One Day In Milan Overview

One day in Milan? You can make it count by seeing some incredible sights in just one day! Milan is an easy day trip from many other places in Italy. You’ve got this—start with the Duomo, grab a quick espresso, and then see the highlights in Milan.

Based on my experiences in Milan, I’ll give you a complete itinerary, local tips, and show you how one day in Milan can be an unforgettable experience!

➡️ Highlights: Milan Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milanese lunch, Leonardo Davinci’s painting, Castle Sforza, Aperitivo, Duomo Sunset

📅 One day in Milan Itinerary

Milan is a beautiful city bursting with art, history, and, of course, high fashion. So, first things first, grab yourself a cappuccino and a cornetto (that’s an Italian croissant) to fuel up for your one day in Milan!

Morning: Walking Tour & the Duomo

Start your morning in Milan with skip-the-line access to the impressive Duomo, the city’s largest Gothic cathedral. Construction began in 1386 and lasted for five centuries, resulting in a masterpiece of Gothic style mixed with traditional Lombard architecture. Seeing this is a must while spending one day in Milan.

#1 Duomo Tour

Skip-the-Line Duomo Tour

✔️ Milan Duomo Tour
✔️ Rooftop + Underground Exclusive Access
✔️ Private Guide

When you step inside, you’ll find a colorful interior decorated with vibrant stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes. The walking tour will give you the chance to explore the Duomo’s underground secrets, such as the tomb of St. Charles Borromeo, the revered Archbishop of 16th-century Milan.

Tips for visiting: To avoid long lines (especially during peak season), I suggest booking a walking tour like the Milan Skip The Line & Guided Tour. This unique experience offers private access, expert guidance from a professional tour guide, and evening access to Milan’s breathtaking rooftops in the evening.

Head over to the The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

After the Duomo, make your way to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s very close to the Duomo and impossible to miss with its grand arch entrance. Inside, it’s a palace of shopping and architecture. Here you’ll find all of the iconic high fashion stores in Milan.

Wander through the gallerina lined with cafes and shops. Treat yourself to a window-shopping spree or pick up a Milanese souvenir. Look up too—the mosaic floor beneath your feet and the dome above are incredible.

Me at The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, during a day trip from Florence, spending one day in Milan

Need some good luck? Legend has it that touching the bull mosaic in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II can make your wishes come true. Specifically, legend says that if you spin on the bull between its legs you’ll have good fortune! Join hundreds of curious visitors every day drawn to this little dancing bull mosaic.

Have an authentic Milanese Lunch

Next, venture over to Cantine Milano for a delicious lunch, a top-rated restaurant in Milan known for its authentic Milanese cuisine. Ranked #1 out of over 6,000 restaurants in the city, this place is not to be missed in Milan.

Up-close of pasta

Cantine Milano not only has mouthwatering dishes, but it also caters to vegetarians and vegans! Trust me when I say that you’ve never tasted food this satisfying and perfectly seasoned before. Eating at Catine Milano ended up being the best meal I ate in Milan.

Afternoon: Santa Maria delle Grazie

The Last Supper awaits you in the quiet piazza where Santa Maria delle Grazie sits. No big deal—this incredible painting just happens to be a defining piece of the Western art narrative. This is where you will see one of Leonardo’s masterpieces in person.

Da Vinci’s Last Supper

Step into the cool, subdued light of the refectory and there it is. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper is grand and quiet on the wall in Santa Maria delle Grazie. This UNESCO World Heritage site is an ultimate bucket list visit while in Milan!

Tips for visiting:

  • Take a guided tour: Skip-the-line tickets give you easy access and help you learn the history behind the church and Leonardo’s famous painting.
  • Turn off your flash: Help preserve Leonardo’s famous painting—before you fill your camera roll, make sure your flash is turned off!
  • Dress for the visit: Men and women are both required to cover their knees and shoulders visiting the church, so make sure to plan your outfit in advance.

Visit Sforza Castle

Visiting Sforza castle during one day in Milan.

No trip to Milan could be complete without a visit to Sforza Castle. The fortress was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, once the Duke of Milan. Castello Sforzesco is a grand symbol of power and history, standing proud in the heart of modern Milan. The castle tells a story of resilience, having been restored from the ruins of World War II to its former glory.

Best Guided Tour:

#1 Sforza Castle Tour

Skip-the-Line Sforza Castle Tour

✔️ Sforza Castle + Grounds Tour
✔️ famous art by Michelangelo
✔️ Professional guide + small group

Tips for visiting:

  • Check out the museums: The castle houses several museums filled with art and history.
  • Enjoy the grounds: The castle’s grounds are perfect for a relaxing mid-day stroll.
  • Look for the details: The restoration preserved incredible details, so take your time to admire them.

Bosco Verticale

Next up, marvel at the Bosco Verticale, also known as “The Vertical Forest”. This is an incredible Italian vision of a sustainable future where nature thrives amongst the concrete. The towers host thousands of plants and trees, creating a vertical forest that breathes life into the city. These towers are a hopeful sign of an eco-conscious way of living, even in a big city.

🍝 Optional – Take a Pasta + Tiramisù Cooking Class

If you have a foodie heart like me, take time out of your one day in Milan and book a cooking class! There’s something special about learning to craft a Milanese dishes while in Milan.

Excellent experience, great pasta! We had a very enjoyable time at the cooking class. It was well set up, casual, and friendly. The pasta and tiramisu came out great and it was fun to eat it together with the group after making it. Would definitely recommend this to anyone, no matter your skill level in the kitchen. – Ben L. (See more reviews)

This is a delicious detour from your travels—but you’ll be learning skills you’ll bring home. The art of perfecting tiramisù is a memory and a skill that keeps on giving!

#1 Cooking class

Milan Pasta + Tiramisu Cooking Class

✔️ Learn to make 2 pastas + dessert
✔️ Meal + local wine and limoncello
✔️ taught by Michelin-trained chefs

Evening: Return to the Duomo for Sunset

Return to the Duomo di Milano with your skip-the-line access pass to climb to the rooftop for the evening. The fading light turns the Italian sky into a canvas, painting the cathedral in beautiful colors. It’s a perfect view for wrapping up your one day in Milan!

🏨 Where to stay in Milan

In Milan, you’ll find the perfect spot to crash, no matter your budget. Central Milan has an exciting mix of cool boutique hotels to cozy hostels. After my travels in Milan, I’ve put together a list to help you figure out where to stay in Milan.

Hostel Option: Ostelzzz Milano

  • Amenities: free WiFi, and daily breakfast included.
  • Great for those on a low budget, this hostel is located in the Stazione Centrale district of Milan, making it walkable to many other areas. This hostel has a unique look and reminds me of those time capsule hotels!

Address: Via Giorgio Jan, 5A, 20129 Milano MI, Italy

Budget Option: Regina Milano in Crocetta

  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, Kitchen access, Washing machine, Private bathroom, Daily housekeeping, Non-smoking, Luggage storage, Heating.
  • Regina Milano puts you close to all the major spots in Milan. This private budget-friendly apartment has a kitchen, living area, and a bathroom with a tub.
  • Located within walking distance of major public transport lines, the Regina Milano in Crocetta makes it easy to explore Milan in a day.

Address: via Medici 4, Milan City Centre, 20123 Milan, Italy

Luxury Option: Grand Hotel Milano

  • Amenities: Luxury suites, spa services, gourmet dining, rooftop terrace, and concierge services.
  • For those looking to stay in luxury, this hotel provides a pampering stay with easy access to Milan’s high-end districts.

Address: Via Alessandro Manzoni, 29, 20121 Milano MI, Italy

🚆 Traveling to Milan

When traveling to Milan from other Italian cities, getting to Milan is pretty simple. Trains generally provide a faster and more comfortable journey, with direct routes connecting major cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence to Milan’s train stations. Buses, on the other hand, can be a more budget-friendly option.

I recommend booking train or bus tickets with Omio. It’s a convenient platform for comparing both train and bus options, ensuring you find the best route and deals for your trip! This is the platform I used on all of my Italy travels to get the best deals.

🍕 Where to eat in Milan

When you’re wandering through Milan, you’ll want to make sure you have a memorable meal while in the city! Here’s my recommended list of incredible places to dine in Milan:

Cantine Isola

Cantine Isola is a 126-year-old wine bar that was named the best wine shop in Italy in 2022! Grab a glass and some crostini and watch as the sidewalk outside becomes a bustling scene of Milanese life. And for those who love poetry, drop by on a Tuesday for poetry night. If you can guess the author—you get a free glass of wine!

Trattoria Mirta

Tucked away from Milan’s busy streets, Trattoria Mirta offers a unique twist on northern Italian classics. Chef Juan Lema has Uruguayan roots, and his dishes will make you see Italian cuisine in a new light. It’s a spot that promises warmth and a taste of home cooking with an upscale twist. Book in advance—due to its popularity with locals, Trattoria Mirta is often fully booked!

Berberè Pizzeria

Visit Berberè Pizzeria for a slice of pizza heaven. With three distinct dough options and topping combinations that will make your mouth water, this place is not to be missed for pizza-lovers. Berberè Pizzeria has both classics and innovative pizza options like fried eggplant with smoked ricotta.

Cantine Milano

This restaurant captures Milan’s essence perfectly. With a menu that has both local favorites and international flavors, Cantine Milano has a huge range of diversity. It’s a great spot if you’re looking for an authentic and lively Milanese dining experience.

Getting Around Milan

Milan’s vibe is fast-paced, but getting around is fairly simple. You’ve got trams, buses, and the metro to choose from. You can also choose a hop on hop off bus to get to major sights easily.

Single Ticket & 24-Hour Travel Card Options

Planning a quick visit to Milan and need to know the best way to get around? Let’s look at two options for using Milan’s public transport: the Single Ticket and the 24-Hour Travel Card. These cards are available at the metro stations in Milan.

Single Ticket

  • Cost: Priced at $2.20 (€2), it’s an affordable option for moving around.
  • Validity: Good for 90 minutes from validation, this ticket lets you travel on buses, trams, and the Metro. However, just note that re-entry into the Metro with the same ticket isn’t allowed.
  • Use: Ideal for short trips across the city to visit a few specific spots.

This ticket is most suitable for quick, direct travel between sights.

24 Hour Travel Card

  • Cost: For $7.70 (€7), this card offers unlimited public transport use for 24 hours from the time you first use it. It’s a practical choice for a full day of exploration.
  • Travel: Allows for unrestricted travel across zones Mi1, Mi2, and Mi3, covering most areas of interest within the city.
  • Benefit: Best for visitors looking to maximize their sightseeing opportunities across Milan without worrying about transport limitations.

Finally, depending on your itinerary in Milan, choosing the right ticket can make your visit more enjoyable. The 24-Hour Travel Card offers flexibility for extensive exploration, while the Single Ticket is optimal for targeted travel.

Walking in Milan

You also have the option of walking in Milan. It’s free, obviously, and perfect for finding places around the city that you wouldn’t otherwise! Also, the best gelato spots somehow pop up when you’re walking, trust me on this.

One day in Milan FAQs

Is one day enough for Milan?

One day in Milan is short but sweet. You’ll miss some spots, but with a solid plan, you can absolutely see the major highlights. It’s about savoring the moment in Italy, not seeing it all.

How do I spend my day in Milan?

Start with the Duomo, then shop at The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Lunch in the Isola area district, afternoon seeing Sforza Castle and historic art, and wrap it up with an aperitivo. That’s a day well spent! Read my full suggestions for an entire day in this post.

Is Milan a walkable city?

Absolutely, Milan is a walkable city. Milan’s city center is perfect for walking, with most sights within easy walking distance. Plus, walking is the best way to take in one day in Milan.

Is Milan worth a day?

It’s definitely worth spending a day in Milan. Although it’s just a snapshot of Milan, with one day in Milan, you can get a quick taste of what makes this city special. Honestly, a day is all it takes to fall in love with Milan.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, trying to take in all of Milan in 24 hours is like trying to sip an espresso in one gulp—ambitious and against Italian coffee culture. After all, Milan wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly can’t be fully appreciated in one either.

By utilizing tours to see the top things you are most interested in, you can maximize your limited time in Milan. Whether you take my advice on the best tour of the Duomo, or do a local cooking class in Milan, curated tours allow you to experience Milan while making the most of your day with just one day in Milan. While one day is never enough for a city like Milan, spending one day in Milan is absolutely worth it!

✈️ Traveling to Milan, Italy?

🏛️ Are tours in Italy worth it?

YES Booking tours with Viator is my favorite way to book tours and experiences. By taking day trips and tours this way, you can see and do many things you may not have been able to otherwise.

🚗 is it safe to rent a car in Italy?

YES Renting a car gives you freedom to explore! I like to rent with Discover Cars, which checks all local and international companies to give you the best rates.

❤️‍🩹 Should I buy Italy travel insurance?

YES — If you’re a worrier like me, give yourself peace of mind with Safety Wing, the #1 travel insurance for solo travelers, remote workers, and digital nomads.

Heading to Florence and Rome too?

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