If you are planning a dream vacation in Italy and wondering what are the top things to do in Milan, this is the perfect itinerary for you! This extensive travel guide covers how to maximize 2 days in Milan, Italy, including the top things to do, the best places to stay, the best way to explore the city, and more.
I have visited Milan a couple of times, and it never gets old – Just like Florence and Venice, Milan should be included in any Italy Itinerary. Milan offers such a unique mix of a big city with the charm of the quaint neighborhoods to be explored.
With this 2 Days in Milan itinerary, you will explore some of the most beautiful places, magnificent tours, and ancient architecture. Here you can find the best ways to get around Milan, a very handy neighborhood guide, with the best areas to stay in Milan, and you need to know to plan a perfect weekend in Milan. So, let’s dive into how you can spend 2 days in Milan and Buona Giornata!
- Things to do in Milan in 2 Days Itinerary
- Things to do in Milan in 2 Days | Quick Guide
- Things to do in Milan in 2 Days Itinerary
- Best Areas to Stay in Milan for 2 days
- How to Get Around Milan for 2 Days
- How to Get to Milan
- What to Pack for 2 Days in Milan
- Things to do in Milan for 2 Days Conclusion
Read More: Florence for 3 days itinerary
Things to do in Milan in 2 Days Itinerary
If you are wondering: what are the top things to do in Milan, and can I visit see it all in only a 2-day itinerary?
My answer is YES! 2 days in Milan is enough time to visit all the main attractions and get a good feel for the city. Two days in Milan give you enough time to explore the top sights in Milan, including Duomo di Milano, see the Last Supper and spend some time exploring the Navigli district.
Milan is packed with world-famous art masterpieces and full of history and culture, and there is so much to see and do here.
Just because Milan is a large city, and there is so much to see and to do, I highly recommend coming to Milan with a well-defined itinerary, in order to maximize your time. The city has a great public transportation system, so take advantage of it, and see my section about how to get around Milan.
Also, make sure you choose accommodation in a good area, where you can walk to the main attractions. Making your reservations in advance is also part of a well-planned visit to Milan. I have a list of the best areas to stay in for every budget.
Lastly, Milan is a big and busy city throughout the year, so I highly recommend booking tickets to attractions in advance.
Day 1 in Milan | Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II, Piazza Della Scala & Teatro Alla Scala, Piazza dei Mercanti, Santa Maria Delle Grazie for the Last Supper, Leonardo’s Vineyard, Navigli District for dinner
Day 2 in Milan | Basilica San Lorenzo, Colonne di San Lorenzo, Cimitero Monumentale, Parco Sempione, Castello Sforzesco, Quadrilatero Della Moda, Brera District, Palazzo di Brera
Things to do in Milan in 2 Days | Quick Guide
WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN
Central Location | Bulgari Hotel Milano
Best for Nightlife |Magna Pars l’Hotel à Parfum
Apartment-Style | Residenza Fiori Oscuri
Budget-Friendly | The Unique
Airport Private Transfer | private transfer
Hop-on-hop-off-bus | get this day ticket
Airport Bus Transfer | Round trip
Things to do in Milan in 2 Days Itinerary
Day 1 in Milan: Discover the best of Milan
The first day of your 2-day itinerary in Milan is the perfect day to discover the top things to do in Milan, some of which include; the Piazza del Duomo, the towering Cathedral, the Last Supper, incredible ancient piazzas, and lots more.
1. Visit the Duomo di Milano
Right in the heart of the city is the magnificent Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral). Dating back to the 14th century, this glorious Gothic cathedral is the largest church in the whole of Italy and the second largest in Europe, making it one of the top landmarks in Italy.
The best way to experience the Piazza di Duomo and the Duomo is to climb to the rooftop and get a bird’s eye view of Milan. Access to the rooftop is either by an elevator or stairs, but you’ll need to purchase a ticket for this. Taking the stairs is cheaper and faster.
PRO-TIP: If you are visiting the interior of the duomo, you will need to wear appropriate clothes and cover your legs and arms. I recommend always carrying a pashmina shawl with you.
2. Experience the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
After oohing and aahing at the Cathedral, a 2-minute walk from there will take you to the impressive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, considered one of the top Italian Landmarks and one of the must things to do in Milan. This is Italy’s oldest active shopping gallery and one of the most spectacular in the world. It dates back to 1865 and is still very terrific.
The building is amazing, so take your time to admire the mosaics and wonderful construction, although you may be unable to purchase anything, especially if you’re traveling on a budget.
3. Stop at Piazza Della Scala and tour Teatro Alla Scala
Leaving the magnificent shopping gallery behind, a 3 minutes walk will take you to the Piazza Della Scala and the iconic opera house, Teatro Alla Scala. At the center of the Piazza Della Scala is a beautiful white marble statue of Leonardo da Vinci. Take a quick tour of the square and the opera house.
4. Piazza dei Mercanti
A 6-minute stroll from Piazza Della Scala takes you to Piazza dei Mercanti (Merchant Square). Once upon a time in Medieval Italy, the Piazza Dei Mercanti was the heart of the city and much bigger than it is today. It’s still a historical landmark, and retains some ancient buildings from medieval times, making it a remarkable place to visit during your 2 days in Milan.
5. Lunch at Peck
Peck is an excellent place to stop for lunch, and it’s only a few minutes from Piazza del Mercanti. The restaurant is amazing with top-quality food, they have a classic Milanese menu, a café, a deli counter, and their own bakery. You should certainly stop by for really delicious pasta and steak, and other yummy Italian cuisines. The food is top-notch, the service is incredible and the price is expensive, but it’s definitely worth it.
Read More: The most beautiful towns in Tuscany
6. Visit Santa Maria Delle Grazie to see the Last Supper
This is one of the top things to do in Milan, visiting the Santa Maria Della Grazie houses the famous Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” This 15th-century artwork adorns the wall of the church’s refectory, it’s one of the most viewed artworks in Milan.
PRO-TIP: To see the Last Supper, you will need to get your ticket several months in advance, because the tickets sell out pretty fast. Check prices in availability here for the ticket.
7. Wander around Leonardo’s Vineyard
While Leonardo da Vinci was working on the Last Supper, he was gifted the vineyard by the Duke of Milan. The vineyard (aka La Vigna di Leonardo) is just a stone’s throw from the church, it’s a beautiful and fascinating place to visit and it’s open to the public.
8. Spend your evening in the Navigli district
After a refreshing time at the vineyard, head over to Navigli to join in the Milanese tradition of aperitivo. Enjoy a relaxing pre-dinner cocktail, wine, or spritz at the waterside bars. Stroll through the canal banks, catch the sunset at Navigli Grande, and don’t forget to take some amazing photos. After your walking tour, pop into a restaurant to refuel your stomach, I have some recommendations below:
PRO-TIP: A great option to experience the beautiful canal, explore the architectural jewel of Milan and experience the culture and history of Milan is to go on a 1-hour Navigli Canal Cruise with a local guide.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF PLACES TO EAT:
- Al Bacio Navigli: You can check Tripadvisor and see the 5 stars’ reviews at this place. From the music to the service and food, this place is amazing. It’s very welcoming with a super-friendly and warm atmosphere. They serve delectable Italian cuisines, there are options for meat lovers, gluten-free, and vegans. Generous food portion, tasty and super fresh gourmet food.
- Pizzium: This is another great restaurant with high rates on Tripadvisor, a great option for a quick and delicious dinner, it’s been described as the restaurant with the best Neapolitan pizza in, Navigli, and with good reasons. They serve a variety of cuisines; Italian, Mediterranean, Neapolitan, and Campania. The dishes are reasonably priced and yummy, desserts and cocktails are all great.
Day 2 in Milan: Explore more exciting attractions
The second day of your e days in Milan itinerary promises to be just as exciting as the first, you will visit some of the oldest attractions in Milan and get a feel of ancient Rome. Get ready to step back in time, it’s okay if your jaw drops to the floor, you can pick up after. Ready? Let’s go…
1. Visit the Basilica San Lorenzo
Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore is the oldest church in Milan and the whole of Italy. It dates back to 370 AD, and the interior is decorated with mosaics and marble from the 4th century. This church is interesting historical architecture and an incredible structure to behold.
2. Stop at Colonne di San Lorenzo
Opposite the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore is the Colonne di San Lorenzo (Columns of San Lorenzo) which is a group of ancient Roman ruins comprising sixteen columns dating back to the 3rd century. This is the perfect place to appreciate the magnificence of historical Roman architecture. A walk through the Basilica San Lorenzo and Colonne di San Lorenzo is like taking a walk back in time.
3. Marvel at the Cimitero Monumentale
The Monumental Cemetery is one of the most intriguing cemeteries I ever visited, and it is really an extraordinary open-air museum, with extravagantly decorated tombs and mausoleums. The designs are so impressive, and you will find sculptures and artworks of different sizes, dating back to the 19th century down to these present times
PRO-TIP: A great way to visit is to join a tour to the Monumental Cemetery of Milan with a local guide and hear the history of this fascinating place, where you will be able to find out the most interesting graves as well the personalities buried here.
4. Walk through Parco Sempione
Your visit to Milan isn’t complete without experiencing Milan’s largest urban park; Parco Sempione. This is an expansive parkland with beautiful green scenery covering about 95 acres. At the center of the park is an artificial lake that attracts a variety of bird species, and turtles basking in the sun.
This is an excellent place to relax and appreciate nature. While at the park, you will also notice the Arco Della Pace (“Arch of Peace”), a landmark triumphal arch originally built to commemorate Napoleon’s victories.
5. Explore the Castello Sforza
Just by the edge of the Parco Sempione is the iconic red-brick castle; Castello Sforza. Dating back to the 14th century, this castle was originally constructed as a fortress.
In the 15th century, it was converted into a grand castle by the Sforza family that once ruled Milan. Today, the Sforza Castle houses many museums with incredible art collections including artworks by Leonardi da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.
PRO-TIP: While you can freely walk the grounds of the castle, you will need a ticket to view the art collections. Check here for prices and availability.
6. Lunch at Boeucc
Boeucc is a beautiful, elegant restaurant with impeccable service right in the center of the city, and it’s the perfect place for lunch. As one of the oldest restaurants in Milan, it has a long-standing Italian tradition and the food is simply delectable. The pasta is great, the octopus is amazing, Prosecco is good, and they serve very fresh bread too. Great restaurant with surprisingly good pricing, no need to break the bank.
7. Shop at Quadrilatero Della Moda
Now, you will agree with me that a visit to the fashion capital of Europe cannot be complete without some shopping, right? Yeah. Even if you are not on a budget for shopping, it is fun to just wander around the cobblestone streets and go for some window shopping.
Wander through the Quadrilatero Della Moda and peek into world-class designer boutiques and luxurious brands. Get yourself something expensive from a famous international brand, or just do some window shopping.
8. Tour the Brera District
Brera is such a nice part of Milan, it has a very lively and authentic feel with lots of great restaurants, boutiques, small alleys, shops, bars, and trendy clubs. This is a great place to experience Milan like a local, it’s perfect for an evening stroll through the narrow streets, and the restaurants are mostly reasonably priced.
There are also some attractions to feast your eyes on. The Palazzo di Brera is a place you wouldn’t want to miss, it’s the main attraction in Brera and holds so much history.
9. Explore the Palazzo di Brera
Palazzo di Brera is one of the top things to do in Milan. It was once a Jesuit college built in the 14th century, it remained so for nearly 2 centuries before it was made to house several cultural institutes. It is home to one of the largest art galleries in Italy.
What to see in Palazzo di Brera:
- Brera Art Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera): Pinacoteca di Brera is a national art gallery for both ancient and modern art. It’s one of Italy’s largest art galleries and preserves great masterpieces and famous collections from the 15th century to the 18th century. Expect to see works of art from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
- Braidense National Library (Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense): Don’t miss this national library, one of the largest in Italy. It’s a beautiful grand library, with large halls. The library dates back to the 18th century and has an impressive collection of books with historical value, it’s only partially accessible to the public.
- Brera Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico di Brera): Finally, stroll through the botanical gardens behind the Palazzo di Brera. This amazing green yard spans over 5000 m2 and has a vast collection of flora species and medicinal plants across Italy. It’s the perfect place to unwind and experience the tranquility of nature. The garden is free for everyone.
PRO-TIP: Pinacoteca di Brera. Palazzo di Brera is certainly worth exploring and a ticket to tour the building costs €10, however, admission is free every first Sunday of each month. You can also book the 2-hour guided walking tour through Milan’s premier art gallery.
10. Dine at Osteria di Brera
After a thrilling tour of the Brera district, now it’s time for a delicious dinner. Osteria di Brera is known for their mouth-watering seafood menu, it’s actually a gourmet fish restaurant, but they have a bit of everything on the menu.
It’s a cozy place to dine and enjoy a delicious dinner of risotto, grilled fish or seafood pasta, and a generous pour of very palatable wine. With impressive service and very reasonably priced food, this restaurant is only a minute’s walk from Palazzo di Brera.
What if I have 3 days in Milan? Add Lake Como to your Milan Itinerary
If you’re staying for more than two days in Milan, I suggest you take a trip to Lake Como and experience a different and equally amazing part of Italy. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy, and this glamorous resort for the rich and famous has picturesque places to visit. Taking a boat tour in Lake Como will introduce you to some villages and stunning views around the Lake.
A trip from Milan to Lake Como by train is only 30-minutes, and it is very easy and affordable. Read my full article about how to Travel from Milan to Lake Como.
If you have 1-3 days to spend in Lake Como, I have prepared a Lake Como itinerary with all the details you need to know. Also, if you are planning to visit Lake Como, you should check this article for the best areas to stay in Lake Como, plus here you will find recommendations for the top accommodations.
Read More: 30 Most Amazing Landmarks in Italy
Best Areas to Stay in Milan for 2 days
The area to stay in Milan during your vacation can really contribute to your overall experience, my recommendation is that you stay in an interesting neighborhood that’s close to the major attractions and places you’d love to visit. With that in mind, here are the best areas to stay for 2 days in Milan:
Stay in Brera for art and culture
The Brera area has some of the best art galleries, specialty shops, boutiques, and restaurants, it’s also close to the most fascinating attractions in Milan. Brera district is less than 10 mins walk from the Sforza Castle, Park Sempione, the Duomo, and Galleria. You will find both luxurious hotels and budget accommodation options in Brera.
- GREAT VALUE HOTEL l |The Unique is located in Milan’s Brera district, 1,650 feet from Sforzesco Castle and within a 10-minute walk of La Scala Theater, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and Milan Cathedral
- EXPERIENCE AN APARTMENT | Residenza Fiori Oscuri is located right in the center of Milan, and features accommodations with city views, just 150 feet from Brera Art Gallery and 1,950 feet from La Scala
- LUXURY HOTEL | Bulgari Hotel Milano is probably the most refined and exclusive establishment in Milan, a boutique property adjacent to the most important shopping street
Stay in Porta Nouva to Experience Modern Milan:
If you want a feel of modern Milan, Porta Nuova is the perfect area. It’s a short walk from the Garibaldi station, a major subway station in Milan. Porta Nuova is the business district of Milan with contemporary and modern architecture, it has one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe. Here you will also find affordable accommodation options.
- GOOD VALUE HOTEL | Castello Guest House overlooks the Piazza Castello square
- BOUTIQUE HOTEL | Matilde Boutique Hotel offers accommodations with a restaurant, a bar, and a shared lounge
- LUXURY HOTEL | Heart Hotel Milano is located in a historic area of central Milan, 1,650 feet from Brera and 650 feet from Repubblica Metro station that offers fast links to Expo 2015 Exhibition Center
Stay in Navigli for Active Nightlife
Home to Milan’s most energetic nightlife, Navigli is a bustling neighborhood with very vibrant locals. There are tons of shops and restaurants along the Navigli Grande Canal, popular for the aperitivo time by 5 pm. There are a variety of affordable hotel options, including bed & breakfasts and Airbnb-type accommodations.
- GOOD VALUE | Darsena Flexyrent features 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, bed linen, towels, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a balcony with city views.
- ENTIRE APARTMENT | Sant’Agostino Apartment is located 1,000 feet from S.Agostino Metro Station in Milan and offers modern accommodations with free, high-speed WiFi. Milan Cathedral is 1.2 mi away.
- LUXURY HOTEL| Magna Pars l’Hotel à Parfum is a luxury 5-star hotel offering ultra-modern suites with free Wi-Fi. The wellness center features a gym with Technogym equipment and a Turkish bath
How to Get Around Milan for 2 Days
The best way to get around Milan in 2-days is by using the public transportation service. Milan has a well-connected metro system and a very robust transport service operated by a company called the ATM, they manage buses, metro, and trams. You can also download the app for ATM.
Read More: How to get from Milan to Lake Como by train
How to Get to Milan
To get the best experience during your 2 days in Milan, you should be able to easily get around without any confusion. If you arrive in Rome and want to visit Milan, here are the best options for you:
What to Pack for 2 Days in Milan
I have visited Milan in different stations, and it can be cold in winter and very hot during summertime. Doesn’t matter when you visit, you will always find plenty of fun things to do in Milan!
If you are visiting in winter or cold months, be aware that it can be cold. The coldest months in Milan are from December to February, with average lows of 30.4°F (-1°C). So bring some layers. I recommend a warm jacket, comfortable boots, and a nice coat to wear in the evenings.
If you are also visiting during the hot months, think about light clothes and comfortable shoes to walk and explore during the day.
Leave your pair of high heels at home, as you won’t need them. Don’t forget your sunblock, and sunglasses and consider a hat too.
For the evening, especially if you are planning to have dinner at one of the nice restaurants, you can think about a comfortable summer dress and sandals. Or if you are not into dresses, a pair of jeans and a nice top and a nice pair of sandals.
The climate can be mild in Milan, because of its location close to the Alps, so consider bringing a pashmina for the evening.
Things to do in Milan for 2 Days Conclusion
They are plenty of things to do in Milan, and besides being a big and busy city, the good news is that it is perfectly fine to spend 2 days in Milan and explore the best spots in the city.
The most important thing when you plan a visit to Milan for 2 days is to come with a pretty clear itinerary, book your hotel and tours in advance, and plan your transportation around the city.
You will be surprised how much you will be able to see and experience in such a short period of time.
If you are planning to visit Italy, you may also enjoy reading the following:
- Ultimate Florence 3 Days Itinerary
- A Perfect 2 Days in Venice Itinerary
- Best ways to travel from Milan to Lake Como
- Lake Como Best Itinerary in 1, 2, or 3 days
- Best Places to Stay in Lake Como
- 11 Best Boat Tours in Lake Como
- 30 Most amazing Landmarks in Italy
- The 20 Top Coastal Towns in Italy you need to visit
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