Milan, a metropolis in the northern region of Italy, is known as a global fashion and design hub. But that's not where it stops; Milan is also where Italy's stock exchange is located. Yet, this intriguing city still bathes itself in culture with all of its museums and opera houses. This may leave you wondering why you should abandon the city at all! The simple answer can be found in a quote often attributed to Saint Augustine: "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”! Essentially, there are so many great things within reach of Milan that it really would be a shame not to get out and explore more.
Here are some top day trips to enjoy from Milan:
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1. Lake Como
Getting to Lake Como from Milan is as simple as hopping on Italy's main railway network; you'll arrive in 40 minutes.
This is possibly one of the most famous day trips from the metropolis of Milan. Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in the whole of Europe. It is also the third-largest lake in Europe. It has been a popular retreat for aristocratic families since Roman times. The towns surrounding the lake are popular for their relaxing spas and wildlife. The lake offers a few activities too, like sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. The lake itself is shaped like an inverted 'Y' and, at the point where the lake splits, you'll find Bellagio, the heart of all villages.
The main mode of transport between the towns and villages is by boat or steamer. An attractive town is Varenna, a quiet little resort town that is considerably smaller than Bellagio but still popular among tourists. It is a perfect place to laze around as you admire the stunning vistas right from the calm and quiet lakeside.
You can also enjoy the views from Castello de Vezio. You might face a few difficulties climbing up to the top but it is highly unlikely you would say the view is not worth the climb
Definitely, you must not forget to visit the town of Brunate. The best way to get to Brunate is to take the Como-Brunate Funicular Railway. It is only a 5-minute commute but you will see some of the best views from this funicular system. Though there isn't much to do in Brunate, it is a very nice place to walk around and spend about half an hour there and just take in the pleasant vibes. The trip to Brunate is purely for the beautiful vistas and sights. When in Brunate, a top place to visit is the Faro Voltiano, a tower with wonderful backdrops that are more than Insta-worthy. Another local attractions is the Chisea di Sant' Andrea, a simply stunning church
Lake Como Day trip from Milan
Departure Point: Exclusive hotel pick-up and drop off
Price: from 91 USD
Duration: around 9 hours required
Book Now: Lake Como Day Trip from Milan
Hop on the Train from Milano Central Railway station to Venice and you will arrive in under 3 hours.
Venice is the city of canals. This popular destination is just a few hours from Milan, so don't hesitate to go. Cruise along the Grand Canal and walk over vintage bridges in Venice. This city is one of the greatest hubs of European culture, with its vast variety of cathedrals, museums, and art galleries.
The Piazza San Marco is probably one of the first places a traveler would visit when in Venice. This is the central hub (or public square) in Venice. The Piazza itself is home to three of Venice's star attractions. The Church of Saint Mark (aka St. Mark's Basilica) lies in the eastern part of the Piazza, and Doge's Palace, the former residence of the Doge of Venice, has been converted into a museum. This palace is a reminder of Venice's earlier links with Byzantium. A clock tower, Torré dell'Orologio, dominates the northern area of the square. This renaissance building comprises one grand clock tower surrounded by smaller minion buildings.
Venice's art flourished to its peak between the middle ages and the 18th century. See the Venetian works of art by Titan, Tintorrennto, and others at museums all around the city. Titan's 'Assumption of the Virgin' is located at I Frari, above the altar. Tieplo's wall art is commonly found in the Pieta and Ca' Rezzonico.
A trip to Venice without cruising in a gondola or taking a waterbus along the Grand Canal is absolutely incomplete. Take a trip down one of the most stunning waterways on the planet. Take a waterbus along the 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) trip from the train station to San Marco, which is probably the best way to leave the train station. Cross the first bridge built across the Grand Canal, The Rialto Bridge; the view of the canal from this bridge is purely splendid. Walk through the busy crowds and past the cheap shops on the bridge and take in the atmosphere.
Venice Walking Tour and Grand Canal Water Taxi Ride
Departure Point: Ponte della Paglia bridge, near Piazza San Marco, Venice
Departure Time: Only available at 2.30 pm
Price: from 110 USD
You'll find an abundance of seafood, including things you may never have seen before, at the stalls of Rialto Market. Go with the local flow and try dishes like spider crab, sea snails, and mantis shrimps. But Venice isn't all about seafood; a popular traditional dish is Oca in Onto, which is actually a goose in its own fat. Polpette is another interesting cultural dish, also known as Italian meatballs.
Visit any of the contemporary art scenes in Venice and you'll why they are famous. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection of 20th-century masters has long been the city’s most visited contemporary collection, and recently the Venice Biennale pushed out the world’s biggest and longest-running artistic event, which takes place every two years.
Day Trip to Venice from Milan
Departure Point: Central Milan
Price: from 148.36 USD
Duration: Around 14 hours
Website: Day trip to Venice from Milan
The wonders of the Italian railway system save you from all the hassle of driving. The high-speed railway will drop you off in Florence in as quick as 2 hours.
Florence showcases classical art at one of its finest museums and is also Italy's capital of culture. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most prominent museums found in Europe and is possibly the greatest collection of renaissance art in any museum. There are audio tours available in 6 languages, namely English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese, for convenient viewing.
You can also visit Piazza della Signoria, an L-shaped hub in Florence. The Piazza itself depicts the history of Florence through its display of sculptures, monuments, and architecture. You will notice that the square is dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio. This square is also home to a copy of a famous sculpture by renaissance artist Michelangelo, David. The sculpture of David is placed right in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.
If you are traveling with your kids and want some private time without them, leave the kids at the Arte al Sole day camp where they can learn about renaissance culture and the history of this famous city. Your children will be engaged in fun and interactive activities that include fine art principles, nature walks, trips to nearby museums, and even cooking classes. Meanwhile, you can take a walk along the banks of the River Arno and enjoy the peaceful views.
Another one of the must-visit museums in Florence is Palazzo Strozzi, where you can find noteworthy contemporary art by international artists and Italian artists. If you happen to visit this place on a Thursday evening don't bother opening your wallet for the admission fees to a few exhibits, and save your money for the café instead.
Address: Piazza degli Strozzi, 50123 Firenze, Italy
Price: ranging from 9 USD to 14 USD
Opening Hours: 9 am - 7 pm
Contact: +39 055 264 5155
Website: Palazzo Strozzi
Visit one of the oldest churches in Florence, the church of San Miniato al Monte. This church dates back to the year 1018 and is a great example of Roman architecture. Enter the church and the first thing you are sure to do is to look at the colorful mosaics above the altar.
Florence Cathedral is the principal cathedral of Florence and is also one of the city's most iconic landmarks. It is a mind-blowing work of architecture with light-colored marble, like pink, green, and white, and the rising bell tower puts the cathedral firmly in the attractive city skyline. Climb up the Giotto Campanile, the bell tower of Florence Cathedral, and get some of the best panoramic views of Florence from the top. Another high-rise structure to climb up to the top for great views is Florence Duomo, although this is a bit more of a challenge when compared to Giotto's.
Day Trip to Milan from Florence by Train
Price: from 160 USD
Duration: around 12 hours required
Mode of Transport: Train to Florence and 'hop-on hop-off' buses in Florence
Nice is just a 3-hour drive away from Milan along the A10 / E80 highways. You can head to France from Milan and return in just one day!
Visit Nice, where it's all about the beaches and maybe a few galleries and museums. Nice is popular for its Mediterranean coastline, known as the French Riviera. The French Riviera is the southeast coastline of France, and Nice is the largest city lying on this splendid stretch of coast.
Climb up long and twisted stairs to the Park du Chateâu, a lovely park on the eastern side of the city. Expect nothing less than splendid views of the shoreline and the traditional red-tiled roofs of the houses. To top all of this, you can even see the Alps far in the backdrop. Get lost in the streets of Nice's old town and have fun exploring. This little district hasn't changed much since the 1700s and is filled with restaurants, bars, and delis. The town itself has no specific highlight, but is a must-visit for the bustling atmosphere and for a taste of the delicious Mediterranean food. Toward the southern end, you can find Place Rossetti, one of the best places in all of Nice to sit down and have a cup of coffee.
A trip to Old Nice is never complete without trying the main local dish, socca. This is a delicious pancake made of chickpea flour, water, and olive oil, and baked in a large cast-iron pan.
Nice has an excellent display of contemporary art at the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (MAMAC). Galerie Jean Renoir is a museum for aspiring artists; it is filled with exhibits by young artists who are trying to get recognized.
Nice Observatory, an active astronomical research center, offers tours of its scientific compound. Unfortunately, the tours are only in French, although English tours can be arranged for an extra fee (contact [email protected] for details). Experience 2 hours of splendid views as you journey around the scientific compound and over hilly terrains before finally ending at the inner dome of the observatory.
There is possibly no better way to end your day in Nice than to take a walk along the Promenade de Anglais, a well-paved shoreline walkway. This walkway is 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long and has specifically designated cycling and roller skating paths for those who want a bit more speed. A fun way to get along the promenade is to rent a Segway.
Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (MAMAC)
Address: Place Yves Klein, 06000 Nice, France
Price: Varies for each exhibition
Opening Hours: 10 am - 6 pm. Closed on Mondays
Contact: +33 4 97 13 42 01
Segway Ride along the Promenade
Address: 2 Rue Halévy, 06000 Nice, France
Price: from 56 USD
Opening Hours: 10 am - 1 pm; 2 pm - 7 pm
Duration: around 3 hours required
Contact: +33 4 93 80 21 27
Website: Mobilboard Segway Tours
Drive along the A9 and A2 highways and you'll reach Lugano in next to no time! The journey is actually around just 1 hour and 20 mins.
Cross the border again, but this time to Lugano, in Switzerland. After all these cultural and artistic sights, wouldn't it be lovely to spend a day in the outdoors, hiking, trekking, and enjoying great views?
Start off by enjoying the lush atmosphere at Lake Lugano. Walk around, rent a boat, or just sit on a bench and read a good book. Aside from Lake Lugano, the town of Lugano has a variety of lush and serene gardens and parks. Parco Civico is a public park right next to the lake with exquisite flowers in every nook and corner. Time flies when you take a seat at one of the benches and admire the stunning views.
If you feel a bit more active and want to do more than just sitting in one spot and admiring the vistas, you may consider following the Olive Trail, which runs next to the lake. This 3.5-kilometer (2.2-mile) trail might just provide the perfect serenity for the more restless adventurers. The trail passes across the remains of old olive groves and areas on which this prized tree is again being planted. The trail has 18 information boards along the way, which provide insights into the history and science of olive trees and their growth.
Visit any of the nearby mountains for further serene and country-style experiences. Mount Bré and Mount San Salvatore are popular hill stations near Lugano. Mount Bre has funicular railways to the little village of Bré, where you can enjoy the romantic country atmosphere with its grottoes and open-terrace restaurants. Mount San Salvatore also has a funicular railway system, and you can also hike to the summit if you choose. Once you reach the top, you will find a church with a restaurant. This restaurant is reviewed to be among the best spots for a breathtaking view and is also known for good food.
Day Trip to Lugano from Milan
Departure Point: Central Milan
Price: from 114 USD
Departure time: 9.15 am
Duration: around 10 hours required
The wonders around Milan
Milan is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful metropolitan cities on earth, and one visit is never enough! You'll probably be so enraptured by the region that you yearn for even more, especially when, in a cultural destination like Milan, there is so much to see both in and around the city. So why not learn more about the culture of Italy, or maybe a little bit of France and Switzerland too, and get out and explore! There's plenty of nature too, so ... what's stopping you?!