Milan has a slightly better nightlife scene. With the late-night markets, hundreds of clubs, bars, breweries, lounges, and disco places, the city is able to offer a massive range of night-time entertainment. And from my experience, places stay open later, and people are out partying later in Milan compared to Paris.

For example, if you head to the Navigli, where Milan’s canals are, you’ll often see tons of younger people hanging out until the wee hours of the morning. It’s just super lively and there are tons of restaurants.

A picture of the Navigli in Milan at night. Milan has a better night life scene than Paris in my opinion.
The Navigli is super lively at night and a fun place to be!

Which Is Better for Families?

When comparing Paris vs Milan for families, I think that Paris is the better of the two. Paris has more activities in the city that cater to younger ones. For example, there are a ton of parks, gardens, and museums that can keep children entertained. There’s also a more youthful and kid-friendly atmosphere.

In contrast, I believe Milan has more limited options for family-friendly activities. The city seems to be better suited for a more young adult crowd. Of course, it’s worth noting that in both cities, children under the age of 18 can enter practically every state museum, monument, gallery, and archaeological site free of charge! This definitely helps in keeping costs down.

Which Is Better for Couples?

When it comes to planning a trip for couples and comparing Paris vs Milan, Paris takes the cake! After all, it’s known as the City of Love and home to some of the most romantic spots in the world.

From taking a stroll through the winding streets of Montmartre or along the Seine River to having dinner at a fancy restaurant, there are endless cozy and romantic spaces for couples! Not to mention, for those who have never seen the Eiffel tower light up the night sky… that’s one of the most magical moments you can share with your partner!

A picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Paris is better suited for couples than Milan because Paris exudes romance with its many iconic attractions.
Parisian magic

And if you’re looking for something super special, you can dine at the famous Jules Verne restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower. Just know that you’ll have to pay a pretty penny for it!

On the other hand, I think Milan’s limited geography (distance from mountains, the Mediterranean sea, lack of lakes, etc.) makes it harder to find intimate spaces. The city, of course, still has its own romantic charm and is incredibly beautiful. I just think Paris is better suited for a romantic couple’s getaway!

When Is It Better to Visit: Summer or Winter?

To be entirely frank, I think the best time to visit simply depends on where your interests lie.

For example, if you’re looking for warm weather during your vacation then summer is obviously the best time to visit. However, just know that both Paris and Milan get pretty crowded with tourists during this time of year!

Also, if you aren’t from Europe, know that air conditioning isn’t exactly commonplace. When I was living in Paris, they had a record-breaking heat wave during the summer. To say the least, it was absolutely brutal. I just wanted to stay indoors and move as little as possible because I didn’t even have a fan in my apartment!

Even Paris during the winter looks so enchanting.

On the other hand, winter in both cities can be quite magical! If you’re looking to participate in some of the popular winter activities such as Christmas markets, ice skating, or simply revel in the holiday spirit, then it’s definitely worth visiting during the wintertime.

One thing to note is that it doesn’t snow in Milan in the winter. Contrastingly, Paris is known to experience a little snow each winter season. Thus, if you want to experience a bit of a winter wonderland, then Paris is your best bet.

Ultimately, though, it just depends on what you want to experience. But, if I were advising a friend on when to visit, I suggest going in late September – late November! Shoulder season is the way to travel for less and see all the beautiful fall colors. And, if you visit in mid-late November, you’ll still be able to partake in the Christmas markets!

Paris vs Milan: Cost of Living

When it comes to the cost of living in Paris vs Milan, research concludes that Paris is slightly more expensive. This is likely due to its reputation as the most popular tourist destination in the world, and therefore having a higher demand for hotel bookings, food, and general services than other cities.

But again, both cities are fairly pricey and definitely more expensive than places in Eastern Europe, such as Zagreb, Croatia, or Zakopane, Poland.

A picture of the Paris cityscape as seen from Kristin's apartment at sunset.
Believe it or not, this was the view from my apartment in Paris!

Lodging in Paris

If you’re leaning towards vacationing in Paris and looking for places to stay, here are three places I would recommend depending on your budget. These are based on my research into the hotels and my personal experience staying at several of these places during my now *7 trips* to Paris .

Youth Hostels

Low-cost Hotel:

Mid-Range Hotels

Click to check rates and availability of more hotels in Paris

Lodging in Milan

And if you think Milan is a better fit for you, here are a few places I recommend checking out. They are once again, based on my research as well as where I’ve been and had an excellent stay!

Youth Hostel:

Low-Cost Hotel:

  • Milan Suite Hotel — Highly rated 4-star hotel that’s ~$100/night. The downside is that it’s further from the city center but with the metro, it’s worth it | 8.8 / 10

Mid-Range Hotel:

Click to check rates and availability of more hotels in Milan on Booking.com

A picture of the front of the Duomo! Like the Paris Eiffel Tower, the Duomo is the many symbol of Milan.
The front facade of the Duomo is a mighty fine sight

Paris vs Milan: Getting Around

As mentioned previously, both Paris and Milan have efficient metro systems that I highly recommend taking advantage of when you visit.

But, if I had to pick which city is easier to get around, I would say Paris is easier. Not only is Paris smaller in terms of size, but the city also has a more comprehensive metro system. There are 16 metro lines in Paris, whereas Milan only has 4.

Regardless of which city you decide to visit, you can purchase metro tickets directly in the underground stations. Or, if would rather explore both cities in a more leisurely fashion and not worry about navigation, you can always opt for the hop-on-hop-off bus or some walking, biking, or electric scooter tours!

Click to see the different sightseeing tours in Paris
Click to see the different sightseeing tours in Milan

Airport Comparison: Paris

When comparing the airports in Paris vs Milan, there are a few key differences. First, Paris has two airports – Charles de Gaulle (CDG) which is located to the north of the city center, and Orly, located in the south. CDG is definitely the nicer of the two, and typically where you fly into if you’re arriving from overseas. Meanwhile, Orly is common for domestic flights within Paris.

You can utilize public transportation or take a taxi from either airport to get to the city center. It takes about anywhere from 1 – 1.5 hours with public transit or about 45 minutes by taxi.

But, if you’re traveling with 3 or more people, I highly recommend reserving private transport. It is so much cheaper and quite frankly, legions easier than dealing with public transit.

This also applies if you’re getting into the airport late a night. I always opt to take private transport for safety purposes if it’s after dark. You don’t want to get lost navigating and accidentally end up stranded miles from the city center. Been there — can confirm it’s not fun.

Check availability for private transport between CDG and Paris

NOTE: If you’re trying to find cheap flights, I like to use both Skyscanner and StudentUniverse! Both are awesome search flight engines.

A picture of the Navigli canals in Milan as seen around sunset. Paris has more geographical features than Milan, but Milan does have canals in the city!
The Navigli around sunset! Stop by around 9 PM or later if you want to be surrounded by lots of people!

Airport Comparison: Milan

On the other hand, Milan has three airports: Malpensa (MXP), which is 45 km from the city center, Linate (LIN), which is 7 Km from the city center, and Bergamo Orio al Serio (BGY), which is 50 Km from the city center.

Of these three airports, Malpensa is the largest, cheapest to fly into, and most convenient. There is a direct train called the Malpensa Express, which will get you to Milan in 50 minutes. It runs every 20 or so minutes and a one-way ticket is 13.

For this reason, I would say, Milan wins in the airport department. It might just be me, but I’ve always had a lot of issues getting to and from the Paris airports via public transportation. And again, if you don’t want to deal with public transport or are flying into another airport in Milan, there are private airport transport services.

Check Rates for Private Transport from Malpensa airport
See Availability for Private Transport from Bergamo airport
View options for Private Transport between Milan and Linate airport

Paris vs Milan: Food & Drink Costs

Finally, it’s time to compare Paris vs Milan in terms of food and drink costs! Even though Paris has a higher cost of living when looking at everything, the average price of a meal at a cheaper restaurant is ~16 euros. Meanwhile, the average price of a meal at a cheaper restaurant in Milan is ~20.

Speaking from my time in Milan, I really struggled to find places that offered food an entree that wasn’t a salad for less than 20. According to my expense sheet, most of the time I paid about 23 – 25, and that’s not including drinks! I know a few euros may not make a difference at first…But for people looking to keep costs down, remember the small fees add up over time!

So if you’re looking to save money on food and drinks while in either place, perhaps opt for a grocery store run every other night! Or, consider venturing to restaurants that are further away from the main tourist attractions or searching for a street food market!

A picture of pasta and bread from the restaurant Mi Scusi in Milan. The food in Paris tends to be cheaper than the food in Milan.
A typical service size in Milan.

Paris vs Milan: FAQs

Is Paris or Milan Better?

Honestly, there is no answer. It all depends on what your personal preferences are. Personally, I much prefer Paris over Milan, but several of my friends are obsessed with Milan!

Is Paris or Milan Cheaper?

According to research, Milan is a tad bit cheaper than Paris. But, speaking from my experiences, I find that Paris is cheaper in terms of food options but has more expensive housing accommodations. That said, it’s more than possible to visit either city on a tight budget with a few tips and tricks!

Is Paris or Milan the Fashion Capital of the World?

Milan is considering the reigning fashion capital of the world. However, Paris is not far behind! In fact, New York, London, Paris, and Milan are frequently referred to as the “Big Four” because each of the cities is revered for its longstanding fashion influence, heritage, and history!

Is Paris Worth Visiting?

In my completely biased opinion, Paris is definitely worth seeing and experiencing at least once. But, if you’re still on the fence or looking for a more in-depth response, I have an entire post about whether Paris would be worth your time or not!

Is Milan Worth Visiting?

Similar to the answer above, I do think Milan is worth visiting once, but it really depends on what you want to get out of the experience. For me, I’m in no rush to go back and don’t think it would be worth visiting again after having already spent a decent amount of time there… but if you’ve never been, I think it’s worth at least a two-day trip!

Distance Paris to Milan

The shortest distance from Paris to Milan is about 530 miles or 851 km. By train, it takes almost 7 hours!

A picture of the many restaurants that can be found around the Navigli in Milan.

Final Thoughts: Paris vs Milan (2024)

At the end of the day, both Paris and Milan have their own unique charm and beauty and are great cities to visit in Europe for different reasons.

Paris is one of the most iconic cities in the world with its stunning architecture, beautiful parks, and endless cultural attractions. On the other hand, Milan is Italy’s designer capital known for its high-fashion boutiques, delicious Italian food, and the mesmerizing Duomo Cathedral.

When it comes to traveling to each city, it’s easier to get to the Milan city center. But, with more metro lines available in Paris, getting around the French capital may prove a tad more convenient. And when comparing food and drink costs, the average meal costs more in Milan compared to Paris, but you can still find lesser-known, delicious cheap spots if you’re willing to search for them!

No matter which city you choose, I hope this (probably too in-depth) comparison of Paris vs Milan has been helpful!

A picture of Kristin sitting in front of the Louvre during an early morning photoshoot. When comparing Paris vs Milan, Paris has more architecturally diverse spaces!
And with that, I wish you the best trip planning and happy travels!

Read More About Europe

  • Germany: Looking for a fairytale town to visit? Discover the quaint town of Tubingen, which is near Stuttgart and accessible from Munich!

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