View of people at the Arco della Pace monument, one of the essential stops on a Milan Itinerary

Milan Itinerary – A Foolproof 3 Day Planner (for 2023)

👉 Jump to: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Where to Stay | Map | Getting Around | Tips | FAQ

When you only have a few days to see everything in Italy’s fashion capital, it’s essential to have a well-crafted Milan itinerary at your disposal. Milan is a very organized and easy-to-navigate city, but you’ll need to be strategic with your time to catch all the city’s famous sites and hidden wonders. 

I spent the first three days of my Italy trip visiting Milan. Squeezing in all the best things to do in Milan required some major schedule tinkering and helpful tips for visiting Italy. To help with your planning, I’ve put together this comprehensive 3-day Milan itinerary so you can jump right into the fun stuff. Let’s get into it!

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3 Days in Milan Itinerary

Day 1 – Piazza Del Duomo & The Core Sites

The author, Sky Ariella smiling for a selfie at the top of Milan Cathedral
Me on the top of the Milan Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo, a must-do in the city


On your first day in Milan, start your morning with a sweet pastry and some caffeine from Pavé in the Lazzaretto neighborhood. For early-morning sugar lovers, I recommend you order one of their cream-filled croissants. Then, make your way to Piazza del Duomo where you’ll find many of Milan’s top sites, starting with the Duomo Di Milano.

After seeing every inch of the extensive exterior of the world’s fifth-largest church, buy a ticket online to access the roof of the Milan Cathedral. For a little exercise, take the stairs up, or if you’re with kids or have mobility limitations, there is also a lift option. 

Once you’ve taken in the best views over the city at Duomo di Milano, head back down and walk to Luini Panzerotti. It’s less than five minutes away and great for a delectable panzerotti lunch – a favorite Italian street food. 


The ceiling of Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II from the entrance
The entrance to the gorgeous Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II

When you’re done with your lunch, visit the nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the oldest mall in Italy. Here, window shop at the luxury stores and take a spin on the lucky bull mosaic (you’ll know it when you see it). 

Even if Louis Vuitton isn’t in your budget, there are lots of more affordable clothing stores and popularized brands in the surrounding area. Next, stroll over to Ciacco for gelato – it’ll give a great boost of energy and they even have vegan variations.


After shopping, stop by Santa Maria delle Grazie for a chance to see “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci (grab tickets in advance or join a tour). Then, wind down the day by grabbing a delicious pizza dinner at Piz before returning to your accommodations.

🏨 Need a hotel? One of the best places to stay in Milan is Milano Verticale | UNA Esperienze. It’s perfectly located in Porta Garibaldi, the roof provides an exceptional view over all of Milan, and furry friends are allowed. Plus, it’s right near a train, tram, and bus stop to take you anywhere you need to go for day 2. 

Day 2 – Sempione Park, Teatro alla Scala & Nightlife

A statue outside the Sforzesco Castle in Milan
Statue outside the Sforzesco Castle


Wake up bright and early for coffee and a quick nosh at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Even though it sounds strange to go to Starbucks with such limited time in Milan, this location is special as it is an homage to Italy’s coffee culture.

Next, head toward Sempione Park with a stop at the Italian Stock Exchange to see the giant statue flipping the bird to the banks. Then, stroll through the park until you reach the massive Sforzesco Castle

Wander the grounds of the castle for free before continuing on to snap a selfie at the famous Arco della Pace monument at the opposite end of the park. 


After a busy morning of roaming the sights of Sempione, grab lunch at La Posteria di Nonna Papera. It’s located just a few steps from Arco della Pace, but make sure you get there between 12 pm and 2:30 pm because they close before the dinner hours. Make your way back down toward the city center to visit one or two of Milan’s art galleries – your options here are Ambrosian Library, Palazzo Reale di Milano, and Pinacoteca di Brera.

Finally, finish off the afternoon by booking a skip-the-line museum ticket to Teatro alla Scala, aka La Scala Opera House, in Piazza della Scala. Once you’ve had a good look at one of the most famous opera houses in the world, grab yourself a pre-dinner chocolate treat from Venchi Cioccolato e Gelato


Pasta on a plate and Aperol spritz served at Via Pasteria in Milan
My incredible pasta from Via Pasteria with a perfect Aperol spritz

On your second night in Milan, we’re going to get a feel for the city’s nightlife scene. First, though, you need to fuel up with some fresh, traditional pasta at Via Pasteria. Don’t forget to order the decadent tiramisu for dessert. 

Now that you’re satisfied food-wise, have a nightcap at one of the local bars, like Wave Cocktail Bar or Camparino in Galleria. Experience Milan’s nightlife, but don’t stay up too late. Tomorrow is going to have you busy from morning until night. 

Day 3 – Day Trip to Lake Como & the Navigli District

View of boats on the Lake Como
There are always boats around Lake Como waiting to take you to its various little cities


It’s the last day of your Milan itinerary! Now that you’ve explored most of the major sites inside Milan, it’s time to visit another prized destination of northern Italy – Lake Como. To have as much time as possible, wake up early and head to Milan Central Station.

Purchase the next available train ticket to Varenna, a small town on Lake Como. While you’re waiting for the train, go to the Milan Central Market, which is inside the train station. Depending on how much time you have until departure, eat inside this bustling market or buy a quick bite to eat on the go. The scenic train ride will only take an hour. 

Once you arrive at Lake Como, walk along the labyrinth of gorgeous pathways throughout Varenna while taking in the scenery. Slowly stroll toward Villa Monastero, a dreamy botanical garden that makes for the perfect photo location. 


View at the entrance in an alleyway of Bellagio
The green, pretty alleyways of Bellagio

As the day turns to afternoon, your stomach may have started begging for some more Italian food. Fulfill that request by having a beautifully-presented lunch at Al Prato Restaurant. Then, head over to the ferry station and buy a ticket to Bellagio, another tiny town on the Lake just a 15-minute ride away. 

Once the ferry pulls up to the town, get a feel for the terrain by wandering the town’s main street. Look in the shop windows to see if there are any unique souvenirs that catch your attention. Then, go to Bellagio Rent a Boat to actually spend some time on the lake. You don’t need a boat license, and insurance and fuel are included. 

After you’ve worked up an appetite from the boat ride, eat some homemade pasta on the stunning, plant-covered terrace of Ristorante Bilacus. Then, hop back on the ferry to return to Varenna and catch the train back to Milan. 


At the very latest, try to get on the train from Varenna back to Milan around 8 pm because there is still some cool stuff to do in the fashion capital. Once you get back to the city, return to your accommodations for a quick shower and get dressed up in a nice outfit. Then, take a taxi down to the Naviglio Grande

This famous canal lights up with energy in the evening and offers visitors all types of delicious restaurants and bars to choose from. Any place you pick will likely be delicious, but you should try to get a table at La Prosciutteria Milano Navigli if possible. This Tuscan restaurant has a fantastic view of the canal and top-notch food. 

After dinner, make the most of your final night in Milan by diving into the nightlife around Naviglio Grande. Bar hop between all the unique cocktail bars along the canal, like Banco, Zog, and Pinch Spirits & Kitchen. Just like that, you’ve reached the end of your perfect Milan itinerary. 

Where to Stay in Milan

Below is a summary, but for more see my detailed guide to where to stay in Milan.

Best Hotels 

Milan has a reputation for being one of Italy’s most expensive cities for accommodations and everything else. While it’s true that there are lavish experiences in Milan, there are just as many options for budget, business, and family travelers:

Best Neighborhoods & Areas

A colorful building with plants in Central neighborhood of Milan
Cute, plant-covered buildings near the Central neighborhood of Milan

Whether you want to stay in a neighborhood that is steps from the biggest attractions or a quiet escape from the tourist hotspots, you have options in Milan: 

  • Brera (Search apartments in Brera) – A chill, immaculate district just outside the main city center that’s known for its spectacular art scene and overall elegant atmosphere. It’s home to the Pinacoteca di Brera art museum and an 18th-century botanical garden. 
  • Ticinese (Search apartments in Ticinese) – One of the oldest neighborhoods in Milan that’s filled with charming eateries. It’s comfortably removed from the chaos of the Centro area while still being within walking distance. 
  • Porta Venezia (Search apartments in Porta Venezia) – A polished, artsy neighborhood that’s home to several museums and an excellent nightlife scene. 

Milan Itinerary Map

Here is a Google Map with all the stop, attractions, and hotels mentioned in this post.

How to Get Around in Milan

View of tourists wandering and enjoying their day in Milan
People walking around Milan

🚶‍♀️ Walk – Milan is an extraordinarily walkable city with pleasant streets and minimal obstacles to cross. Starting from Cathedral Square, you can walk to almost every single major tourist attraction in Milan. From most of the outer neighborhoods of Centro Storico, you can reach the city center on foot in less than 30 minutes. 

🚗 Drive – It is possible to drive around Milan, but you’ll probably run into traffic and have some difficulty parking. However, renting a car is very useful if you plan on taking a bunch of day trips from Milan. Travelers who plan on taking this route should check out Discover Cars price comparison tool to make sure they’re getting the best rate.  

🚕 Taxi – Taxis are plentiful in Milan and efficient for traveling longer distances, but they aren’t the cheapest ride in the world. Because I was traveling Italy solo, I mainly used taxis when I was going to the train station and didn’t want to walk around with my bags. You can hail a taxi in the street or use apps like FreeNow and WeTaxi to order a cab ride. 

🚅 Trains – The train system is the best and cheapest way to get around Milan and beyond. There is a comprehensive subway system within Milan for getting around locally. There are also affordable, fast trains from Milan Central Station that take you to other cities regionally and throughout Italy. Use the TrenItalia app to find and buy tickets for the trains. 

Milan Itinerary Planning Tips

Tip #1 – Get Your Tickets for “The Last Supper” in Advance

A framed painting of the Last Supper in Milan
The famed Last Supper painting in Milan (photo: posztos / Shutterstock)

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is one of the most famous pieces of art ever created and is located right in Milan, Italy. However, tickets to see it sell out at the speed of light, so you’ll need to book way in advance for a shot at getting one. 

Alternatively, you could pay a slightly higher fee and join a Last Supper tour that can accompany you to Santa Maria delle Grazie. For instance, this Historic Milan Tour includes a skip-the-line ticket to see “The Last Supper”. 

Tip #2 – Think About The Season You’re Visiting Milan

View of one of  the attractions that you can visit in Milan
A bright sunny day in Milan was perfect for roaming around all the city sites

Milan is located in the northern region of Italy, which means that the weather varies a lot more than in the southern portion of the country. April, September, and October are typically the best months to visit Milan for nice weather. 

Temperatures can drop so low during the winter months from December to March that it snows on occasion. In November and May, it gets extremely rainy and wet. 

For more, see my full guide to the best time to visit Italy.

Tip #3 – Take a Day Trip or Two 

View of a waterway at the town of Parma
The waterway flowing through the town of Parma about an hour from Milan

Milan is a fantastic place to stay in Italy because there are so many interesting day trips that are very easy and affordable to reach. For example, Parma, the little city where parmesan cheese comes from, is just an hour-long train ride away. 

The stunning towns of Lake Como are also just an hour from Milan. Bergamo, Turin, Genoa, and even Bologna can all be achievable day trips from Milan. Each of these places is accessible on the train. 

Tip #4 – Don’t Miss Out On Milan’s Famous Food Specialties

People outside Luini in Milan
Outside of Luini’s, a famous spot in Milan’s city center for panzerotti

When you’re visiting Italy, eating food is just as important as seeing all the sights. In Milan, there are quite a few local specialties to try out, like Risotto alla Milanese and Cassoeula. There are also many famous eateries around Milan’s streets, such as Luini Panzerotti near the Milan Cathedral and the fancier L’Antico Ristorante Boeucc.

Tip #5 – Take a Free Walking Tour

View of the majestic ceiling of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The gorgeous rooftop to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Taking walking tours is a fantastic way to get local insights that you won’t find anywhere else. 

You don’t even have to shell out any cash for these excursions (except tips) because there are lots of free walking tours available in Milan and Italy in general.

👉 Read Next: 3 Day Itinerary for Florence

Tip #6 – Pick Up The Cool, One-Of-A-Kind Souvenir

A street vendor painter holding a small cat painting in Milan
This cat painting I bought from a street vendor in Milan was one of my fave souvenirs

One of the things I adore about Italy is the multitude of special souvenirs you can find. For example, I ran back a full city block to buy a tiny cat painting from a street artist for 10 EUR (photographed above). It’s these priceless little pieces that you will treasure forever after your Italy trip. 

Tip #7 – Explore the Outskirts Of Centro Storico

View of buildings on a street in Milan
A random city street on a walk around Milan

Everyone assumes that the action in Milan clusters around the city center, but the outer neighborhoods are worth exploring as well. Leave a couple of hours to wander around these districts, see the gorgeous architecture, and discover a new restaurant or two.

Tip #8 – Ask the Locals for Restaurant Recommendations

The Via Pasteria restaurant from the outside in San Vittore neighborhood
A delicious, fresh pasta restaurant I tried in the San Vittore neighborhood

When you’re creating a Milan itinerary, you may be tempted to decide on every restaurant you’ll eat at in advance. While it’s smart to reserve tables at a few popular Milan eateries for your trip, leave time open to enjoy meals at recommended spots around the way.

Tip #9 – Travel by Train

People at the Milan Central Station during a busy morning in Milan
Milan Central Station on a busy morning

The easiest way to get from Milan to anywhere else in the country is the Milan Central Train Station. You can take trains from Milan all the way to southern Italy. It’s even the best mode of transportation to the airport (the standard taxi rate is 109€ and the train ticket is 13€, but both take around the same amount of time). 

Tip #10 – Take Advantage Of Milan’s Free Attractions

View of people entering the Sforzesco Castle in Milan
Wandering inside the courtyards of Sforzesco Castle – totally free!

Milan can be an expensive place to visit in a lot of regards, but surprisingly, many of the coolest things to do around the city are free. You can wander around Sforzesco Castle, Arco Della Pace, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and even enter Santa Maria delle Grazie (minus seeing Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”) without spending a dime. 

👉 Read Next: Milan vs Florence Compared

FAQs About Planning an Itinerary for Milan

How many days in Milan is enough?

Three days in Milan is enough time to leisurely get a feel for the city and take a day trip. Three days will allow you to see all the biggest tourist attractions, visit a couple of museums, and eat a lot of amazing food in Milan. 

Is 3 days enough to visit Milan?

Three days are enough to visit Milan. While you could visit the city for a longer or shorter period, three days is plenty of time to visit all of Milan’s best sites without getting bored of staying in the same city for too long.

How should I spend three days in Milan?

On your first day in Milan, go to all the most famous things to do in the city, like the Milan Cathedral, Santa Maria delle Grazie, and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. On the second day, check out some of the other cultural attractions in the city, such as Pinacoteca di Brera and La Scala Theater. Finally, spend your third day on a day trip to Lake Como before returning to have dinner in Milan’s Navigli District. 

Is Milan a walkable city?

Milan is a very walkable city. Most of the city’s top attractions and major neighborhoods are packed close to the city center. This makes it easy to get anywhere you need to go on foot, as long as you’re wearing comfortable shoes. 


You’re officially prepared with a fully-packed Milan itinerary and all the tips you need for an effortless trip. Looking for other cool places to visit in Italy? Now that you have the perfect Milan itinerary, check out our comprehensive guide to Matera. Enjoy your Italian adventure! 

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