Things to See in Milan in 2 Days / First Timer’s Guide to Milan
- Things to See in Milan in 2 Days / First Timer’s Guide to Milan
- Duomo Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo
- Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
- Naviglio Grande
- More places to visit on your 2-day trip to Milan
- What and where to eat in Milan.
- How many days to spend in Milan?
- When is the best time to visit Milan?
- How to get around Milan?
- Budget for Milan. How much does it cost to visit Milan?
This Milan 2-day itinerary will help you make the most of your visit to this beautiful city. I loved every second that we spent there. It has Duomo Square and stunning architecture. It has magical nightlife, charming streets, romantic music, and delicious Italian food. This guide will show you all the things to see in Milan in 2 days. I’ll also share some helpful travel tips and great places to eat in Milan.
Even outside Milan, you can find numerous amounts of day trips that you can take because of its great Northern location. And of course, it’s a world-famous fashion capital for a reason. You can find a lot of clothing stores to your taste.
Milan is a relatively small city, but it can give you everything that a large city can. So, I hope this Milan Itinerary will give you more ideas on how to spend your time in Milan and will tell you everything you need to know on your first visit.
What to do in Milan? Things to see in Milan in 2 Days.
Duomo Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo
Of course, I have to start with the most impressive landmark of Milan in my opinion. It’s located in the city center and you have to make sure that you make time during your stay to check it out. It is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the biggest cathedrals in the world. No surprise that it took more than 600 years to finish it.
Also, this is the place where even the square itself became a touristy sight. Attracting thousands of pigeons throughout the day. During the nighttime, its streets are filled with music and people’s laughter. However, it also attracts a lot of pickpockets. So, don’t leave your belongings unattended.
Make sure to get on top of the cathedral as it offers breathtaking views of Milan.
You can take an elevator or just walk the stairs to the top.
We also walked a lot in the area around the cathedral. It has a lot of great shops, restaurants, and hidden gems. I recommend visiting the square during nighttime at least once as well. As the whole atmosphere around it changes, filled with music and lights.
I highly recommend you to go inside the Duomo Cathedral as well. Be prepared to wait in line for at least 30 minutes in the sun as there is no shade anywhere. That’s why my advice for you is to BUY your tickets ONLINE. It will save you precious time and nerves. I’ll link the official website to buy your tickets for the Milan Cathedral below.
Ticket prices for the Duomo Cathedral:
- Only the Cathedral: €3
- Only rooftop (stairs): €10
- Only rooftop (lift): €14
- Rooftop Fast track by lift: €23
- Cathedral and rooftop by lift: €17
- Cathedral and rooftop by stairs: €13
- Cathedral and rooftop fast track: €25
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
It’s Italy’s oldest active shopping mall named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy.
It’s located right next to Duomo Cathedral, so there is no way you’ll miss it. You can find a lot of luxury brands and high-end restaurants in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’s still worth checking out for its beautiful architecture and design.
Right in the center of it, you will see a lot of people gathering up. You have to stand on top of the bull and spin three times on your heel. The reason for that is because it’s for good luck. Decide for yourself if it’s true or not.
Right in the center of it, you will see a lot of people gathering up. The reason for that is because it’s for good luck. You have to stand on top of the bull and spin three times on your heel. Decide for yourself if it’s true or not.
Parco Sempione and Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco)
This large city park is located next to the gardens of the Sforza Castle and the Arch of Peace, two of the main landmarks of Milan. Sempione Park is the largest one in Milan. You can also go up to a high panoramic tower to see the view from the top.
There are several smaller museums located inside the Sforza Castle. You can explore the park and castle grounds for free. If you would like to go inside and explore the museums, the ticket price is €5. You can also buy a Museum Card for €12 valid for 3 days if you would need more time to explore.
Travel Tip: free admission every first and third Tuesday of the month after 2 p.m. Official Website
Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper
The Last Supper painted by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. It’s located in Santa Maria Delle Grazie. However, it’s not very easy to see it in real life.
Because it’s a very old painting, only 1,000 people are allowed daily. Tickets are sold out several months in advance. So, if you truly want to see it, you have to prepare beforehand.
If you weren’t able to buy your tickets, you might go and check at the entrance in the morning. Sometimes they have a small number of tickets for sale.
The ticket price is €15; Your other best option is to buy a guided tour which will cost you around €40; Official website
It’s my second favorite place to explore in Milan right after Duomo Square. It’s a picturesque canal full of life and history. In this area, you can find a lot of great bars, restaurants, and shops. Naviglio Grande gets very crowded at night time. I just love finding a spot and simply enjoy people-watching there.
More places to visit on your 2-day trip to Milan
Brera District – another area that you don’t need a plan for but you just have to visit. Its charming streets filled with shops and cute restaurants are my favorite. Make sure to visit Brera District at night time as well.
Museo del Novecento – museum of the 20th Century. It displays about 400 works by mostly Italian artists. You can also enjoy the beautiful view of the Duomo from there. The admission ticket cost is €5.
Leonardo Da Vinci National Museum of Science & Technology – is the largest museum of science and technology in Italy. It was opened in 1953. The ticket price is €10 and you can also buy it online.
Pinacoteca Di Brera Fine Art Gallery – is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan. You can visit their website to check about the art that they show and buy your tickets. Also, don’t forget to check out the garden filled with beautiful sculptures. Admission: €12.
Basilica of Sant’Amborgio – another very beautiful but less popular church in Milan worth visiting. Consecrated in 387.:
Scala Opera House (Teatro Alla Scala) – opened in 1778 it’s one of the finest opera houses in Italy. It can fit 2,000 people at once. Visit the official website linked below to see the schedule.
Travel Tip: you can get cheaper tickets for the Opera if you buy them one hour before the start of the show. You can also book a guided tour if you would only like to take a look at the inside and learn more about Scala Opera House’s history.
Royal Palace of Milan
It used to be the seat of the government of Milan, today it’s a cultural center and home to different expositions. If you would like to visit exhibitions inside, make a reservation and purchase your tickets online.
Milan Centrale Train Station
Opened in 1931. It’s the largest railway station in Europe by volume. Around 300,000 people pass through the train station daily. You can also find a lot of shops and restaurants inside. However, be careful about your belongings, as there are a lot of pickpockets.
Take a free walking tour
If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend taking a free walking tour. It’s a great way to meet more people and learn more information about the places that you’re visiting. You can find a lot of different groups online by simply googling them.
Places to add to your Milan Itinerary if you’re staying for more than 2 days:
- Piazza Mercanti,
- Sant Ambrogio,
- Brera district,
- Torre Branca,
- Colonne di San Lorenzo,
- Archaeology Museum,
- Milan’s cathedral,
- Cimitero Monumental,
- If you have more time, you can add a day trip to Lake Como
What and where to eat in Milan.
Like in most Italian cities, Milan is no exception in its number of great places to eat.
I’m giving you a list of places which we tried and loved the most.
Eat a lot of pizza and pasta
My main advice when visiting Italy is – to eat as much pizza and pasta as you can. I don’t know why, but it tastes different and way better for sure!
Try Italian Gelato
The dessert that you have to try while you’re in Milan is the world-famous gelato.
For sure you’ll be able to find the flavor that you love the most, as there are a lot of gelaterias to choose from in Milan. Italy produces more than 6 billion scoops of gelato each year.
It has a different taste than ice cream. The difference is in the proportions. Ice cream contains more cream, air, and egg yolk.
I’m adding all these places to this list because we genuinely loved every single one of them
Ravioleria Sarpi – a small place in Chinatown that offers delicious dumplings.
De Pasajo dal Marchigiano – a very cozy restaurant where you can try amazing “homemade style” pasta. The carbonara pasta that my boyfriend ordered became his favorite dish he tried in Milan. He hasn’t stopped talking about it ever since.
Da Oscar – is another great restaurant where the pasta tasted heavenly. It’s also better if you make a reservation in advance because the place was full during the whole evening. Even after we got our table, we still had to wait at least 40 minutes to arrive, because again of my boyfriend’s order. Keep in mind, that if you’re hungry do not order pasta carbonara as it takes longer to prepare.
Fabbrica Pizzeria – a popular restaurant located in the Naviglio Grande area where we tried calzone (closed pizza) and some delicious ravioli.
Princi – bustling bakery located in the city center near Duomo. They offer a ton of desserts and focaccias, cooked meals, and freshly baked bread.
Luini – you can try delicious panzerotti here. It’s a great authentic Italian must-try food. It resembles a small calzone and it comes with different stuffings. The most popular one is with tomato and mozzarella.
Focacceria Manuelina – they specialize in making focaccias. The one that I tried was with tomatoes and it was outstanding!
Piz – This cute little place offers only 3 kinds of pizzas. And it’s probably the main reason why it’s so good. They mastered the recipe to perfection. The hospitality of that restaurant was also on point.
Risoelatte – this was the place where we tried the famous risotto alla Milanese. Keep in mind that you need a reservation if you’re planning on going in the evening.
Pavè – this charming little bakery offers delicious sweet and savory croissants.
Gelateria Grom – it was the place where I tried the best gelato in Milan (in my opinion). It was the glazed chestnut flavor.
Restaurant Pizzeria Maruzella – this restaurant has a lot of Italian food to offer but it specializes in making pizzas. I got myself a vegetarian pizza and my boyfriend had the one with prosciutto. Since my boyfriend loves spicy food, he highly recommends the spicy oil that they serve. It became one of his favorites.
Also, if you would like to save some money on food. The best way to do it will be by taking many aperitivos. It works from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. You order only a drink which will be a little bit pricier but you also get to enjoy small appetizers or even a full buffet for that price.
How many days to spend in Milan?
We spent 4 days there, but I think spending 2 days in Milan is going to be enough. Unlike other popular cities in Italy like Rome or Florence, Milan doesn’t have a ton of touristy sights to visit. We were easily able to visit all the main attractions in Milan in those 4 days and try all the restaurants that we wanted to. So don’t worry if you’re not able to spend more time there.
When is the best time to visit Milan?
In my opinion, any month will be fine as there are some advantages and disadvantages to each and one of them. Of course, the summer will be hot and full of tourists so I can’t recommend it at all. In the winter months, it will be colder but you will deal with fewer tourists. Also, keep in mind Milan Fashion Week and Salone del Mobile (Milan Furniture Fair) as these are the times when all the hotels in Milan raise their prices.
How to get around Milan?
Milan isn’t very big so the answer is simple – use public transportation. That’s what I always do when I travel across Europe. Don’t be afraid as it’s very safe. Public transportation in Milan is usually the cheapest and fastest way to go places. You can use the same ticket for both trams and the metro, so it makes it even more efficient.
We were buying a “One Day” ticket every day from the local newsstand. It costs €4,50 and it’s valid for 24 hours. I find that it works best if you’re staying for a shorter amount of time in Milan.
Trams run from around 4:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Budget for Milan. How much does it cost to visit Milan?
If you want to enjoy the city to its fullest, it’s going to be quite hard to make your trip budget-friendly as a Milan vacation can get pretty expensive. But there are still some things that I would like to mention to keep in mind.
- Most of the museums are free on the first Sunday of every month.
- Enjoy Aperitivo to save money on food. Most of the places in Italy offer appetizers when you order Aperitivo.
- Take part in a free walking tour around Milan. It’s a great way to learn more about the city, its landmarks and meet new people.
- Include more “wandering around” and “enjoying the scenery” rather than “museum visiting”. Milan is full of charming narrow streets, where you can get a true taste of Italian culture.
- Accommodation: hostel from €20, Airbnb around €60
- Food: around €20-23/day
- Transportation: €2-3/day but you can easily walk everywhere to save even more
- Attractions: plan around €10 per attraction
Milan is a great city and it’s full of hidden gems. Keep in mind that it’s not going to be liked by everyone. If you’re looking for a more historical and romantic Italy it’s probably better if you visit cities like Rome, Venice or Florence. Don’t plan your whole time in Italy around Milan. Research all the day trips from Milan that you can take or maybe even plan to reach some other major cities by train or by bus.
Bergamo is another day trip option that you can take from Milan. It’s underrated and overlooked by most tourists, because of its close location to Milan. However, it’s worth visiting for sure.