Visiting a city in 24 hours is often a race against the clock. You have a lot of places on your list, but not much time to see them. And you end up getting overwhelmed because you don’t know what to choose. Something similar happened to me when I had to visit the city and that’s why I’ve created this guide on things to do and see in Milan in a day.
🤔 Is it worth visiting Milan in a day?
I’m going to be honest with you in this answer and it’s Yes. Let me explain. I’m not a fan of visiting places in just one day. I hate it. I like to take my time to get to know the places without rushing and to savour them like a local.
However, sometimes, either because it’s a place we really want to see and we’re looking for a way to fit it into our itinerary, or because our flight leaves from that city, we have to do it. That’s exactly what happened to me. My flights were leaving from Milan, but I was going to visit Cinque Terre. So I took the opportunity to dedicate the last day to see the main sights of Milan.
That’s why in this article I want to detail the itinerary I did and help you select the places you want to visit. In the end, if you like the city you’ll end up coming back several more times as it happened to me with Bath; and as it will probably happen to me with Milan.
🎒 Where to leave your suitcase to visit Milan in a day
At Milan Central Station there is a place called Ki point where you can leave your luggage for the whole day. It’s very quick and I remember the price was not too expensive.
🛏 Where to stay in Milan
When I travelled to Milan, I did it with two other friends and we opted for an Airbnb because it was the cheapest and most practical option to spend the night. In addition, we looked for one near the Central Station to make it easier for us to get there.
The flat is a two-bedroom flat with a double bed and a bathroom. It has a kitchen, living room and a lovely terrace. The truth is that the terrace is the highlight of the flat, especially if you travel in spring-summer when you can enjoy it.
I remember we ordered pizza and had dinner on the terrace with a glass of wine and the good weather that accompanied us in June. And to be honest, it was one of the “silliest” but most enjoyable moments of the trip.
🚌 Day trips from Milan
Milan is the airport we chose for our trip to Cinque Terre. There are usually cheap flights from Spain, it has good connections to most parts of Italy and also gives us the possibility to book guided tours to amazing places in the country.
Cinque Terre, Lago di Como and the Swiss Alps are just some of the tours from Milan.
🗺 What to see and do in Milan in a day
📍 The Duomo of Milan
If there is one compelling reason to travel to Milan it is to visit the Duomo. The Milan Cathedral is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city and one of the largest in the world. It is located in Piazza del Duomo, next to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
It opens at 8am and the last entrance is at 4:50pm, although I would recommend you check all the opening times in case they vary depending on the time of year. There are different types of tickets:
- General admission (without terraces) which costs 10€.
- Entrance with terraces (lift) which costs 20€.
Ticket with terraces (stairs) which costs 15€.
- Full ticket with priority pass for 26€.
Family tickets and reductions for children and teenagers aged 6-18 are also available.
The best time to visit the Piazza del Duomo is at 7-8am, before opening time, when it’s completely empty. Also, if you want to see the exterior of the Duomo from a different angle, the Museo del Novecento and the Terrazza Aperol have a beautiful view of it.
📍 Free Walking Tour in Milan
A free tour is always a good option to have a first contact with a city. If you don’t have much time in the city, this is definitely the best option for you.
📍 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Following on from the list of must-see places to visit in Milan is the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II. This is an impressive shopping centre that connects Milan’s Duomo with one of the most famous opera houses in the world: Teatro alla Scala.
Milan is a city full of art and this place represents it perfectly. Paintings, elegance and delicacy, those are the three words with which I would describe the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. One of the things I didn’t know during my trip and that I discovered later is that you can go up to its rooftop.
And also that you can sleep there. Yes, as you read it. You can wake up inside the Gallery. Doesn’t it sound like a dream? Well, surprisingly the hotel is not as expensive as (at least I) expected.
To finish, I’m going to tell you the last fun fact I know about this place to visit in Milan. In Italy there are always “things” we can do to come back to the city. Whether it’s throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome or touching the snout of the Porcellino in Florence. Well, Milan is no different.
So if you want to return to the city, you have to turn with your eyes closed on the intimate parts of the bull located in the Galleria.
📍 Try the Panzerotti of Luini
Panzerotti are a typical dish of southeastern Italy. They look very similar to a pastry and are delicious. In Milan, everyone recommends trying Luini’s panzerotti. So I put them on my list without hesitation, and I can say that they are worth waiting in line for.
Put this place on your list of “things to do in Milan“.
📍 Corso Sempione, Parco Sempione and Castillo Sforzesco
A 20-minute walk from Milan’s Duomo is Parco Sempione, a huge 47-hectare park ideal for a summer picnic. Adjacent to the park are Corso Sempione, one of Milan’s main streets, and Sforzesco Castle, a 15th-century fortress that now houses several museums.
📍 The last supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
One of the reasons I want to go back to Milan is to see this work of art in person. I was very sad that I didn’t know how much time I would actually have in Milan so I could have organised the day better and booked the ticket for this.
The painting is in the Basilica Convento Santa Maria Delle Grazie. Tickets cost €15 + €2 (booking fee), and there are also guided tours of the basilica and the surrounding area.
📍 Fashion quadrilateral
Every city has a series of streets where you can find the country’s (or the world’s) most important fashion brands. Obviously, the capital of Italian fashion was not going to be any less.
The Fashion Quadrilateral is the area bounded by Via della Spiga, Corso Venezia, Via Montenapoleone and Via Alessandro Manzoni. Here you will find the most sophisticated – and expensive – shops in the city. Undoubtedly, a must-visit area in Milan.
📍 House 770
It’s not really a must-see place in Milan as such. But whenever I travel I always like to go off the beaten track and look for places that aren’t usually found in all the guide books. This house is one of them.
It is located at number 35 Poerio Street and was built in homage to the house in New York that offered refuge to the rabbi of the Lubavitcher community who was fleeing Nazi persecution. Today, there are several replicas around the world, but (as far as I know) this is the only one that existed in Europe until recently. There is now one in Ukraine as well.
📍 Casa Galimberti
This is also one of the atypical places to visit in Milan that many people come across by chance during their walk through the streets of this Italian city. This private property is a clear example of Italian Art Nouveau, or as it is also known: Liberty.
I hope you liked this improvised mini-guide to Milan, enjoy your trip! 😊