There is plenty to do in Milan, but the city’s location in the north of Italy also makes it an ideal base for a variety of day trips. You can get to the Italian Lakes, or to cities brimming with history and art. Many of these places are very quick to get to by train. Here are 8 easy day trips from Milan.
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Verona is a popular tourist destination, with good reason. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of impressive art and architecture, and with important Roman remains. And it was the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
At just over an hour by train, a day trip from Milan to Verona is a must. Get more inspiration here – 7 Things To Do In Verona, A World Heritage Site.
Bergamo, just under an hour by train from Milan, is one of the great historic cities of northern Italy. It also has a thriving modern culture, with cafés, bars and restaurants. Best of all, it hasn’t yet started to attract vast numbers of tourists.
The town is divided into two parts, Città Bassa and Città Alta. The historical monuments are to be found in the Città Alta (Upper Town). Walk along the 16th century Venetian walls, stroll the medieval streets and enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside. The Visit Bergamo website has a 6 hour itinerary you can follow, taking in all of the main sights.
Like Bergamo, Brescia is comparatively neglected by tourists. Yet its Roman remains and monastery complex are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And there are museums, a castle, and churches full of artworks.
Brescia is just over half an hour from Milan by train. Read more about Brescia: An Underrated Tourist Destination.
Turin has sometimes been called the “Paris of Italy”. Like Milan it is an industrial town that also has smart streets, grand buildings and a long history. The city dates back to Roman times, was once the capital of the Kingdom of Savoy, and became the first capital of a unified Italy in 1861.
The best known sight in Turin is the Cathedral, with its famous shroud, but there are also royal palaces, world class museums and amazing restaurants. It is possible to take a walking tour to see most of the sights on your day trip.
Turin is about an hour from Milan by train. Read more – How To Spend A Day In Turin.
Around 40 km south of Milan, Pavia has Roman origins and one of the oldest universities in Europe. It is a lively student town with museums, historic buildings and a botanic garden. It also has the advantage of being mostly overlooked by tourists.
Apart from the narrow streets of the town centre, and the many bars and restaurants, make time to explore the Castello Visconti and its museums, the Cathedral, and the university buildings. Pavia is about half an hour from Milan by train.
6. Certosa Di Pavia
A few miles from Pavia is the Certosa di Pavia, a Carthusian monastery dating back to the 14th century. Visit for the architecture and the artworks, and for a peaceful walk around the cloisters.
The Certosa has its own railway station (get on a stopping train from Milan to Pavia). Read more about Certosa Di Pavia: A Historic Carthusian Monastery.
7. Lake Como
Lake Como, 40 km from Milan, is the most popular of Italy’s lakes. It is surrounded by mountains and even in Roman times tourists would come here to escape the heat of the city. Although you can’t explore much of the lake on a day trip, an hour’s journey from Milan will take you to either Como or Lecco, on the southern tips of the lake.
Como has museums, churches and hiking trails, as well as an impressive cathedral. And Lecco has a small medieval centre, lakeside walks and a backdrop of mountains.
8. Lake Garda
Visitors are drawn to Lake Garda for its scenery, historic towns and beautiful villages, and vineyards. The easiest places to get to by train from Milan are Desenzano del Garda (50 min) and Peschiera del Garda (57 min). Peschiera is a pretty town based around a historic fortress (part of the UNESCO site Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th centuries). Visit for the history, art and architecture, and lakeside location.
Desenzano is less dramatic, but is a pleasant town with a marina and lake views, a small fortress and a Roman villa. From Desenzano you can get to Sirmione, with its historic castle and Roman villa (20 minutes by bus or by boat).
More Ideas For Day Trips From Milan
All of the trips listed here can be reached by train in not much more than an hour (if you haven’t used the trains in Italy have a look at our guide to Italian rail travel). Other possibilities include Piacenza (1 hour), Modena (1¼ hours), Mantua (around 2 hours) or Bologna (1¼ hours). And, if you choose to hire a car, you could explore the lakes, mountains or vineyards…