Day Trips From Milan

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I’ve said it before: I love Milan. However, I understand that not everyone likes this type of Italian tea. (Which is not really tea, but espresso. But I digress.) You may want to take a break if you are staying in Milan longer than a few days. Milan’s Stazione Centrale high-speed train hub and the many picturesque day trips that are available within a short radius of the city center can be a blessing in such cases.

My preference is for day trips to take less than two hours overall. This will take you to many places, including Lake Como. There are many day trips that you can take from Milan, which could be great for early risers and those who don’t mind spending a bit more time getting there. Below is a breakdown of the trips, based on how long it takes to get there. This is not a complete list, especially if you are just looking to explore the countryside after renting a car in Milan.

This list is for those who are not interested in Milan’s sights, but still want to see the nearby attractions.

Guided Tours in and from Milan

These places can all be done as day trips. But if you prefer to leave the planning to others, here are some tours from Milan.

Milan, 2 hours or less in transit

  • Lago di Como The Lago di Como inverted Y-shaped Lake on which George Clooney made his Italian home, Lago di Como is surrounded by picturesque villages and steeply-sloped green hills. You can see the Alps from the distance in good weather. Milan is approximately one hour and a half by train from the town of Como, at the southwest tip of the lake. The journey to Lecco on its southeastern leg takes about an hour. The famed Bellagio is located right at the Y-junction. You can only get there by either bus or boat – either one of these options is available from Como or Lecco.
  • Lago Maggiore– Another one of Italy’s most popular lakesis Lago Maggiore. It is Italy’s second largest lake, just behind Lago di Garda. It lies partially in Switzerland. The main lake town is Stresa, where many people visit the small Borromean Islands just outside the town. Each of the two towns on the western side are approximately an hour away from Milan by train.
  • Bergamo The old city centre in Bergamo, located high up on the hill that overlooks the modern city, is the one to see. It is called the Citta alta (High City), and it has intact medieval streets, buildings, and 17th-century walls. The Colleoni Chapel, a beautiful chapel from the 15th century, is a must-see. Bergamo is only 50 minutes from Milan by train. From there, you can either take the number 1 bus to the Citta Alta station or walk to the funicular to reach the top.
  • Pavia is a university city in Pavia, Italy. It’s just a half-hour train ride from Milan and has a peaceful and historic center. However, the biggest attraction is located about five miles from the city. The Certosa di Pavia, a Carthusian Monastery that was built between the 14th and 15th centuries, is one of Italy’s most important monasteries. The church contains a small collection and beautiful buildings.
  • Turin The trip from Milan to Turin takes just under two hours by train. It takes less than 45 minutes on the Italo service. Trains run to Milan’s Garibaldi Station and not Centrale. You don’t have to be a believer to visit the Shroud Museum. The museum has a replica of Turins famous shroud and the history behind it. Bicarin, a chocolatey-chocolate that is served at the same cafe as the Shroud Museum, is a must-try for anyone with sweet tooth.

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Medium Day Trips From Milan: 2-4 hours in Transit

  • Bologna I hate that Bologna has to be in the middle section. However, the official time it takes to travel from Milan to Bologna by high-speed train is just 1 hour and 2 minutes. Bologna is the home of the oldest continuously operating university in the world. It has a youthful energy, but it doesn’t attract as many tourists to Florence. It is the capital of Emilia Romagna, which many Italians claim has some of the best food in Italy. It is also where you can find the delicious bolognese sauce that you use on your pasta. The Bologna region is where Lamborghini and Ferrari have their headquarters and factories. Gearheads will be happy to know this.
  • Parma If you find the thought of visiting Bologna overwhelming, you will feel the same about Parma. This is where the names of prosciutto di Parma and parmigiano-reggiano are derived. Another university city, this one doesn’t see a lot of tourists. This is a shame considering the artistic and architectural beauty of its historic center. Milan is approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes away by train from Parma.
  • Lugano– Take your passport and you will be in the beautiful lakeside city Lugano in south Switzerland in just 1 hour 10 minutes. It is located on Lake Lugano, which is mostly in Switzerland but also a little bit in Italy. Swiss holiday-makers love the hills and mountains around the city. There are nearly 200 miles of trails for mountain bikers.
  • Florence– This Renaissance capital of Florence is worth more than a single day. However, if you have less time then you can travel there by train in under two hours from Milan. Guided tours can be done in a single day. Skip-the-line tours allow you to avoid waiting in long lines at popular attractions such as the Uffizi or Accademia.
  • Genoa The capital of Liguria is the home of Italy’s largest port. It is also a popular point of departure for Mediterranean cruises. Its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It boasts a number of museums and former stately palaces. There’s also Europe’s second largest aquarium. The waterfront promenade invites you to take a walk. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to get from Milan to Genoa by train.

Milan: Longer day trips from Milan: More than 4 hours in transit

  • Venice I will always argue for more time in Venice. A day trip to Venice doesn’t give the city justice. But I have also taken a daytrip from Milan to Venice, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to visit the canal city at any other place on a trip. So I get it. Venice is a beautiful place. It takes 2.5 hours to get from Milan to Venice. However, there is not much to do in Venice other than to walk around and sigh frequently. A guided tour is recommended for anyone who has never been to Venice. It will allow you to see the sights without any directional confusion.
  • Rome– Given the distance between Milan and Rome it is surprising that you can reach the Eternal City in just three hours. After waking up at Milan’s Duomo, it takes only 3 hours. It’s impossible to visit Rome in one day, especially if it isn’t very short. However, this type of day trip can be great if you haven’t been before and want to see a few things, or just to be able say you went to Rome for lunch one day. If you have never been to Rome before, a guided tour of the city is recommended.
  • Cinque Terre The five fishing villages that cling to Liguria’s coastline are known as the Cinque Terre. They have been extremely popular with tourists for over a decade. If the weather is good, the hiking trail between them can be a wonderful way to spend a whole day. However, it has become increasingly crowded over the years. If you haven’t been there before, there are better ways to spend a day than sitting at a Vernazza cafe table and looking out at the sea. It takes three hours to travel from Milan to Monterosso (the northernmost of the five towns), and there is a slow train that will take you from there to the four other villages.
  • Mantua Mantua, also known as Mantova in Italian, has a rich cultural heritage. It is UNESCO’s oldest center, which is also the closest modern city to the site where Roman poet Virgil was born. The Palazzo Ducale is home to many amazing trompe l’oeil paintings by Andrea Mantegna. The Camera degli Sposi is one of the chambers in the palace that was built for the Gonzaga family. It contains Mantegna’s 15th-century frescoes. Mantua takes less than three hours to reach from Milan. There is an option to change trains in Verona.
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One Response to “Day Trips from Milan”

  • Stef Says:

    One hour from Milan is the Oltrepo Pavee, south of Pavia. It is one of Italy’s most important wine regions. It is best known for its Pino Nero grape. This grape is used to make spumante wines (champaign). It is worth a day trip for its beautiful scenery and delicious food.

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