How to Visit Milan in One Day (And Skip All the Lines)

one day in milan itinerary

This one day in Milan itinerary will help you discover the city in just a day (including how to skip the lines at the Duomo and the Last Supper).

one day in milan itinerary

Milan is the capital of Lombardy. It’s a lovely region in Northern Italy that shares a border with Switzerland to the north. The area is also a home of the beautiful lakes Como and Maggiore.

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.

Before visiting the city, I associated it 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.

One day in Milan itinerary

How to see Milan in a day? Is it possible to skip the lines at the Duomo and the Last Supper? Find all the answers in this Milan one day itinerary. You can see a detailed map of the itinerary here.

To explore the city with a guide, this walking tour is the best option. What I like about the tour is that it includes a skip-the-line entrance for the Last Supper.

What to see in Milan in one day

  • Milan Cathedral
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Sforza Castle
  • Sempione Park and Arco della Pace
  • The Last Supper
  • Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
  • Navigli

If you’re still looking for accommodation, check out the hotels below. They are perfectly located in the Historic Centre near the Duomo, within a walkable distance to attractions and restaurants.

Rosa Grand Milano – Best for families

Spotlessly clean hotel within a short walk to the Duomo.


The Square Milano Duomo – Best for couples

A boutique hotel, just a few steps away from the Duomo Cathedral.


Apartments San Sepolcro Duomo – Apartments

Spacious boutique apartments in the historic centre with excellent facilities.


Already have a hotel booked?
See whether your hotel is in a good area in the article where to stay in Milan.

Morning – Tour the Duomo

Breakfast

08:00 AM – 09:00 AM
Start your 1 day in Milan, Italy with breakfast at Panini Durini or Princi. Both places offer tasty coffee and mount-watering pastries and sandwiches.

Princi

The pistachio croissants at Panini Durini were heavenly.

Panini Durini

Milan Cathedral

09:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Duomo di Milano 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.

As it’s the number one place to visit in Milan, the lines are always long (even in the low season). So, it’s best to buy tickets for Duomo in advance.

You can climb to the Duomo terraces for some outstanding panoramic views of the city. It’s possible to access the terraces by foot or by lift. There is a fee to visit both the cathedral and its rooftop.

Another option to skip the lines is by taking a guided tour of the Duomo (the tour includes also the terraces).

Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral Crypt

Milan Cathedral rooftop

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.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

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.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Sforza Castle

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Castello Sforzesco 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.

Sforza Castle

Lunch

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.

La Prosciutteria

If you look for more lavishing lunch, go to Hosteria Della Musica.

What else to see in Milan in the morning

If you have more time in the morning (or want to skip any site of the itinerary), check out the attractions below. All of them are close to Duomo, so you can easily add them to your Milan itinerary.

Teatro alla Scala

Teatro alla Scala is one of the most famous theatres in the world. Don’t be misled by the exterior, it’s really impressive inside. You can take a guided tour of Teatro alla Scala or visit it on your own (see more info).

Take a Segway tour

Take a Segway tour of Milan to discover the city in an exciting way. Groups are small, there is a live tour guide and you’ll see the most important sites, including the Duomo, Castello Sforzesco, and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II.

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.

San Bernardino alle Ossa

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.

Santa Maria presso San Satiro

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. You can book tickets for Pinacoteca di Brera in advance.

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum

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 (after 01:00 PM).

Bagatti Valsecchi Museum

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.

Arco della Pace

The Last Supper

03:15 PM – 04:00 PM
The Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano) 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 two options left. The first is to check for available tickets on Tiqets.com.

If there aren’t any left – choose any of the numerous Last Supper guided tours.

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 in this place is from the 4th century AD. The current Romanesque church is from the 11th century.

Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio

In the crypt, you can see the tomb of Emperor Louis II and the remains of three saints in glass coffins.

Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio

Navigli

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 aperitivo bars.

Navigli at sunset

Dinner

To finish properly your 1 day in Milan, have 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.

Find more awesome places for lunch and dinner in my guide Where to eat in Milan (including the 5 must eat foods and where to try the best gelato).

De Pasajo Dal Marchigiano

What else to see in Milan in the afternoon

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.

San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore

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.

Street art around Porta Ticinese

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.

If you’re interested in the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, visit also the interactive museum the World of Leonardo. Its exhibits include more than 200 interactive 3D machines by Leonardo da Vinci.

If you have more than one day in Milan

If you have more than a day, check out these ideas. The sites are located outside the Historic Centre, so you’ll need a little more time to see them.

San Siro Stadium

If you love football, San Siro Stadium is a must-see. This is the largest football stadium in Italy, home of AC and Inter Milan. Buy your  San Siro Stadium tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line.

During your visit, you’ll see areas usually off-limits (like the mixed zone and the changing rooms). You’ll even have the chance to walk through the Tunnel of Champions.

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.

Crazy Cat Café

Cimitero Monumentale

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.

Cimitero Monumentale

Must buy tickets in advance

Duomo di Milano – one of the must-see attractions with long queues. My trip was in November and there were queues even before the opening time. You can book online your ticket to Duomo and skip all the lines.

The Last Supper – to see the Last Supper you have to buy tickets a few months ahead (especially in the high season). First, check the official site. If there aren’t any left, check for available tickets here.

Most popular tours




Booking.com


Best time to visit Milan

Spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) is the best time to visit the city. In this way, you’ll avoid the high season (May – September) and the sweltering temperatures in the summers.

Also, before booking your flight tickets, check for events such as the Fashion Week or Furniture Fair. And if possible choose different dates for your city break. The hotels in these periods are 2-3 times more expensive, plus it will be more difficult to find a place.

If you’re planning to visit the city in December don’t miss the Christmas markets around the Duomo and Sforza Castle.

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.

I used this DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to prepare for my trip to Milan. I love their travel guides, as they have practical information, walking tours and a durable map!

Getting around in Milan

The city has a great network of public transportation options. And they all use one and the same ticket, which is very convenient.

Yet, if you stay right in the Historic Centre, you won’t need any public transport. The city centre is compact and walkable. However, you’ll probably need to use public transport to get to the Central train station (to take a train or a shuttle bus to the airport).

The most convenient transportation for me is the metro. 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.

How to get to Milan

By train

Milan is easily accessible by train from any major Italian (or European) city. The Central train station is about 2km away from the Historic Centre. Yet, you easily get to the centre by using the metro. Check timetables and book tickets online at Trenitalia official site.

By car

If you’re arriving by car, it’s best to choose accommodation with available parking. The Historic Centre is a limited traffic area and you won’t find free parking (find more info about parking here).

If you consider renting a car, check out Sixt Car Rental. They are very popular in Europe and offer the lowest rates.

Milan airports

There are two international airports in Milan: Milan–Malpensa Airport (MXP) and Orio al Serio (Milan Bergamo) International Airport (BGY).

  • The easiest way to get to the city centre is by booking a private transfer directly to your hotel. I love Welcome Pickups because they are always on time and very helpful.
  • Malpensa Airport is located about 50km from the city centre. The to get to the Central train station from the airport use any of the numerous shuttle buses. There is no need to book tickets in advance.
  • Orio al Serio International Airport is situated in the city of Bergamo, about 60km from Milan. You can get there by using a shuttle bus.

Is Milan worth visiting after all

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 attracts visitors from all over the world. No matter if you’re looking for astonishing architecture or delicious Italian food, this is the place to go.

Milan Cathedral

Cities to combine with Milan

If you have a few more days in Milan and want to explore Italy, check out these ideas.

Serravalle Designer Outlet

If you’re visiting Milan for shopping, then Serravalle Designer Outlet is a must. It’s one of the largest shopping malls in Europe. There are more than 170 high-end stores to choose from. You can reach it by car or a shuttle bus.


Lake Como

Lake Como is the most popular lakeside resort in Italy. It is famous for its fantastic Mediterranean and Alpine scenery. It’s a great option for a day trip.

You can reach it by car or train. Take a train from Milan Centrale or Porta Garibaldi to Como S. Giovanni station (from there it’s just 10 minutes walk to the lake).

You can also take a guided day tour, that includes a cruise to Bellagio Island and a guided tour of the city of Como. This day trip to Lake Como is the best rated.

St. Moritz

St. Moritz is a popular mountain resort in Switzerland. You can take an organized day trip, that includes a ride on the Bernina Express. This is one of the most scenic railway routes in Switzerland.


Rome

Rome is the capital city of Italy and one of its most visited cities. It’s a little far away for a day trip (about 3 hours by train). Yet, if you have a week to spend in Italy, don’t miss it.

To see the best of the city follow my Rome itinerary. Also, check out what is the best area to stay in Rome.

Practical information about Milan

Visas

Italy is a part of the Schengen Agreement (the European border-free area). So you don’t need an Italian visa, but rather a Schengen visa. If your country is part of the Schengen Agreement, you’ll need only a valid passport or ID card.

You can check at iVisa if you need a visa and what type exactly. What I loved about iVisa is that they offer an easy and fast process to obtain a visa online. The application takes no more than 5 minutes!

Money

The official currency of Italy is the Euro. Visa and Mastercard are accepted almost everywhere, so you won’t need much cash. American Express is accepted only in major stores.

Language

The official language is Italian. Yet, most of the people speak good English, too. If you want to learn some Italian, check out this Italian phrasebook (it’s one of the best rated).

Travel adapters

Italy operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. The associated plug types are C, F and L.
If you’re from the US, this is the only travel adaptor that you’ll need.
If you’re from the UK, this is the best-rated travel adaptor.


How would you spend a weekend in Milan?
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one day in Milan milan itinerary


About the author
Avatar Milena Yordanova
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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2 Replies to “How to Visit Milan in One Day (And Skip All the Lines)”

  1. We were very happy that we booked our tickets for Duomo in advance. The access was fast, there was no need to wait in the huge line at the entrance!

    1. Hi Ina,
      Totally agree with you! I was happy that we booked in advance, too. The lines were outrageous.

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