2 Days in Milan: The ULTIMATE Milan Itinerary ⋆ We Dream of Travel Blog

2 Days in Milan: The ULTIMATE Milan Itinerary

2 Days in Milan Blog Cover Graphic - Text overlaying and image of Piazza di Duomo Milan at dawn.

During the summer, I spent 2 days in Milan and it far exceeded my expectations; I absolutely fell in love with this charming, cosmopolitan city. I would even go as far as to say it’s one of my favourite European cities!

Tucked away in Italy’s northern Lombardy region, Milan is an economic powerhouse and global fashion capital. Shrouded in a rich history. Milan has been home for human settlers in some form for thousands of years, having once been the capital of Western Roman Europe.

Today, the city provides a harmonious mix of modern and traditional. The city is brimming with historical art and architecture, modern skyscrapers, high-end fashion, green spaces and mouthwatering Italian cuisine. All of these factors make for compelling reasons to add Milan to your Italy bucket list.

Well-connected globally, Milan is the perfect destination for a weekend break or short getaway. Whether you have one or two days in Milan (or even longer!), this 2 days in Milan itinerary will help you discover all the best things to do in this culture-rich city.

2 Days in Milan; The ULTIMATE Milan Itinerary

Milan is often considered one of the best places to visit in Northern Italy and with good reason… There’s plenty to do! With just 2 days in Milan, you don’t want to waste any time planning when you get there. Having a well-planned Milan itinerary before you go will help you maximise your time in this incredible city.

This Milan itinerary is designed so that you can cover most of the city’s top attractions on day one. Therefore, you can still use this itinerary even if you have only one day in Milan, with one notable exception. If your time in Milan is limited to only one day, you will likely want to include the visit to the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see The Last Supper.

If you’re fortunate enough to have three days in Milan or longer, I have included a list of other things to do in Milan which you can add to your itinerary. So whether you’re visiting Milan as part of a longer vacation, an epic Italy road trip or just flying in for the weekend, this itinerary is perfect for you!

Two Days in Milan Itinerary Map

I’m a sucker for a colour coded Google Map! I love saving and organising all the places I want to visit in order to plan the most efficient itinerary. So I thought I’d save you the work and provide you with mine!

All the places mentioned in this Milan two day itinerary are pinned and colour coded. Click on the image below to open the map in a new tab so you can get an understanding of the layout of the city as you read through this guide.

Map of 2 days in Milan Itinerary
A map of all the best things to do in Milan in 2 days.

Milan 2 Day Itinerary: Day 1

As previously mentioned, day 1 of this Milan itinerary will take you to all the top attractions. Therefore, one day in Milan is enough to visit all the best places.

Regardless of whether you have one or two days in Milan, I’d recommend getting a fairly early start each day as this travel itinerary has packed a lot in!

However, the total walk time for day one (if you were to go directly from one attraction to another) is approximately one hour. Therefore, even for those of you who like to sleep in and have a late start will be able to manage this Milan itinerary at a slightly faster pace.

A sun star appears as the sun rises behind Milan Cathedral.
Watching the sunrise behind Duomo di Milano.

Duomo di Milano

Your 2 day Milan itinerary will start with perhaps the most impressive part of the city; Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral). Towering over Piazza di Duomo (Cathedral Square) in the heart of the city, no visit to Milan would be complete without visiting this grand architectural feat.

Dating back to 1386, construction of this spectacular Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy and second largest in Europe, after St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Sunrise at Duomo di Milano; one of the best things to do during 2 days in Milan.
Sunrise at Duomo di Milano is a magical way to start your 2 days in Milan.

One of the best things to do in Milan (it was my absolute favourite!) is to visit the rooftop of Duomo di Milano. The rooftop terrace spans nearly the entire roof of the cathedral and provides incredible panoramic views over Milan. Furthermore, it allows a close up view of the incredible sculptures and ornate spires that adorn the rooftop. You will need to purchase a ticket to access the church and rooftop.

With your rooftop ticket you’ll also be able to access the inside of the cathedral. Take time to marvel at its decorative interior while you’re there. There is also an archaeological site and crypt below the Duomo. However, I wouldn’t recommend this unless it’s something you’re particularly interested in.

The stunning interior of Milan cathedral should be seen during 2 days in Milan
The stunning interior of Milan Cathedral.

Duomo is easily the most Instagrammable place in Milan. Arriving early at Piazza di Duomo will allow you to enjoy and photograph the front of the cathedral without the usual hordes of tourists. However, the rooftop doesn’t open until 9am. With this in mind, you may wish to take a wander, then return at 9am or wait until the afternoon to visit.

Sunrise at Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral).
Sunrise at Milan Cathedral.

Tickets for Duomo di Milano

Duomo cathedral is the most visited attraction in Milan and as a result, the lines for tickets can get very long. With this in mind, I’d recommend you book your tickets online in advance. There’s no need to print your tickets, you can scan display your ticket on your smartphone.

There are a few options for tickets depending on where you want access to, whether you want a fast track entrance, and whether you feel like tackling the 250 stairs to reach the rooftops, or prefer to take an elevator.

Pro tip: There is a strict dress code for entrance to the interior of the cathedral (not for the rooftop). Shoulders and knees must be covered. However, cover-ups are available and included in some tickets.

Details of the rooftop of Milan Cathedral
Rooftop of Duomo di Milano.
Fast Track Pass – €25

As the name suggests, the fast track pass will allow you quicker access to Duomo. The pass provides elevator entrance to the cathedral, rooftops, archaeological site, museum, exhibitions and church of San Gottardo. It doesn’t include access to the crypt.

The fast track access is perfect with only one or two days in Milan to avoid queues. However, it is more expensive.

Milan Cathedral and Rooftop via Stairs – €16

This option does not provide any fast track pass, but it does allow you to skip the ticket line. It also requires that you climb the 250 steps to the rooftops. Included is access to the cathedral, rooftops, archaeological site, museum, exhibitions and church of San Gottardo.

Rooftop Only Access via Stairs – €13

While you do have the option to purchase rooftop only access, you only save €3. I personally think it’s well worth paying extra to see the cathedral itself.

Milano Cathedral Tours

If you prefer, you can book an organised tour of the cathedral and rooftops, for which you have several options. Check each tour to compare to see what access is included. There are also options to include a tour of the Duomo as part of a bigger Milan tour.

Book your Milan tours here:

Piazza Mercanti

A few minutes stroll from Piazza di Duomo, you’ll find the picturesque Piazza Mercanti (Merchant’s Square). During the Middle Ages, Piazza Mercanti was the heart of the city and much larger than it is today. It still retains its medieval atmosphere today thanks to the historical buildings that surround it. Emerging in this charming square feels like being transported back in time!

Palazzo Giureconsulti in Piazza Mercanti Milan
The 16th century Palazzo Giureconsulti in Piazza Mercanti Milan.
Palazzo delle Scuole Palatine dates back to 1644 and served as the most prestigious higher school of medieval Milan.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Named after the first King of Italy, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is Italy’s oldest active shopping mall, dating back to 1865. Today, it is one of Milan’s major landmarks and a must-see in the city.

The building itself is breathtaking. Admire the unique roof and dome comprised of iron and glass, as well as the ornate mosaics adorning the building.

The entrance to Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II from Piazza di Duomo at dawn.
The entrance to Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II from Piazza di Duomo at dawn.

If you want to go shopping in Milan and aren’t budget-conscious, then the Galleria hosts numerous luxury stores and brands. However, if luxury shopping isn’t for you, it’s still absolutely worth taking time to stroll through this magnificent 4-storey arcade. It is also magical at night when the building is beautifully illuminated.

The magnificent Galleria houses many luxury shops.

Within the centre of Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II, you will find mosaics of the coat of arms of the three capitals of the Kingdom of Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome), as well as Milan’s. Look out for the legendary bull on Turin’s crest! It is believed that if you spin around three times with your heel on the testicles of the bull you will receive good luck! This has even led to a clear depression in the mosaic from the many people that have tried it over the years.

Piazza della Scala

Continue straight through the Galleria and you will exit into one of the most iconic squares in Milan; Piazza della Scala. At the core of this famous square is a white marble statue of Leonardo da Vinci.

A visit to the statue of Leonardo da Vinci in the centre of Piazza della Scalla should be included on every 2 days in Milan itinerary.
A statue of Leonardo da Vinci has dominated Piazza della Scala since 1872.

Surrounding the square are some of Milan’s most beautiful buildings, including Teatro alla Scala, for which the square takes its name. Built in 1778, this iconic opera house is regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world. Return in the evening to enjoy a performance, or if you prefer, you can take a tour of the inside of the Scala Opera House.

Teatro alla Scala is one of the most famous opera houses in the world and a top attraction in Milan.

Quadrilatero della Moda

If you’re looking to do some shopping in Milan, then this next part of the itinerary is for you! Personally, I’m not a big shopper, but you can’t visit the fashion capital of Europe without a stop in the fashion district, even if it is just to window shop!

Wander through Quadrilatero della Moda, also referred to as Quadrilatero d’Oro, for some world-class shopping. Here you’ll find an endless succession of famous upscale international brands. Within the heart of this district is Via Monte Napoleone, one of the most expensive and exclusive shopping streets in the world.

If you’re looking to go shopping in Milan without the hefty price tag, then check out Corso Vittoria Emanuele II where you’ll find more high-street fashion brands.

Via Monte Napoleone is home to some of the most expensive luxury brands and is famous for shopping in Milan.
Via Monte Napoleone is home to some of the most expensive luxury brands.

Brera District

From Quadrilateral della Moda, walk via Piazza Cavour to the Brera neighbourhood. If you time it right, you may get to see one of the old fashioned trams passing through the medieval city gate, Porta Nuova, which was originally built in the 12th century!

The enchanting neighbourhood of Brera is known for being the artistic heart of the city and is a must-see with 2 days in Milan. While there are a few attractions in Brera, the best thing to do here is to soak up the atmosphere. Both charming and romantic, meander through its quaint colourful streets or stop for a coffee in one of its squares.

Colourful streets of Brera neighbourhood Milan
Colourful streets of Brera neighbourhood.

One of the main attractions in Brera is Palazzo Brera. Like much of the architecture in Milan, this building has an incredible history. Built on the remains of a 14th-century monastery, this building was a Jesuit college for nearly two centuries prior to becoming home to several of the city’s leading cultural institutes. These institutes remain here today and include:

  • Brera Art Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera)
  • Brera Academy of Fine Arts (Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera)
  • Braidense National Library (Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense)
  • Brera Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico di Brera)
  • Brera Astronomical Observatory (Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera)
The courtyard of Palazzo Brera, Milan.
Palazzo Brera is home to many important cultural institutes.

Continue your walk up Via del Carmine to reach Piazza del Carmine and the beautiful Santa Maria del Carmine church, dating back to 1446. Relax here and enjoy a coffee if you need a rest. Otherwise, keep going to reach your next stop on this Milan itinerary…

Santa Maria del Carmine Church in Brera, Milan, Italy.
Santa Maria del Carmine Church in Brera.

Castello Sforzesco

As you approach the southern edge of Parco Sempione, you will first discover the iconic Castello Sforzesco (or Sforza Castle.) Originally constructed as a fortress by the Visconti family in the 14th century, it was converted in the 15th century into a grand castle by Francesco Sforza. Many incredible artists, including Leonardo Da Vinci, were commissioned by Sforza to decorate the castle.

Fountain in front of Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco) Milan - a top attraction during 2 days in Milan
Fontana di Piazza Castello in front of Sforza Castle.

Encompassing a huge complex of towers, gardens, fortresses and residences, Sforza Castle was once the largest citadel in Europe. This should give you some indication of the sheer enormity of it.

Today, Castle Sforzesco houses several museums and art collections, including the Museum of Ancient Art that features work by Michelangelo. While these collections are ticketed, it is free to wander the grounds of the castle, and you absolutely should include it on your 2 days in Milan itinerary!

Ancient red brick wall of Castello Sforzesco (Castle Sforza) Milan Italy
Ancient wall of Castello Sforzesco.

As you approach this iconic red-brick castle, look down into its moat. You will likely see several stray cats which have taken up residence here! These feral cats were welcomed to help tackle an issue with rats. Judging by the number of cats here, I can’t imagine they have much of a rat problem nowadays!

While the castle grounds are open every day, the museums are closed on Mondays, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and May 1st. Check the Sforza Castle website for current opening hours and admission prices. If you prefer, you can take a guided tour of Sforza Castle to get to know more about its rich history.

Pro tip: If you’re able to visit on the first or third Tuesday of the month after 2pm, you can get free entry to the museums!

Parco Sempione

Walk through Milan’s largest urban park, Sempione Park, from Sforza Castle. This vast green space covers an area of over 95 acres and runs from Castello Sforzesco to Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace). It’s a great place to just relax and people watch. Or even take a picnic with you and enjoy a moment’s tranquillity in this city oasis.

There’s also often events taking place in the park at the Arena Civica, particularly in the summer.

View of Sforza Castle from Sempione Park, Milan, Italy.  The castle is reflected in the water of the lake and people are resting on the grass.
View of Sforza Castle from Sempione Park.
Image: Adobe Stock.

In the centre of the park you’ll find an artificial lake which is not only home to many birds, but also turtles! During the day you’ll often find them basking in the sun.

Turtles basking in the sun in the lake at Sempione Park Milan
Turtles basking in the sun in the lake at Sempione Park.

Arco della Pace

The final stop on this 2 days in Milan itinerary is another iconic landmark; Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace). At sunset, you’ll find many locals sat on the steps surrounding the arch watching the sun go down.

Building of the Triumphal Arch began in 1807 to commemorate Napoleon’s victories. However, construction ground to a halt when Milan was invaded by the Austrian Empire. The arch was finally completed in 1838 to celebrate the Italian unification.

Arco della Pace viewed from Parco Sempione at sunset - one of the best things to do add to your 2 days in Milan itinerary
Arco della Pace viewed from Parco Sempione.

That is the end of your first day in Milan. The total walk time for this route (without stops) is roughly one hour and about 5km (3 miles) in length. You’ve therefore got plenty of time to visit everything at a reasonably relaxed pace.

To finish your day in Italian style, I’d recommend heading to nearby Corso Sempione or one of the terraces near Piazza di Duomo to enjoy an aperitivo (more on that below!) before dinner. I’ve listed a few suggestions below in the “Where to Eat and Drink in Milan” section.

If you prefer to have your Milan itinerary taken care of, you can always opt to book a tour:

Milan 2 Day Itinerary: Day 2

Day one of this Milan itinerary focused on seeing all the top sights in Milan’s historic city centre. For Day 2, you’ll venture a little further from the heart of the city. Realistically, Milan is pretty small so you won’t have to go too far!

This part of the Milan itinerary also features a few churches. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you should definitely consider keeping them on the itinerary as these are no ordinary churches! Dating back to medieval times, these buildings are absolutely incredible, and the walk between them will have you meandering down some of Milan’s prettiest streets.

Santa Maria delle Grazie (and The Last Supper)

The first stop on your second day in Milan is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Milan! The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie famously houses much of the world’s iconic artwork. Most notably, it is home to one of the most famous pieces of art ever created- Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” (or Cenacolo Vinciano in Italian.)

The 15th-century painting covers the end wall of the refectory of the church. It is one of Milan’s top attractions and you will need to book your tickets in advance.

Tickets for Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”

To ensure the preservation of this mural, visits are restricted to 15 minutes with a maximum of 30 people at a time. Therefore, getting tickets to see The Last Supper can be difficult. If you’re wanting to include this on your Milan itinerary, you will need to plan in advance!

There are a few options for ensuring you’re able to get tickets.

Book via the Official Website

The cheapest way to get tickets to visit this masterpiece is through the official website. However, tickets go on sale 2-3 months in advance and sell out fast. For example, the tickets for May and June went on sale in February.

Tickets booked through the official site cost €12 for an adult, with concession rates available. They also offer two guided tours in English each day at 9:30am and 3:30pm for an additional €3.50, making it by far the cheapest option for a Last Supper guided tour.

You will have to book a specific date and time and are only allowed to buy a maximum of 5 tickets with this method. On the day of your visit, you will need to arrive 20 minutes early to collect your tickets. Be aware that the tickets are also name specific, so you will need to show a valid ID with the name of the owner of the reservation.

Pro tip: It is also possible to get last-minute official tickets to see The Last Supper in person on the day. For your best chance of getting lucky, arrive at 8am when the box office opens. This is also the cheapest way to get tickets as it doesn’t include a booking fee!

Click here to visit the official Cenacolo Vinciani/Viva Ticket website for current availability and pricing and to book tickets.

Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper Painting at Santa Maria delle Grazie Church Milan
Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” painting at Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Book a Third Party Tour

If you’re unable to secure tickets via the official website and don’t want to risk trying to get tickets on the day, it is possible to find a third party guided tour. While this option is more expensive, it does include a guide. They also often come with other benefits such as skip the line tickets or even out of hours visits.

Here are some of the best options for Last Supper Tours. They are all around €40-45, but differ in terms of duration and start time.

Book a Milan Tour including The Last Supper

Your final option for seeing The Last Supper is to book a broader tour of Milan. There are plenty of tours that cover the highlights of Milan in one day and include a visit to the Last Supper.

While this is the most expensive option, it does provide greater value and will likely cover many of the things to do in this Milan itinerary. There are options for either a half-day (typically 3 hours) or full-day Milan tours. These tours are also a great way to see and learn more about the city if you have only one day in Milan.

Here are some of the best rated tours available which include The Last Supper:

Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio

Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest churches in Milan with over a millennium of history. It was built by St. Ambrose from 379-386 and reconstructed in the Lombard Romanesque style in the 12th century.

The entrance portico of the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio, one of the oldest churches in Milan

Colonne di San Lorenzo & Basilicia di San Lorenzo

Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore is one of the very first churches in Milan, in fact all of Italy! Dating back to 370, it precedes Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio by just a few years. This magnificent building is located opposite Colonne di San Lorenzo, the remains of ancient Roman columns from the 3rd century. These two landmarks combined make for an incredible scene, feeling like you’ve stepped back in time.

Colonne di San Lorenzo & Basilicia di San Lorenzo Milan Italy
The ancient Roman columns frame Basilica di San Lorenzo.
Image: Adobe Stock.

Arco di Porta Ticinese

From Basilicia di San Lorenzo, head south to reach Arco di Porta Ticinese, one of three former city gates of Milan. Originally built in the 16th century, it was later destroyed and rebuilt in the 19th century to create what you see today.

On your way down Corso di Porta Ticinese, you will walk past the beautiful Basicilica di Sant’Eustorgio.

You will also pass by the gelateria Grom… I highly recommend you make a pit stop here for a gelato!

Arco di Porta Ticinese, one of three former city gates of Milan.  Definitely worth adding to your 2 days in Milan itinerary.
Arco di Porta Ticinese – one of three former city gates of Milan.

Navigli District

Pass through Arco di Porto Ticinese to reach the canal district of Navigli. Built up around the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese canals, this up and coming neighbourhood has a unique, quirky feel to it.

Colourful houses align the canals in the artsy Navigli neighbourhood of Milan Italy.
Colourful houses align the canals in this artsy neighbourhood.

Originally built to ship goods from the nearby lakes, today these picturesque canals are surrounded by colourful buildings with lots of cafes, restaurants, boutiques, vintages stores and art galleries. You’ll also find artist’s studios tucked away on the little side streets and courtyards, so be sure to explore away from just the main canals! If you’re there on the last Sunday of the month, you’ll also find a vintage bazaar.

A courtyard with artist's studios in Navigli, a must-see attraction during a 2 days in Milan itinerary
Meander through the side streets and courtyards to find some hidden gems in Navigli.

Navigli is a great place to take a slow stroll and stop for a drink or bite to eat, particularly in the evening. After 5pm, the atmosphere in Navigli is buzzing as locals flock to the many canal-side bars to enjoy an aperitivo.

Other Things to Do in Milan

While this 2 days in Milan itinerary covers the main things to do in Milan, there are also other attractions and neighbourhoods that are worth a visit if you have a bit more time. With three days in Milan or more, then you could easily cover everything in this itinerary plus some of these extra things to do! Even with 2 days in Milan, you could potentially squeeze in a little more or swap out some attractions to match your interests.

Porta Nuova District

The Porta Nuova district is located to the north of the city centre. This contemporary area, characterised by modern skyscrapers, is one of the main business districts of Milan. Reaching this part of Milan almost feels like entering a different city entirely, with its modernity a stark contrast to the antiquity of the historic centre.

I loved this part of Milan and it made me further realise the diversity of this incredible city. It’s easily reachable on foot, or you can take the metro to Garibaldi FS station. I actually stopped here between Quadrilatero della Moda and Brera District. However, I didn’t include it on Day 1 of this Milan itinerary as it makes for a busy day and doesn’t leave much time for each attraction.

Porta Nuova, the Napoleonic gate built in 1810, against a modern backdrop of skyscrapers in Milan, Italy.
Porta Nuova; where the new meets the old.

If you walk here you’ll pass by the Napoleonic gate built in 1810 which gives its name to the surrounding area. It seems there are two gates with this name, the other of which is the medieval gate you will have seen by Piazza Cavour on day one in Milan.

Porta Garibaldi, Milan, Italy
Porta Garibaldi.

Continue on to Porta Garibaldi and up Corso Como to reach Piazza Gae Aulenti. Skyscrapers and shops surround this contemporary square, creating an atmosphere unlike anywhere else in Milan. The Unicredit Tower dominates the skyline, designed by the same architect who built the famous Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Hidden away behind Piazza Gae Aulenti are two phenomenal residential towers called Bosco Verticale. Literally meaning vertical forest, thousands of plants cover these buildings. They provide an area of vegetation equivalent to 30,000m2 of woodland and undergrowth!

City Life Area

The futuristic City Life area is a new development comprised of residential apartments, offices, shops, restaurants and bars, as well as the second-largest public park in Milan. It is also the largest urban shopping district in Italy, boasting a huge array of shops and restaurants.

While it is not necessarily one of the top tourist attractions in Milan, it is a popular place with locals and worth a visit if you have more than two days in Milan.

Although you can walk to City Life, the walk beyond Arco della Pace isn’t too interesting. Therefore, save time and jump on the metro to Tre Torri station.

One of the main highlights of City Life is the colourful, modern Coloris sculpture. If you’re looking for more off the beaten track or unique things to do in Milan, then City Life is worth a visit.

Coloris sculpture against a backdrop of skyscrapers at City Life Milan Italy at-City-Life-Milan-Italy
The new, futuristic City Life area in Milan.

Travel Tips for the Perfect 2 Days in Milan

Now you know all the best things to see and do in Milan, here are a few practical tips to ensure you have the best time possible in this wonderful city.

How Many Days in Milan is enough?

The old city is fairly small, so you can see and do a lot with even just one day in Milan. However, I’d recommend a minimum of 2 days and 3 nights in Milan to really give yourself a chance to explore the city, .

If you only have a weekend, two days in Milan is enough time to visit all the main attractions and get a good feel for the city. Of course, as with most places and holidays, more time is always better!

A girl twirling in a red dress in front of Milan Cathedral at sunrise as the sun creates a starburst effect.  A beautiful way to start 2 days in Milan itinerary.
Two days in Milan will give you enough time to explore the top sights in Milan, including Duomo di Milano.

When is the best time to Visit Milan?

The best time to visit Milan is from either March to May, or September to October. Visiting during the spring or autumn shoulder seasons provides a great balance between mild weather and fewer tourists.

Milan has four seasons but remains humid year-round. During the summer, temperatures can reach 30°c and is the peak season for tourism. You’ll find much longer lines for attractions and accommodation options are often booked out. While tourists flock here during the summer, it’s common for the Milanese to take a vacation to the south of Italy, so you may even find more tourists than locals around!

In the winter, daytime temperatures drop down to around 5°c and rain is common. While there will be less tourists, the weather is also much less enjoyable with rain and fog being common!

Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II at sunset during 2 days in Milan Italy/
Summer in Milan is one of the busiest times.

How to Get to Milan

Milan is extremely well connected, both domestically and internationally. You’ll most likely be arriving by plane, but it is also possible to arrive by train or road.

By Plane

The main international airport is Milan Malpensa (MXP). However, there are two other airports that also serve Milan: Bergamo and Milan Linate.

It is most likely that you’ll arrive via Malpensa Airport. It is well connected with the city via train and bus. The easiest way to get into the city is with the Malpensa Express train. This option takes 35-50 minutes depending on where in the city you’re going and leaves every 20-30 minutes. Tickets cost €12 one way. Check the Trenord website for current pricing and timetables.

By Train

There are direct train services from many other Italian cities including Rome, Venice and Florence. These will generally bring you to Milano Centrale station. However, there are several train stations in Milan so check to see which will get you closest to your hotel.

Getting Around Milan

Milan is an easily walkable city. It is possible to complete this Milan itinerary entirely on foot, with both days requiring under an hour of walk time between destinations.

However, Milan does also have an excellent public transport service that includes metro, trams and buses. You can buy tickets from within the subway stations or at tabaccherias (these shops will have a large “T” sign). Single journeys cost €2, or you can buy daily travel cards. If you have a contactless payment card then you can use this to touch in and out. For a map of the Milan metro click here.

Where to Eat and Drink in Milan

Aperitivo

You cannot leave Milan without indulging in one of northern Italy’s most delicious traditions; an aperitivo! An aperitivo is like a warm-up for dinner. You’ll be served some light snacks, or sometimes even a small buffet, alongside your pre-dinner drink. But don’t eat too much, you want to save some space for a delicious Italian dinner.

I’d recommend pairing your aperitivo with a view of one of Milan’s iconic sights. There are a few different bars around Piazza di Duomo that offer such views, including Giacomo Arengario, Terraza Aperol and the rooftop bar at La Rinascente. These do come with a higher price tag and may not be the most authentic aperitivo experience, but they all come with amazing views. For a cheaper and more authentic experience, try one of the many bars in Navigli district.

View of Duomo from Il Bar at Rinascente while enjoying an aperitivo, an absolute must on your 2 days in Milan itinerary
View of Duomo from Il Bar at Rinascente.

Lunch and Dinner

It’s worth noting that lunch and dinner in Milan is a little later than is typical in the UK or US. Lunch is usually from 1-3pm and dinner from 8-11pm, hence the need for an aperitivo around 5-7pm!

I had a great pizza for lunch at Fresco & Cimmin and some amazing fresh pasta at Miscusi for dinner (so good I ate there more than once – there’s a few around Milan too!).

Fresh pasta at Miscusi.

For some Milanese street food, you have to try a panzerotti from Luini. Since 1888, Luini’s has been creating these heavenly delights! Similar to a calzone, they are dough parcels filled with various ingredients that range from savoury to sweet. There is often a line at lunch as its a popular place with locals and tourists alike. The best thing is they’re one of the most budget friendly options (starting from €2.50), so you can try a few!

For real foodies, you may even want to consider a food tour of Milan. Here are a few great options:

Gelato

It would be sinful not to have at least one gelato while in Italy, and with two days in Milan you’ll have time to try at least 2 different gelaterias!

Hands down, my favourite gelato was from Chocolat Gelato near Sempione Park. Their chocolate orange gelato is insane! Really, you can’t go too wrong with gelato anywhere in Milan. However, some other favourites of mine include Grom and Cioccolat Italiani.

No 2 days in Milan would be complete without gelato!
Gelato from Chocolat!

Where to Stay in Milan

With one or two days in Milan, you may choose to stay somewhere central to maximise your time. Look for places within the city centre in the Fashion District or Brera, and use Duomo as a central landmark.

However, accommodation in Milan is fairly expensive, even by European standards. This is particularly true near the city centre. Public transport is excellent in Milan, so you may wish to choose somewhere further outside of the historic centre, such as Navigli. If you do so, just ensure it’s close to a metro line to allow you easy connectivity with the city.

Check here for highly rated hotels and apartments in Milan.

What to Pack for 2 Days in Milan

Camera

You are absolutely going to want to bring a camera with you to Milan as this city is stunning! Even if it’s just a phone camera, you’ll want to capture all these precious moments.

If you like the photos you’ve seen throughout this travel guide, check out our blog about our travel camera gear to see what we use.

Comfortable Shoes

This 2 days in Milan itinerary includes a fair bit of walking, so I’d recommend bringing a comfortable pair of shoes. Depending on the time of year, the right style of shoe may vary. In the summer, open shoes will help with the heat, while waterproof shoes may be useful in the spring to stave off the rain!

Reusable Water Bottle

The drinking water in Milan is excellent, so bring your own reusable water bottle and fill up as you go! This easy consideration helps to save the planet as well as your bankroll! With 565 to choose from, there are plenty of water fountains distributed throughout Milan. They are known as vedovelle which means “widows” in Italian. This name comes from the continuous stream of water that pours from them, which is said to compare to the cry of a widow.

Despite the constant flow of water, the fountains were designed to reduce water waste and maintain quality by preventing stagnation. There’s a map of where to find Milan’s vedovelle here and below is an image of a vedovelle so you know what to look for.

Pro tip: If you block the flow with your thumb, the water will spout from the top to provide an easier upward flow to drink from!

Vedovelle water fountain in Milan Italy
Vedovelle drinking fountains can be found all over Milan.

Portable Powerpack

It’s likely you’ll be using your phone to navigate around the city (and hopefully have this Milan itinerary saved to refer to… *wink wink*). Bring a power pack with you to keep your phone charged on the go.

Insect Repellent

When I arrived in Milan, I had no idea the city had so many mosquitoes! I visited in the summer, which is likely the worst time for them, and they were horrendous! I got bitten even in the middle of the day. So if, like me, you’re a mosquito magnet then be sure to pack some mosquito repellent.

Day Trips from Milan

Do you have longer than one or two days in Milan? Then I’d definitely recommend taking a day trip.

Milan is extremely well connected and there are many great day trips from Milan that you can take if you have longer than two days.

I have written a guide to my favourite option, which is a day trip from Milan to Lake Como. In just over an hour, you can be next to a lake in the foothills of the Alps, exploring charming, colourful villages steeped in history.

The lakeside town of Varenna nestled against a mountainous backdrop in Lake Como, a perfect day trip from Milan.
Take a day trip from Milan to Lake Como.

Another easy day trip from Milan is to Bergamo, which only takes an hour by train. For day trips a little further afield, you can even visit Switzerland! By train, you will arrive in a manageable 2.5 hours. Indeed, Milan is a really great starting point for a bigger European trip!

Final thoughts on two days in Milan

Alright, that’s it! Hopefully, I’ve covered everything you need to know for the perfect two days in Milan! Milan is a truly enchanting city and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, whether you have one day in Milan, two days or even more.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this 2-day Milan itinerary. But most importantly, have the most incredible time in Milan!

Don’t forget to check out our guide to the Most Instagrammable Places in Milan for some further Milan inspiration!

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6 Comments

  1. May 4, 2020 / 5:37 pm

    Your pictures are really beautiful. I studied abroad in Italy, but never made it to Milan. I guess I just need to go back! This was very insightful. Thank you.

    • May 4, 2020 / 6:08 pm

      Thank you! Haha it definitely gives you a great excuse to go back 🙂

  2. May 4, 2020 / 6:33 pm

    One stop shop detailed itinerary! So many things to do.. Great post!

  3. May 4, 2020 / 7:09 pm

    Italy is high on my list of places to visit. I will have to plan on visiting Milan. So much to do and the architecture is outstanding!

    • May 5, 2020 / 8:29 am

      I’d absolutely recommend it! You’re right, the architecture truly is phenomenal!

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**All photos contained in this photography-based travel blog are copyright of Adam Marland & Sophie Clapton. 
They are not to be used for any purpose without the expressed, written consent of their owners.**