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Beautiful Day Trips From Milan, Italy

While visiting or staying in Milan, Italy, you may wish to explore a little further with these top recommended day trips from Milan! There is of course so much to see in Northern Italy, that it’s ideal to combine a few locations such as these shared below. Each day trip location from Milan has something unique, such as crystal clear lakes to local Italian castles. There are also others with possible skiing spots or the best places for ice cream – so it also depends on when you will be visiting Milan!

Read on to get inspired with one of these day trips from Milan!

Day Trips From Milan

Here is our full list of recommendations, shared by others, where you can enjoy easy day trips from Milan. Most are within 2 hours (by car or public transportation), but a few are close to 3 hours depending on what you want to see!

Lugano, Switzerland

For a gorgeous visit to Switzerland, head to the beautiful location of Lugano as your first day trips from Milan location. Located in the Southern canton Ticino, Lugano is the perfect place to be to soak in some sun next to the lake. There are good temperatures all year round, with the average temperatures in the summer reaching 28°c.

As well as enjoying time shopping in the car-free center, find yourself walking along the promenade next to Lake Lugano. Here you can walk all the way along the water’s edge from the base of Monte San Salvatore to Monte Bre.

Both of these mountains are also reachable by local funiculars to the top, providing stunning views of Lugano from above. You can hike many routes around each mountain or back down to the bottom if you wish. Perfect for those who like exploring outside and not afraid of heights.  

For more fun activities, get yourself out onto the water with either a boat tour of the area (or to the next city) or with a boat rental for you, friends or with a loved one to enjoy. You can also rent pedal boats from many locations which is great fun!

Finish a long day of exploring with something local to eat or drink outside at one of the many delicious Swiss-Italian inspired restaurants. Then relax on one of the famous red benches for watching the sunset. A perfect end to the day!

Written by Zoe from Together In Transit

Locarno, Switzerland

Not much further than Lugano mentioned above, Locarno is a sweet lakeside city just a little bit more North. Surrounded by the lake and mountains, Locarno is one of the Italian-speaking locations at the very tip of Lake Maggiore.

Its a rather beautiful place all year round, with summer being the best season for the warmth. However even in winter, Locarno has some beautiful spots to still enjoy in colder temperatures.

Locarno is a great place for different restaurants, some shopping and walks along the water. There is a funicular that can take you to the top for the most amazing views, as well as being the starting point for many local hikes.

Furthermore, there are some enjoyable things nearby Locanco too, include visiting the Falconeria, which hosts daily bird shows and exploring the Verzasca Dam. From the dam, you can also follow the river north to some picture-perfect scenic spots and a spot of swimming if its warm enough! For those are are adventurous, there is even a bungee jump location!

End this day trips from Milan location with a cosy drink or ice cream at the Piazza Grande, with plenty of choices to stop at. Most places have cute terraces to enjoy the last of the sunshine.

Written by Zoe from Together In Transit

Malcesine, Lake Garda, Italy

For many, suggesting a visit to the Lake District in northern Italy conjures visions of beautiful estates and mansions of the rich and famous. But another Lake that doesn’t enjoy the same notoriety, but is equally as touristed is scenic Lake Garda.

Lake Garda is the easternmost and largest of the Italian Lakes. Surrounded by small towns, vineyards, olive orchids, lemon groves, and mountains with several overlooks high above the lake, it’s as picturesque as it gets.

The train from Milan to Peschiera del Garda on the Lake’s southern shore run 25 times a day and takes just 57 minutes. However, to fully enjoy a day trip to the Lake, rent a car for an unforgettable Italian road trip. It will take a bit longer but allows more flexibility so you can go at your own pace.

A popular stopping point for those seeking a quieter, more local experience is the small medieval town of Malcesine on the Lakes’ eastern shore. The town has great restaurants and small shops, water sports, paragliding, and hiking. The 12th-century Scaliger Castle is an impressive photo op right on the water and is open to the public.

But without a doubt, the most popular thing to do here is take the cable car ride to the top of Monte Baldo. The car rotates 180 degrees as it ascends and descends giving the most incredible views of Lake Garda below.

Written by Lori Sorrentino from Travlinmad

Bolzano, Italy

In the South Tyrol province of northern Italy lies the charming town of Bolzano. Situated in a valley surrounded by vineyards which cling to the hillside, Bolzano is the gateway to the Dolomites. The trip will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes by car to get there.

For a more convenient and relaxing day trip, the high-speed train will get you there in 3 hours.

Bolzano is a dual-cultural city given its Germanic influence, and German is widely spoken. A great place to experience the local culture is on Via dei Portici, a street lined with upscale shops, coffee shops and some of Bolzano’s top restaurants. You can leisurely shop under the porticos no matter the weather. Nowhere is this cultural influence stronger than in the local cuisine. For fine Italian food, Restaurant Laurin in the Parkhotel Laurin is excellent.

There is much to see and do in Bolzano year-round. Wine tours are always a favorite as is exploring the medieval city center. There is the beautiful Romanesque Bolzano Cathedral and several worthwhile museums. Among these are Museion, a modern art museum, and Naturmuseum Südtirol, a natural science museum with a coral reef aquarium. Perhaps the most interesting museum is the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology featuring a rare find, a well-preserved Neolithic mummy.

Bolzano is a great destination anytime of year, though it’s best known as the Christmas Capital of Italy for its annual Christmas market which heralds the Advent and Christmas season.

Written by Lori Sorrentino from Italy Foodies

Portofino, Italy

One of the most incredible day trips from Milan Italy, is the stunning village of Portofino. Known for its wealthy clientele that frequent the area during the summer months, the former fishing village of Portofino oozes charm and beauty. The village is surrounded by cypress trees, opulent homes, and megayachts.

Portofino’s town square is an array of beautiful multicolored buildings that line its small harbor. Its small piazza has hosted some of the greatest names in classical music, from Pavarotti to Andrea Bocelli performing stunning arias on one of the world’s prettiest settings.

During the height of the summer, megayachts with the world’s wealthiest people and celebrities can be seen in the waters off Portofino, with many coming ashore to sample the excellent bars and restaurants in the town.

Portofino is easily accessible by direct train from Milan to Santa Margherita Liguria, the nearest town to Portofino with a train station. The train journey takes 2 hours and a small local bus runs throughout the day from the Santa Margherita Liguiria train station to Portofino, a 5 km ride away.

There are plenty of accommodation choices in Portofino, ranging from out-of-this-world 5-star hotels to small family-run B&Bs. Top Tip: Consider staying in Santa Margherita Liguria which has considerably more variety in hotel and accommodation options.

Whilst many of us can’t afford to rent our own superyacht, you can rent a self-drive motor vessel in Santa Margherita without a boat license. Rates run from €150 euros for half a day and its one of the best ways to explore the town of Portofino from the water and visit the infamous San Fruttuoso.

Written by Missy from Travels With Missy

Lake Orta, Italy

When people think of the magnificent lakes of Northern Italy, Lake Como comes to mind first. You can thank the Bellagio and George Clooney for that. But beyond Como, there are some wonderful lakes that have less of a touristy atmosphere: like Lake Orta.

Lake Orta is one of the smaller lakes of the region, filled with clear teal water and surrounded by snow-topped mountains. Clean and clear, Lake Orta is one of the best lakes for swimming in northern Italy. And the Milanese who love day-tripping here agree.

The atmosphere here is decidedly low-key, with the small town of Orta San Giulio as the main town of the lake. From here you can take a boat to Isola San Giulio, an island in the lake home to an abbey. The resident nuns ask for silence while walking the road that encircles the island.

On shore, Sacro Monte del Orta is a devotional complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its hillside location has gorgeous views over the lake.

There are plenty of restaurants surrounding Piazza Motta, but for a meal you’ll never forget, head to Il Cucchiaio del Legno, an agriturismo with a superb tasting menu and extensive wine list.

To get to Lake Orta, you can take trains from Milano Centrale to Orta-Miasino that stop in Novara or Domodossola and take 2-2.5 hours altogether. The drive takes closer to 90 minutes. Keep in mind that this is a very popular weekend destination from Milan; you may want to go on a weekday for a calmer atmosphere.

Written by Kate of New Hampshire Way

Lake Maggiore, Italy

Lake Maggiore is the most laid back of the three major lakes of northern Italy; and Stresa is a good base for your Maggiore adventures. This lakeside town has long been a weekend destination for the Milanese, and grand old hotels still line the waterfront. Only 1.5 hours from Milan by regional train or car, this makes it one of the perfect day trips from Milan!

From Stresa, you can take one of the small Lake Maggiore ferries to explore the beautiful Borromean Islands. Isola Bella is home to the huge Palazzo Borromeo, and incredible terraced gardens. Neighbouring Isola Pescatore (fisherman’s island) is a great place to stop for lunch or to befriend some of the stray cats who live on the island.  Isola Madre is home to beautifully cultivated gardens, including many rare specimens.

You can get a ticket which allows stops on each of the islands; or you can just take the ferry past these delightful islands and hop to one of the many lakeside towns. Verbania-Pallanza offers a wide promenade with fountains, monuments, and many bistros – wonderful for people-watching.

Stresa itself offers a taste of late 19th century grandeur with its many luxury hotels, offering unparalleled views over the Borromean Islands and aperitivo opportunities. You can also take a trip up the Stresa-Alpino-Mottarone cable car to get views of the mountains and lakes beyond Lake Maggiore.

Written by Hannah Henderson Lifestyle Travel

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como is a breathtakingly beautiful stop as one of these day trips from Milan. The glistening lake is nestled among the snow-capped peaks of the Alps and the lovely medieval town of Como sits on its shores.

The quickest way is to take the train. The train station in Milan is Milan Centrale and the train station in Lake Como is Como San Giovanni. The trip takes about 40 minutes.

Another option is to drive. The drive from Milan to Lake Como also take about 45 minutes.

If you’re looking for an amazing view of Lake Como, the Funicolare Como-Brunate is the perfect way to get there. The ride takes you up a mountainside to the town of Brunate, where you can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

The Funicolare is open every day from 6am to 10pm, and tickets cost just 6€ for adults and 3€ for children. So if you’re looking for a fun, affordable day trip at Lake Como, be sure to check out the Funicolare Como-Brunate!

Overall, Lake Como is definitely worth visiting as a day trip from Milan. The scenery is beautiful, and there are plenty of things to see and do in the area. However, keep in mind that it can be quite crowded during the summer months, so be prepared for large crowds if you visit during that time of year.

Written by Don from The Money Saving Daddy

Brescia, Italy

Brescia is one of the most underrated city in Italy that you should definitely include in your itinerary as one of the day trips from Milan. It’s located at only 1 hour train ride (approx) from Milan, which makes it a great day trip from the Italian fashion capital.

Walking around the city you can admire the remains of the Roman empires, interesting museums and the popular castle towering right in the middle of the pretty historical center. The city itself feels like an open-air museum boasting a mix of modern and old architecture in the majestic buildings, home to churches, museums, trendy cafes and restaurants, high-end shops, libraries and the popular catholic university.

Make sure you walk up to the castles from where you can admire the entire city rooftops and the snow capped mountain peaks in the horizon.

There are many interesting walks that you can do in the city like Monte Magdalena or around the Castle. Also make sure you do not miss Piazza Della Loggia, the Broletto, the old town hall, and the magnificent Duomo, the main cathedral.

If you continue your walk into via dei Musei, you will see the majestic Piazza del Foro and Santa Giulia Museum, where a permanent installation dedicated to the history of Brescia, is always paired by a new temporary exposition of modern art.

Brescia is also very close to interesting ski resorts in the Alps. My favourite is Ponte di Legno, a cute little town one hour away from Brescia, where you can ski in winter and take long hiking trips in the summer.

Written by Isabella from BoundlessRoads.com

Bologna, Italy

Bologna, a beautiful mediaeval city, is an excellent option for one of these day trips from Milan. It is just over 2 hours by car and only 1 hour-15 minutes by direct train. In addition, the centre is compact, which means that in one day in Bologna, you can explore the main sights on foot and have a memorable trip without feeling overwhelmed.

Bologna is home to the oldest university globally (dating back to 1088) and has a vibrant, youthful population. The city also has some beautiful piazzas, towers, porticoes and statues to see and explore. Bologna is also famous for its excellent food. For example, tagliatelle, tortellini, and mortadella with many beautiful restaurants serving traditional dishes. The city is welcoming, and you feel like you are experiencing an authentic Italian city, with lots of locals mixing in the squares and riding their bikes around the city.

Don’t miss the Basilica di San Petronio, Piazza Maggiore, and the Asinelli Tower for 360 views over the city. Some of the best places to eat and drink include Bocca Buona, Dell’Orsa and Sette Chiese. Arguably, the best time to visit is in spring and autumn to have pleasant weather perfect for exploring! However, like other places in Italy, Bologna can be very hot in the summer months.

Written By Rachel from Average Lives

Turin, Italy

Turin is located just an hour west by train from Milan so it’s a great city break on this day trips from Milan post.

Turin was the first capital of Italy after the country’s unification, and it is also home to some impressive royal palaces from its time as the seat of the Duchy of Savoy. Elegant Baroque palazzos line wide sunny piazzas and there are some excellent shopping streets for visitors who fancy a change of scene from the fashion houses of Milan.

If you’re visiting Italy with kids, there are plenty of family friendly attractions in Turin. The city’s Cinema Museum has a tower reached by elevator which offers extensive views over the city and towards the Alps. Turin has an impressive Egyptian Museum which houses the largest collection of Egyptian artefacts outside of Egypt.

Turin is a great destination for drinking – Campari, Cinzano and Martini all come from the city and the red wine produced in the surrounding hills is some of the best in the country.

Motor fanatics are in for a treat in Turin too. There is the National Automobile Museum to explore as well as the Lingotto Factory where Fiat once tested its cars on the rooftop test track. Football fans meanwhile will no doubt enjoy taking a tour of the Juventus stadium – or taking in a match if they’re lucky enough to secure tickets.

Written by Annabel from Smudged Postcard

Genoa, Italy

Genoa was once one of the few major maritime world powers, the home of Christopher Columbus, and one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean sea.

The perfect destination for a day trip from Milan, set only 150 kilometers away, one can easily drive or take a short train ride. Set by the sea, the Ligurian capital is not only a summer destination, but visitors will find something interesting to visit no matter the season.

Visiting the Aquarium of Genova is an experience loved by children and adults alike, mainly because it offers a glimpse into the largest display of aquatic biodiversity in Europe.

History lovers should not skip a visit to the 2 beautiful palaces in town: Palazzo del Principe and Palazzo Reale Genova. Stroll through Via Garibaldi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, get lost in the vicoli, climb the hills to the top of the city and admire the stunning views.

Head to the port for a delicious fish meal, and don’t miss out on tasting some of the local specialties like the focaccia Genovese or the fresh pesto you can find in almost any kind of meal. Beach lovers will also have the chance to spend some time under the sun or sail along the Ligurian coastline.

Written by Ingrid from Ingrid Zen Moments

Florence, Italy

Just two hours away by fast train, Florence makes for an amazing location on this day trips from Milan post! The Cradle of the Renaissance, Florence boasts superb art and architecture, along with great food and drink.

One of the best things to do in Florence is to climb up high for a bird’s-eye view of the city. You can choose the leg-busting climb to the top of the famous Duomo di Firenze, or climb to the top of Giotto’s Campanile, or pick the less strenuous climb to the top of the Arnolfo Tower.

On a day trip to the city, you cannot visit too many museums, but if it’s your first visit to Florence, you have to see the original David by Michelangelo in the Accademia Gallery.

Walk around the historic center of Florence, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to gawk at the beautiful architecture and soak in the lively ambience. Stop in at one (or three!) gelato shops: Florence is famous for its many topnotch gelaterias.

Have lunch at the Mercato Centrale, where you can choose from one of the many booths that offer Tuscan cuisine.

Later in the day, head across the Arno River (photograph Ponte Vecchio along the way, or walk on the famous bridge to cross over), and take in the views of the city at sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo for a beautiful end to your day trip to Florence.

Written By Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

The view from the Duomo in Florence

Aosta, Italy

Aosta is the capital city of the Aosta Valley region, a beautiful mountainous region by the French and Swiss borders. This city was important for the Roman Empire due to its location, and it dates back to 25 BC. A great place for a day trips from Milan with history!

Therefore, it is filled with ancient archeological sites. These include a Roman Theatre, church ruins, cryptoporticus and ancient gates and bridges. It’s possible to see all these sites in just a day, which makes it a great day trip from Milan.

And the best thing about Aosta is that it is a great place to visit all year round. In the summer, this city is the perfect base to go hiking through Aosta Valley. This is a beautiful area to hike because you can see many famous mountain ranges in this area, such as Mont Blanc and Matterhorn.

In the winter, locals from Milan flock here for the world-class skiing that Aosta Valley offers. The great thing about Aosta is that you can access a ski area right from the city center. This makes Aosta one of the best places to ski in Europe if you’re traveling without a car. A few-minute walk from the train station, you can access a cable car to Pila ski area, which offers beautiful views and excellent intermediate runs.

There is a Flixbus that takes you directly to Aosta in just over two hours, or alternatively you can catch a train. If you’re traveling by car, the drive is about two hours from Milan.

Written by Natalie from Voyage Scribe

Venice, Italy

Just 3 hours on a direct train from Milan, Venice, Italy is a perfect city to steal away for a day. Of course, you won’t be able to complete everything on your Venice bucket list on a day trip from Milan, but hopefully, you’ll be able to check out the significant landmarks.

One of the most romantic and unique cities in the country, it was initially home to the Republic of Venice for more than 1,000 years. On your way to see several of the city’s landmarks, make sure to cross the Ponte di Rialto. The Rialto Bridge is one of only four bridges that cross over the Grand Canal. Then, head to Piazza San Marco to see Basilica di San Marco and Palazzo Ducale.

Dedicated to San Marco, the patron saint of Venice, St Mark’s Basilica is one of the most important churches in the city. The Doge’s Palace is next door, and it’s another place that you should definitely check out when you go to Venice. It was the official residence of the ruler of Venice, called a Doge. Don’t forget to take a walk along the Grand Canal, which runs through the city’s center – or better yet, take a gondola tour through the infamous canals.

Written by Lyndsay from The Purposely Lost

Verona, Italy

One of the best day trips from Milan is one to the city of Verona. From Milan, you can reach Verona in about 2 hours by car or 1.5 hours by train. While taking this journey, you can also see Lake Garda, which is beautiful to see.

Verona is a wonderful city with lots of things to do and to see. For example, you can see the Verona Arena here. This is a very old Roman amphitheater that is about 3000 years old. It is still in use today, and you can see amazing opera performances at the arena.

Besides that, the city is great if you like architecture, as the city features many classical architectural styles. Also, the Ponte di Castelvecchio is a very interesting sight to see in the city. This is an old bridge next to a medieval castle that you can visit too. Another site you should not miss out on when doing a day trip is St. Peter’s Hill. This is a high point in Verona from where you can have an amazing view of the city.

Also, a great place to have dinner during your day trip is Piazza delle Erbe. This is a beautiful historic square where you can find many restaurants.

Written by Dymphe from Dymabroad 

Interested in some other Italian locations? Check here: 

A Romantic Weekend Trip To Florence

Sicily West Coast: Top Things To See & Do

Romantic Trip To Cefalu, Sicily 

Sicily East Coast Top Places To Visit

Rome, Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii

Local Things To Do In Milan

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