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Milan is a great city. With an extremely rich cultural history, world-class fashion scene and delicious culinary treats. If you’re staying in Milan for a few days, however, you might need a break from the city and the Milanese hustle and bustle. Perhaps you simply want to explore the beautiful sights in the surrounding area and check out a new town. You can thank Milan for its great geographical location, there are tons of day trip-accessible options.
Personally, we recommend limiting day trips to less than two to three hours in travel time overall. This will allow you to spend more time exploring and less time in transit. From Milan, that will get you to a number of places, including the beautiful Lake Como.
We’ve picked three of our favorite day trip destinations from Milan along with recommendations on things to do and places to eat. We’ve also added some bonus tips to make sure you fully enjoy your travels!
Best tips for a day trip outside of Milan
Rent a car
There are a lot of great towns and day trips accessible from Milan via train or bus. We do, however, recommend renting a car if you can. This will give you more flexibility. It will also allow you to change plans, should you want to, or spend more time in a specific area. If you only have one day, best to make the most of every minute!
Choose your travel day wisely
Depending on your travel dates, we recommend avoiding the weekend for your day trips. You’ll run into bigger crowds and have to navigate horrible weekend rush-hour traffic. Museums and restaurants also tend to be closed on Mondays, so try and avoid this day too, if possible. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are our favorite days for an escapade outside of Milan.
Sightseeing, adventure or relaxation?
After a few days exploring Milan, you might be in the mood to relax. Perhaps you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore some of the unique Italian countryside. Or, you might be loving all of the history and want to continue seeing as many monuments as possible! Before landing on your day trip destination, we recommend choosing what kind of vibe or ambiance you’re looking for and use that to decide on the destination.
What is there to see in Lake Como?
The stunning Lake Como has long attracted celebrities from around the globe. The region is not just luxury hotels and gourmet dining, though. It’s also packed with architectural gems and a rich history. A short drive from Milan, the massive lake has multiple towns worth visiting. For a day trip, we recommend either Como or Bellagio. Como is one of the biggest towns on the lake and has an impressive cathedral, or Duomo, as well as many other historical monuments. Bellagio is a bit smaller and has a more relaxed vibe. This picturesque villages is a great choice if you’re looking for a relaxing day.
Recommended activities in Lake Como
What is there to see in Bergamo?
Bergamo, a city located in eastern Lombardy, offers a wealth of medieval Renaissance architecture, breathtaking views and fine dining. The city’s defining feature is that it’s split in two. The ancient hilltop Città Alto, or Upper Town, is a jumble of medieval streets surrounded by 5 kilometers of Venetian Walls. It watches over the more modern Città Bassa, or Lower Town. Not only is Bergamo a beautiful city, it’s unique double-identity lets you explore two very different settings in just one day.
Recommended activities in Bergamo
What is there to see in Cinque Terre?
The Italian Riviera is full of romantic, seaside towns and villages and probably conjures up images of beautiful sandy beaches in your mind. However, nothing compares to the five fishing villages that make up Cinque Terre. Though no longer the isolated hamlets they once were, these ancient villages are definitely old world Italy. Enjoy the remote authenticity, perfectly preserved architecture and stunning mountain trails. You won’t have time to visit all five villages during a day trip, but you’ll definitely be able to get a feel for the area and experience the unique vibe that is Cinque Terre.
Recommended activities in Cinque Terre
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