Unique Day Trips from Milan

Italy is a place full of history, art, and culture. It’s no wonder that so many people flock to this country every year. If you’re visiting Milan, there are plenty of great day trips that you can take to make the most of your time in Italy.

We’ll share some of our favorite day trips from Milan. Whether you’re looking to explore a nearby city or village, or just want to enjoy some beautiful Italian scenery, we’ve got you covered. So grab your map and get ready for some adventure!

Lake Como

Lake Como, one of the most stunning lakes in the world and just an hour away from Milan, is an ideal destination for a day trip! Whether you’re looking for a relaxing lake cruise to views some of Europe’s most gorgeous lake villas or exquisite cuisine from chic lake-side towns, Lake Como has it all.

Take a boat cruise on the lake or rent a boat. Be sure to visit Bellagio to see the stunning 18th-century buildings and scenic lake promenade. Then move on to Mennagio or Varenna for ancient cobbled streets and delicious seafood restaurants.

The Best Things to do in Lake Como Italy

You can take the train from Milan Central station to Como in just 40 minutes, or you can take the train to Varenna in about an hour, and take the ferry to Bellagio from there. Be sure to keep an eye on ferry schedules. You don’t want to miss the boat. This is one of the best short day trips from Milan.

If you don’t want to worry about getting yourself to Lake Como, you can always take a guided tour from Milan.

The Bernina Express

If you’re looking for a truly spectacular scenic train journey through the northern Italy countryside and into Switzerland and the Swiss Alps, the Bernina Express is the perfect choice. Taking a ride on the Bernina Express is an experience like no other.

This iconic train journey starts in Milan and winds its way through some of Northern Italy’s most stunning landscapes, including the majestic Dolomites mountain range. Onboard, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and pristine lakes as you make your way up to 2,253 meters above sea level – a truly breathtaking sight!

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just want to take in some incredible scenery during your next trip to Italy, this is one journey that shouldn’t be missed. This is one of my favorite day trips from Milan by train. You can book the Bernina Express tour here.


If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Milan for a day, why not take a trip to Venice? It’s a straightforward journey on the train from Milan to Venice for about two hours. Once you finally reach Venice, get ready for a stunning display of canals, picturesque narrow alleys, waterways and piazzas, as well as some truly breathtaking architecture.

There’s something special about visiting this city built on the water, so hop on a gondola or vaporetto to make your way around the city – it’ll be an experience you won’t forget! And while there take plenty of photos to remember your journey! Since your Venice day trip from Milan is so short, I recommend taking a walking tour or a boat tour to really maximize your time in Venice. Or take a guided tour and skip the logistics.

Lugano, Switzerland

Day trips from Milan to Switzerland are quite common, since the city is so close to the Swiss border. And it’s always fun to pop into another country when possible.

Lugano is just a quick 1 hour 15-minute train ride away from Milan and offers stunning natural beauty. There are plenty of activities to enjoy here, from hiking up Monte San Salvatore to exploring downtown Lugano. Or just relax at one of the many cafes or restaurants along the waterfront and take in the breathtaking views.

In addition to its gorgeous scenery, Lugano is a cultural haven with something for everyone. The city hosts several festivals throughout the year including the Mozart Festival in May and JazzAscona in June.

Plus, there are plenty of museums, galleries, churches and monuments to explore as well. Don’t miss out on visiting the Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli or touring Palazzo dei Congressi for some unique insight into Lugano’s history and culture.

Despite being in Switzerland, you’ll hear most people speaking Italian in this region of Switzerland. You can make your trip easier by booking a tour to Lugano.


If you’re looking for more incredible food and Italian culture outside of Milan, hop on the train for 2 hours and head to Florence. Once you’re there you can explore one of the city’s many museums, walk along the River Arno and cross the Ponte Vecchio, shop for leather, take a food tour, Climb the Duomo, and experience all Florence has to offer.

Florence with Kids

Grab a gelato and head to Boboli Gardens to enjoy some green space. Walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoy the incredible views of the city. Or book this guided tour and let the pros do the work for you!


The charming town of Verona is another easy day trip from Milan. Located in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, this beautiful city is known for its rich history and culture, making it a perfect destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience.

Romeo and Juliet balcony in Verona, Italy

Explore the ancient Roman ruins, take in breathtaking views of the Adige River, and visit Juliet’s house and balcony. Plus, with convenient train services running between Milan and Verona Porta Nuova station, it’s easy to make your way back and forth in just one day! The train ride should take less than two hours or you can book a guided tour to Verona.

Lake Garda & Malcesine

The beautiful Lake Garda is a great Milan day trip. Located in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy, this majestic lake is known for its lush greenery and breathtaking views. It’s also the largest lake in Italy. There are so many colorful villages along the shores of Lake Garda.

Our personal favorite it Malcesine, a beautiful old town with a castle and great shops. With convenient train services running between Milan and Desenzano del Garda station, it takes just under two hours to get to Lake Garda. Malcesine is just north of Garda. You can rent a boat on the lake or take a boat trip in a ferry across the lake. Or you can book this Verona and Lake Garda day trip tour.


Just a short train ride away from Milan lies the beautiful city of Cremona. This charming Italian city is known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning architecture. From exploring ancient churches to admiring the works of renowned violin makers such as Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri.

Cremona is world-famous for its violins and has been nicknamed “the City of Violins”! You can visit the Violin museum and even purchase a violin if you like. Shopping for authentic instruments here is an experience unlike any other; each violin shop boasts an impressive selection of handcrafted instruments made by skilled artisans using traditional techniques. You can also book this tour that will take you to the museum and violin shops.

Cinque Terre

If you’re looking for a day trip filled with stunning views and unforgettable experiences on the Italian Riviera, then look no further than day trips from Milan to Cinque Terre. Located on Italy’s western coast on the Ligurian coast, this picturesque strip of five villages is connected by an iconic coastal walking trail that offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

From swimming in crystal-clear waters to exploring colorful streets lined with charming restaurants and shops – there’s something for everyone here! Plus, with the convenient train service between Milan and La Spezia Centrale Station. This UNESCO world heritage site is a great day trip, but will require about 3 hours of driving or on the train there and back. So take that into consideration. Or you can book this tour to make things easy.


Have you ever wanted to explore history beyond the history books? If so, Bergamo is definitely the place for you! This charming medieval city has roots that stretch back to prehistoric times, and it is no surprise that there are plenty of history and culture to immerse yourself in.

Take an organized tour around some of the well-preserved monuments, learn about its impressive architecture or soak in the local culture. You could even pop into a museum or two to discover more about this incredible destination! So if history is your thing, Bergamo has you covered – trust us, you won’t be disappointed!


When you think of Pavia, the first thing that should come to mind is its illustrious university – one of the oldest in Europe! However, this ancient city has far more to offer than just its educational institutions. Here, the quaint old buildings beg to be explored and admired.

Meander through cobblestone streets lined with palazzos and basilicas truly awe-inspiring works of art. Home to several bridges as well, some reaching almost a millennia in age, a stroll around town is bound to give you an appreciation for Italian history and culture. Pavia is a unique and fantastic day trip and you can book a tour too.


Looking for the best food in Italy? Known as one of the food capitals of Italy, Bologna is a university town offering up more than just knowledge – it’s got food galore! From its tortellini and tagliatelle to its famed mortadella, there’s something special for foodies to discover.

Cheese, balsamic vinegar, and cured meats have put Bologna on the map for food travelers, along with some of the best gelato you’ll find anywhere in the world. Spend a day on a food tour ticking off all the local favorites or simply follow your nose down winding alleys in search of new foodie finds. This charming has so much to offer, even for just one day.


Welcome to Parma, the Italian city known for its world-famous Prosciutto di Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. But that’s not all this remarkable city has to offer. While in Parma, you don’t want to miss a chance to explore its rich Renaissance history.

From stunning architecture like the Baptistery of Parma or Palazzo della Pilotta, to fascinating museum exhibitions featuring works by artists like Correggio and Parmigianino – there’s plenty of culture waiting to be discovered around every corner! So when in Parma, do as the Parmesans do, and explore it all!

Lake Maggiore

If you’re looking for an unforgettable day trip from Milan, then look no further than Lake Maggiore. Located in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy, this stunning lake is known for its gorgeous lake views and adorable villages, making it a perfect destination for travelers seeking a peaceful getaway for the day from Milan.

Isola Bella is located in the middle of Lake Maggiore you can get with liners or private just 5 minutes off the town of Stresa. The island owes its fame to the Borromeo family who built a magnificent palace with a beautiful garden.

And with convenient train services running between Milan and Stresa station on the shores of Lake Maggiore, it’s easy to make your way back and forth in just one day! Or book a tour to Lake Maggiore and the Stresa Alps.

Genoa & Portofino

For a unique and unforgettable day trip from Milan, why not explore the stunning coastal cities of Genoa and Portofino? Located in the Liguria region of Italy, these two beautiful cities offer travelers an array of activities to enjoy, from exploring cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings to lounging on pristine beaches.

Plus, with convenient train services running between Milan and Genoa’s Brignole Station – you can get there in just under 3 hours! From there, it’s only a short bus or ferry ride to reach beautiful port city of Portofino where you can take part in various water sports such as kayaking or sailing. You can also take a guided tour to Genova and Portofino.

Interlaken & The Swiss Alps

Take a day trip from Milan to Interlaken and the Swiss Alps for an unforgettable experience! From Milan, you can easily take the train or bus to Interlaken, which is located in the heart of Switzerland’s majestic mountain range.

Once there, you’ll be surrounded by some of Europe’s most breathtaking scenery – including snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and pristine lakes. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush with activities such as paragliding or rafting or just want to relax and enjoy some incredible views – this is one destination that should not be missed!

Mont Blanc

Leave the glitz of the city behind and head to Mount Blanc or Monte Bianco in Italian. You can ride the cable car to the summit at Helbronner peak and take in the spectacular views of the Swiss, French, and Italian Alps.

On your way, stop in the picturesque town of Courmayeur. It’s about a 3 hour drive from Milan, but worth the journey for the views. This might not be one of the best day trips from Milan in winter as the Skywalk might be closed. If you’re not renting a car, you can book this tour to Monte Bianco.

Cave Paintings in Val Camonica

If you’re looking for a truly unique day trip from Milan, explore the cave paintings in Val Camonica. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the ancient rock drawings of the Camonica Valley on a full-day excursion with a private guide.

Head to Valcamonica, in Italy’s Naquane Park, to observe the 10,000-year-old drawing, the largest concentration in Europe. Then, take a tour of the village of Bienno which has a strong Roman and medieval influence. For lovers of ancient history, this is the perfect Milan day trip.

Skiing in the Alps – Madesimo

If you’re looking for day trips from Milan in winter and you love skiing, this is the trip for you. This small group tour includes a private driver from Milan to Madesimo where you can either enjoy the slopes on your own, or take a two hour private ski lesson with a professional ski instructor.

This is a really unique day trip from Milan, so if you’re there in winter, I highly recommend taking advantage of the beautiful mountains surrounding Milan.

FAQs About Day trips from Milan

How many days in Milan is enough?

It really depends on what you plan to do during your trip. Generally speaking, a few days in Milan should be enough to explore the main attractions as well as experience some of the city’s unique flavor and culture. However, if you would like to see nearby sights such as Lake Como, Bergamo, or Parma or indulge in activities such as shopping, wine-tasting, or enjoying live music performances – then more time may be necessary. Ultimately, it comes down to how much time you have available and what kind of experience you are planning for yourself! I would personally stay in Milan for 2 days and spend the rest of your time taking day trips from Milan.

Can you go to Lake Como for a day from Milan?

Yes, absolutely! From Milan, you can easily go to Lake Como for a day trip. Depending on what your plans are, there are a variety of options available including train rides, private car services or even bus trips from the city center. Once there, you can explore the lake’s charming villages and stunning scenery by boat or on foot. It will take you about an hour to get from Milan to Varenna on Lake Como, and then you can take a ferry ride from there to Bellagio or anywhere else on the lake.

Can you do a day trip to Switzerland from Milan?

Yes, you can do a day trip to Switzerland from Milan. Traveling by train is the recommended option as you can reach Lugano in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You can also take the train to Geneva, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the train ride is 4 hours long. For a day trip, it’s best to plan your itinerary ahead of time so that you’ll have enough time to explore all the sights and attractions of whichever Swiss city you choose.

What is the closest Swiss city to Milan?

Lugano is the closest city to Milan that is easily accessible by train. You can take a direct train from Milan to Lugano, Switzerland in about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What are the closest mountains to Milan?

Once you’re in Milan, you’re not far from the Dolomites mountains to the north. These magnificent peaks deserve a whole trip of their own, but if you can only manage a day trip, it’s definitely worth it.

All in all, it’s easy to see why Northern Italy is a go-to destination for so many travelers. From Lake Como’s stunning views, to the rich history of Bergamo, Pavia and Bologna, to the delicious food of Parma, there really is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or an exciting adventure – with the right plans and a bit of preparation – Northern Italy has got you covered! So what are you waiting for? Grab your passport and get ready to explore some of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Who knows – maybe you’ll end up having the trip of a lifetime. Happy travels!

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  1. Pingback: Incredible Day Trips from Lake Como, Italy | i Heart Italy

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