A full Milan experience can be had in just three days if you plan an itinerary with tours that combine the sights, culture, and adventures of northern Italy. Here are our top ideas for how to spend your time, including how to visit the mountains, coast, or Italian lakes in one day.
Start your day with a viewing of Milan’s most revered attraction, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Book a visit with a guide to hear about the painting’s history and restoration during your visit to see the 15th-century mural, on display inside the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent. Skip-the-line or combo tours are a popular way to cover more sights in a shorter time. If you’re interested in cultural landmarks, take a guided tour to learn about the architecture and significance of Duomo di Milano and La Scala opera houses, within walking distance of each other. Then spend the evening with a food and wine experience such as a walking tour of the Brera district, a wine-tasting session of Lombardy wines with a sommelier, or a food, beer, or wine tour of the Navigli district.
Italy is known for its fashion and cars, so don’t miss a chance to shop for discounts on Italian designer labels like Armani, Fendi, and Gucci at the Serravalle Designer Outlet or drive a Ferrari around a racetrack outside Milan. Back in the city, go exploring on a bike or Segway tour—you’ll cover more ground than you would by walking but still enjoy being outside to see sights such as Castello Sforzesco, Piazza della Scala, Piazza del Duomo, and Colonne di San Lorenzo. End the day with a cooking lesson, during which you’ll learn how to make Italian cuisine with a local chef and then enjoy your creations for dinner. Alternatively, opt for a more relaxing experience with an evening spa treatment that includes pre-dinner snacks and wine, known in Italy as aperitivo.
Milan offers proximity to some of northern Italy’s top destinations, which can be reached on a day trip from the city. Mountain lovers can head north for a train ride through the Swiss Alps on the Bernina Express, stopping in the resort town of St. Moritz. Closer to the city, discover the beauty and elegance of Lake Como on a tour that includes a boat ride on the lake, or head to the Italian Riviera on a day trip to Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage–listed series of five villages perched on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. To the east, visit the canal city of Venice to see sights such as St. Mark’s Basilica.