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Paris, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona are among the top-visited destinations in Europe. Beyond the Old World, New York City, Toronto and Whistler await shopping, dining and skiing enthusiasts, as well as businessmen and students. Quality accommodation is always in demand, and nowadays travellers have the freedom to choose not only hotels, but also apartment rentals.
Conveniently located and fully furnished, apartments of Sweet Home Abroad are excellently suited for short-term rentals and could be your next great vacation! All apartments are meant for travellers looking for comfort and independence regardless of their activities of interest. Beach lovers could opt for an apartment rental in Israel or rent a villa in Spain. Lovers of outdoor winter activities like skiing and snowboarding will find Whistler, located in Canada, a great destination: the co-host of Winter Olympic Games in 2010, Whistler is perfectly equipped to provide you with great skiing and riding trails, impeccable customer service and top-notch long-term accommodation. History and culture buffs will enjoy a great selection of accommodation we offer in Paris, Prague, Madrid, and, of course, Barcelona.
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Practical info

When to go to Milan

Milan may be losing to Rome, Venice and Florence, when it comes to the number of tourists visiting Italy annually, but it is hard to contest the notion that the trip to the northern fashion capital would be worth your while. If you want to explore Italy in more detail, than Milan is a must-see place on your list. Advice on the best time to go to Milan is no different from advice for most other large European cities and destinations.

The rule of thumb, when it comes to visiting Europe, is to remember that in summer travel and accommodation are more expensive, the weather is hotter, and many places may end up closed in August. In autumn, especially at the end of September and in October, crowds recede, prices stabilize, and the weather in general is still nice enough for sightseeing, if not for sun bathing. Depending on the destination, wintertime may appropriate for a visit as well, but bear in mind the inevitable Christmas rush and holiday price hikes.

All of the above applies to Milan, with three important additions: Milan Fashion Week in March, Milan Fashion Week in early October, Milan Designer Week in mid-April. The weather of course could not care less about haute couture, and it usually behaves during these important events. The culprit about visiting Milan at this time is accommodation prices that skyrocket like there is no tomorrow. To secure an apartment (the main advantages of renting an apartment in Milan are listed here) or a decent hotel room within city limits for a reasonable price, you need to book several months in advance. Closer to the event, especially the Milan Designer Week, you will not find anything for less than a 500 euros per night. So, unless you work in the fashion industry or have been planning to visit Milan during Fashion Week specifically, postpone your trip. The spirit of fashion lingers in Milan year-round, after all, and there is no reason to pay arm and leg to feel the part of it for a few days.

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Weather in Milan

The weather in Milan is largely influenced by the Mediterranean climate, which brings foggy and damp yet relatively mild winters, hot and humid summers, gentle spring and fall. When to go to Milan depends on your goals and individual tolerance for various weather conditions.

In summer – the most popular visiting time due to the vacation season – travellers paying a visit to Milan need to be especially careful due to the extreme heat alert. The heat may be overwhelming: in July and August the temperature may not drop below 28-30 °C.

September and October, just like March, April and May, are perfect for outdoor sightseeing, al fresco dining and taking hikes. In November the weather gets progressively worse, rainier and windier, however, even in January the temperatures below zero В°C are rare.

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Getting around Milan

Public transit in Milan includes a network of bus routes, metro, tram and trolleybus lines. The network uses a unified ticket format that allows usage on any type of transit. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes after validating/stamping, unless stated otherwise. Metro in Milan has 3 lines (green, yellow and red) intersecting with 11 suburban train lines, for which extra fare is required.

Metro starts running at 6 am and continues till approximately 00:30. Buses operate from 5.30 - 6.00 am to 0.30 - 1.45 am. Trams run from 4.00 - 4.30 am to 2.15 - 2.45 am. Trolleybus lines (90/91) stay in operation 24/7. On December 25 and May 1 all buses, trams, trolleybuses run from 7 am to 8 pm, and Milan metro operates from 7 am to 7:30 pm.

Ticket costs for 90-minutes rides within Milan are as follows:
One ticket - 1.50 €
10 standard tickets - 13.80 €
Unlimited one-day ticket, valid for 24 hours after validation - 4.50 €
Unlimited evening ticket, valid from 8 pm to close - 3.00 €
Unlimited two-day ticket, valid for 48 hours after validation - 8.25 €
Weekly 2x6 pass (2 journeys per day for 6 days/week) - 8.40 €
Weekly Travel Card - 11.30 €

Milan Transportation Agency (ATM) also offers affordable night bus services that are an excellent alternative to expensive taxis. Bus by Night runs on Fridays and Saturdays from 2 am to 5 am, departing from several nightlife spots to anywhere you need to go within Milan. The service is run by ATM and the city of Milan jointly, using ATM's minibuses. The cost is 1,50 € per person.

The Bus by Night timetable is as follows:
Via Valtellina - corner of via Stelvio, departs at 4 am, 5 am
Viale Milton - corner of via Pagano, departs at 2 am, 3 am, 4 am
Viale Sturzo - corner of corso Como, departs at 2 am, 3 am, 4 am, 5 am
Piazza XXIV Maggio, departs at 2 am, 3 am
Viale Umbria - corner of via Tito Livio, departs at 4 am, 5 am
Viale Umbria - corner of corso XXII Marzo, departs at 4.10 am, 5.10 am
Via Castelbarco - corner of via Tantardini, departs at 4 am, 5 am (Saturdays only)
Via Ripamonti - corner of via Pietrasanta departs at 4.10 am, 5.10 am (Saturdays only)

Another option for travellers wanting to avoid taxis at night is Radiobus, Milan's on request bus service that operates from 8 pm to 2 am all year long, except for Christmas day and May 1. The bus will pick you up at a designated pick-up area and drop you off wherever you need to be in Milan for a meager cost of 2.50 € (2.00 € if purchased in advance) plus the cost of a valid ATM ticket that you need to have on you already. Radiobus requires reservations ahead of time (from 3 days to a couple of hours before travel), and you will need to know the exact time of departure, the arrival address and the number of people travelling.

Taxi in Milan is not cheap, and cabs are far and few between in the city. Taxi cannot be hailed on the street, as the only way to get a cab is either to call in advance or walk to a taxi stand. If you request a taxi over the phone, the cab will arrive with the meter already on, and the charge may surprise you unpleasantly. Taxis waiting for passengers in taxi parks are free; that is, you pay only when you get in. The seating charge is 3€ (5€ on Sundays and holidays, 6€ in the evening), and every km is approximately 1€. When the total charge on the meter reaches 12-13€, the meter will speed up, making taxis in Milan an expensive travel option that many travellers use only as a last resort.

As most European cities, Milan also has its own self-service bicycle program that allows visitors to borrow a bicycle for up to 2,5 hours from many stations around the city. The program, called Bikemi, is operated by ATM. In order to use the service, you have to register in advance, either online, over the phone or at one of the ATM kiosks around the city. First 30 minutes are free to ride, after which every 30 minutes cost 0.50 €. If you do not return the bike within 2,5 hours after taking it from the station, a charge of 2€ per hour will apply. Exceeding the limit of two hours three times will block your subscription.

The following subscriptions are available, for which the activation fees are as follows:
Daily subscription – 2,50 €
Weekly subscription – 6 €
Annual subscription – 36 €.

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Milan metro map
Zones of Milan

Starting from 1999, Milan is divided into 9 zones as opposed to the previous division into 20 zones. The zones (le zone) are numbered from 1 to 9, and the numbering starts with the historical and geographical center of the city of Milan. Il Centro is a relatively small area, only about 10 square kilometres in total, where all the most famous attractions, sights, and prestigious apartments in Milan can be found. The Duomo cathedral, or Duomo di Milano, the piazza Duomo, La Scala opera theater, the tower Velasca, the basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, the Pinacoteca di Brera (the Brera Art Gallery) are the most visited sites in the city. In the western part of the first zone stands the Dominican convent of Milan and its principal church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, famous for the Leonardo da Vinci's mural of the Last Supper.

From the first zone on the numeration continues clockwise. The second zone is notable for the Pirelli skyscraper, the tallest structure in Milan: the height of this 31-story building reaches 127 meters.

The third zone lies to the north-east of the center, and one of the neighbourhoods of the area is called Città Studi (“the city of learning”). This is where the university campus of the largest technical university in Italy, the Politecnico di Milano University, is located.

The fourth and the sixth zones border with the center of the city from the south-east and south-west respectively. They are mostly comprised of residential areas and webs of streets and side-streets. Commercial lots and rail lines cleave through the periphery of the fourth zone. The fifth zone in the southern part of Milan is famous for the Bocconi University (UniversitГ  Commerciale Luigi Bocconi).

The seventh zone is the vastest in the city, covering the area of about 30 square kilometers. The Trenno park (Parco di Trenno), one of the biggest and greenest in Milan, can be found here, along with the soccer stadium of FC Milan and FC Internazionale – the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, most commonly called San Siro (after the neighbourhood in which it stands).

The eighth and ninth zones of Milan lie to the north-west of the historical center and are mostly residential, just like the fourth and sixth zones are. Close to the border of the city in the ninth zone lies the Northern park (Parco Nord). With its square area reaching 600 hectares, the park is possibly the largest in Milan.

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Hotels in Milan


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Conventions in Milan

Milan, one of the major business centres of Europe and the definite world capital of fashion, holds several important annual conventions, fairs and exhibitions. Here are just some of them.

The diving convention Eudishow celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012 and is completely devoted to the exploration of the underwater world. Italy is one of the world leaders in production of diving equipment, which becomes quickly apparent at Eudishow-2012. Meetings of diving schools, workshops and lectures for professionals and amateur divers are planned during the convention.

The international tourist exchange, BIT, is a gathering of travel and tourism professionals from all over the world, with the number of participants increasing every year. Presentations, discussions, seminars on the most pressing topics in the sphere of tourism are held for all interested parties. Vendors at BIT also market active travel, sports and travel gear.

MICAM is an international footwear exhibition, usually held in conjunction with the International Leather Products exhibition, MIPEL. Visitors of both conventions enjoy boutique fashion shows, lectures, workshops and award ceremonies in many spheres of shoe-making.

The international fair of fur and leather, Mifur, attracts vendors and visitors from all over Europe.

Animation, comics and video games are the central theme of the CARTOOMICS convention, attracting company representatives of all related spheres of business: animation, video recording and motion capture, fan merchandise. At visitors' service are vendor booths, printed materials, presentations.

The largest and most popular fair of Milan is, undoubtedly, the annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile, an international furniture fair, equivalent in its magnitude only to the Milan Fashion Week. Producers, designers, vendors from Europe and beyond gather to set trends, to network, strike business deals. Various sections of the furniture fair include showrooms of bedrooms, beds, wardrobes, dining sets, living room furniture, furniture for children and teens, computer tables, desks and many more. Salone Internazionale del Mobile is usually split into two themes - Classico and Moderno, and there is an additional Design section devoted specifically to the conceptual and avantgarde furniture.

With such abundance of fairs and conventions in Milan, for business professionals and independent visitors alike, it is very important to find good-quality accommodation in Milan that would allow you to use all the time you have to attend as many events as you need without wasting hours on commuting. Apartment rentals in Milan for the duration of Milan fairs is increasingly becoming even more popular than hotel bookings. You can read more about the advantages of apartment rentals in Milan here.

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