Most Instagrammable Places in Milan

Milan may not be the first place you think of when you’re considering the most Instagrammable cities in Europe, but perhaps it should be! With its incredible architecture, historic streets, futuristic skyscrapers and Italian charm, this underrated city will absolutely add some magic to your Instagram feed. What’s more, there’s likely far more Instagramable places in Milan than you may have realised.

This guide to the top 15 most Instagrammable places in Milan will help you discover the best places to photograph in this beautiful city. To help you capture the best photos of Milan, I’ve also included the best times to visit and where to go to find those perfect shots.

If you are looking for a more detailed guide with everything you need to know about travelling to Milan, you’ll definitely want to check out our Ultimate Milan Itinerary.

For more Instagram inspiration, I have also created guides to the most Instagrammable places in Seville and London. If you like my work and want to see more of it, follow me on Instagram @travelsofsophie!

The sun rises behind Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) for the perfect instagammable photo.
The sun rises behind Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) for the perfect Instagammable photo.

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Top 15 Most Instagrammable Places in Milan

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

Duomo di Milano, or Milan Cathedral, is hands-down THE most Instagrammable place in Milan. You absolutely cannot visit Milan without photographing one of the most famous landmarks in Italy.

When to Photograph Duomo di Milano

In the heart of the city, Milan Cathedral towers over Piazza di Milano. As one of the top things to do in Milan, it draws in the crowds. Therefore, the best time to photograph this magnificent church is first thing in the morning. Arrive as early as possible (preferably sunrise!) to capture some incredible photos without hordes of tourists.

Milan Cathedral is one of the most instagrammable places in Milan and photographing it at sunrise allows for spectacular golden colours without hordes of tourists.
Photographing Milan Cathedral at sunrise allows for spectacular golden colours without hordes of tourists.

Don’t forget to also visit the rooftops of Duomo for some true Instagram gems. These don’t open until 9am, so either take a wander around and photograph other nearby places until it opens, or return in the afternoon.

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Duomo di Milano

This spectacular historic church is photogenic from all angles really! It’s no wonder it took 6 centuries to construct! Take some photos straight on from Piazza di Duomo to feature the front facade.

Just after sunrise, you may be able to angle the camera right to capture a sunstar. Or, make the most of the flocks of pigeons for a fun, dynamic Instagram shot.

Move to the edge of the square and use a wide-angle lens to capture both Milan Cathedral and another Milan landmark; Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Piazza di Duomo, Milan Cathedral and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with a girl in a red dress standing in the middle
Use a wide-angle lens to capture both Milan Cathedral and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in one frame.

Don’t forget to book tickets to visit the rooftops of Duomo. Up here you’re able to capture the details of the intricate white marble sculptures and ornate spires. When composing your Instagram photos here, look to use these to frame your subject.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Dating back to 1865, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy’s oldest active shopping mall. Today, it is one of Milan’s major attractions and most Instagrammable places! It’s not uncommon to see fashion shoots going on in here!

When to Photograph Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Again, to get that perfect Instagram photo without the crowds, you’ll need to get here early. Even at 6:30am, there were a couple of other people trying to get their shots there!

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Capture the grandeur of the shopping arcade exterior first from Piazza di Duomo. Use a wide-angle lens to include more of the impressive facade.

Exterior of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II from Piazza di Duomo at dawn

Once you get inside, admire the unique roof and dome comprised of iron and glass, as well as the ornate mosaics adorning the building and uniform shop fronts. All of these features symmetrically aligned create the perfect Instagram worthy capture.

A girl twirling in the middle of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.  The instagram worthy shot includes the glass and iron dome roof, decorative shop facades and intricate mosaic work.
An Instagram worthy shot of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Quadrilatero della Moda

A short walk from Piazza di Duomo is Quadrilateral della Moda, the fashion district of Milan. Within this area, you’ll find an endless succession of international luxury brands. At the heart of the fashion district is Via Monte Napoleone, one of the most expensive and exclusive shopping streets in the world.

When to Photograph Quadrilatero della Moda

I prefer to shoot this area early in the morning before the shops open as I love the architecture. However, this would also be a great place to photograph during the day to capture the hustle and bustle of this luxury shopping district.

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Quadrilatero della Moda

Photograph directly down Via Monte Napoleone to capture the length of this iconic street, home to the world’s top fashion brands.

Alternatively, focus on any of the individual shop fronts and courtyards dotted around the fashion district for another Instagrammable setting.

Instagrammable shop front on Via Monte Napoleone in Quadrilateral della Moda (fashion district) Milan
Even the shop fronts in the fashion district are Instagrammable!

READ MORE: The ULTIMATE Milan Itinerary

Porta Nuova

This is where it gets a little confusing. It seems Porta Nuova refers to three separate things in Milan; the medieval city gate dating back to the 12th century, a Napoleonic gate built in 1810, and a district within Milan.

These would all rank on the list of the most Instagrammable places in Milan, so you will want to visit all three!

When to Photograph Porta Nuova

The great things about all of the Porta Nuova Instagram locations is that you can really photograph them any time of the day!

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Porta Nuova

Porta Nuova, the old medieval city gate, is located near Piazza Cavour. What makes this one of the most Instagrammable places in Milan is the old-fashioned yellow trams that regularly pass through the arches. It’s photogenic from both sides of the gate.

Old yellow tram passes through the medieval city gate, Porta Nuova, making it one of the most Instagrammable places in Milan.
An old-fashioned yellow tram passing through the medieval city gate, Porta Nuova.

The Napoleonic gate, Porta Nuova, from which the eponymous district derives its name, creates a beautiful photo op that shows contrasting elements of the city. Here, you can capture both the antiquity and modernity of Milan in a single frame.

The Napoleonic gate Porta Nuova, where the old meets the new makes for an Instagram worthy photo showing the contrasting elements of the city.
The Napoleonic gate Porta Nuova, where the old meets the new.

As for the district of Porta Nuova, the next three instagrammable spots in Milan can be found within this area!

Porta Garibaldi

This neoclassical archway was built in the 19th century and marks one of the entrances of the historic city.

When to Photograph Porta Garibaldi

As you can photograph this impressive archway from both sides, you can shoot here any time of day. However for the angle below taken from the northeast side, it is best to visit in the morning to have the light shining on it.

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Porta Garibaldi

From the north of the gate, use the pedestrian crossing to create a leading line towards the arch. This would also be a great place to include a subject, using the archway to frame them.

One of the most instagrammable places in Milan; Porta Garibaldi
One of the most Instagrammable places in Milan; Porta Garibaldi

Piazza Gae Aulenti

Piazza Gae Aulenti is a piazza unlike any other in Milan. This contemporary square is surrounded by skyscrapers giving it a futuristic feel that is in stark contrast to the historical centre. The skyline is dominated by the Unicredit Tower, designed by the same architect who built the famous Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

When to Photograph Piazza Gae Aulenti

As this is a busy shopping area, it’s best to arrive early, before the shops open, if you want capture one of Milan’s most Instagrammable spots without other people in the shot.

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Piazza Gae Aulenti

Shoot from within the shopping mall itself, using the sculptures to provide some interest to the foreground and the open roof to frame the Unicredit Tower. Then venture out into the square. Here, you can use the pathway as a leading line to the tower. You’ll want a fairly wide angle lens to be able to capture the entirety of this skyscraper in one shot.

Bosco Verticale

Tucked away behind Piazza Gae Aulenti are two residential towers with a difference! Bosco Verticale, literally meaning vertical forests, are covered with thousands of plants. They provide an area of vegetation equivalent to 30,000m2 of woodland and undergrowth!

When to Photograph Bosco Verticale

You can visit this Instagram location any time of the day and come away with some great photos. As you will be approaching them from the south, this angle remains in the sun throughout the day. It’s also a bit of a hidden gem and a little outside of the centre, meaning fewer people visit.

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Bosco Verticale

As you reach Bosco Verticale from Piazza Gae Aulenti, you’ll be able to capture both of the residential towers. For an interesting, more abstract shot, try zooming in on some of the plants to capture the details.

Brera Streets

From the new back to the old! The district of Brera is comprised of many photogenic, narrow streets. These typical Italian streets are lined with colourful houses and flower-adorned balconies.

When to Photograph Brera Streets

These streets are partly shaded throughout the day due to their narrow nature and tall buildings. Also, wander a little way and you’ll soon find a street to yourself, even in the middle of the day. Therefore, you can really photograph the streets of Brera any time of day.

The Perfect Instagram Photos of Brera Streets

The best way to find the most Instagrammable places is to simply wander! This neighbourhood is full of hidden gems just waiting to be explored. If you’d like somewhere to start, then one of my favourite streets is Via del Carmine.

Palazzo Brera

Within the Brera district, you’ll find the beautiful Palazzo Brera. This historical building dates date to the 15th century and is now the home to several of the city’s leading cultural institutes. The stunning architecture provides a great opportunity for some Instagram worthy snaps.

When to Photograph Palazzo Brera

Each of the institutes within Palazzo Brera has different opening times. I struggled to find any general opening times for the actual building. I’d recommend checking on the Pinacoteca di Brera website for their opening times as if that is open, the building itself has to be open!

Any time it’s open is a good time to visit! The courtyard will be partly shaded throughout the day and even when I visited at around 11am during the summer, I had no issues with crowds.

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Palazzo Brera

The courtyard provides the best Instagrammable photos. Archways surround the courtyard allow you to compose your photo from any angle and get a great shot!

Alternatively, move under the archways and focus on the details. From this angle, you can use the arches to frame the many sculptures around the courtyard. This would be a great place for you to add yourself to the photo to get that Insta-worthy shot (if, unlike me, you have someone with you who can take the picture for you!)

The pillars and archways at Palazzo Brera provide a frame for the perfect instagrammable photo in Milan
Use the archways at Palazzo Brera to frame the sculptures… or even include a subject.

Santa Maria del Carmine Church

The beautiful Santa Maria del Carmine Church dates back to 1446 and is one of the most Instagrammable places in Milan. Its red brick facade framed by the yellow buildings in the square makes for a perfect shot.

When to Photograph Santa Maria del Carmine Church

Most times of day will be good to photograph here. The sun rises behind the church in the morning and moves around to the right of the shot, causing the buildings to cast a shadow on the square. However, the church itself remains in the sun. I would imagine sunset would be a beautiful time as the sun would be behind you, casting golden light onto Piazza del Carmine and the church.

Even in the middle of the day, this square wasn’t too busy.

The Perfect Instagram Photo at Santa Maria del Carmine Church

From the middle of Piazza del Carmine, you can include the entire facade of the church. The pathway leading up to the church also provides a great leading line when centred in the frame.

Santa Maria del Carmine Church is one of the most instagrammable places in Milan.
The picturesque Santa Maria del Carmine Church.

READ MORE: The best camera gear to take epic Instagram-worthy photos!

Castello Sforzesco

On the southern edge of Milan’s largest park, Parco Sempione, you will discover the only castle in Milan; Castello Sforzesco, or Castle Sforza. This iconic landmark was built as a fortress in the 14th century and converted into a grand castle in the 15th century. The grounds are enormous and include several museums.

When to Photograph Castello Sforzesco

To photograph the fountain outside Castle Sforza without large groups of people sitting around it, you’ll want to arrive early. You may get lucky later in the day (like I did!) but it’s less likely.

The grounds of the castle are free to enter but are gated so check on the Castello Sforzesco website for current opening times. These are beautiful and well worth a wander through to Parco Sempione.

The Perfect Instagram Photo at Castello Sforzesco

For the most Instagrammable spot, head to Piazza Castello and include the Fontana di Piazza Castello (Castle Square Fountain). The fountain provides an interesting foreground with the iconic red-brick castle behind.

One of the most instagrammable places in Milan; Castle Sforza with the fountain in the foreground.
Include the fountain in front of Castle Sforza for an Instagram worthy photo.

Arco della Pace

At the other end of Parco Sempione, you’ll find another of the most instagrammable places in Milan; Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace). The construction of the Triumphal Arch originally commenced in 1807 to commemorate Napoleon’s victories. However, this ground to a halt when Milan was invaded by the Austrian Empire. The arch was finally completed in 1838 to celebrate the Italian unification.

When to Photograph Arco della Pace

This is a great place to photograph sunset. While it is busy at this time, most people stick to sitting around the outside of the square. Therefore, with a bit of patience you can get a photo of just the arch without anyone in it.

The Perfect Instagram Photos at Arco della Pace

My favourite composition to get the best Instagram photo of Arco della Pace is from Sempione Park at sunset. From the park, you can zoom in to include some of the grass and the background compression makes the archway feel even more impressive.

Sunset at Arco della Pace, photographed from Sempione Park.  One of the most Instagrammable places in Milan.
Sunset at Arco della Pace, photographed from Sempione Park.

Another option is from the square surrounding the arch. I personally found this angle less interesting, particularly with the current restoration works being carried out on the arch. However, this would be a great Instagram shot with a subject in the foreground to add another element to the image.

Arco della Pace is one of the most instagrammable places in Milan
The square surrounding Arco della Pace offers alternative views of the archway.

Navigli District

The Navigli district of Milan centres around the two main canals; Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese. These canals are lined with colourful buildings just waiting to be Instagrammed!

When to Photograph Navigli

Navigli is a great place to explore and photograph at any time of the day! While this area does get busy, particularly when the vintage market lines the banks of the canals, it’s easy to find an angle that either excludes people entirely or makes them barely noticeable!

The Perfect Instagram Photos in Navigli

There are several different bridges that you can include in your photos. Get creative with it! You can shoot from the bridges to get a more aerial vantage point. Or shoot from under the bridges to capture some great reflections in the water. There’s also some fun street art lurking around so keep your eyes peeled for those!

Navigli canal with colourful houses and fun street are make for one of the most instagrammable places in Milan
Street art under the bridge and reflections in the water make for a fun Instagrammable shot.
Colourful buildings line the canals.

City Life

City Life is a new development of residential apartments, offices, shops, restaurants and bars, as well as the second-largest park in Milan. While it has become popular with locals, it remains a hidden gem for tourists. It’s a great place to capture a more unique photo of Milan.

When to Photograph City Life

This is a great place to photograph around sunset when the golden light hits the skyscrapers. You can then also grab a drink after at one of the many bars in the area!

The Perfect Instagram Photos in Navigli

Include the colourful Coloris sculpture in the foreground and skyscrapers in the background for a very different Instagram shot in Milan.

Coloris sculpture in front of skyscrapers at City Life make for one of the most Instagrammable spots in Milan
The colourful Coloris sculpture in front of skyscrapers provides a more futuristic image.

Lake Como

Alright so technically I’m cheating a little bit as Lake Como is not in Milan. However, it is such an Instagrammable location and can be visited on a day trip from Milan, so I thought I could sneak it in!

Nestled into the foothills of the Alps just north of Milan, Lake Como is a treasure trove of Instagrammable places! With charming towns dotted all along its shores, you really can’t go wrong.

When to Photograph Lake Como

If you’re visiting Lake Como as a day trip from Milan then I’d recommend leaving as early as possible to give yourself ample time to explore.

The Perfect Instagram Photos in Lake Como

I have created an entire blog post about a day trip to Lake Como from Milan which has loads more photos. But, in a nutshell, I recommend visiting Varenna, Bellagio and Como. Each of these towns have ample Instagram-worthy shots awaiting you!

The beautiful town of Varenna against a mountainous backdrop.
The narrow streets of Varenna provide a variety of Instagram opportunities.
The narrow streets of Varenna provide a variety of Instagram opportunities.
Salita Serbelloni steps are one of the most iconic locations in Bellagio and shouldn't be missed on a day trip Milan to Lake Como
This little street in Bellagio is perhaps one of the most Instagrammed places in Lake Como

Tips for Photographing the Most Instagrammable Places in Milan

Now you’re all clued up with the WHERE to go to get the most Instagrammable photos of Milan, it’s time to share some tips on HOW to get them!

Of course, having good camera equipment will help. However, you can still get some great shots with just your phone. Check out our post on travel photography camera gear to see what I used to take the photos in this post. If you are looking to invest in a camera, then you may also be interested in this blog post about the best cameras for blogging.

Bring a tripod

A tripod is an integral part of my camera gear. Beyond it’s designed intention to hold my camera and allow me to get photos of myself, it also has the magical power of providing a bit of authority! People are much less inclined to step in front of your shot!

Get out and shoot as early as possible

As I’ve mentioned a few times in this post, you’ll want to get out early to get the best photos without a ton of tourists in them. However, if you’ve only got one or two days in Milan you won’t be able to visit all of these places early!

The ones you absolutely should photograph as early as possible are Duomo di Milano and Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II. These will provide the most spectacular photos and get the busiest during the day.

Wear comfortable shoes

Milan is a fairly small city and is best explored on foot. While it is easily walkable, I soon racked up the miles exploring down all its little side streets so bring some comfy shoes!

Final Thoughts on the Most Instagrammable Places in Milan

Milan is a beautiful, picturesque city filled with incredible architecture and Italian charm.

I hope that you now have all the information you need to discover the most Instagrammable places in Milan for yourself and get some incredible Instagram worthy shots!

For further information on Milan and other European destinations, check out some of our other blog posts:

I hope you’ve found this Instagram guide helpful and inspiring. As always, I’d love to know your thoughts and, if you’ve been to Milan, where else you’d include in the comments below.

Enjoyed this Guide to the Most Instagrammable Places in Milan? Pin It! 🙂

16 Comments

  1. Suvarna Arora
    May 9, 2020 / 11:03 am

    I am so bummed I had to cancel my Italy trip this April but this will come handy when I go next year. All the places look so amazing.

    • May 9, 2020 / 3:15 pm

      Aww that’s such a shame. It’ll make it all the more amazing when you can get there!

  2. May 9, 2020 / 11:15 am

    I was going to visit Milan in February, but flights were a bit expensive so I went to Porto instead. However, I can’t wait to visit it in the future. I would love to explore Milan and other cities like Turin 🙂 Lovely pictures and I’m saving this amazing list for my future trip to Milan!

    • May 9, 2020 / 4:14 pm

      Porto looks incredible too! I’d love to visit there. I hope you can visit Milan soon 🙂

  3. May 9, 2020 / 12:02 pm

    So amazing beautiful…I have been to Milan twice and your pictures make me want to go back again.

  4. May 9, 2020 / 12:57 pm

    I haven’t visited Milan yet but I hope I will get a chance in the future! The Duomo is so photogenic! Thanks for all the tips!

  5. Bliss
    May 9, 2020 / 1:43 pm

    Milan looks so photogenic! Lovely photos

  6. May 9, 2020 / 3:21 pm

    Navigli is such a hidden gem! I walked up and down the canal when I went there last year with my family and ate gelato 🙂 It was such a great memory.

    • May 9, 2020 / 5:16 pm

      I wish I could be back there eating gelato now. That sounds like a lovely moment to remember.

  7. May 9, 2020 / 4:02 pm

    Milan remains one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to. Love this page 🙂

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**All photos contained in this photography-based travel blog are copyright of Adam Marland & Sophie Clapton. 
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