One day in Milan – the perfect itinerary to see the best of the city in 24 hours.
Before visiting Milan, I associated the city only with business and shopping. I thought that the only interesting thing to see there is the cathedral. However, I couldn’t be more wrong. The city surprised me with its beauty and I just fell in love with it.
Milan is a city bursting with stunning architecture, rich history and mouth-watering food. I’ve been to many places in Italy, but when it comes to incredible food, this is my favourite amongst all.
Milan is the capital of Lombardy, a region in Northern Italy. Lombardy shares a border with Switzerland to the north. The area is also a home of the beautiful lakes Como and Maggiore.
Is Milan worth visiting
Is Milan worth a visit? Totally!
The city is so much more than just a fashion capital. The famous mural painting the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci and the gorgeous cathedral attract visitors from all over the world. No matter if you’re looking for astonishing architecture or delicious Italian food, Milan is the place to go.
How many days in Milan is enough
From 1 to 2 days.
All of the must-see attractions are located within a walking distance from each other. Thus, you can easily see the highlights of the city for one day. However to explore the museums and enjoy more the tasty Milanese food, add one or two more days to your Milan itinerary.
As a huge museum lover, I spent 3 full days in Milan. My itinerary was a leisure one and I even had a spare time for some shopping. I really loved the city and especially the food. I included in this Milan travel itinerary some of the best restaurants and cafes that I visited during my trip.
As it was the beginning of November, I decided not to take any day trips to the famous lakes Como and Maggiore. I spent most of the time immersed in the cultural and spiritual life of the city.
Mid-ranged – Room Mate Giulia – a perfect location, just a few steps away from the cathedral.
9.3/10 Rating – See hotel images and 2,930+ guest reviews
Luxury option – Park Hyatt Milano – the best 5-star hotel near the Duomo – just 230m away.
9.0/10 Rating – See hotel images and 410+ guest reviews
Apartment – Aparthotel Duomo – luxurious independent suites in the historic centre with a view of the Duomo.
9.4/10 Rating – See apartment images and 270+ guest reviews
Check out more awesome places in where to stay in Milan.
One day in Milan itinerary
How to see Milan in a day? What are the best things to do? Find all the answers in this Milan one day itinerary.
Morning – Tour the Duomo
08:00 AM – 09:00 AM
Start your 1 day in Milan, Italy with a breakfast at Panini Durini or Princi. Both places offer tasty coffee and mount-watering pastries and sandwiches.
The pistachio croissants at Panini Durini were heavenly.
To try more delightful Italian food such as artisan beer and authentic gelato, take this food walking tour.
Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)
09:00 AM – 10:15 AM
The cathedral is one of the must-see attractions. Located in the beating heart of the city, this marvellous building took six centuries to complete. Its façade was finished in 1805, shortly before Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy at the cathedral.
You can climb to the Duomo terrace for some outstanding panoramic views of the city. You can access the terrace by foot or by lift. There is a fee to visit both the cathedral and its rooftop.
It is advisable to buy a ticket for the Duomo in advance. As it’s the number one place to visit in Milan, the waiting lines are huge.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
10:15 AM – 10:45 AM
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a magnificent glass shopping arcade right next to the cathedral. The first king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, commissioned the arcade in the 19th century.
The two glass covered walkways meet at an octagonal central piazza. On the ground, you’ll find a depict of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy. It is said that if you spin three times around on a heel on the genitals of the bull, this will bring you good luck.
Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco)
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
The castle served as the main residence of the Visconti Family, a noble dynasty that ruled Milan from 1277 to 1447. Lord Galeazzo II Visconti commissioned the initial building in the 14th century. At that time the castle was known as Castello di Porta Giovia.
Later Francesco I Sforza, the founder of the Sforza dynasty, renamed the castle. Francesco I ruled the city as the fourth Duke of Milan from 1450 until his death.
Nowadays, the castle houses several museums plus an unfinished sculpture of Michelangelo, Pietà Rondanini. It was his last work before his death at age 89. You can visit the museums by paying a small fee.
The castle grounds are free to stroll.
12:30 PM – 02:30 PM
Stop for a lunch at La Prosciutteria or Hosteria Della Musica. For some salami, cheese and wine choose La Prosciutteria. To find out more about the wines from the Lombardy region, take this wine tasting tour.
If you look for more lavishing lunch, go to Hosteria Della Musica.
Afternoon – See the Last Supper
Sempione Park and Arco della Pace
02:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Make your way through the beautiful Sempione Park till you reach the gorgeous Arco della Pace. This triumphal arch was built during the short reign of Napoleon I in the 19th century.
Cenacolo Vinciano (The Last Supper)
03:15 PM – 04:00 PM
The Last Supper is a must see even if you have only one day in Milan, Italy. This 15th-century mural painting is one of the most famous works of Leonardo da Vinci.
To see the Last Supper, you have to buy tickets in advance in any case. And you have to buy it as soon as you possible (even in the low season). The tickets are out for sale 2-3 months in advance and they sell out quickly. Every visit is restricted to only 15 minutes.
If there aren’t tickets left, you have one option – take any of the numerous Milan tours that include the Last Supper, too.
Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
04:15 PM – 05:00 PM
Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest churches in the city. The first building on this place is from the 4th century AD. The current Romanesque church is from the 11th century.
In the crypt, you can see the tomb of Emperor Louis II and the remains of three saints in glass coffins.
There is one place to go at dusk and enjoy a sunset stroll along the canal – Navigli area. It’s also the perfect spot if you look for aperitif bars.
To learn about the Leonardo da Vinci’s links to the area and try some awesome food, take this Navigli Canal evening walking tour.
To finish properly your 1 day in Milan, have a dinner at De Pasajo Dal Marchigiano or Osteria Delbinari.
De Pasajo Dal Marchigiano is my all time favourite restaurant. They serve one of the best pasta in the city. I can’t wait to return to Milan and try again their heavenly meals.
More things to do in Milan in one day
Explore the city in a more exciting way
Bagatti Valsecchi Museum (Museo Bagatti Valsecchi)
Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is an art gallery housed in the historic home of the Bagatti Valsecchi Family. The art collection is from the 15th-16th century. It’s a unique and lavishing museum, that’s not to be missed. This was one of the highlights of my trip.
The Bagatti Valsecchi Museum is open only in the afternoons.
Pinacoteca di Brera
If you’re an art lover, include Pinacoteca di Brera in your itinerary. The museum features priceless masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance art.
Crazy Cat Café
This cat cafe is a must for every cat lover. There are several cats and all of them are rescued European cats. And the food is lovely! However, be prepared for waiting lines outside the cafe.
Cimitero Monumentale opened in 1866 to consolidate a number of small cemeteries scattered around. I have visited many cemeteries, but this is one of the most impressive. This serene place is filled with massive mausoleums and spectacular tombs.
Street art around Porta Ticinese
While strolling around Porta Ticinese I found some awesome examples of street art. If you’re in the area don’t miss to check them out.
Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci
It’s a great technology museum filled with trains, automobiles, planes and even a submarine. Still, the most remarkable exhibition is the one with models of many of Da Vinci’s inventions.
San Bernardino alle Ossa
San Bernardino alle Ossa is a small medieval church mostly known for its ossuary. The bone chapel is a unique and fascinating place. Its walls are decorated with human bones and skulls.
There is no entrance fee, but 1 EUR donation is welcomed.
Santa Maria presso San Satiro
Santa Maria presso San Satiro is a beautiful church with an amazing optical illusion. Because of the restricted space, Bramante added depth with a trompe-l’oeil painting on the wall behind the altar.
San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
The church is often called the Sistine Chapel of Milan and there is a reason why. The walls are covered with absolutely stunning frescoes from the 16th century. It’s a must-see for lovers of religious paintings.
Most popular day trips from Milan
If you have a few more days in Milan and want to explore Italy, check out these great one day tours.
Serravalle Designer Outlet
If the shopping in Milan is not enough, visit the Serravalle Designer Outlet. It’s one of the largest shopping malls in Europe. There are more than 170 high-end stores to choose from.
Lake Como and Bellagio Island
Take a day trip to Lake Como, the most popular lakeside resort in Italy. The lake is famous for its fantastic Mediterranean and Alpine scenery.
Take a ride on the Bernina Express
Take a ride on the Bernina Express to St. Moritz, a popular mountain resort in Switzerland. This is one of the most scenic railway routes in Switzerland.
Venice – the city of bridges
Don’t miss to take a day trip to Venice, a city built on more than 100 small islands. Venice is known as the city of bridges and canals.
Cinque Terre – the most scenic coastline
Take a day trip to Cinque Terre, the most spectacular coastline in Italy. Visit the medieval colourful villages and enjoy breathtaking views of the sea.
Verona – the city of Romeo and Juliet
Take a day trip to Verona and Lake Garda, a summer resort of the ancient Romans. Visit the house of Juliet and see the famous balcony.
Genoa and Portofino
Explore the Italian Riviera by visiting the picturesque port towns of Genoa and Portofino.
Getting around Milan
You can easily reach every part of the city using the underground. There are different types of tickets. I used the Urban ticket, as I was mostly walking. It’s valid for a single journey, 90 minutes after stamping.
Find a detailed map of this 1-day itinerary here.
Find more self-guided walking tours and historical insights in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Milan & the Lakes.
Visitors often combine Milan with lakes Como and Maggiore. Check out the best hotels near Lake Como.
If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.
|I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.|
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