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How many days in Milan is enough? Complete Guide

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Milan is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is the capital of the Lombardy region in northern Italy and is also the second-largest in the country. If you are planning a trip and wondering how many days in Milan are enough, then you are at the right spot.

We stayed in Milan for an extensive period of time, and utilized the first few days to check off the city’s prime landmarks, and more. It is an excellent spot to venture out to other parts of Italy, like the popular city of Florence in Tuscany. 

How many days in Milan is enough – How to plan a trip to Milan Italy?

Girl at the Milan Cathedral Square
Milan Cathedral Square

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Milan is one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the European Union. It is also the world’s fashion capital – so yes that is a lot to cover and see. Even though Milan is huge, and has a dense population, luckily most of the historical and touristy attractions are located in one major zone and around it. So it makes it easy to explore them on 1-2 days of Milan trip. 

The city has an efficient metro system, with lots of shops and amazing restaurants to spend your holidays. For us, Milan is that pretty and stylish city – with all things shiny, clean, with historical remnants, parks, and art. 

Milan Duomo Piazza from the rooftop
Milan Duomo Piazza from the rooftop

This travel guide to Milan will assist you in designing an itinerary depending on your travel goals. Many travelers to Italy either skip Milan or visit it as a day trip from Florence, or pass by on their way to the Italian Riviera or Venice. 

Allow us to share our recommendation and we are sure it will help you – if you are unsure how many days in Milan should you spend as part of your Italy trip. We have tried to cover as many Milan questions as possible in this guide. 

Is one day enough for Milan?

If you only wish to explore 2-3 landmarks in Milan, then yes one day is enough. 

To make the most of your one day in Milan, you have to narrow down to 2-3 MUST see attractions as per your taste and travel style and take a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour to skim through the neighborhoods for your visit.

So here is how your one day in Milan itinerary would look like, with 3 different sightseeing suggestions –

Best of City Highlights: This is an ideal one day in Milan itinerary for visiting the city’s iconic landmarks

  • Visit the Milan Cathedral or Milan Duomo, do book tickets for the rooftop terrace access (2 hours). You can book the tickets here,
  • Check out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Go a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour loop
  • Make a stop at the Santa Maria Delle Grazie, and see the Last Supper
  • Sforzesco Castle (visit from outside)
  • In the evening, head to the Sempione Park, and attractions inside the park

Shopping Lovers: Perfect combination of landmarks and shopping

  • Visit the Milan Cathedral or Milan Duomo, do book tickets for the rooftop terrace access (2 hours). You can book the tickets here,
  • Check out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Go a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour loop
  • Once the loop is done, get down at the Duomo stop. From there, head over to the shopping areas like Via Manzoni, Via Della Spiga, Corso Venezia, and Via Montenapoleone – you will surely find affordable clothing and accessories there along with end high brands! 

Art lovers: For art lovers on a 24 hour visit to Milan

Are 2 days in Milan enough – How many days in Milan for first-time visitors?

A first-timer in Milan can get a feel for the city in 2 full days. What we mean by this is – you can check out the prime tourist attractions (2-3 sites), have a relaxed dinner, go shopping, or hang out at the parks! 

Inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Day 1 in Milan: Definitely utilize the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour on this itinerary too

  • Start with the iconic Milan Duomo, spend 2-3 hours there checking off the piazza, church interiors, archaeological site, Duomo Museum, and of course soak in the views from the terrace
  • Drop by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, hang out, grab a bite to eat
  • Located close to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II are the famous opera house – Teatro Alla Scala and Piazza Della Scala
  • Then, take the sightseeing bus tour, and get down at Santa Maria Delle Grazie, to see the Last Supper. Opt for a guided tour to learn about the church and the artwork (75 minutes). You can check out this tour here, along with the availability
  • Visit Sempione Park for a nice evening stroll, and check out the Arco Della Pace. You will find nice bars and places to eat here as well. 

Day 2 in Milan itinerary

  • Visit the Sforzesco Castle, pick 1-2 museums there. Enjoy the walk
  • Go on a street art tour of Ticinese and Navigli (2 hours) 
  • Continue your exploration to the Navigli canal district (if you have time on your hands you can also visit the oldest church in Milan – Basilica of San Lorenzo)
  • For shopping, head to one of these areas – Via Manzoni, Via Della Spiga, Corso Venezia, and Via Montenapoleone

You can swap shopping for the Porta Nuova district, which is considered the richest business district in Europe. You can check out Garden houses, and then head over to Quadrilatero Della Moda for shopping!

So you can combine the MUST visits, plus more in Milan in 2 days. 

Are 3 days in Milan enough? 

3 days in Milan is amazing. With 3 days you can definitely cover more attractions with 1-2 hours of sightseeing for each site. You can also keep a day for outlet shopping, or venture outside of the city to experience different areas altogether. 

The key here is to make the most of your visit. For 3 days, you can keep a day each for city highlights, a day of shopping (as most visitors prefer to do this), and another day of museum hopping or relaxation or a combination of both. 

Further, if interested you can also squeeze in a day trip on your final day if you prefer. We will outline all the 3 day Milan itinerary options below,

Day 1 in Milan: 

We do recommend a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour even for this itinerary but feel free to skip this by leisurely walking to the next stop, or using public transportation. 

Start with the iconic Milan Duomo or the cathedral and spend 2-3 hours there. Wander the piazza or the square, admire the church interiors with its stunning stained glass windows and the floors.

Milan Duomo

Do visit the archaeological site, and the Duomo Museum to learn about the cathedral’s history. Thereafter, head to the top using stairs or lift to soak in the views from the rooftop terrace. The views from up there are breathtaking. You can capture the entire piazza, and landmarks in and around the city centre.

The statues and the white cravings on the Duomo are best captured from the rooftop!

Once you have explored the Duomo, drop by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, hang out, and then sit down to grab a bite to eat. 

From the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Il, walk to the famous opera house (Teatro Alla Scala opera house) and Piazza Della Scala. 

Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Milan. Hosts the painting of Leonardo da Vinci

From there, you can take a cab or walk to the Santa Maria Delle Grazie. It will take you about 15 minutes to get there. This is where you can check out Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. 

Because you have 3 days in Milan, take the time to explore the church, and the piazza and then join a guided tour to enjoy all the artwork. Here is a 75 minute tour. You can check out this tour here, along with the availability

Finally end the day at the Sempione Park, which is the largest one in Milan. This spot is perfect for an evening stroll, in the lap of nature and landmarks. The Arco Della Pace or the Peace Arch will surely grab your attention. 

There is also a steel tower at the park, from where you can soak in views of the Milan Cathedral under the night lights. Entry fees start at 6 euros.

Day 2 in Milan:

On day 2 of the Milan itinerary, explore a few more historical and art related attractions in the city. And when the sun goes down, head down to a nice restaurant or shopping!

Castello Sforzesco is first on the list. This is a 15th century fortress, which initially served as a residence for the Duke of Milan. But later it became a military stronghold. It is indeed, a powerful symbol for the city.  

When pressed for time, a walk-through is all you can get, as the entire complex is large. You can wander there for free. But there are a few museums that you enter and explore for an entry fee. It will take you a couple of hours to visit and see all the exhibits. 

Up next is exploring artwork. You can either enjoy a nice street art tour of Ticinese and Navigli which lasts 2 hours.  

Or explore Brera District. Visit the Pinacoteca di Brera, which is a large public museum there. You can also check out the Brera Academy and the Braidense National Library all located in the vicinity of Zone 1 of Milan (near the Cathedral).

Thereafter, you can enjoy a late lunch and shopping!

Even better, for a couple of hours of shopping head to Via Manzoni, Via Della Spiga, Corso Venezia, and Via Montenapoleone.

Day 3 in Milan:

For day 3, we have a few options for you – spend time in Milan, more shopping, or day trips. 

Sightseeing in Milan (Option 1)

Visit the Basilica San Bernardino alle Ossa, which is a unique church made of human skulls and bones, with beautiful ceiling frescoes. Also, visit the Basilica of Santo Stefano Maggiore when you are there (both free to enter).

In the afternoon, join a Market Tour and Lunch at a Cesarina’s Home. This is a 4 hour tour, where you will explore a local market with a guide. Then you will witness an Italian cooking demonstration and later enjoy a 4-course meal. 

You can also book this for a dinner meal. 

Late afternoon, head to the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, which is the oldest church in the city of Milan. 

Thereafter relax by enjoying a boat cruise. Boat cruises take you on the waters of the beautiful Navigli Canal, checking off the Vicolo dei Lavandai, and the Darsena, known for its Milanese nightlife. 

This sightseeing tour is for an hour and is a lovely way to bid adieu to the city. Reserve your spot for the cruise here.

Milan Outlet Shopping (Option 2):

For shoppers, head for some outlet shopping located on the outskirts of Milan. More details here.

Day trips from Milan (Option 3):

Milan is a great base to explore more of Italy. If any of the Italian destinations below are on your list, and you are pressed for time, then consider doing a day trip to get a feel for the city (on a short visit)

Florence Duomo in Italy
  • Florence: The Renaisanace city of Florence is less than 2 hours away from Milan by train. You can take a wander through the old town – check out the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio and Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Genoa: Genoa is only a 2 hour train ride away from Milan. On a day trip you can explore a few landmarks including the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo
  • Venice: Venice is also connected to Milan via high speed train. You can also visit Venice on a 14 hour day tour from Milan. More details here
  • Cinque Terre: Cinque Terre or the Italian Riviera towns on a tour. This Cinque Terre full day tour takes you to explore Monterosso and Manarola for a day. More details here
  • Lake Como: Another picturesque day trip is to Lake Como and Bellagio from Milan. If you opt for this day tour, you can also enjoy a two hour boat ride. Check this tour here

Our recommendation – How many days in Milan is enough

Our recommendation for Milan is 2 days. 2 full days are enough to explore the MAIN attractions as well as enjoy a relaxed time in Milan without being rushed. Of course the more time, the better. 

View of Milan from the Duomo rooftop

On our first visit, we stayed in Milan for 3 days, and it was ample time. On the third we went on a day trip though, so we were away from the city. We didn’t do a lot of shopping, instead used that time to explore neighborhoods and visit museums. 

When you visit, do check the tourism website for free events in the city, or special exhibits, and don’t forget to include that in your itinerary. 

Sightseeing to cover in 2 days in Milan

Sightseeing spots for 2 days in the city and tours

Milan Day 1

Milan Day 2

  • Sforzesco Castle & 1-2 museums on the complex 
  • Go on a street art tour of Ticinese and Navigli (2 hours) 
  • Explore Navigli canal district 
  • Stop by Basilica of San Lorenzo
  • Go shopping. Options include shopping Via Manzoni, Via Della Spiga, Corso Venezia, Via Monte Napoleone, Brera District, Corso Vittorio Emanuele (department stores with affordable prices), Quadrilatero della Moda (in the Porta Nuova district)

Budget for 2 days in Milan – How much cash should I take to Milan for a 2 day trip? 

Your flights and hotel bookings for Milan will account for most of your budget. 

When we were planning our trip to Italy from Canada, flights to both Rome and Milan had better frequency from our city of departure. So either destination is a great spot to begin your Italy vacation from anywhere in the world including the United States. 

Milan Malpensa Airport is the largest and one of the busiest airports in the country. 

If you are flying to Rome, then you can take a high-speed train to Milan. We took trains from Florence, Venice, and Genoa to get to Milan on different occasions. Milan Centrale station is a work of art in itself, and it is so pretty inside – so take the train sometime!

Milan Centrale Station
Beautiful Milan Centrale Station

High speed trains start at 10 euros, depending on the city towards Milan. 

For accommodation, you can either stay at the city center – Zone 1 where the Duomo is located, or the central station. 

Central Station has a lot of hotels for all budget levels, and you can easily find restaurants and transportation. 

We stayed at the c-Hotel Atlantic Milano near the station, and it was convenient to get to the Duomo area, and for day trips. This is a mid budget hotel, and the room was $100 USD (during our stay + city tax). 

We recommend setting aside a budget of $150 USD per person. This includes mid-range hotels on double occupancy, food, tour, and metro ticket. 

For a 2 day trip, you don’t need a transport pass – just pay by the trip, and do utilize the hop-on and hop-off tour. 

Milan Hotels Recommendation 

As mentioned above, we recommend the city centre and the train station area for your accommodation. 

Milan Zone 1

Zone 1 is the Milan City Centre. It includes most of the sightseeing spots like the Duomo, Sforza Castle, Sempione Park, Basilica San Bernardino alle Ossa and Basilica of Santo Stefano Maggiore. It is also great for shoppers!

Milano Centrale railway station is another option. The city centre is a 7 minute train ride away.

Luxury hotel options in Milan:

  • Starhotels Anderson: Starhotels Anderson is located near the central train station
    • This is a 4 star property with a conference hall
    • Great for access to the metro
    • The property also has a restaurant on site (international menu)
    • Find pictures and availability here
  • Park Hyatt Milan: This stunning luxury property is located close to the Milan Duomo in Zone 1
    • The Duomo is about 4-5 minute walk from the hotel
    • It offers stunning views of the city
    • Some suites also have a private terrace, and you can wine and dine in their restaurant on site
    •  View more information here
  • Hotel Spadari Al Duomo: Another luxury property in the heart of Milan
    • The property offers upscale suites with free breakfast
    • Its terraces offer great city views as well
    • Book your stay here

Mid range hotels in Milan: 

  • c-Hotel Atlantic Milano: We stayed at this property and highly recommend it. 
    • It is great for sightseeing and transportation
    • The hotel suite was clean, and spacious for two. 
    • There were restaurants located close to the property, and you could also go on nice walks nearby. 
    • Book your stay here (also known as Atlantic hotel Milano)

Note that all hotels in Milan charge a tourist tax or fee, that is usually collected in cash once you check out. It is levied per person per day.

Is Milan worth visiting? 

Milan is 1000% worth visiting. The city’s vibe is so different from Rome, Venice, or Florence. 

Often travelers don’t add Milan to their Italy itinerary, but if you love cities, you got to explore Milano. It is one of the world’s major commercial and financial centers and a world fashion capital! 

Milan Royal Palace Complex
Milan Royal Palace complex

Considered as one of the wealthiest cities in the European Union, Milan has a very chic and classy vibe. The Cathedral is one of the iconic landmarks of Italy, and the third largest in the world, that should not be missed on your trip. 

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper can be found in Milan’s Santa Maria Delle Grazie – one of the popular attractions in the city – one that is usually sold out on most days!

When it comes to fashion, design, and shopping you cannot beat Milan’s districts. The famous Quadrilatero Della Moda (located near Europe’s richest business district – Porta Nuova) is home to Milan’s fashion culture. 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo

From fashion labels to stores, there are tons of options – Via Monte Napoleone, and of course the gorgeous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the Piazza Duomo – the latter is the world’s oldest shopping mall. 

Milan is also known for silk production, and with a strong industrial base in the region of Lombardy. The administrative headquarters of the region is also located in the city. We explored the area and it is beautiful for a walk. 

When you opt for the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour, you will also get an opportunity to check out Garden Houses in Milan aka Bosco Verticale (or Vertical Forest), located in the Porta Nuova district. These are residential areas, but so worth a look. 

If you love urban scapes, Milan is your place! 

Football lover? The city hosted the football World Cup in 1934 and 1990, the football Euro Cup in 1980, and counting. 

Did you know that Milan had canals just like Venice? Although most of them are gone, and only two waterways remain – Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese. In the past, these canals served as a major transport system, bringing in commodities, including marble to build the Duomo. 

You can surely go on a sightseeing cruise along the canal and admire the district, and the heritage that remains.  

It is also home to the oldest and largest Chinatown in Italy, known as the Quartiere Cinese. 

Milanese cuisine should not be missed either. Try their traditional risotto, or Christmas sweet cake, called Panettone, when visiting during the holiday season.

We hope we have convinced you to add Milan to your Italy travel plans. We really liked the city, it is clean and has very classy vibes. To be honest for a first trip, the duration doesn’t matter, our Milan one day itinerary has a fast-paced sightseeing option for you if you only have 24 hours.

And when you are ready do add travel insurance for your trip! 

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