A full itinerary for one day in Milan (+ map with all attractions and how to skip the lines at the Duomo and the Last Supper).
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 home to 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 one of my favourites.
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.
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 find a map of this Milan itinerary (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites) at the end of the blog post.
Already have a hotel booked?
See whether your hotel is in a good area in the article where to stay in Milan.
One day in Milan (the perfect itinerary)
- Start the day with breakfast at Panini Durini
- Visit the iconic Milan Cathedral
- Marvel at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
- Explore the Sforza Castle
- Sempione Park and Arco della Pace
- See the world-famous Last Supper
- Visit Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
- Sunset stroll in Navigli
- Finish your one day in Milan with Italian pasta and wine
For my trip to Milan, I used this DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. I love their travel guides, as they have practical information, walking tours and a durable map!
Breakfast at Panini Durini or Princi
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.
The pistachio croissants at Panini Durini were heavenly.
Visit the iconic 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.
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).
Marvel at 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 depiction 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.
Explore the 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.
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.
If you look for more lavishing lunch, go to Hosteria Della Musica.
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.
See the world-famous 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 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, there is one option left – to book any of the numerous Last Supper guided tours.
Visit 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.
In the crypt, you can see the tomb of Emperor Louis II and the remains of three saints in glass coffins.
Sunset stroll in Navigli
There is one place to go at dusk and enjoy a sunset stroll along the canal – the Navigli area. It’s also the perfect spot if you look for aperitivo bars.
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.
More ideas for your one day in Milan
If you have some additional time (or want to make any modifications to this Milan itinerary), check out the attractions below.
Tour 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 a €1 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.
Admire the art at Pinacoteca di Brera
If you’re an art lover, include Pinacoteca di Brera in your itinerary. The museum features priceless masterpieces of 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).
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.
See the 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.
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.
San Siro Stadium
If you love football, San Siro Stadium is a must-see. This is the largest football stadium in Italy, home to 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.
Visit 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.
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).
Getting around in Milan
Find a detailed map of the itinerary here.
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
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.
If you’re planning to travel by train through Italy, book tickets in advance (they are cheaper if you buy earlier). Check timetables and book train tickets online at Trenitalia official website.
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).
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 recommend this airport transfer (more than 2,360+ excellent reviews).
- Malpensa Airport is located about 50km from the city centre. 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.
Day trips from 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 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.
How to get to Lake Como
- 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 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.
Most popular Italian cities
If you’re planning a trip around Italy add to your itinerary Rome, Venice and Florence.
Rome is the capital of Italy and one of its most visited cities. It’s a little far away for a day trip (about 3 hours by train). So, it’s best to add it as a next stop in your Italian itinerary.
Venice is one of the most scenic cities in Italy. Built on more than 100 small islands, it’s all surrounded by water.
Find all you need to know in my in-depth guide to how to spend 3 days in Venice (including how to skip the lines and transportation tips).
Booking a central hotel is very important because water buses are the only way of transportation allowed in Venice. Take a look at my guide to the best location to stay in Venice (including hotel recommendations).
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and the birthplace of the Renaissance. It’s located about 2 hours by train from Milan.
Although it’s possible to see the city on a day trip, I’d recommend spending 2-3 days in Florence (check out my perfect Florence itinerary). The capital of Tuscany is a heaven for every art and architecture lover.
Check out my guide to where to stay in Florence for the best areas and hotels.
How many days in Milan
Is one day in Milan enough?
If you have one full day in Milan, you’d able to see the city’s highlights including the Duomo, Sforza Castle and the Last Supper. However, my advice is to book in advance tickets for the most popular attractions and not to lose time waiting in lines.
1 or 2 days in Milan?
If you’re not into museums, 1 day is completely enough. Yet, for all art lovers, I’d recommend spending 2 days in Milan (if it’s possible). Visit Pinacoteca di Brera and Bagatti Valsecchi Museum (a historic private palace turned into an art gallery). Also, don’t miss San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, known as the Sistine Chapel of Milan.
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.
Practical information about Milan
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!
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.
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).
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.
|I’m a full-time travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. I love to travel and to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.|