12 Very Best Day Trips from Milan Italy

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12 Very Best Day Trips from Milan

While any day is an enjoyable day in Italy’s fashion capital, day trips from Milan will lead you to adventures, exploring captivating medieval cities, cultural gems and simple, beautiful lakeside towns where moments are frozen in time.

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With high-end shopping galleries, finest architectural and artistic masterpieces, along with a myriad of winding streets, Milan offers so many things to do for a visitor on any given day. If you can build into your itinerary a day or two to venture out of the city on a day trip, to experience something different, exploring the hidden cultural gems of medieval cities, castles and lakeside towns, then selecting from this article on 12 very best day trips from Milan curated just for you will be a great starting point to a perfect itinerary and timeless travel.

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1 | Lake Como | Day trips from Milan

Spend a day at Lake Como, Italy’s third largest lake and only a stone’s throw from the city of Milan. In under an hour in what is a seamless train journey, you will experience the most beautiful of the northern Italian lakes. The natural beauty of its settings, steep wooded shoreline and pristine aquamarine waters has been the playground for the aristocrats and wealthy since Roman times.

What to do in Lake Como

Enjoy a luxurious cruise around its waters and take in the sights of beautiful villas and stunning alpine scenery. Combine this lake visit with a tour of the larger town of Como, located in the southern tip of the lake. Spend at least a couple of hours exploring the hidden gems of Como city, notably the neoclassical building of Villa Olmo, Como Cathedral and Piazza Duomo. Don’t forget to ride the historical Brunate Funicular, operating since 1894. It connects Como city with the village of Brunate. A 7-minute ride up gives you panoramic views over the lakes and the Swiss Alps.

Along with the stunning landscapes and medieval villages, Lake Como has been Italy’s silk capital since the 16th century. World famous, Como is home to Mantero, just 15 minutes drive from Como city centre. If you can’t get to Mantero, then stop by at A.Picci, trading since 1919 and is the last remaining silk shop in town, dedicated to selling Como silk.

A day trip to Como typically involve a visit to the smaller town of Varenna and hopping onto a ferry to Bellagio. All three offering different landscapes to the lake.

Best time to go to Lake Como

The best time for visiting Lake Como is between March and November. The warm temperature allows you to enjoy boat tours and walks.

Best ways to experience Lake Como

There are two best ways to experience Lake Como when visiting Milan:

1 | Self-guided

A self-guided visit to Como allows you to explore at your own pace and longer day as you could take the last train or bus back to Como. Both are seamless and cost-effective.

TTS recommends: If you are exploring on your own, I would highly recommend a train journey from Milan Central Station.

Como by train

2 | Join a group tour with an established tour operator in the travel industry

Join a group tour and enjoy a full day trip to Como from Milan onboard a luxury coach with a knowledgeable guide. L

Join a group tour and enjoy a full-day to Como from Milan onboard a luxury coach with a knowledgeable guide. Guided tours takes you to some of the key points in Como and you do get to see and experience quite a lot in a day! Guided tours are offered by way of a train journey or a coach. If you opt for a coach tour, you can be assured of a relaxing and comfortable journey back to Milan after all the walking you’d do in Como 🙂

Georgina: Lake Como is often combined with other nearby destinations such as Bergamo but I think to fully experience Lake Como, a full day should be dedicated to exploring this picturesque area of the lake district in Italy.


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2 | Lugano and Bellagio from Milan

2.1 | Lugano

Known as “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”, Lugano sits on the southern Swiss border, Italian Canton of Ticino, south of the first ridge of the Alps. Lugano is easily reached in less than an hour from Milan offering breathtaking vistas of the Swiss Alps and shopping opportunities, a destination often high on a tourist list to this region.

What to do in Lugano

Immerse in the wild beauty of the lakeshore, the dominating San Salvatore and Brè Mountains. Fall in love with the Italianate architecture in the city, chic shopping streets where you buy the best Swiss chocolates. The villages are huddled to the mountainsides over the lake, offering picturesque sights for perfect photo opportunities.

San Salvatore – From Paradiso, take a 12-minute ride up onboard a funicular to reach the 900 metres for amazing views over the lake and the Alps.

Monte Brè – At 925 metres above sea level, Monte Brè is regarded the sunniest mountain in Switzerland and a perfect home to a special flower, Christmas Rose, which usually only found in the Mediterranean climes.

Combine Lugano with a trip to Bellagio: The “Pearl of Lake Como”, in less than an hour from Lugano.

2.2 | Bellagio

Known as the “Pearl of Lake Como”, Bellagio is located in less than an hour from Lugano. Bellagio is unique – for its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings and an 18th-century terraced garden with lake views.

What to do in Bellagio:

Enjoy the charming town with its cobblestones and Villa Serbelloni, an 18th century terraced garden with lake views.

Best ways to experience Lugano and Bellagio:

1 | Self-guided

Best way to reach Lugano or Bellagio is by train from Milan. The journey time from Milan Centrale to Lugano is a little over an hour.

If you want to reach Bellagio by train, take the train from Centrale to Varenna, nearest station to Bellagio. From Varenna take the ferry across to Bellagio. The are regular services to Varenna.

Check train schedule to suit your itinerary:

Milan Centrale to Lugano

From Milan Centrale Station to Varenna-Esino

2 | Group tours

Join a small group tour from the centre of Milan, seeing the very best of Lugano and Bellagio and plenty of time to explore on your own. There are various options offered, with some tours taking off from Como. Check and book now, on the one that best fits your itinerary.

For off the beaten path adventure in Bellagio:

Join a 2-hour activity exploring a wilderness trail in a place that is so close to Bellagio and yet, little known and little visited. The village of Lezzeno, between the mountains and the lake.


3 | Bergamo – Day trips from Milan

A visit to Bergamo is often combined with a visit to Lake Como but I think it’s worth dedicating a day exploring this historic town. With hills stretching for miles and its incredible surrounds, a remarkable experience awaits.

What to do in Bergamo

This charming, yet hidden and unexplored city has plenty of medieval architecture to marvel at including the 5 kilometres of medieval wall encircling the old town. Explore Bergamo Alta, the hidden city at the top of the town, accessed via a funicular. Visit the Venetian Works of Defence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for incredible views over Bergamo.

Other incredible experiences at Bergamo Alta not to be missed: Bergamo Cathedral, St. Maria Maggiore Basilica, and the Colleoni Chapel.

Best ways to experience Bergamo:

1 | Self-guided

Getting to Bergamo:

2 | Group tours

Spend a day on a walking tour of this medieval city and explore its history and culture.


4 | Lake Maggiore & the Borromean Islands – Day trips from Milan

Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Island are perfect destinations as day trips from Milan, an escape to the peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy a day hopping-on and off the 11 islands that form this cluster of pretty charm.

What to do in Lake Maggiore and surrounds

The main attraction here are the three distinct islands, Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori (also known as Isola Superiore). Explore their individual charms at leisure and enjoy the tranquility of the natural beauty of the islands. Visit Palazzo Borromeo, a unique 10-tiered baroque garden design in Isola Bella that has remained intact. Isola Madre is home to a fabulous Palace Museum and Gardens which should not be missed. Isola dei Pescatori is a fisherman’s village and the only village inhabited all year round.

Best ways to experience Lake Maggiore

1 | Self-guided

Begin your day of island hopping at Stresa, a lakeside town which is about 1 hour 7 minutes from Milan by train. All the islands are a short ferry ride of each other.

Travel by train to Lake Maggiore from Milan options:

2 | Group tours


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5 | Verona – Day trips from Milan

Best time to visit Verona

Anytime between March and September is a great time to visit. July and August are the busiest months of the year for tourism – expect to pay premium prices for accommodations and long queues at attractions. From mid February/March to June and September to early November, the weather is mild with less rain, which also makes a perfect time to visit Verona.

What to do in Verona

Best ways to experience Verona:

1 | Self-guided

How to reach Verona from Milan

Pro tip: Verona is a beautiful town and offers so much to see,, do and experience. I spent 3 days in Verona and wished I could have stayed longer. Dedicate 1 day in its entirety at the very least in Verona, because Verona is so much more than Juliet’s balcony.

Recommended read: Unique experiences in the City of Verona

2 | Group tours

Join a group tour onboard a luxury coach from Milan to Verona and Lake Garda.


6 | Lake Garda – Day trips from Milan

Lake Garda, the largest, cleanest and the most famous of lakes in Italy definitely warrants a visit. It’s crystalline waters, the beautiful backdrop of snowcapped mountains, charming towns of Bardolino, Sirmione and Desenzano will captivate you from the moment you arrive here.

What to do in Lake Garda:

Take a quick cruise out to scale the shores and be captivated with the villas of the rich and famous. In Bardolino, there are two Romanesque churches which you simply must see. Sirmione, the “Pearl of Lake Garda” has so much to offer visitors including a medieval fortress, Roman villa and the Catullo caves.

Best ways to experience Lake Garda:

1 | Self-guided

Getting to Lake Garda:

There are two ways to get to Lake Garda from Milan by train. First option is to arrive at Desenzano del Garda from Milan. The journey is 51 minutes and there are 25 trains each day. Secondly, a train journey to Peschiera del Garda will take 57 minutes, also 25 trains in a day.

1 | Group tours

For convenience, group tours are a popular option. Day trips from Milan by coach to Lake Garda are in comfortable air-conditioned coaches accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. As well, day trips from Milan to Lake Garda often combined with a trip to Verona. This makes an excellent value for money experience.


7 | Venice – Day trip from Milan

Venice needs no introduction! This romantic city of canals, bridges, cobbled streets and gondolas must be in everyone’s list of things to do when in Italy.

What to do in Venice:

You may not be able to fit all of Venice’s delights in a day trip from Milan but if a day is all you have, then allow yourself to be charmed by the fantastic architecture that characterises one the world’s favourite cities. Wander the little alleys and stop for coffee at the infamous Piazza San Marco. Hop over to Venice’s nearby island, Murano and experience the colours of the island and its historic tradition with glass-blowing. If you could do a gondola ride through its many canals at sunset, it will surely be memories well worth the money!

Best ways to experience Venice on day trips from Milan

1 | Self-guided

If you wish to explore Venice independently, the best way to do so is to make your way to Venice is by train. Make an early start so you have a full day in Venice.

Getting to Venice: 

Takes a little over 2 hours to reach Venice by train from Milan. The average travel time between Milan and Venice is 2 hours and 32 minutes. The quickest route is 2 hours and 10 minutes. There are 22 trains in a day between Milan and Venice, leaving approximately every hour.

2 | Group tours

Group tours are highly popular and the following tours have been carefully selected for you.


8 | Cinque Terre – Day trips from Milan

Visit one of Italy’s most scenic landscape with layer upon layer of rainbow-hued medieval houses perched upon hillsides – the five villages of Cinque Terre are sure to captivate and delight visitors of all ages. A UNESCO World-Heritage is also one of the most Instagrammable site!

What to do in Cinque Terre:

A day is too short a time to explore all five medieval villages but there will be enough time to wander round Monterosso al Mare (the largest of the Cinque Terre villages) and Vernazza.

Ways to experience Cinque Terre: 

1 | Self-guided

Getting to Cinque Terre: 

There is a direct train from Milan to Monterosso which takes about 3 hours. There are other routes that require a change at Genoa.

Book with your preferred carrier:

2 | Guided Group tours

Book a coach tour from Milan to Monterosso. Spend one day exploring this picturesque Italian villages. Some tours include a 1.5 hour boat trip to Vernazza, a beautiful fishing village in every sense.

TTS recommends the following day trips from Milan to Cinque Terre

1 | From Milan > A full day tour to Cinque Terre

2 | Cinque Terre Day Trip from Milan With Hotel Pickup

You may like also the following popular tours

1 | 4 Day Italian Riviera from Milan

2 | Cinque Terre Sunset Boat Tour

3 | Cinque Terre: Ferry and Tour of Porto Venere and Vernazza

4 | Cinque Terre: Boat Cruise to Riomaggiore and Monterosso


9 | Genova and Portofino – Day trips from Milan

Get away for a day and go on a scenic drive along the coast to the three colourful gems in the beautiful Ligurian Coast. Genova is Italy’s largest port and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Together with the colourful villages of Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure, it is a delightful area of the Italian Riviera to explore as day trips from Milan.

What to do in Genova & Portofino:

The historic streets of Genova is home to monuments dedicated to its maritime history and memorials to Christopher Columbus. Sail along the coast to the glamorous fishing village of Portofino that dates back to Roman times, take in the picturesque sights of the fishing boats and spend some time exploring the Santa Margherita Ligure.

Ways to experience Genova & Portofino

1 | Self-guided

You can explore independently by car or train. However, parking is very limited here and the recommended option is to take the train.

Getting to Genova or Portofino:

When taking a train to this area, you may have to decide between Genova or Portifino. Genova has a lot to offer and can typically involve a full day of discovery if you wish to explore the off-the-beaten paths as well.

Alternatively, take the train from Milan to Santa Margherita and from here, walk to Portofino. It is quite an easy trek. When in Portofino, take a boat ride to visit the abbey – San Fruttuosa. To catch your return journey from Santa Margherita, you could get the bus from Portofino.

Check train schedule to suit your itinerary:

2 | Guided group tours

Onboard a coach tour from Milan city centre with a tour guide. This day trip from Milan includes a boat trip to Portofino.

TTS recommends the following day trips from Milan to Genova & Portofino

1 | From Milan > A full-day tour to Genova and Portofino

You may like also the following popular tours in Genova

1 | Food Tours > Do Eat Better Experience

2 | Genoa Day Tour: 4 hours of Wine Food History and Joy

3 | Gulf of Portofino Private Boat Tour

4 | Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch

5 | Andrea Boat Charter Portofino

6 | Ligurian Sea Day Sailing Trip by Set Sail Tours/ Lavagna, Italy

Note: For those who do not know – Genova is the original Italian word for this city while Genoa is the English version of the word.


10 | Interlaken & the Swiss Alps – Day trips from Milan

Venture to another country while visiting Milan! Just a few hours and you would arrive in Interlaken – one of the most scenic places on earth!

What to do in Interlaken:

Enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the Swiss Alps onboard the Green Train of the Alps.as it takes you on a journey through Simplon pass, one of the most beautiful crossings in Switzerland. Take an amazing cruise on Lake Thun and explore Interlaken at your own pace before your return journey.

Best way to experience Interlaken & the Swiss Alps

Onboard a high-speed train from Milan to the town of Domodossola to board the Green Train of the Alps.


11 | Florence

Florence is an unmissable destination for most visitors to Italy, especially so for art aficionados. Considered to be the birthplace of Renaissance, Florence is home to many Renaissance masterpieces, architectural delights and monuments.

What to do in Florence

One of the most iconic sights in Florence is the Duomo. The Cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome was designed by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. This impressive Duomo offers panoramic views from the top. Make time to visit the Uffizi Gallery, exhibiting Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”.

The Ponte Vecchio is another experience not to miss – the first arch bridge built in the west which crosses over the Arno River. There are many jewellery and souvenir shops along here as well.

Best ways to experience Florence as day trips from Milan:

1 | Self-guided

Getting to Florence by train is the best option if you are not driving. You can reach Florence from Milan in under 2 hours on the high-speed trains! There are 36 trains in a day. The last train leaves Florence at 10:00 p.m. giving you ample time to explore the city.

Florence Day Trip From Milan By Train – this option includes the following

City map and guidebook;

Florence hop-on hop-off bus tour ticket (valid for 24 hours);

Round-trip high-speed train ticket between Milan and Florence;

Skip-the-line ticket for the Uffizi Gallery (if option selected);

Book Florence day trip from Milan by train

Note: This is not a guided tour


12 | Turin – Day trips from Milan

Last but not least is the Unmissable Turin! The capital city of Piedmont in northern Italy is captivating. It’s refined architecture of baroque buildings, old cafes and grand boulevards makes Turin one of the best Italian cities to visit. The bustling piazzas of Castello and San Carlo draws many and so are the miles of arcades to be explored. To top it off are a number of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Certainly, of course, Turin is most famous for “Shroud of Turin” also known as “Holy Shroud”. A piece of linen believed to be the garment in which Jesus was covered with after his crucifixion. The garment has been preserved since 1578 in the royal chapel of the cathedral of San Giovanni Battista.

Best ways to experience Turin when visiting Milan

1 | Self-guided

The most convenient way to get to Turin from Milan when exploring the city independently is by train. Take the high speed train for a journey time of 1 hour 27 minutes. There are about 40 trains in a day. Last trains are at 10:00 p.m. giving you plenty of time to explore.

Note: Schedules may differ on weekends

2 | TURIN in the heart – Tour from MILAN

Your guided tour begins in Turin. You need to make your way to the train station in Milan. This tour includes:

TURIN in the heart – Tour from MILAN

High-speed return train ticket from Milan (standard class);

Guided walking tour of the city;

Sandwich and glass of wine.

Other tours you may like also while in Turin, Italy

1 | Turin Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour: 24 or 48-Hour Ticket

2 | Turin: Egyptian Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Mystery Tour

3 | Turin: Egyptian Museum & City Tour Guided Experience


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Important tips to consider:

Train travel in Italy

When planning ahead on your train travel journeys, one thing to bear in mind is that in Italy, point-to-point train journeys works cheaper. Therefore, when planning your day trips from Milan and your trip is a one-off journey, purchase a return ticket for your trip. However, if you are visiting a couple of the cities and planning on travelling by train over several days, then the Interrail Pass is a cost-effective option > Check Interrail for best options

Places to stay in Milan

A selection of hotels carefully selected for you to consider > Beautiful places to stay in Milan


Final thoughts on day trips from Milan:

These are the very best day trips from Milan which we have put together for you to design your itinerary your way. You have options to explore either independently or by joining a group tour for when you visit Milan. We recommend group tours because we find day trips are excellent value for money excursions. You can’t experience everything a destination offers but it certainly gives an overview of a destination and opportunities to return to explore deeper.

We hope that this list on 12 very best day trips from Milan is of value to you. Our suggestions are carefully curated for the discerning traveller who wants to create their very own timeless travel memories. As well, consider using the links to book your flights, train travel, places to stay and activities. We earn a commission from qualified stays and bookings at no cost to you at all. As always, we appreciate your continued support. You may wish to support us in other ways also.

Have a great time exploring Milan and surrounds.

Georgina xoxo

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12 Very Best Day Trips from Milan first published at timelesstravelsteps.com

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Day trips from Milan will lead you to adventures exploring captivating medieval cities, cultural gems and simple, beautiful lakeside towns where moments are  frozen in time. Day trips from Milan | Very best day trips from Milan | Visit Verona from Milan | Visit Venice from Milan | Visit Turin from Milan | Cheap train tickets from Milan | Explore Cinque Terre from Milan | Guided group tours from Milan | Visit Milan | Visit Italy | Complete guide to day trips from Milan | Best value day trips from Milan via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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By Georgina

Georgina is a Travel Blogger, Travel Writer, history buff, wine (red) enthusiast and a lover of all cultures. She gave up the corporate race to embrace a more meaningful lifestyle to travel more, to write and to share the very best of her adventures. Georgina has lived in three continents, and now, based at a stone's throw of London, which is her home. She has a special interest to bring the best of Britain to her audiences worldwide. Becoming newer from each travel, Georgina enjoys sharing her travel stories, drawing her readers into her world of boomer adventures while immersing them in the history, culture and food of a region. Together with her own informative, in-depth writing style, practical tips and suggestions on her blog, Timeless Travel Steps, Georgina make travel dreams a reality. She is happiest waking up to the chirpy sounds of the birds or sipping wine over sand in between her toes, while watching the rolling clouds melt into darkness.

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