Milan (photo: Pixabay)

Milan is surrounded by places of incredible beauty that make for a number of enjoyable day trips. From beautiful lakes and mountains to charming towns and villages, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Here is a list of some of my favorite day trips from Milan. I’ve included only those places that can be reached in about an hour or less by train, to make the most out of your day trip. So, let’s have a look…

Bergamo

Bergamo

Bergamo is one of my favorite places in Lombardy. It’s organized on three levels: you start in the modern lower part, the città bassa, and then you jump on a funicular to reach the magic old town center in the higher part of town, the città alta. There is also a second funicular that takes you further up to the San Vigilio hill.

Distance: 55 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Bergamo:

  • Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo’s most spectacular church
  • walk around San Vigilio and its ruined castle, for fantastic views over the Alps
  • Polenta e osei, the town’s unique cake, and stracciatella, the ice-cream flavor that was invented here

More information about what to see in Bergamo can be found here: “Why Bergamo should be on your travel list”.  

Cremona

Cremona (photo: Pixabay)

Cremona is an elegant town located south of Milan. It’s famous for its violin-making tradition, the delicious torrone, and yes, also for being the birthplace of fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni! Cremona is pretty compact and can be easily explored by foot, with most of the best sights clustered around the main piazza.

Distance: 90 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale>>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Cremona:

  • The Violin Museum and the many luthier workshops where violins are still made by hand
  • The impressive Cathedral, with its beautiful facade and rich interiors
  • Eat torrone, a delicious nougat, and gran bollito, the local delicacy of mixed boiled meat served with various sauces

More information about what to see in Cremona can be found here: “One day in Cremona: things to see and do”. 

Pavia

Pavia

Pavia is a pretty university town rich in history and elegant buildings, on the banks of the river Ticino. One of its landmarks is a covered bridge that connect the centre to the picturesque quarter of colorful houses called Borgo Ticino. Just on the outskirts of Pavia, you’ll be able to visit the Certosa, a stunning monastery complex.

Distance: 40 km

Train ride: between 25 and 55 minutes, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Pavia:

  • The stunning interiors of the Church of S. Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, the resting place of the Saint Augustine
  • walk along the cover bridge up to Borgo Ticino, a picturesque district with colorful houses and typical trattorias
  • An aperitivo in Piazza della Vittoria surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings

More information about what to see in Pavia can be found here: “A perfect day trip to Pavia”

Lake Como

Lake Como (photo: Pixabay)

If you feel the need to escape city life and get a breath of fresh air, then I suggest to jump on a train to Lake Como. For a great day trip you could buy a day ticket for the ferry and start the day in Varenna, a pretty village with a super romantic lake promenade called ‘walk of lovers’. Then you can continue to glamorous Bellagio and finish the day in Como before returning to Milan.

Distance: 50 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Timetable and prices for for ferries are available on the Navigazione Laghi website. 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Como:

  • A funicular ride up to Brunate, a small village perched high above the lake with a fantastic panorama across Como and the mountains
  • The stunning villas dotting and gardens overlooking the lake, such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni and Villa del Balbianello
  • The Cathedral of Como, the last Gothic cathedral built in Lombardy

Vigevano

 

Vigevano

You’ve probably never heard of Vigevano, but there are a couple of interesting facts about this little town that make it a nice side trip while you are in Milan. Vigevano is home to one of the most beautiful Renaissance squares in Italy, Piazza Ducale, which is a stunning architectural jewel. And it was once the world capital of shoes.

Distance: 45 km

Train ride: 30 minutes, from Milano Porta Genova >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Vigevano:

  • Castello Sforzesco, which is one of Europe’s largest castles and once hosted Leonardo da Vinci
  • The International Footwear Museum, where you can see, among other things, the shoes used by historical figures such as those worn by Beatrice D’Este in the XV century
  • Risotto! Rice is the protagonist of the local gastronomy,  and even the typical Vigevanese dessert is made of rice (it’s called dolceriso del moro)

Parma

Parma (photo:Pixabay)

Parma is a pleasant and lively town which makes for a great day trip for both music and food lovers And with good reasons! It’s home to Teatro Regio, one of Italy’s best opera houses, and is the center of production of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Parma ham. Do you need any more reasons to include Parma in your travel itinerary?   

Distance: 130 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Parma:

  • Parma Cathedral and its beautiful cupola decorated with the XVI-century fresco  ‘The Assumption’ by Correggio
  • A performance (or just a visit) at Teatro Regio, home of Verdi and Toscanini
  • A food tour, for example one of those organized by Parma Golosa

Bologna

Bologna (photo: Pixabay)

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia Romagna region and it’s often considered Italy’s gastronomic capital because of its rich local gastronomy. Bologna is also famous for its porticos, with about 40 kilometers of porticoed streets that make this lively university town truly unique.

Distance: 200 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Bologna:

  • Climb Torre degli Asinelli for the best panoramic views over the city
  • The old market in the ‘Quadrilatero’ area, where you can taste and buy all the typical Bolognese delicacies: parmesan cheese, tortellini, mortadella… and don’t leave Bologna without trying a piadina!
  • Look out for the little window in Via Piella for a glimpse into Bologna’s old canal network – it will feel like being in Venice!

Stresa

Stresa (photo: Pixabay)

Stresa is a famous holiday resort on the shores of lake Maggiore. It’s a great place to relax and unwind, surrounded by stunning Belle Epoque hotels oozing an atmosphere of magnificent past times. Stresa is also the key point of access to the beautiful Borromean Islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori.

Distance: 90 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Stresa:

  • trip to the Borromean Islands. If you don’t have enough time to visit all three, I suggest to go to Isola dei Pescatori, the most picturesque and charming
  • The cableway that takes you to the top of Mottarone, a stunning natural balcony that raises between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta
  • Weather permitting, a glass of wine at the Sky Bar of Hotel La Palma, with some unforgettable views over Lake Maggiore

Desenzano del Garda

Desenzano del Garda (photo: Pixabay)

Desenzano del Garda is one of the biggest towns on Lake Garda and although it’s not as pretty as other lakeside towns, it’s one of the liveliest and makes for a nice day trip to see this area. Desenzano is also pretty close to Sirmione, a lovely village that attracts many visitors for its fairytalelike atmosphere and its thermal waters, so you could plan a visit to both places.

Distance: 120 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Desenzano del Garda:

  • Porto Vecchio, a little old harbor surrounded by cozy cafés and restaurants
  • A walk up to the castle of Desenzano to enjoy the views
  • Spend a few hours in Sirmione, that can be reached by ferry from Desenzano, check out the timetable of Navigazione Laghi 

Verona

Verona (photo: Pixabay)

Verona is undoubtedly the city of romance, but has so much more to offer than just Romeo & Juliet. It’s often nicknamed the little Rome due to the many evidences of the Roman era spread around town, the first being the stunning Arena. Wine lovers will be pleased to know that Verona is also home to delicious wine, including the rich amarone.

Distance: 150 km

Train ride: about 1:15 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Verona:

  • The stunning Roman amphitheater known as Arena, one of the symbols of the Verona
  • Juliet’s house and don’t leave without rubbing the right breast of the statue of Juliet located in the courtyard, it’s said to bring luck in love 
  • Spritz and people watching in the beautiful Piazza Bra

Turin

Torino (photo: Pixabay)

Turin is a beautiful city and represents the cradle of modern Italy – did you know that it was the first capital of our country? It plays a key role in our economic and cultural life, being home of Italy’s car industry, its first cinema, its chocolate tradition…and Juventus! And then it’s a feast of architectural gems, with stunning palaces, pretty arcades and wide squares.

Distance: 145 km

Train ride: about 1 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Turin:

  • The Egyptian Museum, which is second largest one in the world after Il Cairo’s
  • The Mole Antonelliana, where you can climb up the roof to enjoy the views and visit the amazing National Museum of Cinema
  • Try bicerin, Turin’s historical hot drink made of coffee, chocolate and milk cream

Genoa

Genova (photo: Pixabay)

The capital of the Liguria region is a vibrant city with the largest medieval centre in Europe, so prepare to get lost in its tiny winding streets that will lead you to cute piazza, pretty bars and charming corners.

Distance: 150 km

Train ride: about 1:40 hour, from Milano Centrale >>> timetable and prices are available on Trenitalia website 

Things you shouldn’t miss in Genova:

  • The Aquarium of Genova, which is the largest exhibition of aquatic biodiversity in Europe, with over 15,000 animals
  • The charming fishing village of Boccadasse, a short bus or taxi ride from Genoa’s city centre (about 6 km)
  • Focaccia is a serious business here and locals eat it all day long, from breakfast to bedtime, so you can’t miss it!

 

Did you take any nice day trips while in Milan? Share them in the comments below!

 

Until next time,

1 reply
  1. Annick
    Annick says:

    So many great places within an hour by train from Milan! We hear so much about Lake Como and it’s so beautiful. You piqued my interest with Parma – home to cheese and ham? And Turin’s Egyptian Museum is worth a visit!

    Reply

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