Look no further if you’re after the perfect Milan One Day Itinerary! In this guide I’ll outline exactly how to spend the perfect 24 hours in trendy Milan!
Although fashionable Milan certainly draws in the tourist crowds, the city has somehow still retained a slightly undiscovered feel. But apart from being considered the fashion capital of Italy, there is so much more to see and do with incredible sights and famous landmarks abound. It’s definitely worth stopping in Milan for at least a day if you’re travelling around Italy.
If you prefer a more relaxed pace while travelling, it’s better to spend two or three days in Milan. However, if you’re on a tight schedule, seeing Milan in one day is still totally manageable.
Although you won’t be able to spend quite so much time wandering through the many museums in the city or shopping in the upscale boutiques, you’ll still be able to see all the essential parts of Milan in 24 hours.
In this guide about what to do in Milan for 1 day, we break down the key components of travelling to the capital of Lombardy, so you can have a fun and successful trip.
How to Get to Milan – 1 Day Milan Itinerary
Chances are that if you’re staying in Milan for one day, you’ll probably be arriving by plane. There are three airports servicing Milan and the Lombardy region; unfortunately, they are all a bit outside of the city limits.
On the day of your arrival, you’ll need to take a train or a bus from the airport to the city centre. Alternatively, for less hassle, you can arrange a private taxi from the airport directly to your hotel. This is a little more expensive but might be worth it if you don’t want to waste time or worry about public transport.
If you’re already in Italy, it’s easy to reach Milan by train, with direct connections to other major cities like travelling from Rome, or Venice to Milan. Taking a train to Milan also means you’ll arrive in the city centre and can skip the hassle with transport from the airport entirely.
Where to Stay in Milan: One Day Milan Itinerary
Central accommodation is key when you’ll only be in Milan for 1 day. Most of the city’s major attractions are within walking distance of the centre, so you won’t need to worry about public transportation too much.
If you do need to get somewhere that’s too far to walk, Milan has a metro line and lots of public busses travelling around the city. You can also get a taxi, although this is a much more expensive option.
Accommodation near the Piazza Duomo is best for a one day in Milan Itinerary. This way, you’ll be close to major landmarks and great restaurants, so anything you need will likely just be a few steps from your hotel.
Although Milan is a bit less expensive than Rome, hotel prices are still fairly high on average. It’s a good idea to book your room well in advance so you can find something centrally located in your price range.
Best Guesthouse near the Center of Milan – Torino48 Guesthouse
Best Apartment-Hotel near Piazza Duomo – INTOMILAN Aparthotel Galleria Duomo
Best Budget Hotel in Milan for 1 Night – Hotel Romana Residence
Alternatively, if like me you prefer the comfort of an entire apartment instead of a hotel room, then why not consider one of the many great Milan Airbnbs on offer in the city. Click here to search the perfect Airbnb Milan option!
Milan Itinerary 1 Day: A guide to making every moment count
Lots of travellers only spend one day in Milan. It’s enough time to see all the major sites, although you might not get to spend all the time you want browsing through museum galleries.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do on your 1 Day in MIlan Itinerary, so you don’t miss anything important and make the most of your short stay.
Stop 1: Piazza del Duomo and the Milan Cathedral
If you’ve selected centrally located accommodation, getting to the first stop on your itinerary won’t be a challenge. The Piazza del Duomo is the central square of Milan, and home to the city’s most iconic landmark – the Milan Cathedral.
Whether you’re staying one day in Milan or an entire week, no trip to the city would be complete without visiting the cathedral. The Milan Cathedral (or Duomo di Milano) is one of Italy’s most famous gothic cathedrals and is truly a masterpiece to behold.
Sometimes the lines to enter the cathedral can be very long; if you’re set on going inside and not just admiring the exterior (it’s up to you), you can look for skip-the-line-tickets to fast-track your entrance, and book these in advance.
Entrance to the Cathedral opens at 9 am, so getting there early helps, as the queues are usually shortest at this time.
Even if you don’t enter the main building, you should definitely see the Duomo terraces. To get to the terraces of the cathedral, you have to take the staircase or the elevator. The elevator is the slightly more expensive way, but not by much.
From the terraces of the cathedral, you’ll have a spectacular view of the city and mountains in the distance, as well as a close-up view of the impressive spires of the Duomo. It’s a unique panorama you don’t want to miss during your Milan 1 day itinerary.
Stop 2: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Only a few steps away from the Duomo is Milan’s oldest and fanciest shopping centre, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
If you only have a day in Milan, you’re probably not going to waste time browsing fashion boutiques, but entering the shopping centre is a must. It’s enough to admire the incredible architecture and maybe get a morning coffee at one of the shops. Some of the cafés and restaurants have been around since the gallery first opened!
Stop 3: La Scala – must see: One Day in Milan
La Scala Opera House is second only to the Duomo di Milano in terms of important landmarks in the city. It’s located close to the Piazza del Duomo, in the slightly smaller square known as the Piazza della Scala.
If you’re able to get a tour of the theatre, definitely take the opportunity. It’s worth checking in advance to see whether any tours are offered during your 1 day Milan itinerary, as sometimes entrance to certain areas is restricted because of rehearsals or events.
Stop 4 (Advance planning needed): The Last Supper
If you know well in advance what day you’ll be visiting Milan, it’s worth purchasing tickets to see the city’s most famous painting, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.
Instead of being housed in a gallery or museum, the painting still hangs on the wall of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, the monastery for which da Vinci first created the painting.
The church itself isn’t much to see, so if you don’t have tickets to see The Last Supper, this stop might not be worth your time if you only have 24 hours in Milan.
If you aren’t able to see The Last Supper, consider visiting one of Milan’s other noteworthy churches, like the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore or the San Bernardino alle Ossa, both of which are known for their impressive artwork and architecture.
Stop 5: Castello Sforzesco
Not many people have heard of the Sforzesco Castle before travelling to Milan, but it’s definitely a spot you don’t want to miss. Dating back to the 14th century, this is one of Europe’s largest fortresses and is incredibly well-preserved.
In addition to being a historic landmark, the castle houses many museums featuring art, archaeological discoveries, and cultural displays. Unfortunately, if you only have one day in Milan, you won’t be able to visit all the museums. However, you should still tour the castle grounds and get a photo of the Fontana di Piazza Castello, the beautiful central fountain of the castle.
If you’re particularly interested in art, you might want to stop by at least one of the castle’s art museums. Alternatively, if it’s a nice day and you want to spend more time outside, you can go to the adjacent Sempione Park, a beautiful public green space in Milan.
Stop 6: Wander the City Streets
By this point, it’s probably getting later in the afternoon, and your day in Milan is coming to an end. But you still have the chance to see a few more spots around the city, especially if your flight or train doesn’t leave until late in the evening or early the next morning.
Stop by the Brera Academy and Pinacoteca di Brera art museum, home to the Braidense National Library – one of Milan’s hidden gems. Housed within the art museum, this historic library has a gorgeous interior and is considered one of Italy’s most beautiful libraries. It only takes a moment to stop in to appreciate the design, but keep in mind that the library is closed on Sundays.
There are other impressive churches in the centre of Milan as well, like the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio and the Santa Maria San Satiro, each of which only require a few minutes to see if you don’t have much time.
Another option would be to visit one of Milan’s shopping streets, like the famous Via Montenapoleone, known for its designer brand shops.
Before your flight or train leaves in the evening, you can get one last great Italian meal at one of the excellent restaurants around the Piazza del Duomo to soak up the final moments of your 24 hours in Milan. Or, spoil yourself by booking a Milan Food Tour or Milan Gourmet Tour and round out your Milan in 1 day itinerary in style!