This post has been updated on October 5th, 2020
Talking about travels in Italy comes up in mind a few cities of this beautiful country. One of the most known Italian city in the World is Milan. The city of fashion and design, enclosed in an itinerary of the best 10 things to do in Milan in one day. We are coming from the Southern part of Italy and should be natural to discover Milan like locals, but the truth is that the Capital city of Lombardia is really different.
Milano in one day is possible, with the right itinerary you will be able to don’t miss the popular sightseeing. Most of the visitors known just a few things about Milan. The top landmarks of Milan are for sure the Cathedral and the Gallery, but Milan has to offer more.
Top things to do in Milan Italy
This list holds just the very best things to do in Milan. It is worth to be visited even if just like a trip for one day in Milan. We have been discovering Milan on our amazing trip to Northern Italy.
Milan is one of the most impressive cities in Italy. It is also for many the second Capital of Italy, because of the thriving economy and the fashion shows that take place in the city every year. Milan will host the 2026 edition of the Winter Olympic Games, together with Cortina D’Ampezzo, one of the best Italian ski resorts area close to the city.
Discovering Italy starting from Milan in 1 day
The list of the 10 places to visit in Milan in one day will cover all the main sections of the city. In this post, we will also suggest some of the best photo spots of Milan, where you can get the best pictures for your Instagram account.
Not just the main tourist attractions in your of Milan in 1 day, also some hidden spot of Milan. Treating Milan as a day trip is possible. Thanks to the International airports of Malpensa and Bergamo, Milano is reachable from all the most important cities in Europe. It is also really cheap. Milan is the perfect getaway for a typical Italian holiday. Eat your gelato in front of the Cathedral, for the best picture of the perfect Italian way.
10 Places to visit in Milan in 1 day
- Duomo di Milano
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
- Castello Sforzesco
- Via della Spiga
- La Scala
- Pinacoteca di Brera
- Santa Maria delle Grazie – Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci
- Parco Sempione
- Palazzo Reale
Milano in one day
Let’s go for a small ride for about just 24 hours in Milan. Walking through the most important sightseeing and following the Italian way with an amazing aperitif in one of the coolest cities in Italy.
Duomo di Milano – The Cathedral of Milano
This is the symbol of Milan. The main attraction of the city is the Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo, you can’t skip it in your plan of places to see in Milan in 1 day. This is the top sightseeing of the city. The square just in front of the Gothic Cathedral is always crowded. Here is not easy at all to get a clear photo with the Church on the background, without taking some tourists in your shot. However, you can visit also the internal part of the Duomo. From inside you can admire the details and the awfulness of the decorations.
If you are short on time, we can suggest you visit the rooftop of the Cathedral. From the very top of this building, you will enjoy an amazing view over Milan. The best time of the day to visit the rooftop of the Cathedral of Milan is obviously at the sunset, getting amazing lights and shadows that enhance the details. The ticket to get access to the Duomo is cheap, and there are two ways to reach the rooftop. If you feel strong and want to go by stairs it will cost you 9 euro, instead, you can go by lift for 14 euro. While access is always busy, we suggest you book your ticket in advance here!
Admire the Cathedral from Piazza Duomo
As we didn’t mention enough that the symbol of Milan is located in the main square, Piazza Duomo, we have to give you a highlight on this amazing spot of Milan. We hang in this place for long, looking for the best shot of the facade of the Cathedral. For sure you will spend a lot of time in this square in your one day in Milan. Piazza is meaning Square in Italian, and you will soon understand why the locals love to meet in this space so much. Beautiful, large and rich in history and culture open spaces.
Piazza Duomo is not just the place where is the Cathedral of Milan, is also one of the entrance points of the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery. Another amazing spot to include in the list of places to visit in Milan Italy. On the side of Piazza Duomo, there is the Museum of 900, an amazing modern gallery in the heart of Milan. Just close by you will also find the Royal Palace of Milan, a stunning building that hosts many events all year.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Nearby the Cathedral of Milan, there is the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery. This is one of the oldest shopping malls in Italy, with many boutiques and trendy restaurants. Visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is a must-do in Milan.
Wonder inside the stunning building and be amazed by the Italian architecture and details. The decorations in this mall are pretty. If you are talking with a local, the Vittorio Emanuele Gallery will be also referred to as “Il Salotto di Milano” meaning the elegant area of Milan. This because of the many couture fashion shops and cool cafè with a stunning view.
The Gallery opened to the public in 1877, since that has been a prestigious place in Milan. It is iconic during the famous fashion week of Milan, that is taking place every year in June.
Castello Sforzesco – Sforza Castle of Milan
This is an ancient building of Milan. More than a castle it a fortress. The Castello Sforzesco has been for years the home of the Sforza family, where the Duke of Milan used to live. Today the Sforza’s Castle is a building with many cultural opportunities. Inside the huge structure, there are museums, cultural hubs and private collections. The top things to see in Milan in one day inside the Sforza’s Castle are the Egyptian Museum and the Museum of Musical Instruments. Check the official website for upcoming events.
At the back of the Castle, like a royal courtyard, there is Parco Sempione, the largest park of Milan. A green oasis in the heart of Milan, where chill a bit surrounded by nature. If you are visiting Milan at the weekend, you will be amazed by the number of locals visiting the Castle. It is a popular attraction in Milan. For the best way to enjoy your day in Milan, check the tickets for the museum and find the bargain to skip the line.
Parco Sempione – Largest Park of Milan
As we said before, Parco Sempione is Milan’s largest park. Right at the back of Castello Sforzesco, you can get in from exit route from the Castle, just following the green trees. This park has amazing hidden gems of Milan. Going through the area, you will find a lake with a tiny bridge. The “Ponte delle Sirenette” will take you on the other side of the little lake. The mermaids along the bridge give the name to the sightseeing. Another place to visit inside this park is the Museum of design and art “The Triennale of Milano”.
The Palazzo dell’ Arte host the museum with many modern masterpieces, that makes the Triennale di Milano one of the most avant-garde places in Europe. Also, you will be surprised by the arch right at the end of this park. Getting out from Palazzo Sforzesco you will admire the Arch of Pace, l’ arco della Pace di Milano.
If you are visiting Milan during the summer it will be extremely hot, so a visit to this park is suggested. The park allows you to get with dogs, so take your friend with you.
Via Montenapoleone – The fashion street of Milan
Be ready to break the bank if you are heading to Via Montenapoleone. This is the iconic street of fashion and glamour, also of the rich people. Via Monte Napoleone is one of the most expensive streets in Europe. This street is not alone, it is just part of the Quadrilatero della Moda, the quadrilateral of fashion. A pure fashion district with the best brands in the World. High targeted brands are present here with awesome boutiques.
Close to Via Montenapoleone, there is Via della Spiga, which we prefer, because trafficless, and more worth to be visited. This street during Christmas or St. Valentines day is adorned in many ways, becoming one of the most instagrammable spots in Milan.
Teatro alla Scala di Milano – The Opera house of Milan
The amazing opera house of Milano is well known in the whole World. The amazing facade is visible from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The Teatro della Scala or simply La Scala of Milan was firstly opened in 1778. Singers as Pavarotti or Bocelli have performed here many times. This is also a dream for every dancer, as one of the most important ballet houses in the World. Attending a ballet at Teatro della Scala is a unique thing to do in Milan. The tickets always go sold out months before the event. The building is surrounded by other masterpieces of Milan. In the main square, Piazza della Scala, there is also Palazzo Marino. This building host temporary art exhibitions, often with free access, worth to be visited.
Pinacoteca di Brera – Must see in Milan in 1 day
In our opinion this a place to don’t miss, even if you are in lack of time. The outstanding collection of artworks inside the Pinacoteca of Brera, need to be in your Milan one day itinerary. The building established in 1776 host magnificent masterpieces of the best Italian Artists. Inside the rooms of the Pinacoteca di Brera, you will find the finest works of Piero della Francesca, Bellini and Raffaello.
The gallery host also some temporary collections, that you can check on the official website.
The Pinacoteca of Brera is really close to Castello Sforzesco for a unique romantic view of Milan. Imagine, going through a century of history, walking on cobblestone streets, surrounded by imposing fortresses and nature, inside the hearth of a capital city. The Pinacoteca of Brera is not just a place where go for admire art pieces, it is also a way to hang out in Milan. Thanks to many cool restaurants and posh bar, it is the right place to meet the Milano nightlife.
Santa Maria delle Grazie – Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci
Did you know that Milan host the second most known masterpiece of Leonardo? Yes.
In Milan, you can admire the famous Last Supper of Leonardo Da Vinci. The masterpiece of the Italian artist is held here in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. In Italian, the “Last Supper” is translated in “L’ultima Cena”.
The queue to visit Santa Maria delle Grazie is always long, so, you have to purchase your ticket in advance. Also, there are just slots of 15 minutes available to admire the masterpiece. This is to make available to see the artwork to everybody. For security reasons, in the room are allowed just thirty people at any time. Buy the ticket in advance and secure your spot.
Special entry to the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci
Navigli – Aperitief time in your 1 day Milan Itinerary
Will seems to be in Venice, but it is just Milan. No, I am joking. The Navigli are artificial and navigable canals of Milan, that connects the city with the Lago Maggiore, just outside the city. There are two parts of those canals, the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese. Translating from Italian is the big and the small canal. The first is the most known, built in late 1100 is now one of the favourite places for hangout in Milan.
This is the right place for a romantic view of Milan and a tasty Aperitif in the proper Italian way. Cool bars and awesome restaurant faces the canals. The colourful pastel houses are making Milan Instagrammable.
Look for accommodation at the Navigli of Milan will be a great idea. If you are spending just one day in Milan, the comfort to have accommodation close to a landmark, with many options regarding public transport will be a win-win. The Navigli district is really famous also because of host temporary gallery of contemporary artists and street artists. Some places are free to entry, worth for the end of a perfect one-day trip to Milan.
Vicolo dei Lavandai
We have to mention this hidden gem of Milan. On the side of the Naviglio Grande, there is a tiny street in Milan, unknown to the tourists. The Vicolo dei Lavandai, translated is meaning the laundress’s alley. This unseen corner of Milan is worth to be visited because cosy and rich in history. We suggest to visit this spot at the sunset, during the golden hour, you will have the perfect light catching the best photo of Milan.
This is quite often skipped by tourists. The Palazzo Reale is not a top attraction of Milan. If you are willing to stay more than just one day in Milan, let’s say two days in Milan at least, you can enjoy this palace even more.
The Royal Palace of Milan, or as in Italian the Palazzo Reale di Milano is just behind Piazza Duomo, in front of the Cathedral of Milan. It is worth a visit because of the temporary exhibitions that take place all year long.
You can check the complete calendar of the Palazzo Reale on the official website.
Where to eat in 1 day in Milan
If you have just one day in the city or have to spend the rest of your half day in Milan, those are some advice on where to eat in 1 day in Milan. Dishes for everybody, typical Italian food that you have to try in the beautiful country. A day in Milan in a tasty way. Eat an amazing pizza or pasta at one of the coolest places in Milan.
Pizza da Sorbillo – For a proper pizza
Gino Sorbillo is a new pizza place in Milan. The typical Neapolitan pizza in the heart of Milan. You can taste the real savours of Italy with one of the popular dishes of the peninsula.
You can go to the Sorbillo Pizza Restaurant in Milan at Largo Corsia Dei Servi. Just behind the Duomo of Milan, there is this haven. You can try a typical pizza, made by the master chef or a pizza fritta, a variation of the regular dough fried in hot oil.
Fresco & Cimmino cosy dinner at the right price
This is an institution of Milan. Another family coming from Naples, established in the capital of Northern Italy. Fresco & Cimmino is a mid-priced restaurant that will allow you to get a nice dinner in one of the most expensive cities in Italy. You can go to this restaurant at Via Ugo Foscolo. Like every Neapolitan restaurant, the best things to try here is the pizza, fresh products and amazing ingredients are the keys to the success of this place.
Panzerotti Luini for a quick lanch
This place is an institution of Milan, even if the product that makes great this shop is not properly coming from the northern traditions. As you can understand the home product is the “Panzerotti”. This is a good option for a quick and cheap lunch. You can grab your own panzerotto for 3 euro. This is a takeaway shop ideally for your lunch in Milan. Luini Panzerotti is just behind the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, in Via Santa Radegonda.
Trattoria Milanese – Naviglio Grande
If you are staying in Milan for the late afternoon, and following our suggestion you are exploring the Navigli area, have to eat at the Trattoria Milanese. You can get the typical regional food with the classic Italian service. The homemade gnocchi fritti is a must of Trattoria Milanese, but also try the risotto and cotoletta alla Milanese.
Where to stay for one day in Milan
As Milan is a big city, there are many opportunities for great accommodations. While you are willing to stay for one day, it is obviously better to find something that is close to the city centre. However, public transport in Milan is efficient, and take the typical Tram will be really suggestive. If you are looking to stay more than a single day in Milan, you can go a bit out of the centre, and discover the neighbourhood.
Milano is really expensive, so be careful when you are planning your trip. If you are looking for accommodation for one day in Milan, the best area to see is the Navigli. There are a lot of Air Bnb available at an average price. Just one day trip to Milan doesn’t need to break the bank. The Navigli area will give you a fast getaway to the city centre, and a lively nightlife for your one afternoon in Milan.
If you are looking for one day in Milan where to stay, we will say that the hotels in the city centre are expensive, but this will be the only option. Book in advance your accommodation, Milan host many events during the year, and it will take the prices up and completely fully booked structure pretty soon.
The best hotels in Milan, where to stay even for one night are:
- World Hotel Cristoforo Colombo – Like in a fairytale
- Galleria Vik Milano – Stunning internal to the Gallery, Amazing View
- Palazzo Matteotti – Most charming with the best view
- Armani Hotel Milano – The stylish Hotel
- Palazzo Parigi Hotel & SPA – Luxurious Relaxing holiday
If you are looking for cheap accommodation in Milan, where to stay even for just one night in an average-range price Hotel. Those are our recommendation, for best price, position and services.
- Cadorna centre Studio – Rooms from 50 euro for the night
- Darsena – Rooms from less than 50 euro for the night, close to the Navigli
I can, however, recommend what area of Milan to stay in to make sure you are well connected to public transport and close to shops and restaurants. The closer you stay to Piazza del Duomo the more central you are, but also the more expensive it gets. I would recommend staying in an area like the Navigli, from which you can easily get a bus, tram or tube to the centre and spend a little less. Plus it’s now the hip area to hang out at night, so when you get back after a long day of sightseeing you can relax with a good drink and enjoy the local nightlife. Public transport in Milan costs 1.50 EUR and will take you pretty much everywhere around the city.
Closest airports to Milan city centre
Is possible to see Milan in one day, if you plan well your trip. This will take you to book the flight ticket to the closest airport to Milan city centre. Unfortunately, recently Milan Linate has been shut down for refurbishment and will start again to work smoothly in a couple of years time. There is no difference between the two other airports in Milan, in terms of distance from the city centre. The only difference is in the way you can get to the city centre.
From Malpensa to Milan City Centre
From Milano Malpensa, the west side airport of Milan, there is a direct train to Milano Cadorna. This train station has got the entrance to the metro of Milan, that will be a great thing to reach your accommodation. Right next to Milano Cadorna, there is the Castello Sforzesco, where you can start your Milan Itinerary.
From Malpensa you can get even the train to Milano Centrale, that is the main train station in the city. From here you can reach other Italian cities as well as take the Metro. The bus is another alternative and will cost you just around 8 euro each way. It will take you from the airport to Milano Centrale Train Station.
From Bergamo Airport to Milan City Centre
As we said before, Milano is serviced by two main hubs. Bergamo Oro al Serio is the second largest airport in Milan, and one of the busiest of Northern Italy. This is really outside of Milano but well linked to the city centre. From the Airport there are many ways to reach Milano, but the fastest and cheapest will be by Flixibus. The green buses will take you to Lampugnano bus station from the Airport, the ride will take approximately an hour, depending on the traffic.
This is also the cheapest way to reach Milan, while the tickets will cost an average of 5 euro each way.
Milan Walking tour Map – Visit Milan in one day
This is our highlight from Milan. Plan your Milan itinerary head, without stress yourself more to reach places that are far each other. With our Milan Walking Tour Map, you can discover the best sightseeing in Milan in less time. This is a great way to save time and organize better your Milan one day Tour.
Best day trips from Milan
Milan is located in the centre of Northern Italy, this strategic position makes this destination the best way to explore the rest of the cities close by. In two hours by train or car you can visit Torino, in one hour you can reach Verona, and with half an hour more discover the beautiful Venice.
As you can see Milan is the best way to enjoy beautiful Italy. This great position of the city will allow you even to plan a full trip to Italy starting from Milan. Is well known that is common finding bargains for a cheap flight from the main airports of Europe to Milan. From the USA, you can fly into Milano Malpensa easily. From Asia, Milano Malpensa is the hub too.
The best day trips around Milan, are for sure Varese and the Alps close to Switzerland. You can have a unique day trip from Milan to Lake Como. The amazing place in northern Italy is popular also among the Hollywood stars and jet-set VIP. Take a nice gelato on the side of Lake Como and discover the hidden gems of Italy from another perspective.
In wintertime, Milan is the perfect hub where to start amazing day trips to ski resorts. The best area we suggest is Trentino. Just two hours away from Milan, you will be surrounded by the high pick of Dolomites and warm Italian touch. Trentino has got some of the best ski resorts in Italy, and the best way to reach those is from the airport of Milano Bergamo Oro al Serio.
Q&A Time of Italian Trip Abroad – Tips for your 1 day in Milan Italy
What to see in Milan in One Day?
The Cathedral – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – Navigli – Castello Sforzesco
Is one day in Milan Enough?
Yes. But not. Milan is huge. If you want to have a quick idea of the best landmarks in Milan, one day is enough. In one day in Milan, you will end just strolling around the main square, where is located the Dome and the Castello Sforzesco.
How many days in Milan will be enough?
Milan is a big city and one day could be not enough to see all the sightseeing. At least plan to stay in the city for 2 or 3 days. The option for 3 days in Milan is the best way to slow down and have the best. We always suggest you take it slow and enjoy as much the city you are visiting.
Best One Day Tour of Milan
If you are short on time and want to see the most as you can of Milan, you have to go for a proper Milan one day tour. There are many in the city and are really cheap. We highlighted the best for us in a complete list, have a look. Also, why don’t book a Free Tour of Milan, and explore the city on a budget? Grab your free tour spot in Milan!
If you like it, you might also like:
How to spend 24 hours in Naples. A guide to Naples in 1 Day.
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