Planning an itinerary for 2 days in Milan? This thriving cultural hub is one of the world’s fashion capitals, but there’s plenty of exquisite architecture, funky neighbourhoods and epic activities for every type of traveller. From the obvious attractions to lesser-known churches, and from shopping hot spots to football stadiums, here’s a huge list of fun things to do in Milan in 2 days, plus the perfect Milan 2 day itinerary!
And to help you plan your Milan trip with minimal fuss, I’ve included loads of info on how to get to Milan, how to get around, potential places to stay and things to know before you go.
Things to do in Milan in 2 days
Visit the Duomo di Milano
Up there on my personal list of most exquisite buildings I’ve ever seen, the Duomo di Milano is absolutely mind-blowing. With 135 spires, 3,400 statues and a 108m tall marble facade, Milan’s cathedral is the largest church in Italy and second-largest in Europe, after St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City (a sovereign state within Italy’s borders). Construction began way back in 1386, and the current building wasn’t finished until 1965!
You can head into the cathedral to explore at your own pace for only €3, and a pass up to the rooftop to see the spires up close is €10 by stairs or €14 by lift. Duomo di Milano tickets are snapped up quickly so get there early, or be prepared to wait in lines. If you’re keen for the full Duomo experience, including fast-track admission, a guided tour through the cathedral, rooftop access and entry to the Basilica Nuova, a church completed in 355 sitting underneath where the Duomo stands, you can book this highly-rated guided tour on Klook.
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Marvel at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Window shop ’til you drop in the stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, home to flagship designer stores, historic bookshops and genuine Italian leather accessory vendors, as well as some high-end restaurants and wine bars.
If you can pull your eyes away from the glitzy dresses and lavish handbags in the windows of fashion houses like Prada, Versace and Armani, you’ll notice that the building itself is also seriously impressive, with a glass-dome roof that lets sunlight stream in all day. And if you manage to see the arcade outside of shopping hours, head to the bull mosaic tiles right underneath the middle of the dome, stand on the bull’s testicles with your heel, and spin around three times for good luck. Yes, I’m serious!
See the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie
One of Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century masterpiece murals, the Last Supper is available for viewing at the Santa Maria delle Grazie dining hall. Art buffs cannot miss this, but you need to book in advance if you’ve only got 2 days in Milan! Tickets are released two months at a time and about two or three months before the date of visit. You can book tickets through the official website here.
If you miss out on getting a ticket through the official website, you can book a guided tour last minute if you’re willing to pay the money.
Sip an Aperol Spritz at the Terrazza Aperol
Aperol Spritz is the summer drink of choice for young revellers all over the globe these days, but this spot is guaranteed to be one of the best views for sipping a Spritz anywhere in the world. Terrazza Aperol isn’t known for its service, and the prices aren’t cheap, but the bustling atmosphere, great music and incredible vantage point up close to the Duomo make it worth the euros.
Wander through Parco Sempione
This 38 hectare park inside Milan’s historic centre is a brilliant escape from busy shops and chaotic piazzas, just a short walk from the city’s main landmarks. Modeled off a typical English garden, the park was created in the 1890s and connects the grand Arco della Pace, or Arch of Peace, with Sforza Castle.
Within the park there’s bike paths, pedestrian walkways, picnic areas and cafés, and in summer there’s an entertainment programme with fun activities and shows for the whole family. We stumbled across a dancing competition for the elderly, and proceeded to watch sprightly 80 year olds dance their hearts out for an hour!
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And see the Castello Sforzesco
Although construction in this location first began in the 1300s, the existing castle was built in the 15th century and has been extensively renovated and restored in more recent years. These days, the castle is home to a number of museums and galleries, boasting statues and paintings from artists and creators like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as antique furniture and instruments.
Visit Piazza Mercanti
Piazza Mercanti is a Medieval-era merchants’ square with well-preserved buildings that were once some of the most important places in Milan. The architecture here is noticeably different to other parts of the city, and you can see the old locations of Milan’s courthouses, chamber of commerce and more.
Hands down my favourite part of the city, Navigli’s absolutely pumping with good vibes and even better food. The main stretch along the Navigli Grande canal is full of waterfront eateries and hip cockatil bars, and the side streets are home to hidden gems that are absolutely worth exploring.
I’d recommend heading here during the day to take a boat ride down the canal, grab a gelato cone and take advantage of lunch specials at one of the authentic restaurants, but then make sure you’re back in the early evening because…
Join in for aperitivo
At 5pm every afternoon, Navigli’s quiet paths are filled with locals taking part in their traditional aperitivo routine. Aperitivo is where order a drink from a bar or restaurant, and you get small plates and antipasto snacks for free! Prices and food quality depend on the place you choose but we paid €8 for a (strong!) cocktail and had our pick of about 20 different small plate options, ranging from cold cuts to pastas to bruschetta.
This is a Milanese after-work routine to wind down from a busy day in the office, and it’s something I wish every destination implemented! Navigli’s sunsets are a stunner too, aim to grab a seat outside to watch the sky turn all shades of pink and purple reflected in the canal.
Keen to take aperitivo to the next level? This guided tour will show you the best of Navigli’s food and drink scene, and includes loads of food plus two glasses of wine and a cocktail.
Watch a show at Teatro alla Scala
Hosting a variety of concerts, operas and ballet shows, Teatro alla Scala is a world-class theatre that first opened in 1778. Their theatre programme consists of classic operas, symphony orchestra concerts, ballet recitals and more, and many renowned musicians, actors, dancers and composers have performed at La Scala. Check the upcoming events in advance as many shows sell out!
For true theatre fans, there’s also a museum attached to La Scala, which gives you an insight into the theatre’s history, Italian opera culture and memorabilia from past performances. You can buy tickets here.
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Fill your suitcase down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
Let’s be honest, taking home a Prada purse or Armani jacket is unlikely to be within your travel budget, but this city has something for everyone if you’re planning on shopping for a day in Milan. Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the city’s main high street shopping areas, with global chains like Zara and Mango as well as smaller Italian shops and souvenir stores.
It’s easy to reach after visiting the Duomo or La Scala, and it’s pedestrian-only so you don’t need to avoid mopeds weaving in and out of the crowds. After shopping up a storm, head to a trattoria for an authentic meal or pop to a pumping wine bar for a local tipple.
See the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio
Saint Ambrose, a 4th century Archbishop of Milan, built this ancient church in 387AD, and it was reconstructed in Romanesque style in the 11th century. The unique church has two huge bell towers of different heights, a vast courtyard, and a crypt containing the remains of Saint Ambrose himself, as well as two other saints. If you’re interested in architecture, this is a stand out from most other buildings in the city.
Take a tour through San Siro Stadium
Football fiends, this one’s for you. A visit to San Siro Stadium is a must-do for any sports fans visiting Milan, or anyone travelling with soccer-mad kids! Walk through a museum dedicated to AC Milan and Inter Milan, with uniforms and memorabilia of past competitions, visit the locker rooms, and head out to see San Siro’s field from where the players enter the stadium. You can buy skip-the-line tickets here.
If you are a serious AC Milan or Inter Milan geek, go for the more expensive guided tour. You’ll get a proper lesson on the stadium’s history, football culture in Italy, and both teams that call San Siro Stadium home.
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Have a classy meal in Brera
Brera is one of the most sophisticated parts of the city, and it’s particularly charming for a night time walk and evening meal or drink. Choose the most elegant outfit in your suitcase or your backpack, or buy something fresh and fancy, and head out to find a gorgeous wine bar and treat yourself to a nice red with a huge antipasto platter.
Proper foodies might prefer to explore Brera on this guided food tour, which includes six tasting plates of various local delicacies. Yum!
Get some fresh air in Porta Nuova
This innovative district is Milan’s green lung, which is currently being redeveloped with a huge focus on sustainability and healthy living. It’s home to a huge park, uniquely laid out with criss-crossed bike and pedestrian paths and home to more than 135,000 plants. With the open green space right next to towering skyscrapers, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Silicon Valley instead of an Italian city!
It’s impossible to miss, but make sure you take a good look at the Bosco Verticale, a pair of self-sufficient residential apartment buildings with trees planted on the outside of apartment balconies. One of the coolest things to see in Milan!
The perfect Milan 2 day itinerary
- Visit the Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Piazza Mercanti in the centre of the city, ideally before all the other tourists get there!
- Head down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II for a spot of shopping
- Visit Teatro alla Scala (bonus points if there’s a show on!)
- See the Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie
- Visit the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio
- Spend your evening in Navigli, joining in on the Milanese tradition of aperitivo
- Do a tour at San Siro Stadium
- Head to the Isola district to see some brilliant street art, then walk over to the modern Porta Nuova district. Don’t miss the Bosco Verticale apartment buildings!
- Visit Parco Sempione and Castello Sforzesco
- Wander down to the elegant Brera district for a drink at a fancy wine bar or a delicious meal
- After dinner, head back to the Piazza del Duomo to see the Duomo all lit up at night
- If you’re keen to continue your night, the Terrazza Aperol is a worthwhile place to start!
How to get to Milan
Milan has great transport links to other European transport hubs by plane, train, bus or car.
There are three airports in Milan: Malpensa (MXP), Linate (LIN) and Bergamo (BGY). Malpensa is the main airport for major international airlines, but if you’re flying on a low cost carrier like RyanAir or EasyJet, you’ll probably be arriving at Bergamo. Linate is mostly used for domestic flights. Bergamo and Malpensa are on the opposite sides of the city, but each airport has about a one hour journey into the city, Bergamo by bus and Malpensa by the Malpensa Express train.
If you’re travelling through Europe on a rail pass, Milan is easy to reach by train from most nearby cities. It’s two hours from Venice, three from Rome, almost four from Zurich and about seven from Munich. And if you’re on a tight budget, Flixbus and a number of other bus companies run bus services all through Europe for crazy low prices, with long drives but excellent value if you’re not in a rush.
You can search all bus and train tickets to Milan right here on Omio, which shows you all the options available.
If you’re lucky enough to have a rental car in Europe, Milan is easy to get to from Switzerland, southern Germany, southeast France, western Austria or other parts of Italy.
How to get around Milan
Milan’s got a well-connected metro system which can get you to and from all the major landmarks. A single ticket costs €2 and is valid for 90 minutes, or you can buy a 10-ticket carnet for €18. If you’re just spending 2 days in Milan, you can get a 48 hour ticket for €8.25, or if you’re in Milan for one day it’s €4.50 for a 24 hour ticket.
Note that in Milan, you’re limited on taking luggage on the metro. Similar to flights, you can have a carry-on size suitcase up to 50cm for free, but a larger suitcase will set you back an extra €1.50 for a luggage ticket.
If you’re keen to explore above ground and hop on and off at various tourist spots, consider getting a Milan hop-on hop-off bus ticket. You can choose from a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket, and you’ll be able to easily plan an ideal 2 day Milan itinerary.
Where to stay during your 2 days in Milan
Budget travellers rejoice, there’s a number of decent hostels in Milan that won’t break the bank. We stayed at Atmos Luxe, it’s small but the beds are comfy, bathrooms are super clean and there’s breakfast available for an additional cost. It’s ideally located, just a short walk to Navigli aka aperitivo central! Other highly-rated hostels worth considering are Ostello Bello Grande, Combo Milano or Ostelzzz Milano.
I hope this list of the best things to do in Milan in 2 days has helped you plan your trip! Milan is ideal for a weekend getaway and there is SO much to see, do and eat to fill any 2 days in Milan itinerary. If I’ve missed anything important please let me know in the comments!
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Huge thanks to Atmos Luxe for hosting me for four nights. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.