28 Mar 5 Beautiful and Easy Day Trips from Milan You Shouldn’t Miss
Whether you like small charming towns, the lakes, or art cities, there are many beautiful day trips from Milan you shouldn’t miss.
Best known as one of the Fashion Capitals in the world and often overlooked, there are plenty of things to do in Milan. Furthermore, the city is a perfect gateway to explore enchanting spots within easy reach. One of the reasons I like living in Milan is being near to almost everything.
Over the last few years, I’ve been exploring more and more my own backyard. The result is that I’m increasingly stunned by how many amazing places there are near Milan.
Day trips from Milan are effortless and incredibly diverse. It takes about one hour to go from Milan to Lake Como. In a couple of hours, you can get to the Alps. And by high-speed train, Florence is less than two hours away. That’s reason enough to add Milan to your Italy travel bucket list.
Beautiful day trips from Milan you shouldn’t miss
I willingly picked up gorgeous places you can easily reach from Milan by train so that you don’t need a car. Indeed, there’s no better way to spoil holidays than traffic, and the stress to find a parking place.
Mesmerizing Lake Como
Lake Como, an iconic area of northern Italy, is one of the preferred day trips from Milan.
Lake Como has been a favorite tourist destination for centuries. George Clooney may well have sparked the interest towards one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy; however, many other celebrities chose this corner of paradise before him.
There are so many gorgeous places that I never get tired of Lake Como. Yet, if you only have time to visit Lake Como as a day trip from Milan, here are some of Lake Como towns and attractions that are a must.
Except in Winter, Bellagio is overflowing with tourists, especially from the United States, but the town is so picturesque that it’s almost impossible to skip it. Varenna, on the Lecco arm, is another beautiful spot you shouldn’t miss. You’ll love the colorful houses overlooking the little harbor. Also, if you have enough time I recommend you visit the gardens of Villa Monastero.
You should definitely take a boat trip on the lake to admire the stunning villas and take in the dramatic beauty of the mountains dropping steeply to the lake.
Lake Como guided tours
- An excellent option to get the most of your day trip from Milan is the full day tour to Lake Como, Bellagio, and Varenna, including the bus from Milan and the ferry ride on the lake.
- If you prefer small groups and something more exclusive, this day trip to Como, Varenna, and Bellagio for a maximum of seven participants (including private boat and ferry) might be the right one for you.
Lake Como independent day trip
- How to get to Lake Como from Milan: Frequent trains connect Milan to Como. Depending on where you stay in Milan, you can leave from Milano Centrale Station or from Milano Cadorna. The journey is about one hour. Check the timetables and buy your tickets.
- A fun way to visit Lake Como is taking a 3-hour tour with electric bikes, equipped with an i-pad mini and Bluetooth headphones.
- Tip: The easiest way to visit Bellagio and Varenna is to take a round trip. Milan -> Train to Como -> Boat to Bellagio -> Boat to Varenna -> Train to Milan (or the other way round).
- Check here the timetables and routes of the ferries navigating Lake Como to plan your day trip from Milan to Lake Como.
Bergamo, the medieval town on the hill
Bergamo is one of the most unforgettable day trips from Milan if you want to visit a stunning and romantic medieval city.
Perched atop a hill, Bergamo old town is one of the most enchanting spots in the Lombardy region.
A cable car (or, if you like to walk, a pretty footpath) connects the lower city to the historical center, a medieval town surrounded by walls built in the 16th Century. Cobblestone streets flanked by old buildings and elegant shops lead to Bergamo main attractions. The old square (Piazza Vecchia), Palazzo della Ragione, the former town hall now a museum, the Colleoni chapel, a magnificent Renaissance building beautifully decorated, the Citadel square (Piazza della Cittadella), with the medieval tower and the Visconti Palace.
Tip: Bergamo is a popular spot for weekend excursions so better avoid Saturday and Sunday if you wish to beat the crowds.
Bergamo guided tours from Milan
- If you don’t feel comfortable getting to Bergamo on your own, or simply wish to have a guide introducing you to the fascinating history of Bergamo, this full-day trip will let you discover the best of the city.
Bergamo independent day trip
- How to get to Bergamo: Regional trains connect Milano Centrale to Bergamo every hour (journey 50-55min). Check the timetables and buy your tickets.
Find more information on Visit Bergamo website
Sirmione and the scenic Lake Garda
Sirmione is a fantastic day trip from Milan if you’re looking for a romantic spot on the lake shore.
Lake Garda has been a favorite destination for Germans since long ago. However, to tourists from the UK and the USA, the lake it is lesser known than Lake Como. Truth is that Lake Garda is every bit as beautiful, even without… George Clooney (who, by the way, is not easy to spot when staying at his villa on Lake Como).
Sirmione is considered a gem of Lake Garda’s southern shore. Its beauty was appreciated and celebrated by writers, poets, and artists like Goethe, Stendhal, Lord Byron, D.H. Lawrence, Gustav Klimt, Maria Callas.
Picturesque and romantic, Sirmione seems far away from the hustle-bustle of the big city and is a fantastic day trip from Milan. Visit the famous Scaliger Castle, dating back to the 13th Century. Admire the Catullo’s Caves, the remains of a Roman Villa overlooking the lake’s blue water. Get lost in the alleys lined with colorful houses. Indulge yourself at one of the al fresco cafés and simply chill out in this enchanting spot of Lombardy.
Tip: If possible, avoid the weekend when Sirmione is jam-packed with tourists.
Guided tours from Milan to Sirmione and Lake Garda
- Day tours are the best option if you have limited time. Furthermore, they’ll allow exploring much more of Sirmione and Lake Garda than you’de be able to do by yourself. You can even get to visit Verona, Sirmione, and Desenzano, and enjoy a private boat cruise on Lake Garda. All in one day.
Lake Garda independent day trip
- Hot to get to Sirmione from Milan: Frequent trains connect Milano Centrale to Desenzano-Sirmione (Frecciabianca 1h, Regional 1h 25min). From Desenzano, you can reach Sirmione either by bus or by boat (about 20 min for both). Check the timetables and buy your tickets.
- Even if you prefer to visit Sirmione on your own, I suggest you take at least a boat tour to fully appreciate the beauty of Lake Garda from a different perspective.
Parma, delightful city and food heaven
Parma is an exciting day trip from Milan if you crave for amazing food in a charming small city.
Colorful houses, magnificent monuments, and delicious food: this is the essence of Parma, an elegant city that will immediately catch your heart.
There’s a lot to see and do, so here are my favorites. Get lost in the alleys of the old town, lined with lovely pastel-colored houses. Visit the Cathedral and the Baptistery, both medieval masterpieces. Marvel at the Teatro Farnese, a wonderful small theatre totally built in wood, dating back to the early 17th Century. Buy a souvenir or a gift made from violet, the flower which is the symbol of Parma, used to produce perfumes, cosmetics, and candies.
Parma has some of the most delicious and mouth-watering food specialties in Italy: Parmigiano-Reggiano (cheese), Prosciutto di Parma (ham), home-made pasta and stews.
Tip: You’ll find good food everywhere in Parma, but if you look for a typical Trattoria serving delicious dishes at fair prices don’t miss the Trattoria Corrieri.
Parma independent day trip
- How to get to Parma: There are trains almost every half an hour connecting Milano Centrale to Parma (Frecciabianca 1h 10 min, Regional 1h 35 min). Check the timetables and buy your tickets.
- Aside from the beautiful landmarks in the center, Parma is a foodies heaven. I suggest you take a tour to Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parma Ham factories. Find out how two of the most famous Italian food products are made.
Genoa, a stunning city on the sea
If you’re looking for offbeat day trips from Milan, Genoa is the place to go.
If you’re keen to breathe the sea and discover a lesser-known and beautiful city in northern Italy, don’t miss an excursion to Genoa.
Stroll in the picturesque narrow alleys (caruggi) near the harbor (be careful with your belonging, though). Take a tour of the Palazzi dei Rolli, the magnificent palaces showing the city’s past splendors and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy Boccadasse, the old fishermen’s’ neighborhood with its typical colored houses nestled on a cove.
Don’t miss to taste the local food specialties like focaccia (a flatbread baked in the oven), trenette or trofie with pesto sauce, or cima alla genovese (veal meat filled with vegetables).
Tip: Genoa offers many attractions for families. These include the Aquarium (the largest in Europe) and the Città dei Bambini, an interactive museum for kids between 2 and 14.
Tours from Milan to Genoa and Portofino
- On this full-day tour, you’ll discover some of the best sights of Genoa and enjoy a boat tour to Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure. These two colorful towns are among the most beautiful on the Ligurian coast and very popular in summer. You’ll get to discover three fantastic places in one day.
Genoa independent day trip
- Hot to get to Genoa from Milan: Frequent trains connect Milano Centrale to Genoa (Intercity/Frecciabianca 1h 30min, Regional 1h 50min). Then, from Desenzano, you can reach Sirmione either by bus or by boat (about 20 min for both). Check the timetables and buy your tickets.
- Genoa can be intimidating for first-time visitors. Therefore, a 2-hour guided visit of Genoa historical center is a good introduction. After that, you can go and explore the rest by yourself!
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Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing. Besides travel writing SImon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.