Milan is a short four hour train ride away from my home, so of COURSE I’ve put together a one-day guide. This is the culmination of many day trips to this beautiful city.
When you think of Milan, what comes to mind? Fashion week or the Duomo? Perhaps you think of the novel, Beneath the Scarlet Sky (my mother has been telling me to read this for at least a year now). Millan, to me, is the perfect day trip – while some may gasp and tell me that’s WAY too little time to see the real Milan, I think it’s the perfect amount of time to see the highlights of the city. It’ll leave you loving Milan and ready to come back! Here’s how to spend one day in Milan.
How to Get To Milan
By Train – this is probably the easiest way to travel to Milan from a variety of countries. The trains are pretty reliable and easy to get to, and the train station is already in the city!
By Plane – Milan’s airport isn’t too far from the city. It’s pretty convenient to fly if you’re coming from abroad or from far away! You can take the train into the city. It only takes an hour and it costs about $15. Quite a few cheaper flights fly into the Bergamo airport – if you’re flying into Bergamo, make sure you spend a little time there!
What to in Milan in a Day
There are PLENTY of things to do in Milan in a day – you just have to pick and choose what’s best for you and your interests.
Popular Tourist Sights
The one thing I seriously do not think you can miss is the Duomo. It is a million times more spectacular and awe-inspiring in person. I truly think it’s one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen.
And if you’re there, you should also check out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s Italy’s oldest shopping mall (and probably Italy’s most beautiful too).
It’s worth stopping by the Teatro Alla Scala, a world-renowned opera house. It was inaugurated in 1778 and the opera season starts on December 7th. It’s an incredibly famous theatre and watching an opera here is something that you might want to do! If you’re not keen, the opera museum is right next to the opera house.
The Santa Maria Delle Grazie is a beautiful church and convent, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most people visit to visit Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
Hidden Gems in Milan
The following recommendations are some of my favourites! They might not be truly ‘hidden,’ but they certainly aren’t as popular as the sights I’ve just mentioned!
Milan’s Navigli, it’s canal system, are so worth a visit. The area around these canals are so charming and are the perfect place to stop for an aperitivo. The views are beautiful, there’s plenty to see along the waterfront, and it’s an incredible walking area. You can also take a boat tour. I highly recommend visiting.
If you’re looking for a good view of Milan, the Pirelli Tower is close to the train station and on a clear day, you can see the Alps!
Thrifting in Milan is one of my FAVOURITE things to do. Amazing fashion can be found anywhere! I love the vintage store Usato Firmato. The prices are a little higher than a thrift store, but it has vintage designer pieces. I tried on a pair of Versace jeans, Prada leather trousers, and a WHOLE lot of other stuff. It’s really reasonable for the brands you are buying and it’s fun to visit.
The Brera is an absolutely adorable district in Milan. Think cobblestone streets, art, and so much charm!
Where to EAT in Milan
Il Massimo del Gelato redefines gelato. The ingredients are INCREDIBLY fresh and the owner will not use an ingredient if they don’t meet his standards. There are 10 (TEN!) varieties of chocolate gelato here. A must if you’re looking for what to do in Milan for a day.
If you’re looking for fresh and amazing food and to drink wine out of bowls (yes, bowls), Salsamenteria di Parma is your place. It’s very reasonably priced and I loved their cured meats and cheeses (what they’re known for!).
Pasticceria Sissi is run by a husband-and-wife team, and their pastries will have you salivating before you even take the first bite!
If you like focaccia, Focaccerie Genovesi is your place. It’s a grab-and-go place, so if you need a quick lunch or snack, this is perfect.
Starbucks. I know, I know. Going to Starbucks in Milan is a sin, BUT it’s for the novelty! Also, it is not just a Starbucks shop, it is more of an experience. Pop in if you’re near, otherwise, skip it.
Again, for the novelty, Eataly. It’s a market-ish restaurant that has become pretty famous around the world. I will say it’s a bit pricy, so if you’re not an Eataly-obsessed person, it might be worth going to a real market.
Milan Attractions Map
I’ve put all my recommendations into a map so it’s easier to plan out where you’re going!