How To Spend A Perfect Day in Milan: Itinerary For First-Time Visitors (2022)

Last Updated on February 3, 2023

Planning to spend a day in Milan and not sure how to make the most of it? This one day Milan itinerary will show you the most efficient way to see the city, plus some handy travel tips to make this your best city break yet!

Oh, Milan. Located in North Lombardy, Italy’s capital of fashion and business makes for a fantastic city break destination. Milan has beautiful architecture, delicious food, awesome day trip opportunities to places like Lake Como and Bergamo and much more.

And since there are so many cheap flights going into Milan, taking a trip there has never been more tempting. While one day in Milan may not sound like a lot of time, you can easily see the main highlights. Plus, this gives you some more time to explore places near Milan, which are 100% worth your time.

But first, let’s look at my one day Milan itinerary.

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milan italy

Before we get into the itinerary, here are some helpful links to properly budget your trip to Milan:

  • CheckSkyscannerfor the best deals on flights – my return flights to Milan cost me just under £20.
  • Booking.comis the best place to find good accommodation. I stayed in Ostelzzz Milano during my trip to Milan.
  • Even if your trip is short, travel insurance is a must! I always get mine withWorld Nomads, as you’re able to get insurance per holiday, making it way more cost-effective.

Can Milan be Done in a Day?

Yes, you can easily see most of Milan’s highlights in one day as long as you plan it properly. While I really enjoyed visiting the city, I recommend going on aday trip to Lake Comowhen you’re in Milan (even if you’re only there for a weekend!). The best way to do this is by taking the train from Milan Central to Varenna. This is one of the most popular towns near Lake Como, and you can also take the ferry to other nearby towns from there.

You can check out the bestthings to do in Varennahere.

One Day in Milan Map

Here’s a map of my one day Milan itinerary – you can find more information about each spot below.

How To Spend One Day In Milan

Here is my ideal one day Milan itinerary:

Have Coffee and Brioche

As much as pizza, pasta and gelato are part of Italian’s famous cuisine, so is coffee. Italians love their coffee, and a typical breakfast in Milan consists of acoffee and pastry(called“brioche” or “cornetto”, not to be confused with the French brioche!).

In Italy, it’s also quite unusual to drink a coffee with milk any other time of day, so the morning is the perfect time to get your cappuccino in.

Luckily, there are tons of bakeries and cafes to choose from in Milan. So, you may want to opt out of hotel breakfast and start the day like a local instead.

Visit Piazza del Duomo & Duomo di Milano

咖啡和一盏灯的早餐后,头straight towards Piazza del Duomo. Here, you can find Duomo di Milano, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. No matter how much time you have when visiting Milan, these really should be on your itinerary.

Apart from being one of the main highlights of Milan and a great photo opportunity, the Duomo also has some of the best views in the city. Depending on what ticket you buy, you can use the steps or the lift to get to theDuomo terraces.

duomo milan
gucci building milan

Booking Tickets for Duomo

While it is possible to buy tickets at Duomo to visit the cathedral and its stunning rooftops, lines get very long. It is, after all, one of Milan’s most famous tourist attractions. To save yourself lots of time (which you really don’t have when you only have one day to see Milan!), it’s best topre-book skip-the-line ticketsin advance.

They don’t cost more than your regular ticket, but it saves you lots of time when you’re in Milan. When booking the rooftop tickets, you can choose between thestairs(the cheaper option) or thelift(slightly more expensive).

Keep in mind that this ticket doesn’t include a guided tour, but you can select an audio tour when booking the ticket.

Alternatively, you can book afully guided tour through Milan, which includes skip-the-line tickets for both Duomo di Milano and Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”.

(Window) Shop in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Another sight you can visit from Piazza del Duomo is the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The name is quite a mouthful, but this beautifully decorated shopping centre is the oldest mall in the country.

Apart from all the famous brand stores, such asGucci, Dior and Prada, the gallery has a stunning glass dome as part of its roof in the middle of the gallery. Even though these shops may be out of your budget range (they surely are for me!), it’s still worth walking through the gallery. The architecture and beautiful decorations are a real treat!

shopping gallery milan
prada in milan
shopping street in milan

Visit Piazza della Scala

如果你从广场走拳through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, you’ll reach a lovely little square called Piazza della Scala – the next stop on our itinerary. On this square, you can find the legendary opera house the square is named after;La Scala. With the red velvet boxes, heavily decorated walls and a beautiful chandelier, this opera house is a true masterpiece.

It is possible to go and see a performance at La Scala, but tickets aren’t always the cheapest. Plus, if you’re on a tight schedule, it may not be the best option to do so.

If you’re not too bothered to see an actual performance in La Scala, but you’d still like to take a peek into the beautiful hall – you can book atour of La Scala. Once again, it’s best topre-book ticketsto avoid long queues.

Apart from the opera house, Piazza della Scala houses two more important landmarks.Palazzo della Banca Commercialeis one of the country’s oldest banks andPalazza Marinois the city hall.

An easy, time-efficient and budget-friendly way to explore Milan is bybooking a free walking tour. There are a few available in Milan but most take around 2 hours and show you all the best bits of the city, along with lots of stories and information you may not be able to find otherwise!

piazza della scala milan
piazza delle scala

Walk Through Brera District

Our next highlight of the day is Castello Sforzesco. And while you can get a metro to the castle from near Piazza della Scala, I recommend walking. The walk will take you throughBrera districtand will only take around 15 minutes.

This boho-chic part of Milan is filled with cobbled streets, small courtyards, designer boutiques, art galleries and countless restaurants. It’s the perfect spot for a quick lunch before continuing with your day in Milan.

And make sure to have a little stroll around the area after lunch – there are some real hidden gems here!

Explore Castello Sforzesco

In the afternoon, it’s time to explore Milan’s castle. It is the former home of Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan in the 15th century.

Parts of the castle are free to visit, including the courtyard. The road from the front of the castle walls to Sempione Park is also free and gives you a lovely first impression of the castle – perfect for doing Milan on a budget!

There is a museum in the castle too, but you do have to pay to enter it. You canpre-book ticketsand get an audioguide with them.

castel in milan

Wander Through Sempione Park & Arco della Pace

Whether you decide to visit the castle museum or not, make sure to walk all the way to the end of the castle during your visit to get to Sempione Park. This is the largest park in Milan and is completely free to visit. Especially on sunny days, it’s a great spot to sit down and relax a little.

At the end of the park, you can also find Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) – a triumphal arch built in the 19th century. As you can see, it has similarities to Paris’ Arc de Triomphe – but either way, it’s a beautiful landmark in Milan that deserves a quick visit.

See Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper

Milan is known for many things, but Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” has to be one of the top things to do in the city. You can find this beautiful piece of art in The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. But, as you can imagine, it tends to get pretty busy.

Pre-booking ticketsfor “The Last Supper” isessential. You can’t simply show up and buy a ticket at the door, as tickets are usually sold out weeks (if not months) in advance. If you’re set on visiting the mural, book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Alternatively, you can book afully guided tour through Milan, which includes skip-the-line tickets to both the Duomo and “The Last Supper”.

piazza del duomo

How to Get Around Milan

米兰是很大的城市,如果你在一个timely schedule, you won’t have time to walk from A to B constantly. Luckily, Milan’s public transport is very easy to use. I recommend using the metro to get around Milan, as the stops are all located near the highlights on this itinerary. Plus, you can use your bank card to pay contactless instead of having to buy individual tickets constantly.

One Day in Milan – Conclusion

And that concludes Milan itinerary. While I really enjoyed my day in Milan, I do think it’s worth taking a trip to Lake Como when you’re in the city. That’s why I’ve put this itinerary together – it gives you more than enough time to see Milan’s highlights while also being able to take some time to see all the other beautiful places near the city.

Nele van Hout

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