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20 Best Day Trips from Milan, Italy (Lakes, Historic Cities, Swiss Towns, More!)

Planning a visit to Milan and looking for the best day trips from Milan to add to your itinerary?

With its magnificent cathedral and da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Milan is a splendid destination in its own right. But it also makes a great base from which to explore many other places in Northern Italy.

From the picturesque towns of Lake Como and Lake Garda, to historic cities like Bologna, Verona, and Bergamo, and even places in Switzerland, you have numerous choices when it comes to Milan day trips.

What’s more, many of these fun day trips from Milan can be done using the train or bus, so you can explore outside the city even if you do not want to drive.

Ready to get started? Read on to discover all the exciting day trips from Milan!

Day Trips from Milan to the Italian Lakes
Easy Milan Day Trips to Italian Cities and Towns
Best Day Trips from Milan to Switzerland
Other Day Trips from Milan

Day Trips from Milan to the Italian Lakes

Bellagio, Lake Como

Bellagio is considered the pearl of Lake Como and is known for its cobbled lanes, magnificent villas, and breathtaking views. 

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy
Beautiful Bellagio on Lake Como

There are many reasons to visit this fascinating town. Wander through the romantic lanes and stop off at the many restaurants, cafes, and wine bars. If you fancy a bit of shopping, you’ll find some great shops around here too.

Experience the wonderful history of Bellagio by visiting the Basilica of San Giacomo, which was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. It is a sight that is hard to miss, with the church’s bell tower extending high above the town. Head inside to view the interior detail that you will find awe-inspiring!

Get away from the buzz of the town and head to the famous Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni. They have the most incredible gardens. Spend a few hours exploring the acres of magnificent gardens surrounding the villas. 

Getting to Bellagio from Milan

The quickest and cheapest way to get to Lake Como is by train. Catch the train from Milan Central Station to Varenna-Esino. It takes an average of 1 hour to reach Varenna. There are normally 18 trains per day so you can choose a time that works for you.

From Varenna, you can catch a ferry to get to other towns close by, including Bellagio. 

You can also rent a car, which is handy if you wish to drive around the shore of the lake.

Prefer a guided tour? This popular tour from Milan combines a visit with the town of Como with a cruise on the lake and a visit to Bellagio (in the summer) or the funicular to Brunate (in the winter).
Book this tour now!

Or you can choose this highly-rated tour that includes a walking tour of Como town and a visit to Villa Olmo with a boat cruise to Bellagio and time in Varenna.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Joline of Wanderlust Storytellers

Varenna, Lake Como

Varenna is one of the towns you can find on the shores of Lake Como. At just over an hour by train from Milan, it is a must-see destination when visiting the north of Italy.

Varenna, Italy
Varenna’s lakefront is gorgeous!

The main draw of Varenna is its beauty. It is simply stunning. It is situated on the side of the lake, and there are small pretty bays with boats bobbing up and down on the water and mountains towering in the background. 

There are rustic houses, old cobbled streets and a small quaint piazza a short walk away. It’s a magical place and the perfect place for a relaxing break in beautiful surroundings where you can walk, go sailing, and swim in an alpine lake.

Other things to do include a stroll through the botanical garden of Villa Monastero, with its panoramic views of the lake. There are more stunning views from the small castle on the hill.

Varenna has a ferry port so it’s possible to visit other towns on the lake. This includes Bellagio, a 15-minute ferry ride away. There are also trains to other nearby lakeside towns and it is easy to connect to the Bernina Express, a panoramic train that travels 122km (75 miles) through some of Switzerland’s most spectacular scenery.

Getting to Varenna from Milan

Varenna’s proximity to Milan means it’s a relatively short journey here: it takes less than an hour and a half by car. The train runs from Milan’s central train station to Varenna-Esino station, a journey of just over an hour.

Looking for a guided tour? This highly-rated tour includes a walking tour of Varenna with the landscapes and charming villages of the Valtellina Valley. The group is limited to 15 participants.
Book this tour now!

Or consider this well-reviewed tour that includes a walking tour of Como town and a visit to Villa Olmo with a boat cruise to Bellagio and time in Varenna.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Emma of Travel on a Time Budget

Sirmione, lake Garda

Situated on the south end of Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, you’ll find Sirmione.

Located about 130 kilometers (81 miles) from Milan, Sirmione offers visitors many must-visit sights, in addition to being an excellent base for exploring Lake Garda.

The Scaligero Castle in Sirmione

One of the most popular things to see in Sirmione is Rocca Scaligera. Overlooking Lake Garda, Scaligero Castle offers a spectacular view of Sirmione from the top of its fortress walls.

Although there isn’t must else in the castle today, the view from up top is well worth your admission.

And found at the tip of the Sirmione peninsula, Grotte di Catullo are another must visit. The archaeological site holds the ruins of an ancient Roman villa that has stood there since the first century.

You can also swim or take a boat tour around the lake, enjoying views of the city and surrounding mountains, or relax at one of Sirmione’s thermal spas, spending the day soaking in hot springs, swimming in mineral water pools, and enjoying massages.

Getting to Sirmione from Milan

If you’re planning to visit Sirmione from Milan, start by taking the train to Verona and then transferring to a bus to Sirmione at Verona’s Porta Nuova train station before jumping on a shuttle ride to get to the peninsula.

The direct fast train takes about one hour and 10 minutes, and the bus journey about 45 minutes. The shuttle takes about 10 minutes.

However, driving up here on your own is the easiest and most efficient way to get to Sirmione if you have a car.

Want to visit on a guided tour? This highly-rated excursion from Milan combines the romantic historic center of Verona with an afternoon in Sirmione, where you can visit the castle and take in the beautiful views of the lake.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Lyndsay of The Purposely Lost

Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore is an easy day trip from Milan, but it can also be an extended trip around the lake. About an hour away from busy Milan, the scenery changes completely.

Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore in Italy
Magnificent garden on Isola Bella

Life on the lake’s shore is quieter and more relaxed, but the visitor for a day is overwhelmed by the beauty of the scenery. Explore the small village of Stresa and use the local ferry system to get to the incredible Borromean Islands. 

The most popular things to do in Lake Maggiore are visiting two of the Borromean Islands: Isola Bella and Isola Madre. They both have palaces to visit, and amazing gardens.

Another place you shouldn’t miss is the smaller Isola dei Pescatori. Though part of the Borromean Islands, there are no palaces out there. People live in this charming island village, and you can also find a few restaurants on Isola dei Pescatori.

Getting to Lake Maggiore from Milan

To reach Lake Maggiore from Milan, you can take the regional train from Milan Central Station towards Domodossola. It takes just over an hour to reach Stresa, the most convenient place for the ferry.

It’s quicker than renting a car and driving the almost 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the city.

Prefer a guided tour? This well-rated tour from Milan takes you to the town of Stresa, from where you’ll cruise Lake Maggiore. You’ll visit the Isola dei Prescatori, and Isola Bella, where you can explore the stunning Borromeo Palace.
Book this tour now!

Suggested by Anda of Travel for a While

Easy Day Trips from Milan to Other Cities in Italy


Bergamo is one of the best day trips from Milan you can do, especially if you enjoy architecture and beautiful views. The city is located northeast of Milan, within Lombardy.

A view of Bergamo, Italy
A panoramic view of Bergamo

Bergamo’s upper district, called Città Alta, is older and made for wandering, with cobblestoned streets. The lower district, Città Bassa, features wide tree-lined avenues and beautiful buildings. It reminded us of Zagreb!

Many of the city’s best attractions are found in the Città Alta, so plan on spending most of your time there. Take the funicular, and make sure to face down as you ascend, to take in the views!

The Duomo di Bergamo is a must-visit, with its magnificent interior. The many breathtaking frescoes will leave you awe-struck. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is another spectacular church, with gorgeous sculptures, frescoes, and tapestries.

Piazza Vecchia is the main square in the old town. Sit with a drink or stroll with a gelato and take in the beautiful architecture of the buildings lining the square, and people watch.

Walk along the Venetian walls: there are benches if you want to sit and savor the views. The walls are well preserved and the paths lined with trees.

Take the funicular to San Vigilio Castle for views of Citta Alta (and Citta Bassa) from above. There’s not much left of the castle, but the views are sensational.

In Bergamo, consider a private tour of Citta Alta, to get the most out of your sightseeing time! This highly-rated 3-hour tour takes you to the sights of import as well as hidden gems, while you learn about the history and the architecture.
Book this tour now!

Getting from Milan to Bergamo

To get to Bergamo from Milan, take the train! The journey takes just about one hour.

Of course, if you have a car, you can also drive from Milan to Bergamo. The drive takes about 50 minutes.

Suggested by us


The foodie capital of Italy, Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region is a must-do day trip from Milan for not only its food, but also its architecture and history.

Rooftops of Bologna, Italy
A view of the rooftops of Bologna

Bologna’s porticoes are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you’ll see them everywhere you go in the city. Along with its red facades, the porticoes make for great photos.

If you are up for a long walk, you must walk the Portico de San Luca, said to be the longest covered walkway in the world. The walk takes you to the beautiful Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca.

In the historic center, stroll the Piazza Maggiore, the main square, which is lined with gorgeous buildings, including the massive Basilica di San Petronio. In the adjoining Piazza del Nettuno, admire the Neptune Fountain.

While in Bologna, a food tour is a must, to sample some of the delectable food on offer, from mortadella to tortellini en brodo. The Quadrilatero is a great place to stroll to view traditional food shops, from butchers to greengrocers.

This highly-rated 3-hour tour with a local “foodie” guide includes ten tastings, so you’ll get to sample a wide variety of Bologna’s food offerings at different venues, including a food market and a bakery. Book this tour now!

Or consider this 4.5-hour tour, with six tasting stops at family-run local places for Bologna specialties, plus information on Bologna’s history while you discover the main landmarks. Book this tour now!

And if you need to work off some of those calories from enjoying the food in Bologna, climb the 487 steps to the top of the Torre Asinelli, the taller of Bologna’s two leaning towers. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in Bologna!

Getting to Bologna from Milano

Take the fast train from Milan to arrive in Bologna in just over one hour, which will give you plenty of time to take in the highlights of Bologna.

If you have a car, you can drive to Bologna from Milan in a little over 2 hours.

Suggested by us


Fair Verona is one of our favorite Italian cities, and makes for an excellent day trip from Milan. With beautiful churches, lively piazzas, and pretty balconies (including the famous balcony in Juliet’s house), Verona will charm you.

The Lamberti Tower in Verona
The Lamberti Tower in Verona

Start your one day in Verona at the Piazza Bra, where you can stroll around to savor the ambience, and gawk at the well-preserved Arena, the Roman amphitheater.

Then walk over to the Piazza delle Erbe, lined with beautiful buildings. This square is the heart of Verona’s UNESCO-designated historic center. Nearby, the Piazza dei Signori also has gorgeous architecture.

One of the best things to do in Verona is to head to the top of the Torre dei Lamberti for panoramic views over the rooftops of Verona before making your way to Juliet’s house, to pose for a photo on the famous balcony.

If you love museums, your next stop should be Castelvecchio, which houses an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings, old weaponry and more.

Next, visit the gorgeous Verona Cathedral before crossing the picturesque Ponte Pietra over the Adige River to the funicular for Castel San Pietro, where you will get spectacular views of Verona spread out on either side of the river.

Enjoy guided walking and food tours? This 3-hour food and walking tour includes tastings of local specialties and Valpolicella wine. You’ll view Verona’s famous landmarks, plus learn about its history and culture. The group size is limited to 12.
Book this tour now!

Or join this 2-hour guided walking tour to get a great overview of Verona while still having time to wander on your own. The tour includes a stop at Juliet’s balcony. The group is limited to 12 participants. Book this tour now!

Getting to Verona from Milan

There are lots of things to do in Verona, so plan on taking the fast train to maximize your sightseeing time. The direct fast train from Milan to Verona takes one hour and 10 minutes.

The fast train is quicker than driving, which will take you just under 2 hours. A regional train also takes about two hours.

Or, you can visit Verona on a guided tour from Milan. This highly rated tour combines Verona with Sirmione on Lake Garda for a full day of sightseeing. Book this tour now!

Suggested by us


Whether you are an architecture buff, a car aficionado, or a foodie, Modena should definitely be one of the day trips from Milan you consider for your itinerary.

A street in Modena, Italy
A pretty street in Modena

Modena’s Cathedral, with its bell tower Ghirlandina, and the Piazza Grande, make up Modena’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral is stunning inside and out, and the bell tower offers magnificent views over the rooftops of Modena.

Be sure to snap a photo of the imposing Palazzo Ducale, which now houses a navy academy. Stroll the pretty streets of Modena, where you will find picturesque porticoes, charming churches, and other beautiful buildings.

Browse the Mercato Albinelli, the covered market in Modena, where you will find produce, fruit, fresh flowers, meats, cheeses, and more. The market is a great place to look for aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena DOP, or parmigiano reggiano!

This guided food tour is an excellent choice if you want to visit the market with a local and enjoy tastings of Modena balsamic and other specialties. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about Modena’s history and culture!
Book this tour now!

Opera lovers will want to take the opportunity to tour the former home of Pavarotti, now a museum. Car lovers will want to visit the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari.

Make reservations ahead of time for lunch at one of Modena’s top restaurants: Franceschetta58 is the casual eatery of Chef Massimo Bottura, of Osteria Francescana fame. The osteria is open only for dinner, and scoring a table here is extremely difficult (but still worth a try!).

Getting to Modena from Milan

A high-speed train can get you from Milan to Modena is one hour and 14 minutes, which will give you plenty of time to explore Modena. The regional train takes a little over two hours: if you’d like to save some money on train tickets, just leave earlier.

Driving from Milan to Modena also takes about two hours.

Suggested by us


Famous as the home of parmigiano reggiano and Parma Ham (prosciutto di Parma), Parma is also known for art and architecture. Parma makes for a wonderful day trip from Milan.

Cathedral, Bell Tower, and Baptistery in Parma, Italy
The Parma Cathedral, Bell Tower, and Baptistery

The Parma Cathedral is one of the top landmarks in the historic center of Parma. The Romanesque facade is beautiful, and inside you will find many stunning frescoes, including Corregio’s decoration of the interior of the dome.

The Parma Baptistery, built of pink marble, is also a must-visit: the doors feature beautiful decoration, and inside you will find sculptures of the months, the seasons, and the signs of the zodiac, by Benedetto Antelami.

The Teatro Farnese is another major Parma attraction. Located inside the Palazzo del Pilotta, the restored wooden theater is breathtaking. The venue still hosts concerts.

Spend some time wandering the streets in the historic center, to admire the architecture. There are several churches other than the Parma Cathedral you can visit if you enjoy art.

A food tour is a great idea in Parma. This half-day food walking tour takes you to eateries and food shops in the city that are local favorites. The five tasting stops include Parma ham, parmigiano-reggiano, balsamic, and more.
Book this tour now!

Getting to Parma from Milan

You can travel from Milan to Parma by train in about one hour and 30 minutes. A fast train arrives in about 45 minutes. There are numerous departures in both directions.

If you have a car, you can drive from Milan to Parma in about one hour and 20 minutes.

Suggested by us


At least two days in Venice would be ideal, but if you only have one day to spare, you must still go, because Venice is a must on any Italy itinerary. With one well-planned day in Venice, you can still enjoy many of its most famous sights.

Venice, Italy
The Grand Canal in Venice

Book skip-the-line tickets or guided tours for the two unmissable sights that will have long lines: St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. While you are in St. Mark’s Square, climb to the top of the Campanile for views and admire the Bridge of Sighs.

This combined skip-the-line tour of Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace is an efficient way to visit two of the city’s top landmarks in an efficient manner. Book this tour now!

If a gondola ride is on your must-do list for Venice, book it ahead of time. If not, make sure you ride the vaporetto along the Grand Canal to experience Venice from the water.

Stop by the beautiful Rialto Bridge: cross the bridge and take in the views of the canal. Then spend a little time browsing the Rialto Market. Walk to the Ponte del’Accademia for an unmissable view of the Grand Canal: it’s a favorite photo spot.

Take a ciccheti tour to enjoy the small bites for which Venice is famous, and wander a less touristy district like Canareggio to experience the city without the crowds of San Marco.

Start your day trip from Milan to Venice as early as you can and plan to stay later in the evening: early and late you’ll enjoy the city much more.

If you prefer the structure of a tour, consider this highly-rated “Venice in a day” tour that helps you enjoy the major highlights without having to worry about the logistics. The tour includes a shared gondola ride!
Book this tour now!

Getting to Venice from Milan

Take the high-speed direct train (with no transfers) to travel from Milan to Venice (Santa Lucia station) in 2 hours and 28 minutes. There are several departures each day in both directions, including early and late in the day.

The high-speed train (or a guided tour) is really the only practical way to do a day trip from Milan to Venice.

Suggested by us


Turin, the country’s fourth largest city and also an erstwhile capital, makes for a wonderful day trip from Milan.

The non-touristy feel of the city is a welcome change. Though not as popular as many other Italian destinations, the sprawling metropolis offers an enriching experience to those who take the time to explore it.

Turin, Italy
The Mole Antonelliana dominates the Turin skyline

Nicknamed the Paris of Italy, Turin has a distinct French suave to it, be it the sweeping boulevards, buzzing cafe culture, or vibrant art scene.

For history seekers, Turin has grand palaces to explore. For museum lovers, there are innumerable niche museums to cater to every interest from football to Italian cars to movies. And for nature enthusiasts, there are expansive, beautiful gardens to enjoy.

At the top of any Turin itinerary should be the 16th-century Royal Palace of Turin, the most visited of all the city’s palaces. Take a guided tour of the interior and be in awe of the collection in the palace’s art gallery, feel royal in the throne room, and admire the state apartments.

The more adventurous visitor will find exploring the structures beneath the city a dare that they cannot say refuse: just try not to get lost in the criss-crossing network of tunnels. Or play it safe and explore underground Turin on a guided tour!

Getting to Turin from Modena

From Milan, the regional train to Turin takes about two hours. Fast trains can get you there in under one hour, leaving you plenty of time to discover Turin on a day trip from Milan.

If you wish to drive, it takes about one hour and 50 minutes to get from Milan to Turin.

Suggested by Vidyut of Nomading Solo


Although one day isn’t sufficient to see all that Florence has to offer, a day trip from Milan to Florence will allow you to visit some of its stunning viewpoints and landmarks, and to experience the historical culture you’ll find everywhere the city’s core.

View from the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
A view of Florence from the Arnolfo Tower at the Palazzo Vecchio

As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence houses many unique and legendary pieces of art, from Botticelli’s Primavera at the Uffizi to Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia.

This guided walking tour includes skip-the-line entry to the Accademia to see David, plus an efficient overview of the historic center. Book this tour now!

Florence’s cathedral, featuring Brunelleschi’s dome, is iconic. Climb to the viewing area in the dome for sensational views over the rooftops of Florence. You can also climb to the top of Giotto’s bell tower.

Book this guided tour to combine a visit to the Accademia to see David plus the climb to the top of the dome. The tour includes entrance fees.

And if you don’t want to attempt those leg-busting climbs, opt for the easier climb to the top of the Arnolfo Tower at the Palazzo Vecchio for a fabulous view of the duomo and the rooftops of Florence.

Enjoy the ambience in the many lively piazzas, sample the gelato, and enjoy fabulous Tuscan cuisine. Shop at the touristy (but fun!) San Lorenzo Market and step inside the bustling Mercato Centrale for lunch.

Stroll across the iconic Ponte Vecchio, which today houses jewelry shops, to the Oltrarno, the charming area on the other side of the Arno River.

Make your way to the beautiful Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset. From the viewing area, you can see all of Florence spread out below you for a grand view. 

Getting to Florence from Milan

To get to Florence from Milan, you’ll want to take the train. It’s about a 2-hour trip on a fast train.

Suggested by Yesenia of The Sisters Who Voyage


The port city of Genoa is overlooked by many travelers to Northern Italy. Which is a shame, because Genoa offers a historical center with many striking sights, plus an interesting old port area.

Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa, Italy
Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa

Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli form Genoa’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, Via Balbi, and Via Cairoli are must-strolls, with impressive palazzi.

Many of the palaces are open to the public. In particular, plan to visit Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco, and Palazzo Doria Tursi on Via Garibaldi, which make up the Strada Nuova Museums. Palazzo Rosso offers gorgeous views over Genoa from its terrace.

Stroll the Piazza de Ferrari, which is lined by magnificent buildings and features a splendid fountain in the center. The Genoa Royal Palace, the Annunziata Church, and the Genoa Cathedral (the Church of San Lorenzo) are also musts on your Genoa itinerary.

This walking tour is an excellent introduction to Genoa, and the itinerary and the length of the tour can be customized to your interests. Book this tour now!

Wander down one of Genoa’s carrugi (small streets that connect the historic center with the Old Port), and spend some time exploring the Old Port area. Here you will find the Maritime Museum and the Genoa Aquarium, as well as the tallship Neptune.

Sample some of the specialties of Ligurian cuisine when you are in Genoa: Genovese pesto with pasta, focacia, farinata di ceci (flatbread made with chickpeas), and canestrelli (delicious crumbly lemony cookies!).

A food tour is a great way to sample Ligurian specialties. This 3.5-hour highly rated food walking tour includes tastings plus lunch and helps you discover Genoa’s food culture. Book this tour now!

Getting to Genoa from Milan

A high-speed train can get you from Milan to Genoa in about one hour and 30 minutes, while a Regional Veloce (Express) train takes just under two hours.

You can drive from Milan to Genoa is just under two hours, if you have a car.

Suggested by us


Located northwest of Milan, Varese is known for its many beautiful villas and parks. Be prepared to be amazed and captivated by this charming town.

In the historic center, a visit to the Palazzo Estense is a must. Known as “the tiny Versailles,” the palace features gorgeous gardens in the Italian and French styles.

Palazzo Estense in Varese, Italy
The gardens of the Palazzo Estense

There are many beautiful villas from which you can choose: Villa Toeplitz is surrounded by a beautiful park. Villa Augusta and Villa Baragiola are two other options.

If you enjoy museums, you’ll find that some of the old villas are now museums: for example, Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza houses a contemporary art museum, and Villa Mirabello the Archaeological Museum.

The Sacro Monte di Varese is one of nine monti in Lombardy and Piedmont that are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take the funicular up to the sanctuary and village at the top to save time on a day trip.

If you’d rather spend some time in nature, Lido della Schiranna on Lake of Varese has a walking path and offers sunbathing. Look for birds as you walk!

Definitely take the ferry to Isolino Virginia, one of the oldest pile-dwelling sites around the Alps and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Getting to Varese from Milan

Take the train from Milan to Varese: the average journey time is about an hour, although the faster trains arrive in about 48 minutes. There are numerous departures in both directions each day.

If you have a car, you can drive from Milan to Varese in just under an hour.

Suggested by us


A university town located south of Milan in Lombardy, Pavia also offers several beautiful churches, a historic covered bridge, and a castle. It makes for a fun day trip from Milan.

Ponte Coperto in Pavia, Italy
The covered bridge in Pavia

Pavia used to have several dozen tall towers in medieval times, but only a few remain. Watch out for them as you walk the town!

The top landmark in Pavia is the Certosa di Pavia, a Carthusian monastery located just outside town. It is am impressive example of Renaissance architecture, with a decorated facade and an ornate interior.

In town, snap a photo of the covered bridge: the Ponte Coperto, which has been restored after the original, built in the mid-14th century, was destroyed in WWII.

Visit the Duomo di Pavia, many centuries in the making. Leonardo da Vinci is said to have contributed to its design. The cathedral is large, with an octagonal dome. The bell tower unfortunately collapsed in the late 1900s.

Visit the University of Pavia, where you can walk the botanical garden and visit the History Museum, which houses surgical instruments and scientific equipment going back to the Middle Ages.

The Pavia Castle dates from the 14th century. Its architecture is gorgeous, as are the arcaded courtyards. You can see a few of the frescoes that have survived. The castle houses the Civic Museum.

Getting to Pavia from Milan

Take the train from Milan to Pavia. The journey takes about 27 minutes, although the faster trains arrive in as little as 17 minutes. There are multiple departures everyday in both directions.

The train is much quicker than driving, which takes about 50 minutes.

Suggested by us


Brescia is one of the easiest and best day trips from Milan you can do. The city offers stunning art and architecture, wander-worthy streets, and excellent food and drink, without the crowds you’ll find in many destinations in Italy.

The two cathedrals of Brescia, Italy
The Duomo Vecchio and the Duomo Nuovo in Brescia

Visiting the Roman archaeological area is the top thing to do in Brescia. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area comprises several sights, from the Piazza del Foro to the Capitolium Temple and the Roman Basilica.

Also part of the UNESCO site is the San Salvatore-Santa Giulia complex, the main museum in the city. The frescoes are incredible, and you can view such treasures as the magnificent Cross of Desiderius, which features over 200 gemstones.

The Brescia Castle, located on Cidneo Hill, is well worth visiting for the views. But it also houses the oldest public astronomic observatory in Italy. There is also a functioning model railway.

Brescia has two cathedrals. The old Romanesque cathedral, Duomo Vecchio, is also called La Rotonda, and dates from the 11th century. It sits below the current street level!

Walk the historic center to experience the ambience. Stroll Piazza della Loggia, which is lined with impressive buildings and is a venue for summer concerts.

Getting to Brescia from Milan

Take a direct train from Milan to Brescia to arrive in a little over one hour. High-speed trains arrive in 36 minutes. Either option gives you plenty of time to take in the major sights in Brescia on your day trip from Milan.

If you have a car and wish to drive, it will take you a little over one hour to travel from Milan to Brescia.

Suggested by us

Day Trips from Milan to Switzerland


Lugano makes a wonderful day trip from Milano, especially if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a little bit of nature.

Lugano, Switzerland
Lugano in Switzerland is charming!

Lugano is a quite a small city, so you will have no problems exploring it on foot. There are plenty of things to do on a day trip to Lugano, from exploring the old town to enjoying a boat ride on the lake.

Spend some time swimming at the Lido. Take the funicular up Monte Bre. The views from Monte Bre are pretty spectacular – you get to see Switzerland on one side and Italy on the other.

Even if Lugano is in Switzerland, it has a very Mediterranean feel to it. The locals speak Italian, and you don’t really feel you have left Italy when you are in Lugano.

Make sure you don’t miss trying some Swiss chocolate whilst you are in Lugano. There are several chocolatier shops around the old town, where you can taste and buy some of the famous Swiss chocolate.

Getting to Lugano from Milan

Lugano is very easily accessible from both Milano and Milano Malpensa airport, with direct trains connecting the two destinations in around one and a half hours.

If you have a car and want to drive, the journey from Milan to Lugano takes a little over one hour.

Visit Lugano on a guided tour from Milan: this well-reviewed full day tour combines a cruise on Lake Como with a stop in Bellagio on Lake Como and time in Lugano to explore as you wish. Book this tour now!

Suggested by Joanna of The World in My Pocket


For an enjoyable day trip from Milan to the north, plan a visit to Bellinzona, the beautiful capital of the Ticino Canton in southern Switzerland.

Bellinzona is a must-visit for its three stunning medieval castles, which, together with their defensive walls, have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A view of Castelgrande in Bellinzona, Italy
Castelgrande, seen from Montebello

Castelgrande is the oldest of the three castles, and offers stunning views over the town and the surrounding countryside. It houses a museum that showcases the town’s rich history.

Access Castelgrande on foot, or via the elevator from the Piazza del Sole, or the tourist train that goes to all three castles.

From Castelgrande, you can walk to Montebello, which is located on the hill opposite. This castle houses an Archaeological and Civic Museum.

Sasso Corbaro, the third castle, is set somewhat apart and at a higher elevation. You can arrive here by car, or hike up on trails. In the castle, be sure to visit the Sala Emma Poglia, which is completely paneled in walnut wood.

The historic center of Bellinzona is charming, with pretty squares and courtyards, beautiful churches, and decorated houses. If you visit on a Saturday, you’ll be able to browse the big weekly market.

Since the city is in the Ticino Canton of Switzerland, the restaurants and food options are highly influenced by Italy. Finish the day trip by enjoying a refreshing aperitivo with some food before heading back to Milan.

Getting to Bellinzona from Milan

The direct train from Milan to Bellinzona takes an hour and 35 minutes to two hours or so, depending on which departure you choose. There are multiple departures in both directions everyday.

Alternatively, if you have a car, the drive from Milan to Bellinzona takes about one hour and 20 minutes.

Suggested by Zoe of Together In Switzerland

St. Moritz via the Bernina express

For an exceptionally scenic day trip from Milan, consider visiting the resort town of Saint Moritz in Switzerland via the Bernina Express. This day trip is as much about the journey as the destination!

The Bernina Express travels through stunning scenery.
Traveling by train along Lake Poschiavo

Because it’s a long day, this day trip is best done as a guided tour, which includes coach transport to and from Tirano. At Tirano, you will catch the famed Bernina Express to Saint Moritz.

Considered one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world, the Bernina Express takes you from the palm trees of Tirano to the glaciers of the Swiss Alps in 2.5 hours.

The train actually goes beyond St. Moritz, and the route from Tirano to Thusis, a little north of St. Moritz, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional natural beauty.

The train runs all through the year, with the scenery spectacular both in the summer (think beautiful green meadows!) and in the winter, when snow turns the region into a wonderland. Panoramic windows allow you to enjoy the views fully.

While much of the day is about the journey, you will have some time to walk around and explore in both Tirano and St. Moritz.

Getting to St. Moritz from Milan

Take the Trenord train from Milan to Tirano. The journey takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. From Tirano, travel on the Bernina Express to St. Moritz.

Take the RhB train back from St. Moritz to Tirano, and the Trenord from Tirano to Milan.

We recommend doing this day trip as a guided tour so you can enjoy the day without worrying about the logistics! This hugely popular tour includes free time to explore both Tirano and St. Moritz, along with the scenic train ride. Book this tour now!

Other Day Trips from Milan

Cinque Terre

One of the best day trips from Milan is the picturesque region of Cinque Terre.

Since the Cinque Terre are located about 227 kilometers (141 miles) from Milan, a day trip should be planned in advance and start early!

Cinque Terre means Five Lands, and refers to the five small seaside villages that make up the area: Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Monterosso, and Vernazza.

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Riomaggiore is one of the villages of the Cinque Terre

Today, visitors can walk along the old trail, which winds through the villages and offers breathtaking views. The villages feature colorful houses and narrow winding streets lined with small shops and eateries.

For a one day visit, it may be best to focus on one or two villages, instead of trying to see all five. There are plenty of things to do in Manarola, for example. From the vineyards in the hills to the sandy marina by the sea, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! 

Monterosso has a large beach, while Vernazza has a small castle that houses a restaurant. Corniglia is located high in the hills, and does not have a waterfront. All the villages offer opportunities to enjoy the fabulous Ligurian cuisine.

Getting to the Cinque Terre from Milan

There are many ways to visit Cinque Terre from Milan. The easiest and most comfortable is to rent a car and drive yourself. There are at least two car parking lots in Monterosso where you can leave your car for the day.

If you’re traveling by train, take the train to Monterosso, the closest Cinque Terre village to Milan. Once there, you can take the local train to the other four towns. There’s also a ferry that runs between the villages in season.

Want to visit on a guided tour? This highly rated tour takes you to the Cinque Terre by coach. The tour includes free time to explore Monterosso and Manarola, as well as a scenic train trip between the two towns. Book this tour now!

Suggested by Pamela of Directionally Challenged Traveler


That’s our round-up of the best day trips from Milan! Which ones will you choose on your next trip?

If you enjoy day trips as a means to exploring out from big cities, check out our other day trip guides for Italy!

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Discover the best day trips from Milan, Italy, from vibrant cities like Bergamo and Turin to charming towns like Brescia, the beautiful Italian lakes, and even southern Switzerland!


Dhara's travel interests are eclectic, spanning everything from natural wonders to history, culture, art and architecture. She has visited 22 countries, many more than once, plus almost all 50 states of the USA, and has amassed a hoard of cherished travel moments.

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